About this Course
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Try out lectures, course readings, and self-paced assignments from the Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA) degree

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Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

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Beginner Level

Approx. 10 hours to complete

Suggested: 7 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

What you will learn

  • Check

    Assess business decisions using metrics including financial maximization, shareholder value, customer well-being, and societal impact

  • Check

    Apply the principles and tools of complex systems thinking to sustainable business challenges and/or opportunities

  • Check

    Identify and evaluate strategies, processes and leadership techniques that enable successful sustainability transitions in a business context

Skills you will gain

SustainabilityCorporate Social ResponsibilityEthics

Start working towards your degree

Try out lectures, course readings, and self-paced assignments from the Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA) degree

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 10 hours to complete

Suggested: 7 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
4 hours to complete

The nature of sustainability

What is sustainability, why, and when did the concept develop, and why is it of crucial strategic importance for business? This week you will be introduced to the drivers that have given rise to the concept of sustainability; the diverse range of ethical, social, and environmental issues it contains; and the main global definitions, goals and frameworks of sustainable development. To provide context for the above, you will start by reviewing contemporary examples, from some of the world's most powerful corporations, of how neglect of sustainability has resulted in massive financial, reputational, and social costs. ...
5 videos (Total 18 min), 7 readings, 2 quizzes
5 videos
Week 1 outline1m
Video 1.1 The origins of sustainability3m
Video 1.2 The sustainable development goals3m
Video 1.3 Business and the sustainable development goals5m
7 readings
Become a Global MBA degree learner1m
Course overview1m
Learning activities and assessment1m
Sustainability30m
Sustainable development goals30m
UN Global Compact30m
UN global compact30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: The nature of sustainability30m
Week 1s
Week
2
2 hours to complete

Concerns with business impacts

What is it about the history and practices of business that have given rise to wider societal concerns regarding its impact on the sustainability of our world? Focussing upon three major developments – i) industrialisation, ii) neoliberalism, and iii) globalisation – this week you will examine the root of concerns with business impact on areas such as environmental pollution, inequality, and the quality of working lives. Understanding some of this wider critical context is an essential foundation if businesses and business leaders are to retain or gain the trust of the community, consumers, regulators, and employees. ...
4 videos (Total 23 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
Video 2.1 Industrialisation5m
Video 2.2 Neoliberalism8m
Video 2.3 Globalisation and multinational corporations (MNCs)6m
3 readings
Industrialisation and human activity30m
'​Free to compete' or free to deplete?30m
Self-dealing, protectionism, and authoritarian globalisation30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: Sustainability and business impacts30m
Week 2
Week
3
3 hours to complete

Strategic responses to sustainability

Given the complexities of the relationship between business and sustainability, what are the key sustainable strategies that businesses can employ? You will be introduced to three such strategies this week, organised around: i) business ethics, ii) corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate philanthropy, and iii) natural or green capitalism. Through an examination of contemporary business practices, you will see that strategies in the above areas may still signal a variety of value positions by businesses, including those proactively committed to, reactive to, and resistant of sustainability....
4 videos (Total 24 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
Video 3.1 Organisational ethics programs5m
Video 3.2 Corporate social responsibility (CSR)7m
Video 3.3 Market-based environmentalism6m
3 readings
Values and integrity30m
Strategic CSR30m
The ‘green’ paradigm shift30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: Strategic responses to sustainability30m
Week 3s
Week
4
3 hours to complete

The difficulty of being ethical in organisations

Why is it that some business leaders may knowingly engage in strategies that are unsustainable? Is there something particular to formal organisational structures that make them spaces where being ethical can seem the hardest thing to do? This week we consider important social scientific research that examines the dynamics by which such things as organisational hierarchy, too close an identification with work roles, a focus on procedures and instrumental outcomes, even relations of authority, can dramatically inhibit or subvert our sense of ethical responsibility in organisations....
4 videos (Total 19 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
Video 4.1 Are some managers evil?4m
Video 4.2 Bureaucratic organisations and amorality4m
Video 4.3 Authority, role following, and the loss of ethics7m
3 readings
'A few bad apples?'30m
The sins of bureaucratic rationality30m
Ethical decision-making30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: The difficulty of being ethical in organisations30m
Week 4s
Week
5
3 hours to complete

New and emerging sustainable business strategies

Much of the strategy field concentrates upon the strategies of large, profit maximising, corporations. Some of the most interesting and innovating strategies however may emerge across different types of organisation and context. This week you will examine some of these – concentrating upon the areas of social entrepreneurship, micro-finance, public-private partnerships, and examples of smaller businesses embedding sustainability in their local communities. There is considerable promise with some of the above strategies and practices, but as we shall examine, even here we still need to be attentive to tensions and open to critique in terms of how sustainability is achieved....
4 videos (Total 24 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
Video 5.1 Socially responsible investing6m
Video 5.2 Social entrepreneurship8m
Video 5.3 Cross-sector sustainability partnerships7m
3 readings
Conscious investing30m
Greenwashing30m
Sustainable partnerships30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: New and emerging sustainable business strategies30m
Week 5s
Week
6
3 hours to complete

Taking sustainable strategy forward

How can you transfer knowledge about sustainable strategies into effective practices in the business domain? This week directs you to resources that you can draw upon to seek to develop more sustainable strategy in your own current and future organisational roles. Organised around industry, firm, and individual levels, these lessons considers international best practice on corporate governance systems, global business sustainability compacts, guidance on responsible supply chain practices, and research on raising ethical issues in a business setting....
4 videos (Total 24 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
4 videos
Video 6.1 Organisational level resources and strategies6m
Video 6.2 Resisting unsustainable workplaces7m
Video 6.3 Raising value issues at work7m
2 readings
Actionable SDGs: Corporate level resources and strategies30m
Sustainability, values, and change30m
2 practice exercises
Recall: Taking sustainability strategy forward30m
Week 6s

Instructor

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Associate Professor Edward Wray-Bliss

Department of Management
Macquarie University

Get a head start on your degree

This course is part of the 100% online Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA) from Macquarie University. Start an open course or Specialization today to watch courses featuring iMBA faculty and complete self-paced assignments. When you complete each course, you’ll earn a certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn and resume. If you apply and are admitted to the full program, your courses count towards your degree learning.

About Macquarie University

Macquarie is ranked among the top one per cent of universities in the world, and with a 5-star QS rating, we are recognised for producing graduates who are among the most sought-after professionals in the world. Since our foundation 54 years ago, we have aspired to be a different type of university: one focused on fostering collaboration between students, academics, industry and society....

About the Strategising: Management for Global Competitive Advantage Specialization

Leaders must have the ability to develop and deploy effective strategies. This specialisation will prepare you to be the strategic change-maker capable of enabling your organisation to compete into the future. You will learn: how to think strategically to make your organisation more competitive (Be Competitive); how crucial it now is for supply chains to effectively meet customer demands (Be Global); how to leverage technology and innovation to disrupt and reshape your organisation (Be Disruptive); and how to make a positive contribution to the world while effectively maintaining the bottom line (Be Sustainable)....
Strategising: Management for Global Competitive Advantage

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