Postgraduate taught 

Corporate Governance & Accountability MSc

International Corporate Governance & Accountability ACCFIN5045

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

A number of high profile failures of corporate governance and responsibility have focused attention on the corporate and social impact of governance and accountability, and on the need for international reform of corporate governance and accountability standards and practices. This course comprises critical review of the theory, practice and the developing agendas of corporate governance and accountability, and will provides students with a basis for critical evaluation of agendas, standards, and corporate activities in corporate governance, responsibility, and accountability.


10 x 2 hour lectures

Excluded Courses





■ A group assignment (50%) (Max word count 2,500 words)

■ A degree exam in April/May (50%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this module are:


■ to offer students a stimulating insight into the developing field of corporate governance, responsibility and accountability, and to help students' develop their capacity to critically evaluate corporate governance agendas standards and practice.

■ to deepen and broaden students' conceptual understanding of issues in corporate governance, including explorations of alternative conceptions of the underpinnings of corporate governance, (e.g. in agency theory and transaction cost economics), and alternative conceptions of accountability (e.g., collective versus individual), and responsibility (e.g. hierarchical, personal, social, professional, civic).

■ to explore the role, from positive and normative points of view, of various parties in the practice of corporate governance and accountability including: e.g., boards, financial institutions, auditors, government and NGOs, citizens, politicians and regulators.

■ to explore the role of various factors in the comparative development of conceptions and structures of corporate governance, responsibility, and accountability including: e.g., legal systems, ownership patterns, cultures, economic and institutional development.

■ to critically examine some of the most globally significant corporate governance codes (e.g. including the Cadbury code, the Combined Code on Corporate Governance, and the OECD principles.

■ to develop students' ability, through consideration of cases, to recognize the linkages between theoretical knowledge, and the real world practice of governance and accountability in complex organizations.

■ to build confidence, through critical consideration of cases and issues, that will help students take theoretical knowledge, supported by case analysis, and put it into action in decision-making in corporate governance, responsibility, and accountability contexts.

■ encourage students to critically evaluate certain established corporate governance, responsibility, and accountability models in light of emerging research, regulatory agendas, and experience and analyse the ways in which existing models might need to change to accommodate emerging expectations.


Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Critically evaluate competing principles and empirical evidence in relation to international corporate governance and accountability.

2. Critically evaluate the impact on corporate board systems from 'double feedback' and other factors (which might include e.g. legal systems, governance codes, capital markets, and ownership patterns) on the development of principles, practices and structures of international corporate governance and accountability.

3. Demonstrate understanding of the part that various stakeholders (which might include: owners, citizens, NGOs) can play in the international corporate governance and accountability practices and structures and their development.

4. Apply understanding of emerging academic research, international agendas and standards in the critical analysis of international corporate governance and accountability.

5. Work collaboratively in a group to produce a combined output, by liaising with other class members, allocating tasks and co-ordinating group meetings.

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.