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All powerful corporations?

Professor David Boughey of the University of Exeter Business School asks whether our perception of corporations being too powerful is correct. He then explains how the free online course ‘Discovering Business in Society’ will help answer this question.

Discovering business in society

Fear, concern or anger over the perceived rising power of large corporations is not a new phenomenon. During the last 100 years there have been repeated bursts of popular reactions to the expansion of big business. Sometimes the focus is on the arrival of “foreign” businesses and the impact they may have on local economies and society. Sometimes it’s about the aggressive expansion strategies of firms, pushing smaller enterprises out of business, with the ensuing impact on local communities.

Recently, people around the world have been repeatedly concerned by the disconnect between large businesses and their tax obligations. A popular narrative says that corporations deliberately manipulate regulations so as to ensure they pay hardly any tax. Is this a fair judgement? What’s the evidence? Have we misconceived the problem? And how can the level of public debate on this be improved?

On the eight-week course, ‘Discovering Business in Society’, we’ll explore this intersection between business and society. We’ll challenge, inform and reflect on how, over the next 50 years, you can shape the world of business.

This free online course is therefore a starting point to encourage better thinking about forms of business, their governance, strategies and structures, and the ethics, values and leadership within them.

The content and learning will be ideal for those new to studying business, whether at college, university or independently. It may also assist those working towards qualifications such as A Level Business Studies, the International Baccalaureate or other pre-higher education awards.

The course will also enable those with an interest in pursuing a career in accounting to take a final examination that leads to exemption from the ACCA’s F1 paper, ‘Accountant in Business’. It’s the first such exemption for a massive open online course (MOOC) in the UK.

The eight week course starts on 8 September 2014. Come and be a pioneer participant in this pioneering programme.

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