MM320-Sustainable Organisations

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Steve Downing


Summary module description:

To enable participants to understand the main theoretical requirements for sustainable organisations and to ensure they can critically evaluate and compare the steps taken by organisations attempting to develop sustainable strategies.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Participants will be able show understanding of the relationship between sustainability and corporate responsibility and stakeholder management.

Participants will be able to demonstrate awareness of the environmental and social trends propelling the development of sustainable organisations: trends in environmental systems such as climate, ocean acidification, freshwater use, land use, the nitrogen and phosphorous cycle and biodiversity, and social issues such as poverty, consumerism, health and wellbeing.

Participants will be able to identify and distinguish focal concerns of organisations addressing sustainability and how they inform strategic and stakeholder management.

Participants will be able to appreciate and discuss the elements of a business case for sustainability.

Participants will be able to critically analyse and discuss the main theoretical contributions towards sustainable organisations, for example, stakeholder engagement, accountability, integrated triple bottom line reporting, the concepts of eco-efficiency and life cycle analysis, dematerialization and carbon labelling, and eco-effectiveness based on notions of natural capital, renewable energy, bio-mimicry, open and closed loop systems and the circular economy, servitization, shared consumption, choice editing and restorative or net-positive strategies.

Participants will be able to critically analyse organisations’ attempts to understand, measure, manage and report on their material environmental and social issues.

Additional outcomes:
Students will also develop team working skills through completion of group work and presentations skills.

Outline content:
1) Understanding organisational sustainability as corporate responsibility and strategic management

2) Environmental and social challenges facing organisations

3) The business case for sustainability and the sustainability ‘journey’

4) The contribution of eco-efficiency to sustainable organisation

5) The contribution of eco-effectiveness to sustainable organisation

6) Theories and models of leadership and leadership development for sustainability

7) Theories and models of organisational change for sustainability

8) Integrated triple bottom line reporting, accountability and governance

(All lectures will be supported by case study illustrations)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The above themes will be taught in ten, two-hour lectures supported by four one and a half hour seminars. Each lecture and seminar will have required pre-reading and recommended activities such as visiting websites.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 4
Guided independent study 176
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment has three elements:

1) An individual essay of 1500 words (20% of marks)

2) A group presentation and assignment of 600 words (30% of marks)

3) An individual written assignment of 2000 words (50% of marks)

1) The individual essay will be a 1500 word essay. This will enable students to explore a major social or environmental challenge facing organisations.

2) The group presentation requires the group to select one important social or environmental issue and identify two organisations where this issue is a material risk/ opportunity. The task of the presentation is to present the issue and to compare and contrast the nature of the two organisation’s response. A conclusion should make a case for one organisation’s response being more effective than the other. The presentation utilising slides should last ten minutes and should be followed by submission of a summary report of 600 words with the slides as an appendix.

3) The individual written assignment provides an opportunity to selectively apply the course material by analysing in detail the response of a single organisation to a range of social and environmental issues. The report should discuss how the organisation engages with stakeholders to identify and prioritize issues, how issues or impacts are measured, how principles of eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness are mobilized by leaders and change agents in visions, projects and policies, and how activities are reported and accountability maintained.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A weighted average of at least 40%

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment is by resubmission of one or both pieces of individual coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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