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Unit of study_

WORK3204: Managing Organisational Sustainability

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

Managing organisational sustainability is critical for effective, contemporary managers. This unit focuses on how to conceptualise and to practice sustainability in its broadest sense. Topics covered include the ethical aspects of management and organisational practice, corporate social responsibility, governance models in organisations and managing in diverse environments. Students are encouraged to enhance their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of management and the impact of organisations on stakeholders including staff, government and community.

Unit details and rules

Unit code WORK3204
Academic unit Work and Organisational Studies
Credit points 6
Completion of at least 48 credit points
Assumed knowledge

WORK1004 or WORK2201

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Christopher Wright,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final exam
Written exam with MCQ
35% Formal exam period 48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Participation Tutorial attendance and participation
Attendance and participation
10% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Sustainability poster presentation
Poster presentation
15% Week 13 15 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment group assignment Sustainability poster essay
Written essay
25% Week 13 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Individual sustainability reflection
Written task
15% Weekly 800 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Individual sustainability reflection: In the first tutorial class (week 1), students will be allocated to present a short (5 minute) summary of one of the tutorial discussion questions for a future tutorial (weeks 2-12). The aim is for students to discuss their reactions to the discussion question and the relevant readings and other material they have consulted. After presenting their tutorial discussion question, each student will write and submit a short reflection due one week after their presentation. This short essay should include an argued response to the question and include relevant references.
  • Tutorial attendance and participation: Each student will be assessed on their tutorial attendance and participation. The tutorials and learning sessions will involve group work, activities, debates and discussion. Preparation will involve completing the required readings and preparing for the work for that week.
  • Sustainability poster presentation: Students will work in groups (max 4 members) over the semester and develop a poster analysing a sustainability dispute challenging an organisation or industry through the theoretical lens of critique and justification (Boltanski and Thevenot, 2006). This theoretical framework will be explained and developed in class through various exercises. By week 4 (Wednesday 18th March) each group MUST submit a one page written proposal for their poster presentation outlining the topic and indicative links to the theoretical framework (critique and justification). In the final class groups will present their posters to the rest of the class in a 'round-robin' style. All students in the group will take turns presenting aspects of their poster presentation.
  • Sustainability poster essay: All groups will submit a formal written essay outlining their poster presentation. The essay will detail the sustainability dispute you investigated, the findings and central argument. It should include an introduction, main body (including sub-sections) and a conclusion. Harvard referencing is required. The essay should not exceed 2000 words excluding references.
  • Final exam: The exam is designed to test both your content knowledge of core sustainability issues as well as your ability to analyse and evaluate information, identify a problem and analyse it using theories and concepts. The exam will include multiple choice and short answers, longer essay questions and/or a case study of an organisational scenario that integrates material covered in the unit of study. You will be asked to support your answers with examples.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction - What is sustainability? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 The business case for sustainability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 Climate change: The sustainability challenge of our time Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 04 Corporate environmentalism Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Corporate political activity and sustainability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Social sustainability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 07 Social movements for sustainability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 08 Organisational culture and sustainability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 09 Managing sustainability and organisational change Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Sustainable solutions? Climate reality Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 The Great Barrier Reef: Case study of a sustainability crisis Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Critically evaluating sustainability: alternative paths in the Anthropocene Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 13 Poster presentations Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture recordings: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Wright, C. and Nyberg, D. (2015) Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. recommend and justify integrated organisational and industry strategies, policies and implementation approaches that are appropriate to support organisational sustainability objectives in particular contexts
  • LO2. use suitable research methods and information technologies to acquire, analyse and interpret data, concepts and theories salient to addressing particular organisation related sustainability issues and challenges and formulate appropriate findings, recommendations and remedies
  • LO3. question, assess and respond creatively to assumptions, propositions and debates within organisational sustainability
  • LO4. prepare and present professional reports that address sustainability related problems, propositions and debates within sustainability related organisational theory and practice
  • LO5. influence others to work collaboratively to recommend and report on policies and strategies to address complex organisational problems related to sustainability.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The content of this Unit of Study has been revised and adapted since it was last offered to better capture recent sustainability challenges that organisations are facing.

More information can be found on Canvas.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.