Theories and research in business sustainability and responsibility: Cross-sector interactions and system change

Time and place: May 6-10th 2019, Lappeenranta University of Technology, School of Business and Management, Lappeenranta.

Learning goal and objectives

The aim of this course is to deepen the students’ understanding of key concepts, theories and research traditions in corporate sustainability and responsibility, but emphasizing cross-sector interactions and a system perspective. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to business sustainability and responsibility, systems science and Earth system analysis, integrating the current debate and state-of-the-art from business in society, management and organization, and additional research fields. Special attention is devoted to the past development and evolution of these research fields, as well as current and emerging topics and debates. These include systemic and transformational change processes and other shifts that are needed in mindsets, actions and interactions (at individual, organizational and societal levels) to address global sustainability problems.

During the one-week intensive course, the students will have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on various sustainability and responsibility-related challenges, issues, and topics with the other participants as well as established corporate sustainability and responsibility scholars. Further, the students will present their own research ideas and have the opportunity further improve their projects and papers based on feedback from the faculty. Finally, the course enables the students to develop their scientific writing, research, and teamwork skills.

At the end of the course student will be able to understand and critically assess the main concepts, theories and research traditions in this broad field. They will also be able to apply and combine different theoretical and methodological approaches in their own studies on business sustainability and responsibility.

Instruction and examination

The course includes three components:

1) Pre-course work: reading package (i.e. research articles)
2) Instruction: a one-week intensive course, Spring 2019
3) Final research paper (100% of course grade)

The students are expected to read the reading package, consisting of scientific articles (ca. 500 pages) prior to the course, and submit an extended (paper or project) abstract to be discussed at a research development workshop during the course. All lectures (including class discussions, teamwork, and workshops) will held during a one-week intensive course in May 2019. The students will write a 20-25-page final paper and submit it about one month after the intensive course. The paper will be evaluated and graded by the faculty.

Credits: 6 ECTS

Grading: 0-5 (100% based on course paper). Five-level grading scale: sufficient, satisfactory, good, very good, or excellent.


The course is designed as cross-disciplinary. It is targeted to doctoral students doing research on topics related to corporate/business sustainability, CSR, corporate citizenship, cross-sector interactions, systems change, multi-stakeholder partnerships, sustainable supply chain management, and critical and political CSR/governance, among other topic. It is especially suitable for students majoring in management and organization studies, strategy, sustainability and CSR, international business, supply chain management, industrial engineering, and environmental management, for example.


Maximum number of participants is 25.

Deadline for course applications: March 15, 2019. Applications should be sent by email to the course coordinators: Laura Albareda ( and Anne Quarshie (

Course application form:

Contact address:
Research area/thesis topic:
When officially accepted to doctoral program:
Phase of doctoral studies:
Motives for participating in the course:

Acceptance notifications will be sent directly to applicants by e-mail by March 22, 2019.

Admitted students must submit an extended paper or project abstract (3-5 pages, single-spaced) to be presented and discussed at a research development workshop during the course. The abstracts should be sent to the course coordinators ( and by March 31, 2019. The abstract will be expanded to a 20-25-page final paper after the course.

Course instructor bios:

Sandra Waddock, Professor and Galligan Chair of Strategy and Carroll School Scholar of Corporate Responsibility. Carroll School of Management, Boston College, USA

Dr. Waddock’s research interests are in the area of macro-system change, intellectual shamanism, stewardship of the future, wisdom, corporate responsibility, management education, and multi-sector collaboration. Author or editor of eleven books, her most recent books are Intellectual Shamans: Management Academics Making a Difference (Cambridge, 2015), Building the Responsible Enterprise: Where Vision and Values Meet Value (with Andreas Rasche, Stanford, 2012), and SEE Change: Making the Change to a Sustainable Enterprise Economy (with Malcolm McIntosh, Greenleaf, 2011), The Difference Makers: How Social and Institutional Entrepreneurs Built the Corporate Responsibility Movement, Greenleaf, 2008. Dr. Waddock has published well over 100 articles on corporate citizenship, sustainable enterprise, difference making, wisdom, stewardship of the future, responsibility management systems, corporate responsibility, management education, and related topics.

