Postgraduate Course: Business and International Development (PGSP11471)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||During recent years there has been growing interest among policymakers, development agencies and academics in the rapidly changing role of the private sector in international development. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for an "enhanced global partnership" between the private sector, governments and NGOs, and many influential development practitioners increasingly view business as a ┐development agent┐ (Blowfield & Dolan, 2014) that should take a more active role in addressing global development challenges. Critics have raised concerns over the implications for equity and accountability of this expanded role for the private sector.
In this context, this course aims to equip students with skills and knowledge to critically interrogate role of business in development. Besides engagement with key contemporary policy debates and academic literature, the course will build upon long-running theoretical discussions within international development about the inter-relationships between state and market. The course covers a range of themes and topics, engaging relevant theory, empirical evidence and case study examples from around the world. Key topics include global value chains and the interlinked challenges of economic, social and environmental upgrading, industrial policy and state-business relations, innovation systems to create more inclusive and sustainable societies, and efforts to mobilise private finance for development.
Business and development is an increasingly important topic within both academic scholarship and development practice. Through this course, students will develop their knowledge on the role of the private sector in differing trajectories of economic growth and structural change in low and middle income countries, and the implications for sustainability and inclusion. The course will familiarise students with long-standing scholarly debates on business and development, for example concerning industrial policy and ┐corporate social responsibility┐, while also engaging with more recent scholarship on global value chains and financialisation. While grounded in academic theory, the course places a particular emphasis on engaging with ongoing debates in development policy, and students will combine academic scholarship with critical examination of practioners┐ viewpoints and empirical case studies from different parts of the world. Key topics include: global value chains and the challenges of economic, social and environmental upgrading in internationally organised industries; industrial policy and state-business relations; innovation systems and the challenges of creating sustainable and inclusive economies; assessing the implications of the ┐financialisation┐ of development as the role of private financial actors in development activities increases; tax justice and the challenges of domestic resource mobilisation. Students will be challenged in class discussions and activities to engage with a diversity of perspectives and to both demonstrate and apply their knowledge on a week-by-week basis. Through this, students will develop skills in critical analysis and the evaluation of evidence which will be applied in assignments, and which are transferable across different academic and professional contexts.
Assessments will require students to make independent choices about areas of focus and will give them experience of conducting academic research on relevant case studies. The first assessment will be a group research presentation related to the first half of the course. Besides assessing learning, this aims to give students experience in the crucial skills of working collaboratively with peers and in oral presentation of information to an audience. The final assessment is an individual essay which will assess students┐ ability to evaluate and synthesize specialist literature and data, and to formulate independent positions on complex current debates on the subject matter.
The course will engage with economic theories and concepts - both from mainstream neoclassical economics and heterodox economics - but requires no advanced background training in these subjects. Alongside economics and political economy, the course literature will draw from sociology, geography, anthropology and other disciplines to give a holistic view of the subject matter.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1. Components of Assessment:
Students will be assessed around two summative assignments
1) A 20-minute group research presentation with accompanying slides, on a question of the group's choosing relating to the material covered in weeks two to five. This will be delivered to peers and the course organiser during week six. It will be weighted at 20% of the overall mark. The presentations will be video recorded to enable moderation. The purpose of this assignment is to improve students' transferable skills in conducting collaborative research in a group, as well as in oral communication and visual presentation of research.
2) A 3000-word assessed essay weighted at 80% of the overall mark. Students will be required to formulate their own essay question based on a relevant case study of their choice. The question must be directly relevant to theoretical and conceptual material from at least one of the seminar topics covered in weeks 2-10. Students will be required to submit an essay plan for approval by the course organiser at least one month ahead of the essay deadline. The essay plan itself is non-assessed, but will be used to give students individual feedback on the suitability of their proposed question, and suggest changes if necessary. The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate students┐ capacity for research, analysis and understanding on an individual basis, their ability to apply knowledge, and their writing, time management and organisation skills.
