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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Sustainable Business Practice (CMSE11581)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryTo achieve a sustainable future, we need to address grand challenges, such as climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, and inequality. These challenges are interconnected and businesses play an important role in addressing them. But addressing these and other grand challenges requires a system-wide approach. In this course, we will therefore consider sustainability as a systems condition. This course will introduce you to the conceptual foundations of sustainability in business contexts and major relevant frameworks. We will critically assess the role of organisations in changing systems, as well as their own business models, products, and services. Throughout the course, we will draw on case studies to better understand the opportunities and challenges that businesses face in this process. We will also explore what is required of the leaders of tomorrow to support this systemic transformation. In doing so, this module addresses important theoretical and practical questions. At the end of the course, you should have a foundational understanding of sustainability, which will be a necessary part of business in the coming decades, and of your own role as future business leaders in helping organizations to mainstream sustainability within business practice and to transform business operations for a more sustainable future.
Course description Today's sustainability challenges are varied and include grand challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, and inequality. The aim of this course is to critically assess the role that organisations can and will have to play in achieving the system-wide changes that are required for a sustainable future. Therefore, the course is designed to introduce students to sustainability as a systems condition. We will explore how organizations need to assess their role within this system, what organizations can do to help drive system-change as well as to develop more sustainable business models, products, and services. To help students become future leaders for sustainable business, this course will also reflect on the leadership challenges that they may face in implementing transformative changes into business practice. In doing so, we will move from the macro to micro level, and explore how the different levels are interrelated.

Content outline:
- Sustainability as a systems condition
- The role of business in systems change
- Inclusive organisations and transformative leadership
- Sustainability in practice
- Implementing systems change

The course is designed to be highly interactive to provide a rich learning experience:
- The students will engage with preparatory materials, ranging from readings and case studies to audio-visual materials
- The students will be introduced to relevant conceptual foundations in weekly theoretical classes and provide space for further discussion
- The students will apply the learnings through case studies and engage with guest speakers who will provide insights into sustainability in practice

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 2 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 8, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 85 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework (individual) - assesses all course Learning Outcomes
Feedback Feedback will be provided on the assessment within agreed deadlines.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand sustainability as a systems condition and critically assess the role of businesses in systems change
  2. Understand and critically assess business models and organisational cultures to help transform business practice
  3. Critically assess their own role as future business leaders in creating sustainable organisations
  4. Understand, discuss and assess some of the core challenges that businesses face in the systems and business transformation
Reading List
Essential reading:
Senge, P. et al. (2010) The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World. Crown Publishing

Further reading:
Raworth, K. (2018) Doughnut Economics. Penguin Random House
Senge, P. (2006) ┬┐The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization┬┐. Crown Publishing
Blowfield, M. (2016). Business and Sustainability. Oxford University Press
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Apply creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, sustainable and responsible business solutions to address social, economic and environmental global challenges.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Convey meaning and message through a wide range of communication tools, including digital technology and social media; to understand how to use these tools to communicate in ways that sustain positive and responsible relationships.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Andrea Wessendorf
Course secretaryMiss Mary Anne Boeff
Tel: (0131 6)50 8072
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