Business for democracy


Extremist and populist tendencies are driving society. In recent months, it has become very clear that standing up for a free and democratic society is a joint task that also requires courageous voices and concrete measures from the business community. This is why more and more companies, business associations and other organizations are asking themselves what contribution they can make to an open society. 

But what can be done in concrete terms? What measures would companies be advised to take in order to take practical action? 


Practical, responsible entrepreneurship can only be realized on the basis of profound corporate values. They mark a normative compass of entrepreneurship, because they are fundamental for strategic decisions as well as in day-to-day business operations.  

Democratic values are essential for such a compass, because a democratic order represents the conditions for the possibilities of doing business for companies in a social market economy. Standing up for democracy is not only in the well-understood self-interest of companies, but also a responsibility of companies - responsibility in society, responsibility for society. 

These initial cornerstones give rise to further questions regarding the design of business and stakeholder relationships and provide important pointers for credible and authentic communication and effective corporate engagement.  

However, what is probably the most important area of corporate action for a free and democratic society concerns measures within the company's own organization. Here, the issue of right-wing extremism needs to be addressed actively and constructively. To this end, it is essential to develop forms and formats of encounter that enable an exchange with employees and among employees themselves. 

The interplay of these six areas of action results in a wide range of possibilities for active corporate engagement, which are reflected in a map of action for an open, free and democratic society. 

Course structure and didactics 

The topics of this map of action are covered in greater depth in the further education course "Business for democracy". The course is a blended learning format that combines online self-study with interactive units and discussions (webinar via Zoom).  

To ensure a good exchange of experiences, the number of participants per course is limited.  

The total learning time is around 16 hours, of which around 12 hours are spent on self-study and 4 hours on interaction and joint discussions. 

In terms of content, the course is based on the areas of action mentioned above and comprises a total of nine learning modules: 


Module 1 

Business for Democracy: Why is it important? (Introduction)

Webinar on Zoom  


Module 2 

Corporate values and responsibility: the foundation of good business

Learning platform 


Module 3 

Shaping business and stakeholder relationships

Learning platform


Module 4

External communication and partnerships: credible and authentic 

Learning platform 


Module 5 

Organizing corporate engagement effectively

Learning platform 


Module 6 

Employees and organization: Forms of encounter for an active exchange 

Learning platform 


Module 7 

Map of entrepreneurial action (revision course) 

Learning platform 


Module 8 

Opportunities for action: my company for democracy (transfer) 



Module 9 

Companies for democracy: Exchange of ideas and experiences

Webinar on Zoom 


After an introduction to the relevance of the topic and the structure of the course (Module 1), Modules 2 to 6 (areas of action) focus on basic questions of practical implementation. In these modules, general conceptual orientations are given in a concise form, experiences and examples from practice are discussed and best practice examples are presented.  

The content of these modules is taught using a variety of media formats, such as short lectures, case studies, interviews with representatives from the field (as video recordings or podcasts), interviews with experts, short texts and reports from the media, collections of links, etc. 

In Module 7, participants repeat the content they have learned using an interactive map of action (revision). 

In Module 8, participants choose selected areas of action (from Modules 2 to 6) and outline considerations and practical implementation ideas for their own company/organization (knowledge transfer). These transfer considerations are then taken up in the concluding Module 9, in which ideas and experiences are exchanged among the participants.

Target group 

The course is aimed in particular at representatives of companies of all sizes and from all sectors, business associations, chambers and trade unions. It is also open to interested parties from non-commercial organizations (e.g. from the field of politics or civil society). 


Interest and curiosity in the topic. Otherwise, no prior knowledge is required for this introductory course.


Successful participation in this continuing education course is confirmed with a certificate of participation from the University of St.Gallen, which certifies the skills acquired in the field of Business for Democracy. The certificate can serve as proof of further education or social commitment.


Price per participant: CHF 1,240
Course as in-house solution on request

Program management 

Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner, Professor of Business Ethics and Director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St.Gallen 


Thomas Beschorner

Prof. Dr.

Professor of Business Ethics

Büro 55-207
Girtannerstrasse 8
9010 St. Gallen