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The activities of businesses are central to every aspect of our lives from the food we eat, to our financial security and our health. But, businesses from the small local shop to large international corporations also can cause death and injury both within and outside of work, significant financial loss, economic hardship and environmental destruction. This subject tackles whether and how we can ‘tame business’ to provide for our needs without creating such damage. We examine previous attempts at control, from criminalisation and regulation to NGO pressure, that have seen some success but significant levels of failure. Through case studies and class discussion the critical relationships business and government, and government and the public, which frames the way in which these harms are dealt with are understood. Students also critically examine how governments and those affected have sought to control business in the global economy. In doing so, we analyse the growing use of corporate codes of conduct, and the central role played by NGOs in prompting change at the global and local level. Students completing the subject will have a good understanding of the political and economic challenges that are associated with controlling business crime and harm and will be able to assess critically a variety of different forms of controls in different settings.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should be able to:
- understand the complex range of, and reasons for, harmful business conduct
- critically assess a range of methods for reducing harms associated with business
- conduct library and field research into areas of business harm and regulation
- present orally and in writing reports of this research.
- Have an advanced understanding of the relevant knowledge base in the specialist area.
- have the ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the specialist area.
- have well-developed problem-solving skills in the specialist area.
- Understand the complex range of, and reasons for, compliant or deviant conduct.
- have significant capacity to articulate knowledge and understanding in oral and written presentations.
- have a capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society.
- describe and evaluate regulatory techniques and practices.
- conduct library and field research into areas of regulator control.
- present orally and in writing reports of their research.
Last updated: 3 November 2022