COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability - 2019

Online, Kensington
COMM5709
Postgraduate
Term 1
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability is an elective course in the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and the MBAX (Social Impact) programs. The course examines key concepts and frameworks relating to corporate responsibility and accountability. Primary topic areas include: the theoretical foundation of corporate responsibility and accountability, stakeholder theory, measurement tools and frameworks to identify and measure ESG risks, performance reporting and assurance as well as strategy and governance.

The course addresses current issues related to acting responsibly in the market and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders by upholding values of transparency and accountability. It explores how business accounts for its behaviour and impact on society through management systems and performance reporting. The course also considers the development of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative's G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility guidance, and Integrated Reporting from the International Integrated Reporting Council. Finally, the course will examine practical examples of corporations demonstrating corporate responsibility such as corporate community investment.

 

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability aims to:

  • develop your understanding of key concepts and frameworks of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and accountability.
  • examine how business manages its social, environment and economic impact on society.
  • explore business ethics, corporate citizenship, sustainability, strategy and governance to give you a solid understanding of why social and environmental sustainability is central to corporate management and strategy.

Additonal Course Details

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course FacilitatorSuzanna Mahinder

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

You are encouraged to develop an inquiry-based approach to your learning and will be supported in this throughout the course by a clear teaching strategy. The COMM5709 online Moodle site will provide access to multi- media resources and presentations that can provide you with the tools to examine, explore and discuss your learning with your co-participants and teachers. The online resources will set the scene, framework and context for the topics being examined.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

In order to maximise the collaborative and experiential nature of this course, a "flipped" learning and teaching approach will be used that will help to support deeper student engagement and outcomes. The "flipped" approach means you do reading and researching independently and use group discussion time for active and interactive learning. Each Unit (topic) will include a range of activities that you will complete before and after the Unit is offered. You have three major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials, comprising readings, references, insights and commentary for each Unit. You will do much of your learning independently by working through the course materials, and by completing the learning activities, and collaboratively through on-line discussions and webinars.
  2. Your class discussions are conducted on the online Moodle site (online mode). Your facilitator's role is to guide your learning by conducting class discussions, answering questions that might arise after you have done the week's work, providing insights from practical experience and understanding of theory, providing you with feedback on your Assessments, and directing discussions that will occur between you and your co-participants.
  3. Your co-participants are an invaluable source of rich learning content for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and debate the course materials, your views and those of the facilitator, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning.

Course Structure

Week 0: Course Introduction & Orientation

The orientation material will introduce 'corporate social responsibility' and 'accountability' and help you get a head start to COMM5709. The material also provides an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the course structure, including the learning, teaching and support strategies, before your assessed participation begins in Week 1.

Unit 1: Corporate responsibility: History and Key Concepts

This Unit explores the origins of corporate responsibility and phases in its development. It examines stakeholder theory and its tension with shareholder theory, and introduces related concepts such as sustainability, corporate citizenship and the recent development of the sustainable development goals.

Unit 2: Business Models for Sustainability

This Unit brings together the concepts and theories from Unit 1 by looking at a model (with ethics at its foundation) that summarises the evolution of corporate sustainability. This model also aligns well with the topics that will be explored in subsequent units. The Unit then explores some applied business models such as the industrial ecology discipline, natural capitalism, cradle to cradle design and the Natural Step model of sustainability

Unit 3: The Drivers and Business Case for Corporate Responsibility

This Unit examines some of the key drivers behind the growing practice of corporate responsibility, particularly over the past two decades and its relationship with corporate strategy.

 Unit 4: Accountability and Reporting Performance and Assurance

This Unit examines corporate responsibility and sustainability reporting and assurance. We'll look at the structure of sustainability reporting, key concepts and examine leading reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative's G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility guidance, the UN Global Compact Reporting Principles and Integrated Reporting from the International Integrated Reporting Council.

Unit 5: Environment, Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services

This Unit explores the concept of sustainable development and the triple bottom line and the role of business in relation to natural resource management (e.g. energy, waste, water and consumption of other natural resources) and wider societal implications (e.g. climate change and changes in ecosystem services).

Unit 6: Corporate Community Involvement and Social capital

This Unit focuses on the social dimension of corporate responsibility and sustainability, and how businesses intentionally interact with not-for-profits organizations and other stakeholders at the community level. Human rights as they relate to business and labour relations are also considered as well as developments relating to modern slavery legislation in Australia.

Unit 7: Course Reflection Week

This Unit provides a week for reflecting on what we have learnt so far and how we can / will / are using this in our own practice. This week will also provide the opportunity for students to identify any topics that they would like to learn more about or that they would like more explanation or discussion on.

