Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4J310: Sustainability and Ethics (FT)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4J310: Sustainability and Ethics (FT)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1T517
Tied to N1T617


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by developing students' understanding of the impact of sustainability and ethical issues on organisations.
  • To explore the concept of global sustainability as it relates to business and other organisations.
  • To consider the role and purpose of business and other organisations in relation to other actors in society.
  • To review current trends in Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Risk Management and Compliance, and Governance.
  • To develop links with the Business School's research strategy by incorporating current research into corporate social responsibility.


  • Global ecological and social sustainability and the impact on and responsibilities of organisations
  • The role and purpose of business and other organisations
  • Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Stakeholder theory and alternative approaches to business ethics
  • Governance

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Critically evaluate the requirements of global ecological and social sustainability on business and other organisations
  • Critically evaluate the role and purpose of business and other organisations in relation to other actors in society
  • Critically evaluate trends in Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Risk Management and Compliance, and Corporate Governance
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of: the parameters for global ecological and social sustainability; Stakeholder Theory and its relation to Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Be competent in accessing and assimilating literatures of an advanced nature in global ecology, sustainability, business ethics, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder theory and governance, and relating them to practice.
Key Skills:
  • The ability to communicate effectively: communicating complex ideas orally and in writing;
  • The ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be delivered in a series of workshops. Each of the workshops will typically involve a mixture of lecture input, groupwork and feedback. Workshops will be used to deliver core knowledge and explain theories and models; it is also expected that external speakers will deliver guest lectures and contribute to a subsequent discussion in more than one of the workshops. Groupwork will involve activities such as the discussion of a paper or a case study set in advance with students preparing material to feed back during a plenary session. The material covered in workshops and groupwork will include a global perspective on the issues that sustainability gives rise to and, while being focused on business organisations, will not be exclusively so. Outside of class time students will be expected to read widely and prepare for the following class.
  • Formative assessment will consist of writing up answers to one of the case studies.
  • Summative assessment will consist of an individual assignment based on an organisation of the student’s choice (but not one of the case study companies considered in class, and agreed in advance with the Module Leader) in which the various aspects of the module are applied to consider what the organisation would have to do to move to be sustainable in the medium to long term. The resit opportunity will also be an individual assignment but based on a different organisation to the original submission.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (a combination of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion) 10 Weekly 4 hours 40
Preparation & Reading 60
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written essay 3,000 words maximum 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

1,500 word individual essay based on one of the case studies discussed during class.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University