GMBA8014 – Be Sustainable

2021 – Coursera term 4, Fully online/virtual


As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group activities on campus, and most will keep an online version available to those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face-to-face and online activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Debbie Haski-Leventhal
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to GMBA or GradCertGlobalBusPrac
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Trust in business and CEOs is declining around the world. Large corporate scandals continue to make headlines, and issues such as a lack of diversity, tax evasion by international conglomerates, and the growing pay gap between executives and employees continue to draw widespread criticism. Why is it that generally sensible business leaders who are employed not only to maximise financial returns, but also to protect their company's reputation, can sometimes find themselves behaving unethically? Are corporate scandals usually caused by a few "bad apples", or are their underlying causes more systemic? And how can you prevent them? Is an increased focus on ethics training and/or Corporate Social Responsibility the answer to reversing the general decline in societal trust? And why should these questions be of strategic concern to CEOs? In this unit students will expand their strategic thinking skills beyond a firm's competitive environment to include the company's impact on the broader society. Students will learn why it is important to manage business ethics as a collective rather than an individual issue, and will be challenged to grapple with the tensions between maximising financial returns and societal impact in order to be able to manage a sustainable balance between the two.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Investigate the major issues that can threaten a firm’s societal license to operate.
  • ULO2: Examine sustainable strategies that seek to balance the interests of key stakeholders of the firm.
  • ULO3: Critically reflect upon sources of unethical behaviour in organisations.

General Assessment Information


You will submit your assessment tasks via your online unit on Coursera.

For written assessment tasks, you must submit in either PDF or Word (.doc) file types. It is your responsibility to ensure your submission is accessible. If your submission cannot be opened, late penalties will apply for submitting the correct file after the due date.

For individual submissions, please use the following naming convention for your file:



For group submissions, please use the following naming convention for your file:


team-number-GMBAxxx-A2.* ​



Please note that no extensions will be granted. There will be a deduction of 10% of the total available marks made from the total awarded mark for each 24 hour period or part thereof that the submission is late (for example, 25 hours late in submission = 20% penalty). This penalty does not apply for cases in which an application for special consideration is made and approved. 

For any questions regarding your assignment submission please contact your Unit Convenor. If you would like to apply for Special Consideration please submit a request via


Formatting instructions

These instructions pertain only to written assignments. In the case of other formats (e.g., slide decks) specific formatting instructions may apply. Written assignments should be in 11 point Arial font with 1.5 line spacing. Each page of the report should be numbered and have at minimum 2.5 cm margins from the left and right edges and top and bottom of the page. The word count is strictly enforced. The actual word length of the document, not including references or appendices, should be clearly stated on the title page of the report. Written assignments should have the following structure:

  1. A title page with the question, your student name and student number, word count of the text

  2. ​The body of the report structured with paragraphs and with appropriate headings and citations, with page numbers.

  3. Complete reference list of material cited in the text.



Please use the American Psychological Association (APA) 6th edition reference style. This means that when referring to an article or book etc, you indicate the author’s name followed by the year of publication (Jones, 1989). For multiple authors include all names (Jones, Smith, & Wilson, 1990). If you use a direct quote put the quoted words in “quotation marks” and include the page number with the reference (Jones, 1989, p. 76). A reference list should be presented in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. Further information on APA style is available at


Commercial in Confidence

Please note that you must not disclose any information marked ‘Commercial in Confidence’ without permission from the party who supplied it (e.g., your current or previous employer, customers, etc.). 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Scoring sustainability 40% No 14 July 2021, 11:59pm (AEST)
Addressing global challenges 60% No 5 August 2021, 11:59pm (AEST)

Scoring sustainability

Assessment Type 1: Report
Indicative Time on Task 2: 9 hours
Due: 14 July 2021, 11:59pm (AEST)
Weighting: 40%


Length: max 1,500 words (excl. references) Format: Written report Task: In this written report, you will be asked to identify and compare two organisations’ sustainability strategies, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. You will need to provide recommendations for the organisations to move forward to meet environment, community, and responsible business imperatives.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Investigate the major issues that can threaten a firm’s societal license to operate.
  • Examine sustainable strategies that seek to balance the interests of key stakeholders of the firm.

Addressing global challenges

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 15 hours
Due: 5 August 2021, 11:59pm (AEST)
Weighting: 60%


Length: max 15-20 minutes Format: Voice-over/Video presentation Task: In this assignment, you will be working together in a group. You will choose one of the Sustainable Development Goals to examine. Create a video presentation detailing the innovative ways in which organisations are addressing the issue. Please refer to the section Course Resources - Assessment Information in your online unit for detailed information on this assignment as well as the marking criteria. You will be asked to submit your completed task via the Assignment submission link in your online unit.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Investigate the major issues that can threaten a firm’s societal license to operate.
  • Examine sustainable strategies that seek to balance the interests of key stakeholders of the firm.
  • Critically reflect upon sources of unethical behaviour in organisations.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Required text

There is no required textbook for this unit.  Please refer to the weekly required  readings in your online unit. All readings are available via the Macquarie University library and do not need to be purchased separately.

Delivery method

This unit will be delivered entirely online via the Coursera Learning Management System. Access to a personal computer is required to access the resources and learning materials on Coursera.

Unit Schedule

For this unit, Live Events (via the web conferencing software Zoom) will take place once a week starting in Week 1 and ending in Week 6. The links to the events are available via Live Events in the online unit. Students are strongly advised to attend the Live Events. Recordings of the live events will be made available within 24 hours of the event and can be accessed via Resources in the online unit.

Attending the Live Event each week is an opportunity to engage with the unit content, your Unit Convenor and classmates. Students are encouraged to complete specified Live Event preparation learning activities prior to each scheduled Live Event in order to get the most value out of these sessions.

Please note: The teaching schedule is subject to change. Please refer to your online unit for the latest schedule.

Week Live Events Assessments
1 Webinar: Wednesday 30 June 2021, 8-9am (AEST)  
2 Webinar: Wednesday 7 July 2021, 6-7pm (AEST)  
3 Webinar: Wednesday 14 July 2021, 6-7pm (AEST) A1 due: 14 July, 11:59pm (AEST)
4 Webinar: Wednesday 21 July 2021, 6-7pm (AEST)  
5 Webinar: Wednesday 28 July 2021, 6-7pm (AEST)  
6 Webinar: Wednesday 4 August 2021, 6-7pm (AEST) A2 due: 5 August, 11:59pm (AEST)

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

Learning Skills

Learning Skills ( provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

Student Enquiries

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If you are a Global MBA student contact

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Unit information based on version 2021.02 of the Handbook