Her papers on corporate citizenship and responsibility have appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Executive, Strategic Management Journal, Business & Society, and the Journal of Corporate Citizenship, among numerous other outlets. Her 1997 paper with Samuel B. Graves entitled “Quality of Management and Quality of Stakeholder Relations: Are They Synonymous?” was the recipient of the 1997 Moskowitz Prize given by the Social Investment Forum. Her 2008 book, The Difference Makers was awarded the Best Book Award by the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management in 2011.

Laura Albareda, Associate Professor, Sustainable Business
LUT School of Business and Management, Finland

Laura Albareda is Associate Professor (Tenure Track position) at the School of Business and Management at LUT. She is also visiting professor at Deusto Business School (DBS), University of Deusto. She has been Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carroll School of Management of Boston College and Visiting Researcher at Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Boston University and Amsterdam University Business School. From 2000 to 2008 she was Research Fellow and Assistant lecturer in the Department of social sciences at ESADE Business School. She is currently leading research on business sustainability, cross-sector collective action and polycentric governance. She also works on sustainability-oriented innovation, value creation and sustainable business models. Her research papers have been published in specialized journals such as Journal of Business Research, Business & Society, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Cleaner Production, Business Ethics: A European Review, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Journal of Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society and Business and Society Review. She is co-author of the book: Governments and Corporate Social Responsibility: Public Policies beyond Regulation and Voluntary Compliance (2008). She has been awarded the Carolyn Dexter Award for Best International Paper and the Organizations & Natural Environment Division Unorthodox Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

Anne Quarshie, Postdoctoral Researcher
LUT School of Business and Management, Finland

Anne Quarshie is Postdoctoral Researcher at LUT School of Business and Management. She has a doctorate degree (D.Sc. Econ.) from Aalto University School of Business. During her doctoral studies, she also worked for two years as a Visiting Researcher at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey, USA. Her research interests include cross-sector interactions, systemic or transformational change processes, sustainable supply chain management, and biodiversity protection. Her research has received several recognitions, including the IPSERA Doctoral Dissertation Award 2017 and the Routledge Best Paper Award in Social Partnership 2016 (with R. Leuschner). Her research has appeared in the Journal of Business Ethics and the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, among other outlets. She is an Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Social Partnerships. Prior to becoming a researcher, she worked for several years at Fairtrade Finland, where she managed relationships with Finnish retailers and food manufacturers and was a member of the organization’s top management team.

Asta Salmi, Professor
LUT School of Business and Management, Finland

Asta Salmi is Professor (Strategic Management of Networks) at LUT School of Business and Management. Her expertise areas include sustainable supply chains, cross-sector cooperation, dynamics of business networks, and collaborations related to the environmental state of the Baltic Sea. She serves as a Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management and is an active participant and member of the international business and industrial marketing research communities. She has published e.g. in Academy of Management Review, Industrial Marketing Management and Journal of Management Studies.

Helena Kahiluoto, Professor, Sustainability Science
LUT School of Energy Systems, Finland

Helena Kahiluoto, D.Sc. (Agriculture & Forestry) is Professor of Sustainability Science at the School of Energy Systems at LUT. She develops research and education in sustainability science, which strives for understanding and creating solutions and synergy among resilience, equity and systems efficiency (e.g., sharing and circular economy). She focuses on the food-energy-water nexus, especially at the interfaces of food and energy security, climate and eutrophication. She works across scales from local to global, in co-creation within science and with actors from public, private and civil society sectors.

Paavo Ritala, Professor, Strategy and Innovation
LUT School of Business and Management, Finland

Paavo Ritala, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.) is Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the School of Business and Management at LUT. He is interested in questions and themes around organizing heterogeneous systems and networks, where different actors and institutions co-evolve, collaborate and compete. His research has focused on the topics of value creation and appropriation, organizational renewal and innovation, networks, platforms and ecosystems, coopetition, as well as sustainable value creation and related business models. His research has been published in journals such as Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, British Journal of Management, and Technovation. He is also closely involved with business practice in these areas through company-funded research projects, executive and professional education programs, and in speaker and advisory roles. Prof. Ritala currently serves as an Associate Editor of R&D Management.

Course coordinator and contact information:

Laura Albareda ( and Anne Quarshie (