COMM5713 Collaboration for Social Impact - 2019

On-site, Kensington
Term 1
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection
The course outline is not available for current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course examines key concepts and frameworks of cross-sector collaboration and develops your capacities to undertake effective collaboration with existing and emerging partners. Primary topic areas include: cross-sector adaptive leadership, building and sustaining strategic partnerships, creative collaborative practice, collaboration dilemmas and tensions and effective collaboration design and implementation for system change. The course is taught using experiential processes to learn about collaboration in real time at a personal and systemic level. This requires students to be willing to reflect on their own approaches and attitudes within a collaboration.

In completing this course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and frameworks required to develop and sustain cross-sectoral collaborations to achieve social impact. You will also have the opportunity to develop a range of skills and competencies that can be applied to build collaborative partnerships with government, business, community and the third sector within your wor

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

This course aims to develop your understanding of the key concepts and frameworks of system change and collaborative leadership. Students will gain an ability to apply collaborative practices to complex social challenges. You will build these skills through a worksite visit working in situ with change agents leading collaborative change or through access to equivalent online multimedia resources, case study, experiential learning and individual investigation of different approaches to achieve system change. Within the experiential component of the course you will be required to reflect on your strengths, challenges and defaults in collaboration and will be challenged in real time through groupwork and course assessments to reflect on your own learning.

Additonal Course Details

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course FacilitatorLisa Ryan
02 95962759By appointment

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

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 class time for active and interactive learning. Each topic will include a range of activities that you will complete before and after the topic is offered. Indicative time frames will be provided to support your learning in this way. Extensive use will be made of the course Moodle site.

You have three major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials, comprising the topics with readings, references, insights and commentary. You will do much of your learning outside the classroom by working through the course materials, and by completing the exercises as they arise.
  2. Your course facilitator who will share knowledge and facilitate class discussion and peer learning.
  3. Your co-participants, who are an invaluable potential source of learning for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and argue with the course materials, the teacher and your views, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning experience.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

The course curriculum and pedagogy has been designed to facilitate experiential, transformational learning and to help you expand the way you think and behave in collaborative leadership situations.

As adults learn through experience (Robert Kegan), deep learning comes when you have the chance to:

1. Feel your limits.

2. Identify your challenges and

3. 3. Gain support for new behavior.

As such, we use a transformational leadership development approach to building the three essential habits of mind for collaboration:

Asking different questions

Taking multiple perspectives and

Seeing patterns and systems.

The teaching model in this course is a blended one. 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 face-to-face teaching will comprise presentations that set the scene, framework and context for the topic being examined to achieve its intended learning outcomes, and then provide questions and exercises for discussion. Classes will also make use of case studies, experiential work in class and activities available on the COMM5713 Moodle site. Additional information on class format will be provided at the first session of the course.

One of the unique aspects of this course is our use of Case-in-Point (CiP) teaching, a method of experiential learning used to teach leadership. An integral part of the theory of Adaptive Leadership™ it was developed over the past 15 years by Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky, and their colleagues at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The method involves using the actions and behaviors of course participants as well as focusing on the group of which they are members. CIP is an immersive, reflective, and ideally, a reflexive exercise facilitated by an instructor but in best practice, shaped by group/class participants.

This approach compels people to come up against their own learning limits, gain insight into the perspective of others, get more comfortable with uncertainty and conflict, and

incorporate those experiences into new definitions of collaborative leadership. Through the use of CIP, learners experience in real time collaborative leadership behaviors such as: testing multiple interpretations; choosing among competing values; engaging unusual voices; working across factions; and attempting to inspire a collective purpose. This method invites people to embody and develop a mindset that is essential for collaborative leadership in the 21st century.

Course Structure

Topic 1 - Introduction

In this topic we introduce the key concepts of collaboration, the phases of collective impact and the practice of adaptive leadership and explore what's required to collaborate in complexity.

Topic 2 - Building the conditions

To effectively build the foundations and create conditions for change this topic addresses how to develop a holding environment to develop a shared purpose. This topic prepares the groundwork to convene the system with an understanding of the dynamics that usually occur in systemic collaborations. The Cynefin framework will be introduced as well as considering the distinction between technical and adaptive challenges.

Topic 3 - Diagnosing the system dynamics

This topic begins to explore diagnostic frameworks to enable identification of technical and adaptive challenges. We will explore tools to assess the readiness of systems for change and collaboration, whilst providing a range of frameworks to interpret progress in the system you are working. This topic will be taught as an interactive case-study based in a community context. You will have the opportunity to either, apply diagnostic frameworks in discussions with the stakeholders of a collective impact initiative and engage with key personnel to add to your learning, or do the same through online webinars. We will also draw on the adaptive leadership framework of building leadership at all levels of the system.

