COMM1100 Business Decision Making - 2021

Subject Code
Study Level
Commencing Term
Term 1
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Delivery Mode
On Campus and Online
UNSW Business School

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

​This is the first course in the Integrated First Year of the Bachelor of Commerce and offers students a rigorous introduction to business decision-making. Taking the perspective of a manager, students learn about economic, corporate responsibility and legal principles to understand what organisational actors need to consider and what actions they might take. Fundamental economic principles inform managers to ask and answer questions about how the economy works, and how these principles influence the decisions that individuals and organisations make.  Core legal principles guide managers to protect value for owners and other stakeholders, and to protect both managers and organisations from public and private legal actions arising from their decisions.  Corporate sustainability principles direct managers to meet the organisation’s responsibilities to a range of stakeholders, and help explain why organisations may not always make the best decisions.  

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

​COMM1100 is a prerequisite for COMM1150 Global Business Environments. An understanding of business decision-making is also beneficial to learn about value creation (COMM1180), how organisational resources are managed (COMM1170), and business-related problem solving more broadly (COMM1110).

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course CoordinatorDrScott French Room 470, UNSW Business School building - Ref E12+61 2 9385 5352
Lecturer    Aleksandra Balyanova
LecturerAProfDale Boccabella
LecturerAProfJosh Keller
LecturerAProfTracy Wilcox

​Please send any course-related enquiries to

Your interdisciplinary teaching team of leading academics in their field will explore key business decisions from the perspectives of corporate responsibility, economics and the law.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The teaching strategy for this course is based on a problem and scenario-based learning model, in which students are presented with a problem or a problem set throughout their learning process, accompanied by simulated and real-world scenarios to help address the problems. This strategy is underpinned by a constructivist approach where students actively construct their own learning by undertaking a series of activities to direct their own problem-solving, decision-making, collaboration and communication.  

This strategy does not dismiss the active role of the teacher or the value of expert knowledge – instead it modifies the role of the teacher as a guide and mentor to help students construct their own knowledge rather than reproduce a series of facts. Students will be provided with models and tools for problem-solving, which they will use to progressively formulate and test their ideas against simulated and real-world scenarios, and communicate their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment.

The student journey is based on an adaptation of the St Gallen Management Model (SGMM) and Simnek’s Golden Circle model. The framework guides students through the course sequence of COMM1100 (focused on the centre, given the environment) and COMM1150  (focused on the complex business environment), from the starting point of an organisation’s diverse stakeholders.  

To adequately reflect the commitment of COMM1100 to jointly introduce students to the role of economic, legal, and corporate responsibility on key decision, the centre of the model depicts an organisation’s decision-making using Sinek’s Golden Circles Why-What-How.  The ‘Why’ explains the purpose and reason to exist, and why an organisation behaves they way it does.  Legal, corporate responsibility and legal principles all shape the ‘why’ of an organisation, and informs ‘how’ they do what they do. COMM1100 focuses on how organisations make decisions about consumers, markets, market power and external constraints, interactions and paradoxes.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

COMM1100 is delivered to both on-campus and online students. Each week, students will have two hours of lecture time - this is split into a 1 hour asynchronous learning module that students must complete before attending their tutorials, and a 1 hour lecture early in the week. During the week there will be a 2-hour activity-led class (tutorial).

Post Entry Language Assessment (PELA) – In-class writing task

As part of the new and innovative Bachelor of Commerce program, we have incorporated Business Communication tutorials in COMM1100. Participation in these tutorials is based on the outcome received in an in-class writing task completed in week 1.

If you receive notification that you are required to enrol in these tutorials, you will need to select an additional tutorial time. Notification will be in the form of feedback received for the writing task. The feedback will also provide relevant information about the Business Communication tutorials and a link to register.

Important information about these tutorials:

1.    Tutorials will commence in week 2 and end in week 10
2.    Tutorials run for 1 hour in every teaching week – will comprise of a mix of tutorials and assigned learning activities using an online adaptive learning tool
3.    Tutorials are a mandatory support offering.

This additional support is provided to help you have the best possible experience in the UNSW Business School and that all program learning outcomes are met.

5. Course Resources

​All course materials will be provided via the course Moodle site.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​This course is an integral part of our flagship program, the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), which has recently undergone an extensive review after thorough internal and external research and consultation. This exciting new program draws on evidence-based pedagogies and assessment strategies to deliver an innovative and inclusive curriculum which showcases the comprehensive academic excellence of the discipline schools in the Business School.

As part of the new first-year program, the course curriculum for COMM1100 has been fully integrated with contemporary business themes and well-rounded world-class business knowledge. The course has been redeveloped to give students the ability to acquire business skills and career development and to look at business opportunities, problems and issues through the lenses of all our disciplines, in particular how Corporate Responsibility, Economics and the Law shape the decisions that organisations make.