The heavier weighting for the second assignment is to allow students new to this subject matter, and in particular to economic concepts, to improve their understanding throughout the course.
||Formative feedback will be provided at various points in the course. On a weekly basis in seminars and tutorials, students┐ understanding of the material will be assessed in class discussions and group activities, with verbal feedback provided from the course organiser and peers. Students are expected to be active participants in class, contributing to the discussions and activities and also taking the opportunity to ask questions on matters they need assistance with. Online forums (e.g. Learn discussion boards, Padlet) will also be available for this purpose on a week-by-week basis. Formative feedback will be provided on the first assignment due in week 6. This will comprise both written feedback to the groups on the academic strengths and weaknesses of their presentation, and written feedback on the individual component of the assignment. Both will be delivered within the standard 15 days, and will enable students to gauge their understanding of the topics covered in the first half of the course. Students will also receive either written or verbal feedback (depending on their preference) on the non-assessed essay plan, which is to be submitted at least one month ahead of assignment 2. These elements combined mean that students will be given ample opportunity to learn from formative feedback ahead of the summative assessment. Written feedback will be provided on the final essay assignment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of key theories, concepts and policies relating to the role of business in international development
- Critically analyse competing perspectives within debates on the role of business in international development while forming independent opinions on the subject matter.
- Review and analyse various forms of evidence in order to interrogate policies and claims regarding the role of business in international development.
- Apply the skills and the knowledge acquired to research-related assessment activities relevant to future academic or professional endeavours.
- Communicate their knowledge and understanding in both written and oral form.
|1. Indicative Readings:|
Lund-Thomsen, P, Wendelboe Hansen, M & Lindgreen, A (2019) Business and Development Studies: Issues and Perspectives. London: Routledge
Gereffi, G. (2018). Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ponte, S (2019) Business, Power and Sustainability in a world of Global Value Chains. London: Zed
Barrientos, S. (2019). Changing Gender Patterns of Work in Global Value Chains: Capturing the Gains? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Blowfield, M & Dolan, CS (2014) ┐Business as a development agent: evidence of possibility and improbability┐, Third World Quarterly, 35:1, pp. 22-42.
Mawdsley, E (2015) ┐DFID, the Private Sector and the Re-centring of an Economic Growth Agenda in International Development┐, Global Society, 29:3, pp. 339-358.
Khan, MH (2019). ┐Knowledge, skills and organizational capabilities for structural transformation┐ Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, pp. 48, 42-52.
Chaminade, C, Lundvall, B┼, & Haneef, S (2018). Advanced introduction to national innovation systems. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Chataway, J, Hanlin, R & Kaplinsky, R (2014) ┐Inclusive innovation: an architecture for policy development┐, Innovation and Development, 4:1, pp. 33-54.
Bayliss, K & Van Waeyenberge, E (2017) ┐Unpacking the Public Private Partnership Revival┐ Journal of Development Studies, pp. 1-17.
Kish, Z & Fairbairn, M (2017) ┐Investing for profit, investing for impact: Moral performances in agricultural investment projects┐ Environment and Planning A, 50(3), pp. 569┐588
Swank, D (2016) ┐The new political economy of taxation in the developing world┐, Review of International Political Economy, 23:2, pp. 185-207.
2. Resource Implications:
The readings will primarily be comprised of journal articles, public reports and books which are already available. No new journal subscriptions will be necessary. Some new books and ebooks will be ordered, but these will be within the Centre of African Studies book purchase budget. Course sustainability has been discussed with Centre of African Studies Head of Department, Barbara Bompani, and it is expected that 30-35 students will enrol, with more than half being from outside of the Centre of African Studies. Given that Andrew Bowman will lead both the seminars and the tutorials there will be no additional costs.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Graduates will be knowledgeable of a significant range of the key theories, concepts and policies relating to the role of business and the private sector in international development. They will be capable at an advanced level of identifying and critically analysing differing perspectives within complex, current debates on the subject, and of independently forming evidence-based opinions through the evaluation of different types of relevant data and specialised secondary literature. Students will be skilled in the application of this knowledge and critical understanding to both independent and group research on the subject, utilising a variety of analytical techniques in the process.
Besides these attributes specific to the subject area, graduates will enhance their generic cognitive skills in terms of their ability to evaluate and synthesise different types evidence, review and critically analyse literature, and independently formulate well-informed and original opinions on complex problems and issues. They will have the capability to communicate the knowledge and understanding they have obtained in written, oral and visual forms, with the latter comprising skills in both group debate and public presentation of research. Finally, graduates will have the ability to work both autonomously and in collaboration with peers on research tasks, with the assessed work also developing skills in critical reflection on the process of carrying out research. These skills will be transferable across a variety of academic and professional contexts, including development policymaking and the private sector.
|Course organiser||Dr Andrew Bowman
Tel: (0131 6)51 1000
|Course secretary||Ms Julia Jaworska
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659