MAN 659: Understanding and Tackling Societal Challenges through Management Research

“Grand challenges” are formulations of global problems that can be plausibly addressed through coordinated and collaborative effort. In this seminar, we discuss management research that examines societal problems that individuals, organizations, communities, and nations face around the world. Based on research publications in top management journals we will cover topics such as: “the interplay between nonprofits, institutional actors and the community”, “health care’s grand challenges”; “climate change”; “water supply”; “corporate volunteering for societal causes”. Besides, methodological issues when studying grand challenges will be discussed.

Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students

  • … are able to point out who or what is impacted by ethical issues.
  • …are able to evaluate academic literature based on profound research skills.
  • …are able to summarize academic literature

Necessary prerequisites

Recommended prerequisites

ECTS credits6
Graded yes
Form of assessmentPresentation
Restricted admissionyes
Further informationWebsite of the Chair / “Student Portal”
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Bernd Helmig
Prof. Dr. Bernd Helmig
Frequency of offeringFall semester
Range of applicationM.Sc. MMM, M.Sc. Bus. Edu., M.Sc. Econ., M.Sc. Bus. Inf.
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 3, CG 4
LiteratureGerard George, Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Aparna Joshi, and Laszlo Tihany: Understanding and Tackling Societal Grand Challenges through Management Research, in: Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 59, No. 6, 2016 (
Course outlineRequirements:
  • Each student receives a research article which has been published in a top management journal.
  • Each article covers a topic related to grand challenges.
  • Each student has to work him-/herself through this (“his/her”) article and has to present it in front of the class. After the presentation the paper is discussed in class.
  • Each student has to read all of the papers (max. 14) in order to be able to participate in the discussion.
Examples for articles/papers: