GMBA8014 – Be Sustainable

2023 – Coursera term 1, Online-scheduled-weekday

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor
Tatiana Trevisan
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

Late submissions of assessments 

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, a 5% penalty (of the total possible mark) will be applied each day a written assessment is not submitted, up until the 7th day (including weekends). After the 7th day, a grade of ‘0’ will be awarded even if the assessment is submitted. Submission time for all written assessments is set at 11.55pm. A 1-hour grace period is provided to students who experience a technical concern. 

For any late submissions of time-sensitive tasks, such as scheduled tests/exams, performance assessments/presentations, and/or scheduled practical assessments/labs, students need to submit an application for Special Consideration.

Submission time after the due date (including weekends) Penalty (% of available assessment task mark) Example: for a non-timed assessment task marked out of 30
< 24 hours 10% 10% x 30 marks = 3 mark deduction
24-48 hours 20% 20% x 30 marks = 6 mark deduction
48-72 hours 30% 30% x 30 marks = 9 mark deduction
72-96 hours 40% 40% x 30 marks = 12 mark deduction
> 96 hours 100% Assignment won't be accepted

Special Consideration

To request an extension on the due date/time for a timed or non-timed assessment task, you must submit a Special Consideration application. An application for Special Consideration does not guarantee approval.

The approved extension date for a student becomes the new due date for that student. The late submission penalties above then apply as of the new due date.

Word limits

Anything beyond a stated assessment word limit (other than your reference list) may not be marked. Seek any further clarification from the unit convenor.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Addressing global challenges 60% No Week 3
Scoring sustainability 40% No Week 6

Addressing global challenges

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 15 hours
Due: Week 3
Weighting: 60%


Length: max 15-20 minutes (5 minutes per student) 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.

Scoring sustainability

Assessment Type 1: Report
Indicative Time on Task 2: 9 hours
Due: Week 6
Weighting: 40%


Length: max 1,000 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.

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

Refer to the timetable information on the GMBA website or MQ Timetable Portal for Live Event session timings. Please note the timetable can be subject to change. See your Coursera unit for a detailed Live Event schedule.

Live Events will take place via Zoom each week starting in Week 1 and ending in Week 6. The links to the events will be active from 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time and are available via Live Events in the left-hand navigation menu in your Coursera unit.

You will need to use your Macquarie University student Zoom account to access the Live Events.

Attending the Live Event each week is an opportunity to engage with the unit content, your Unit Convenor, and classmates. Students are strongly advised to attend the Live Events. Recordings will be made available in the unit contents on Coursera shortly after the event.

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

Academic Integrity

At Macquarie, we believe academic integrity – honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and courage – is at the core of learning, teaching and research. We recognise that meeting the expectations required to complete your assessments can be challenging. So, we offer you a range of resources and services to help you reach your potential, including free online writing and maths support, academic skills development and wellbeing consultations.

Student Support

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

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre provides resources to develop your English language proficiency, academic writing, and communication skills.

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

Student Services and Support

Macquarie University offers a range of Student Support Services including:

Student Enquiries

Got a question? Ask us via AskMQ, or contact Service Connect.

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 2023.02 of the Handbook