Consent for De-Identified Data to be Used for Secondary Research into Improving Student Experience

To enhance your student experience, researchers at UNSW conduct academic research that involves the use of de-identified student data, such as assessment outcomes, course grades, course engagement and participation, etc. Students of this course are being invited to provide their consent for their de-identified data to be shared with UNSW researchers for research purposes after the course is completed.

Providing consent for your de-identified data to be used in academic research is voluntary and not doing so will not have an impact on your course grades.

Researchers who want to access your de-identified data for future research projects will need to submit individual UNSW Ethics Applications for approval before they can access your data.

A full description of the research activities aims, risks associated with these activities and how your privacy and confidentiality will be protected at all times can be found here.

If you consent to have your de-identified data used for academic research into improving student experience, you do not need to do anything. Your consent will be implied, and your data may be used for research in a format that will not individually identify you after the course is completed.

If you do not consent  for this to happen, please complete the opt-out form here to not have your de-identified data used in this manner. If you complete the opt-out form, the information about you that was collected during this course will not be used in academic research.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 15 February

The Organisation and its Decision-Making Process:

  • Decision-making process
  • What are organisations?
  • Three approaches to business decision-making
Week 2: 22 February

Stakeholders and Corporate Responsibility

  • Stakeholder relations
  • Making responsible decisions
Week 3: 1 March

Economic Possibilities and the True Cost of Doing Business:

  • Cost structure, technology, and profit maximisation
  • Raising finance
  • Intellectual property
  • Value of business for society

Assessment 1A (writing task) due 9:30am Monday 1st March (AEDT)

Week 4: 8 March


  • Consumer decision making and revenue streams
  • Liabilities to third parties
  • Customers as stakeholders
  • Impacts of consumer culture, planned obsolescence and waste
Week 5: 15 March

Markets and Competition:

  • Market equilibrium
  • Competitive models
  • Sustainability context

Assessment 1B (problem set) due 9:30am Monday 15th March (AEDT)

Week 6: 22 MarchFlexibility Week

Flexibility Week - No lectures or tutorials

Case study analysis due 9:30am Monday 22nd March (AEDT)

Week 7: 29 March

Government Interventions and External Constraints:

  • Interventions and constraints
  • Taxes
  • Regulation
  • Government limitations
Week 8: 5 April

Market power

  • Monopoly
  • Price Discrimination
  • Intellectual property - patents
  • Liabilities to third parties - competition law

Assessment 1C (writing task) due 9:30am Monday 5th April (AEST)

Week 9: 12 April

Competitive and Stakeholder Interactions

  • Competitive interactions and game theory
  • Legal and ethical implications of anti-competitive behaviour
  • Stakeholder interactions and managing value creation and value claiming
Week 10: 19 April

Integrating Approaches to Business Decision-making

  • Overview of the three approaches
  • Complementarities, trade-offs and paradoxes
  • Applying all approaches to a case

Assessment 1D (problem set) due 9:30am Monday 19th April (AEST)

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School program learning outcomes, academic integrity, student responsibilities and student support services. For information regarding special consideration and viewing final exam scripts, please go to the key policies and support page.

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.  For PG Research PLOs, including Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies, please refer to the UNSW HDR Learning Outcomes

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 Services team.

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

Attendance and Engagement

Your regular attendance and active engagement in all scheduled classes and online learning activities is expected in this course. Failure to attend / engage in assessment tasks that are integrated into learning activities (e.g. class discussion, presentations) will be reflected in the marks for these assessable activities. The Business School may 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.). If you are not able to regularly attend classes, you should consult the relevant Course Authority.

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 Learning Support Tools
Business School provides support a wide range of free resources and services to help students in-class and out-of-class, as well as online. These include:

  • Academic Communication Essentials – A range of academic communication workshops, modules and resources to assist you in developing your academic communication skills.
  • Learning consultations – Meet learning consultants who have expertise in business studies, literacy, numeracy and statistics, writing, referencing, and researching at university level.
  • PASS classes – Study sessions facilitated by students who have previously and successfully completed the course.
  • Educational Resource Access Scheme – To support the inclusion and success of students from equity groups enrolled at UNSW Sydney in first year undergraduate Business programs.

The Nucleus - Business School Student Services team
The Nucleus Student Services team provides advice and direction on all aspects of enrolment and graduation. Level 2, Main Library, Kensington 02 8936 7005 /

Business School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Business School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee strives to ensure that every student is empowered to have equal access to education. The Business School provides a vibrant, safe, and equitable environment for education, research, and engagement that embraces diversity and treats all people with dignity and respect.

UNSW Academic Skills
Resources and support – including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources – to help you develop and refine your academic skills. See their website for details.

Student Support Advisors
Student 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.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
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

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 9065 9444

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

Support for Studying Online

The Business School and UNSW provide a wide range of tools, support and advice to help students achieve their online learning goals. 

The UNSW Guide to Online Study page provides guidance for students on how to make the most of online study.

We recognise that completing quizzes and exams online can be challenging for a number of reasons, including the possibility of technical glitches or lack of reliable internet. We recommend you review the Online Exam Preparation Checklist of things to prepare when sitting an online exam.