Business and Politics: Lobbying, Private Authority and Contemporary Governance POLITIC4159

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines how and with what effect firms, and the business organizations they create, participate in politics as well as how this varies across political settings and time. Students will use a range of theoretical approaches to analyse corporate political activity and how firms exercise private authority in contemporary governance structures and examine questions such as: how and why do firms seek to influence public policy, how often and under what circumstances are they successful, in what ways have business-government relations changed as a result of economic globalization and how can we explain the emergence of corporate social responsibility norms and codes of conduct?


'This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly'

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses



■ Essay 2,000-2,500 words (40%)

■ Exam two questions out of six in two hours (50%)

■ Seminar participation, including engagement in a debate (10%). Where applicable (e.g. power point presentations), written material will also be submitted. Adjustments and/or alternative modes of assessment will be available for students with disabilities that hinder attendance and/or public speaking.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The course seeks to introduce students to the study of business and politics. It will use classic theories of interest group politics and more recent work on varieties of capitalism, private governance and corporate political activity to encourage students to think critically about the complex and ever evolving relationship between business, the state and the exercise of public and private authority. Students will be asked to apply these theories and theoretical debates to empirical cases and contemporary policy debates about the proper role for business in politics.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ compare, contrast and evaluate different theories of how firms participate in and influence politics

■ assess the ways in which national political systems shape firms' participation in and influence over public policy and political outcomes

■ evaluate the ways in which economic globalization has affected how firms and states interact

■ develop arguments to explain the rise and effects of private corporate social responsibility norms and codes of conduct

■ apply theories of business and politics to contemporary country or policy case studies.


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.