An-Institut der Stiftung Weltethos
an der Universität Tübingen

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Normative innovation – Creating change for sustainability, responsibility, and ethics


Oliver Laasch

Type of Course

Block seminar; Bachelor’s course

Hours per Week




Max. no. of participants



To register, please send an email including your name, student number, address, birth date and place to the Global Ethic Institute, Please also indicate your major concentration and how many semesters of study you have completed.

Registration deadline

Monday, 2nd November 2015

Date / Time

Friday, 12th February 2016, 10am-5:30pm

Saturday, 13th February 2016, 10am-5:30pm

Sunday, 14th February 2016, 10am-5:30pm




Hintere Grabenstraße 26


Target Group

Advanced undergraduate students (at least 5th semester) in business and economics studies or students from other faculties, but with a strong background in business and economics

Method of Assessment

Attendance, Presentation (introducing a relevant innovation topic) + term paper (5-10 pages)


up to 6 ECTS


• Laasch, O. & Conaway, R. N., 2014. Principles of responsible management: Glocal sustainability, responsibility, ethics. Mason: Cengage.

• Laasch, O. & Conaway, R. N., 2015. Responsible business for sustainable development: The handbook-textbook for responsible management competence. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Greenleaf.

• Laasch, O., Dierksmeier, C. & Randles, S., 2015. Approaches to a normative (re)turn in organization and management studies. [Working Paper].

• Randles, S. & Laasch, O., 2015. Theorising the Normative Business Model (NBM). [Under consideration for Organization & Environment].


Innovation is a key ingredient for making change towards business sustainability, responsibility, and ethics (SRE) happen. Under the umbrella of ‘normative innovation’, this seminar is aimed at providing students with an overview of the relevant theory and its practical application. The course will start with an introduction into the topics of business sustainability, responsibility and ethics. It will then translate these topics into the social studies of innovation, including topics such as actor-network theory, as well as the role of devices and institutions in the innovation process. This will then lead into an introduction into the idea of normative innovation, and into a group exploration, during which each participant will present one of the following topics, based on pre-assigned readings:

·         Innovating what? Product, practice(s), process, institution/norm, organization, business models, systems

·         Innovating for what? Social innovation, eco-innovation, sustainable innovation, innovation ethics, responsible innovation

·         Innovating how? Operational innovation (e.g. lean, six sigma, eco-efficiency), frugal innovation, biomimicry, ecodesign

·         Who innovates and where? Systems innovation, management innovation, distributed and open innovation, R&D management

·         From innovation to change? Individual behavior change, entrepreneurship, organizational change, systems transitions

After each presentation a deep group discussion will translate the theoretical presentation into practical application and integrate it into the co-constructed picture of what normative inno-vation means. The essay assignment will ask students to delve deeper into their presentation topics by widening the literature used and by highlighting the application of their topic through one concrete case analysis.