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

Postgraduate Course: Sustainability in the Boardroom (MBA) (CMSE11586)

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
SummaryThe course provides an in-depth exploration of sustainability as it relates to boardroom issues, discussions, interactions, composition, and decisions. It considers what is meant by ┬┐sustainability┬┐ in different contexts and why this matters. The course accepts and embraces the tensions that can exist when such issues reach the boardroom, accepting that simple solutions are rarely available.
Course description Academic Description:
While sustainability has traditionally been approached as a discrete issue for business, it is increasingly recognised as a strategic, interconnected issue which impacts all elements of business practice, decision-making and (in many cases) success. As such, sustainability has become a Board-level issue. However, the ability to understand discrete sustainability issues, integrate them into a more strategic understanding of the business, and predict future impacts and appropriate pathways is lacking around many Boardroom tables. This demonstrates how sustainability is at the heart of Board-level discussions, and provides students with the knowledge, competence, and confidence to have effective discussions of sustainability at this level.

Outline Content:
The course comprises three themed blocks: context and concepts; strategic dimensions; application. Context and concepts provides a background to the role of boards and the global challenges businesses are facing, followed by a definition (to the extent possible) of sustainability, its iterations over time, and the key issues of planetary boundaries and social foundations. Strategic dimensions delves deeply into the manifestations of sustainability at the board level typically relating to strategy or governance. Application sees the students apply their learnings and readings to a simulated board discussion on sustainability issues, before engaging in a discussion which envisages different hypothetical futures and the roles and expectations of boards in relation to these.

Student Learning Experience:
This course will be taught with lectures and discussions adopting an intensive focus on specific topics across three weekends. Students will be expected to arrive having completed the pre-reading/ watching and be ready to contribute to discussions and debate. This will increase across the weekends until the final morning session applies the learning with a simulated board discussion of sustainability issues. As such, students should expect an interactive and engaged experience, in which they demonstrate their ability to tackle the complexity of the various topics through their contributions to discussion and debate. Throughout the course, students and the lecturer will discuss how best to structure (if at all) the final afternoon session on the future of sustainability. Students will take on a co-creation role for their learning. The whole course, and these final weekend in particular, provide a chance for the students to discuss sustainability in a collegial, interactive, and proactive manner.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate the purpose of business in a historical and contemporary context and analyse the global challenges which are contributing to the need for sustainability in business
  2. Recognise and evaluate sustainability and similar concepts and relate them to broader issues of strategic direction, governance, and fiduciary responsibility.
  3. Integrate the concepts discussed in the course and relate them to real-world boardroom scenarios, identifying key tensions and articulating potential pathways for board action despite these.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Competencies (C)
C1 Meaningful Interpersonal Interaction
C2 Effective Emotional Intelligence
C3 Authentic Leadership
C4 Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Business Behaviour
C5 Appropriate Communication
C6 Understand and Make Effective Use of Data and Information
C7 Creative and Entrepreneurial Practice
C8 Personal and Professional Competence
C9 Academic Excellence
C10 Intellectual Curiosity
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Ivory
Tel: (0131 6)51 5323
Course secretaryMrs Angela Muir
Tel: (0131 6)51 3854
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