Topic 4 - Working with authority and power

In this topic we begin to explore building formal and informal authority to lead change; and we consider the role of teachers/backbone and the practice of neutrality. This topic

will explore a case study on building a collaborative environment. You will have the opportunity to apply diagnostic frameworks with the stakeholders of a collective impact initiative and engage with speakers (either face-to-face or online) to add to your learning. Personal, social and positional power and authority are considered.

Topic 5 - Working politically

Collaboration for social impact exists within a political context. In this topic we consider the practice of engaging allies, doing business with authority, and working with difference/margins/minorities. This topic's goal is to build a practice of learning from diversity by working strategically. You will learn how to make systemic interpretations based on power, loyalties, competing purposes and build skills on engaging diverse stakeholders in these complex settings.

Topic 6 - Building a learning culture

In this topic we explore how to build a learning culture. This will include strategic thinking on: community engagement approaches; learning from all parts of the system; collecting data and building a narrative of change. We will draw on current theories and frameworks work on community engagement and how we use data to support engagement.

Topic 7 - Convening the system

In this topic we continue our understanding of how to convene and mobilise diverse stakeholders across a system. We will explore a range of approaches to co-designing and designing dialogue, discuss the building block of effective convening, facilitation principles, skills and processes.

Topic 8 - Skills to work with the whole system

Developing structures and processes are one part of developing collaboration. Core skills are required to build and sustain collaborations, which take us into the inter- personal territory. This topic will be highly experiential and focus on core collaborative practices of working with dissent and conflict. Building self and systemic awareness you will deepen your awareness of your personal collaborative leadership challenge and learn strategies and mindsets to build strategic options. Theory U (Otto Sharmar) and Appreciative enquiry (Cooperrider et al.) form part of this conversation.

Topic 9 - Shared purpose

A shared purpose is needed in social collaborative contexts. This topic considers a range of approaches to developing shared purpose including Chrislip's principles for working together. We will also consider the design process of interventions to help achieve the agreed outcomes and will engage in a number of scenario planning activities.

Topic 10 - Getting alignment

This topic brings together key aspects involved in collaborating across diverse interests in complexity, and considers the inter-personal skills required to broker difference and work with power. We consider role theory and practice, understand the dominant roles, levers and barriers of collaboration and learn skills to broker difference. These components of alignment lead to building a learning culture that enables innovation and experimentation.

Topic 11 - Measuring progress & impact

This topic explores approaches to measuring progress of collaborative efforts and their impact on the target population. We will look at frameworks for performance management, formative and summative evaluation as well as examples from collaborations around the globe.

Topic 12 - Synthesising learning

The final topic in the course provides a learning space to demonstrate your understanding of collaborative practices for social change and apply them to the final assignment. Each group will present their case study to the rest of the course followed by group discussion on the presentations and your learnings.

5. Course Resources

The website for this course is on Moodle at:

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:


Email: 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.


There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Each topic will have mandatory and optional 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 ( by placing the name of the article in the Search box.

  • Search directly for the book excerpt on the UNSW Library home page ( 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 session myExperience evaluations. Time will be allocated in your final class to complete the MyExperience survey.

Student Response

Response to Student Feedback

7. Course Schedule

For AGSM academic calendars and key dates please visit
Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Online via Moodle, Assessment 1Topic 1 - Introduction

Participation - throughout the semester

Assessment 1 : Participation
Week 2 Online via MoodleTopic 2 - Building the conditions
Week 3 Online via Moodle Topic 3 - Diagnosing the system dynamics
Week 4 Online via Moodle, Formative feedback Topic 4 - Working with authority and power

Formative feedback given on online participation weeks 1-4

Week 6 Face to Face sessionTopic 5 - Working politically, Topic 6 - Building a learning culture

Saturday 30 March Face to Face, UNSW, Kensington Campus

Week 7 Face to Face session Topic 7 - Convening the system, Topic 8 - Skills to work with the whole system

Sunday March Face to Face, UNSW, Kensington Campus

Week 8 Assessment 2

Assessment 2 due, 11.59pm Friday 12 April

Assessment 2 : Essay
Week 9 Assessment 3a

Assessment 3a, Group Report due, 11.59pm Wednesday 1 May

Assessment 3 : Part a: Group report
Week 10 Face to Face sessionTopic 9 - Shared purpose, Topic 10 - Getting alignment

Saturday 4 May Face to Face, UNSW, Kensington Campus

Week 11 Face to Face session, Assessment 3bTopic 11 - Measuring progress & impact, Topic 12 - Synthesising learning

Assessment 3b, Group presentation, Sunday 5 May in class as arranged

Sunday 5 May Face to Face, UNSW, Kensington Campus

Assessment 3 : Part b: Group presentation
Week 12 Assessment 3c

Assessment 3c, Individual Report due, 11.59pm Wednesday 8 May

Assessment 3 : Part c: Individual reflective report

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.



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.


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:


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:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: 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.


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


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 EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
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.
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.
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.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
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.
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.
02 9385 5418

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