MWM019-Sustainability: Evaluating origanizational responses to environmental and social challenges

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring 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 critically evaluate contending positions surrounding: sustainability, sustainable business models and approaches to organizational change to enhance sustainability.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Participants will be able to demonstrate awareness of the most pressing issues in global development: Environmental issues of climate change and natural resource and ecosystem decline, and social issues of poverty and population growth and consumerism.

Participants will be able to show understanding of the components of the general ‘business case for sustainability’ and be able to critically evaluate and discuss underlying concepts such as ‘eco-efficiency’, ‘eco-effectiveness’ and ‘bio-mimicry’.

Participants will be able to critically analyze an organization’s sustainability strategy, evaluating and recommending ways to improve the business model in terms of terms of environmental and social performance.

Participants will be able to apply concepts for the leadership, change management and communication of sustainable strategies by critically evaluating a company’s performance in these areas and recommending improvements.

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

Outline content:
1)Introduction to the course and overview of business sustainability issues
2)Sustainability challenges confronting business
3)Sustainability contexts: growth, responsibility, ecosystems, footprints and reporting
4)Sustainable consumption, wellbeing, advertising, consumerism and brands
5)Sustainability leadership, change and entrepreneurship
6)Sustainability strategy and the business case
7)Sustainability innovation, planning and design
8)Sustainability partnerships, collaboration and systems thinking
9)Sustainability future directions and looking back at key concepts
10) Individual presentations

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
These four themes will be taught in a holistic fashion in day long workshops spread over five weeks, there may be an additional workshop to support the completion of assignments. Each session will have required pre-reading and recommended activities such as visiting web-sites.

A rich set of materials including films, role plays, simulations, case studies and guest speakers will be drawn upon to supplement traditional lectures within the constraints of the time available.
The resource list and course overview are available in separate documents.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 35
Guided independent study 165
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 75
Oral assessment and presentation 25

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment has two elements, an individual slide presentation (25% of marks) and an individual written report (75% of marks).

1) The individual slide presentation should identify:

-The environmental and social issues facing a specific industry
-Metrics used to evaluate an organisation’s social and environmental performance
-A focal organisations performance on these metrics showing strengths and weaknesses compared to global competitors or similar entities

A maximum of 12 slides can be used in a ten-minute presentation, followed by five minutes of questions from the class and lecturer. Sources for this analysis are likely to include:
-NGO and other research on industry issues and risks
-Independent sector reviews and sustainability rankings
-The organisation’s triple bottom line reports in recent years

2) The individual written should critically evaluate and recommend how to improve the focal organisation’s social and environmental performance. This requires appropriate application of concepts and models found in the module reading and lectures. The individual written report should have three sections with an introduction based on the slide presentation.

An introduction: to briefly summarise the conclusions derived from the presentation. (5%) (The original slides from presentation should be an appendix to the report.)

A critical evaluation: to analyse the current social and environmental performance of the organisation (35%)

Recommendations to improve: social and environmental performance (35%).

An effective approach to both the Critical Evaluation and Recommendations to Improve is likely to consider:

Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships
Understanding and learning about social and environmental issues and impacts
Metrics used for management and improvement
Centrality of sustainability strategy to organisational strategy
Principles of sustainability strategy- eg risk, cost, reputation, innovation, competitive advantage or net positive
Focus of strategy – the scope and scale of plans and projects
Leadership, vision, goals, values, commitment and style
Change management – internal and within the entire product and service life cycle
Communications – internal and via the brand, advertising and social media
Reporting – the transparency and quality of integrated financial, environmental and social reporting

Formative assessment methods:
The individual presentation is intended to be chiefly formative in nature, detailed feedback will be given on strengths and weaknesses so that the subsequent written report can achieve a higher standard.

Penalties for late submission:

These are in accordance with the mode of study arrangements laid out in the Programme Specifications.
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
Assignments: 50%

Reassessment arrangements:
These are in accordance with the arrangements for resubmission laid out in Programme Specifications.

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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