Business and Politics POLITIC4159

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

Short Description

This course examines how private firms and business association participate in politics and seek to influence policy. Students will examine business-government relations in both the Global North and Global South and examine how the political influence of business has changed over time.


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

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry requirements to Honours Politics or International Relations.

Excluded Courses





Practical writing assignment, 1500 words (30%)

Essay, 3000 words (60%)

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.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

The course seeks to introduce students to the study of business and politics. It will use classic theories of interest group politics, elite theory, varieties of capitalism as well as more recent work on political corporate social responsibility and business and human rights 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.

■ Identify different national business systems and varieties of capitalism.

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

■ Evaluate how and the extent to which economic globalization has affected the relationship of firms and states

■ Advance reasoned and factually supported arguments, both orally and in writing, to explain the rise and effects of private authority governance and political forms of corporate social responsibility.

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.