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  • MSc
  • Inequality and Business

Inequality and Business

Course Description

This course explores the implications of economic inequality and diversity for business. How are “opportunities”, both within organizations and in society more generally, created and constrained by social stratification? Does inequality and diversity affect innovation and productivity? These issues are explored in cross-national perspective, with particular emphasis on liberal democracies.

As government and business leaders grapple with how to respond to these questions, it is important that they understand how society is stratified, how this stratification is perpetuated, and its consequences. Specific topics to be covered are stratification and social mobility; cultural and social capital; labour market discrimination; the relationship between inequality and attitudes; diversity and innovation; and the ways in which equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) have been tackled in organizations.

Learning Outcomes

Content-related outcomes:

  • Understand social science perspectives on the major sources of economic inequality in Canada and other liberal democracies;
  • Understand the interconnectivity of gender, ethnicity and social class, and how they produce economic inequality;
  • Understand the role of business in reproducing inequality;
  • Understand the consequences of inequality for business, and society more generally; and,
  • Understand how inequality and diversity affect attitudes and values generally, and how these attitudinal differences impact organizations.

Skills-related outcomes:

  • Analyze the effectiveness of EDI policies; and,
  • Ability to assess how cross-national differences in inequality and diversity may influence values that affect business practices.

Attitude-related outcomes:

  • Reflect upon the possible origins of attitudes and preferences that might influence business decisions;
  • Understand the importance of diversity of ideas, and thus the diversity of social origins, for innovation; and,
  • Express insights, observations, and views towards EDI policies confidently.


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