The MSc Sustainable Business aims to support business leaders and managers who wish to explore how sustainability, social responsibility and good corporate governance can make organisations more resilient and more profitable. Students will develop management skills alongside expertise in an increasingly important field.
The MSc Sustainable Business is for people who think about doing business differently: it focuses on the inter-connectedness of businesses, on the relationships that make business happen and on the responsibilities that being in business brings. The meanings and requirements of sustainable business will be explored in a wide range of contexts with a focus on practical application in real-world business situations.
Recent economic, environmental and social challenges prompt us to think about the contribution that businesses of all sizes make to the communities they are based in and to think more closely about the responsibilities that they might have as a result. We are also challenged to think about how businesses can build in their own resilience and sustainability through strong corporate governance. Those leading and managing businesses in this climate must be able to respond and take advantage of environmental and social impetuses in order to achieve and sustain growth.
This course offers a distinctive perspective on issues relating to sustainability, social responsibility and corporate governance. In addition to inputs from academic staff that introduce business theories and models and which challenge students to develop their analytical and problem-solving skills guest lectures from business leaders will provide the opportunity to explore current issues.
Content and Modules
Full and part-time modules include:
Sustainable Business in Context
Harnessing Human, Social and Financial Capital
The Entrepreneurial Society: new business models
Responsive Leadership in Practice
Either Consultancy Management;
Or Strategic Change Management
Business Report with Academic Commentary (Dissertation)
Sustainable Business in Context: This module introduces students to the elements of a sustainable approach to doing business in which three interdependent dimensions are valued: the social, the economic and the environmental. Students will look at how these imperatives have been built into regulatory and legal frameworks, how they create moral and reputational pressures and at ways in which they can maximise the opportunities from these stimuli. Throughout the module, an emphasis will be placed on creating long-term value by embracing business openings and minimising risks. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the theoretical concepts introduced during this module as they engage in group and individual tasks which draw upon contemporary case studies and their own experiences.
Harnessing Human, Social and Financial Capital: This module requires students to take a critical look at the way in which organisations organise and manage human, social and financial capital. Students will be encouraged to think about how the good management of these resources affects and promotes the economic, social and environmental sustainability of organisations. The module will cover aspects of corporate governance, stakeholder management, project management and financial and risk management. In doing so, students will be asked to consider the balance between risk-taking and maximizing economic and social benefit from the opportunities that may present themselves. This module will give students a well-rounded view on internal issues critical to the sustainability of organisations.
The Entrepreneurial Society – new business models: Carrying out enterprising activities consists of taking risks but in a structured and managed way, and balancing those risks in a multi-stakeholder environment. This module aims to both explore the entrepreneurial decision-making environment, including taking account of stakeholder opportunities, as well as providing the student with the techniques and skills required to optimise their choices in a complex venturing context, including both the public and private sector. The module covers activities of both profit seeking and social enterprises. The latter aim is to generate and maximise social value while remaining economically profitable. They are also a major source of social innovation, especially at local and community level. Students will be given a choice to engage in a project with local start-ups and to apply their creative thinking and knowledge to the operational, organisational and strategic choices facing private and public entrepreneurs.
Responsive Leadership in Practice: Societies around the world are facing many of the same challenges with solutions and actions demanding a collaborative and partnership approach involving a range of stakeholders. This context is changing the way leadership is understood and practiced. Technology has also played its part in changing the role of followers, customers and citizens. Engaging in leadership practice now requires large elements of empathy, insight into others’ normative and moral frameworks, considerable persuasive skills and embodied interactions and responses. This module is about living leadership on a day-to-day basis and moves away from heroic and individualised conceptions of leadership. Instead it draws upon theories of servant leadership, distributed leadership, authentic leadership and ethical leadership to build students capacities to critically examine a range of leadership theories with the purpose of informing their own leadership practice. During this module, students will be supported by a coach who they will be able to choose from a panel of ‘expert’ coaches.
Consultancy Management: The Consultancy Management module embeds the concept of problem-based learning – using real-life examples as opportunities to put theoretical learning into practice. It will also develop the skills and confidence to tackle relevant, work-based, problem solving experiences. It is intended that this module will broaden the experience and learning of students to work areas which fall outside their usual employment sphere. The module will develop team working and leadership roles within a study group. Students taking this option will develop skills useful for those seeking to take on problem-solving tasks whether as an external consultant or as an internal project lead.
Strategic Change Management:The module provides both an academic understanding of the strategic context of business and the opportunity to develop skills of analysis and problem solving. It also enables students to develop a critical awareness of organisational and managerial theory and practice, thus enabling them to deal with the problems, choices and constraints involved in organisational change. Students taking this option will develop skills useful in driving change either from within an organisation or acting as an external support for processes of change.
Research Methods: This module explores research approaches, designs and methodologies, thus enabling the student to develop their investigative and analytical skills. The application of inquiry, analysis and evaluative comment are essential for critically assessing information and using this to develop future strategies in a range of environments such as commerce, education, health and social care. Competence in gathering, examining and critiquing different types of data (numerical and qualitative) will enhance the student’s ability to understand the significance and relevance of research within their industry and aid their ability to construct effective resolutions to issues in relation to their environment.
Business Report with Academic Commentary: The business report with academic commentary provides students with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth analysis of a business issue related to one or more of the themes developed during the course. Students may wish to undertake a study based in their own organisation or they may wish to undertake a study based on a realistic simulation of a problem which businesses may encounter. The module is specifically designed to allow students the opportunity to present a systematic, evidence-based analysis of a situation in a business-ready format. For this reason, the primary output will be a report written in a business style. To accompany this, students will also prepare an academic commentary in which they discuss the theoretical underpinnings of their study, detail the methods that they have used and give detail of the way that they have undertaken the analysis of their data. This module represents the final culmination of learning on the course and is taken at the end of the programme of study.