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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Dorothy A Paun
SEFS 519
Seattle Campus

Conducting Financial, Environmental, and Social Responsibility Performance Research

Focuses on the concepts of accounting, finance, and financial statement analysis; techniques for analyzing firm performance; and conducting competitor analyses. Conduct in-depth, comparative performance analyses of U.S. and Canadian paper firms and publish the findings as a peer-reviewed manuscript in a journal. Offered: WSp.

Class description

Corporations generate most of the negative externalities (e.g., unintended or ignored consequences resulting from business transactions) that deteriorate the planet (e.g., climate change) and cause suffering (e.g., social conflict arising from natural resource extraction for product production). It is unrealistic to expect that government regulations can eliminate all harmful and unhealthy corporate environmental and social practices. It is equally unrealistic to assume that every person, as consumers, will always vote with their dollars, only buy from ‚Äúsustainable‚Ä? companies, AND reduce their consumption to essential-for-life products. Therefore, the most realistic solution for reducing negative environmental and social externalities is an incentive system. Corporations will be incentivized if shown that decreasing environmental impacts or enhancing social responsibility increases profits. The primary goal of SEFS 519 is to investigate relationships among financial, environmental, and social responsibility performance. This seminar research lab explores corporate incentives that may improve both shareholder and stakeholder returns via better environmental and social stewardship.

Student learning goals

Participate in cutting-edge business sustainability research. You will learn how to collect environmental and social responsibility performance data from annual sustainability reports (also known as environmental, corporate social responsibility, citizenship reports) and financial performance data from annual financial reports, for a sample of multi-industry, multi-country corporations. You will acquire a deep knowledge of multi-faceted sustainability.

Gain an understanding of the research process. You will be mentored in the research process using a team format, problem-based learning approach (Duch 1998) that involves complex, real-world problem solving and creative thinking. The six research process steps, listed next, provide the framework for SEFS 519: 1) research problem definition, 2) theoretical framework, model, and hypotheses, 3) research design, 4) data collection, 5) data preparation and analysis, and 6) study findings report preparation and presentation. Hands on experience in the research process offers many benefits to students wanting to become a business consultant and students doing a thesis or dissertation.

Develop or hone analytical skills and present collaborative research findings. SPSS statistical software is used to analyze the environmental, social responsibility, and financial performance data. Triple bottom line correlations, among corporate environmental, social responsibility, and financial performance, are investigated. If time allows, student researchers and the professor will disseminate study findings by creating a presentation, research poster, or publication.

General method of instruction

Group discussions and research process mentoring.

Recommended preparation

Background open, seeking highly motivated people who are committed to sustainability.

Class assignments and grading

Collaborative team data collection.

Various (request the syllabus for details).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Dorothy A Paun
Date: 03/07/2014