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Grand Challenges Strategy Project

  • Teacher(s):   P.Haack  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2021-2022, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
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    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Marketing

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Business Analytics

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Strategy, Organization and Leadership
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Key learning objectives of the course are (1) to get acquainted with the management literature on grand challenges, (2) to understand the implications of grand challenges for management and corporate strategy, (3) to collaborate with an organization to carry out a project in the context of a specific grand challenge, and (4) to develop actionable recommendations on how to contribute to the solution of the grand challenge.


There is an important turn in management and corporate strategy towards the analysis and solution of “grand challenges.” Grand challenges comprise global societal problems, such as the transition to a carbon-free economy, the fight against poverty and inequality, and the alleviation of precarious working conditions that are emerging as a result of digitalization and artificial intelligence. These challenges are complex and require the coordinated and sustained effort from business firms and other private and public actors, as well as the development of a transformative business strategy which acknowledge that companies have a responsibility that goes beyond making a profit.

This course will equip students with the relevant knowledge and analytical skills to enable them to tackle grand challenges. The first part of the course consists of “traditional” classroom teaching where students are familiarized with the academic and practitioner-oriented literature on grand challenges. A particular focus will be on the disruptive force and organizational and managerial implications of grand challenges. We will discuss existing tools and conceptual frameworks and scrutinize their suitability to inform decision-making in management and strategy.

The second part of the course involves fieldwork and activities whose completion requires students to apply and further develop the knowledge and skills taught in first part of the course. More specifically, students will form small project teams to collaborate with companies and/or international organizations (e.g. UN agencies). The institutional framework for these project collaborations will be established before the start of the course, and project tasks will be defined by partner organizations. The purpose of these collaborations is work on a specific grand challenge and to develop tools and actionable recommendations for its solution.

This is a demanding course which is designed for students who are interested to work in the area of strategy and corporate social responsibility.

The course instructor will provide detailed information on the course content in the first session on March 2. There is also a Moodle platform with relevant content. The course is limited to 30 participants, and places will be assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis.


George, G., Howard-Grenville, J., Joshi, A., & Tihanyi, L. (2016). Understanding and tackling societal grand challenges through management research. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 1880.

Ferraro, F., Etzion, D., & Gehman, J. (2015). Tackling grand challenges pragmatically: Robust action revisited. Organization Studies, 36(3), 363-390.




First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The final grade for each individual student is composed of a midterm presentation of the project, summarizing achievements and remaining tasks (20 percent), the final presentation of a shortened version of the project report (30 percent) and the submission of an extended version of the project report along with an executive summary (50 percent).


Without exam (cf. terms)  

Students can improve the project report right after the semester.

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