Unit 8: Supply Chain Management, Traceability and Transparency

This Unit examines supply chain continual improvement, traceability and supply-chain auditing. The role of voluntary certification schemes are explored, business receptivity to them, along with business- supplier collaboration.

Unit 9: Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and the Investment Community

This Unit explores the new analytical field of ESG risk appraisal as a way to examine how companies are managing and reporting risk, along with indices and measurement frameworks. This Unit also examines the influence of the investment community in corporate responsibility and recent initiatives such as the divestment movement.

Unit 10: Governance and the Board

In this Unit we consider the principles of good corporate governance in the context of corporate responsibility and accountability, along with business ethics and the role of the board versus management.

Unit 11: Corporate Political Activity, Technology and Citizens

This Unit will explore the role of corporate political activity in relation to corporate responsibility and examines recent examples. It looks at the role of technology such as social media and artificial intelligence and considers how corporate responsibility applies, and also looks at the role of citizens in affecting change.

Unit 12: The way forward: Future & current trends

The final Unit of this course considers what the path forward for Corporate Responsibility and Accountability and looks at the ability of organizations to transform and evolve. It also looks at current approaches and examples of how business leaders approach to business is changing.

5. Course Resources

A range of resources will be used in this course. The website for this course is on Moodle at: http://moodle.telt.unsw.edu.au

  • Login to Moodle with your student zID (username) and zPass (password).

If you encounter a technical problem while using Moodle, please contact the UNSW IT Service Desk via the following channels:

Website: https://www.it.unsw.edu.au/students/ Email: ITServiceCentre@unsw.edu.au Telephone: +61 (2) 9385 1333

Phone and email support is available Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 2pm. Online service requests can be made via their website.

Readings

There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Each Unit (topic) will have compulsory and supplementary readings. Links to all of these resources are on the reading list for your course in the UNSW Library's Leganto system, which you can access via your Moodle course. Please note you will need to login, and may be required to enter your UNSW zID and zPass in order to access the library site.

If you experience any problems in accessing the readings, please try the following:

  • Search directly for the article on the UNSW Library home page (link) by placing the name of the article in the Search box.
  • Search directly for the book excerpt on the UNSW Library home page (link) by placing your course code into the Search box. When you do this all the course readings that are excerpts from books will appear.

 

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Each year feedback is sought from students and other stakeholders about the courses offered in the Business School and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. UNSW's myExperience process is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course we will seek your feedback through end of semester myExperience evaluations.

Student Response

Response to Student Feedback

7. Course Schedule

For AGSM academic calendars and key dates please visit https://www.business.unsw.edu.au/agsm/students/resources/timetables-and-key-dates
Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Assessment 1Unit 1: Corporate responsibility: History and Key Concepts

Assessment 1 Participation begins (20%), assessed throughout the term

Assessment 1 : Participation
Week 2 -Unit 2: Business Models for Sustainability
Week 3 -Unit 3: The Drivers and Business Case for Corporate Responsibility
Week 4 -Unit 4: Accountability and Reporting Performance and Assurance

Formative feedback given on online participation weeks 1 - 4

Assessment 1 : Participation
Week 5 -Unit 5: Environment, Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services
Week 6 Assessment 2Unit 6: Corporate Community Involvement and Social capital

Assessment 2 (40%) due  Sunday, 31 March by 11.59pm

Assessment 2 : Report
Week 7 -Unit 7: Course Reflection Week
Week 8 -Unit 8: Supply Chain Management, Traceability and Transparency
Week 9 -Unit 9: Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and the Investment Community
Week 10 -Unit 10: Governance and the Board
Week 11 -Unit 11: Corporate Political Activity, Technology and Citizens
Week 12 -Unit 12: The way forward: Future & current trends
Week 13 Assessment 3N/A

Assessment 3 (40%) due Sunday, 19 May by 11.59pm.

Assessment 3 : Report and Recommendation

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

 

UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.




Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.

Plagiarism

UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism-quiz

Cheating

The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at: https://student.unsw.edu.au/aim.

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: http://subjectguides.library.unsw.edu.au/elise. For information on student conduct see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/referencing. If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.


Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.

Workload

It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload

Attendance

Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.



Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School Education Quality and support Unit (EQS)
The EQS offers academic writing, study skills and maths support specifically for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, and individual consultations.
Level 1, Room 1033, Quadrangle Building.
bschoolconsults@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 7577 or 02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
learningcentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
advisors@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT
UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
disabilities@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
counselling@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 5418


Search Degrees

Find a degree or course



COMM5709