MBAD663-18M1 (C) MBA One 2018

Leading Sustainable Enterprises

10 points

Start Date: Monday, 12 February 2018
End Date: Sunday, 8 April 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 23 February 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 23 March 2018


This course will introduce a strategic planning framework based on whole systems thinking that allows organisations to understand the 'rules of the game' for long term success on a finite planet, use that understanding to develop an inspiring vision of what their company will look like when it is sustainable, then assess current realities against this vision and design a strategy to fill the gap.

As human society progressively exceeds the earth’s carrying capacity, companies are under increasing pressure from consumers, investors, governments and other stakeholders to incorporate social and environmental considerations into business objectives. Companies which fail to adequately do this are at risk of losing market share or worse. Witness the major sell-off of BP assets to cover its more than US$54 billion costs for damages to the environment, and impacted communities following the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, or Volkswagen stock plummeting a third of its value in less than a week, and estimated costs associated with recalls as well as likely penalties being reported at USD$ 35 billion following the scandal involving emissions rigging of vehicles. In contrast, companies at the forefront of change are steadily building company value along with the loyalty of staff, customers and investors, as they find profitable new opportunities emerging for innovation and strategy that leverage a sustainable approach to doing business.

This course contains comprehensive insights on the conceptual and empirical issues linking sustainability with business practice. The course is interdisciplinary in its nature drawing on insights from socio-economic, political, environmental and business management studies. The lectures and workshops will introduce students to the roles that business, globalization, consumerism and environmentalism play in the global system we find ourselves a part of.

The course covers different theoretical frameworks, ethical dilemmas, as well as adopted practices by businesses striving for pro-environmental and social performance. Questions such as, What are the limits to Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability? What are the risks and benefits inherent to setting value-based targets? What are the aspirations inside a public company? How to build a value driven organization? How to manage sustainability-oriented trade-offs? What are the campaigns and strategies NGOs use to engage with businesses? What are the roles and processes of stakeholder engagement? will be asked.

The course addresses these questions in the context of corporate decision-making, linking political economy, environmental and ecological justice, and innovation targeted at alternatives, namely ISO standards, MSC, Cradle to Cradle and other alternative frameworks.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this paper you will be able to:

1.  Understand the fundamental drivers underlying the pressures on companies to become more responsible and more sustainable, and the “rules of the game” or system conditions for sustainability.

2.  Recognise how businesses can prosper while meeting these system conditions and the risks of not responding adequately, and be familiar with a strategic framework for navigating to sustainability.

3.  Be able to assess the sustainability of a current or proposed business, identify opportunities for change and improvement, and engage others on the journey.

4.  Be familiar with a range of sustainability tools and approaches, and their strengths and weaknesses.

5.  Have developed enhanced skills in research, enquiry, and written and oral communication.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable Note

Wednesday 5:00 to 8:15 pm, Room 526, Business & Law Building

Course Coordinator

Michaela Balzarova

Michaela Balzarova, PhD
Phone: 03 396 3122


Participation 5% (5x1%)

Personal reflections (Catchment detox)  --  March 4th 2018  --  15%

Presentation (group)  --  To be advised  --  20%

Individual assignment – sector analysis  --  March 18th 2018  --  25%

Individual assignment – environmental audit of your organization  --  April 8th 2018  --  35%


Lecture sessions will strive for interaction. Assessment is based on a simulation game, workshops, videos, discussions and guest speakers with practical experience of leading sustainability change programmes. Students are expected to prepare for each class by reading assigned materials and come ready to discuss them and to relate concepts covered in the class to their personal and organisational experiences.


NOTE: UC General Course and Examination Regulations

Appeals and Grievances

Special Consideration

Special Consideration Application

Textbooks / Resources

There is no formal textbook adopted for this course.

Each lecture will be based on a set of readings that will provide both theoretical and practical foundations for workshop-style sessions.

Readings will be available on Learn

Course links


Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,536.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Master of Business Administration Programme on the department and colleges page.

All MBAD663 Occurrences

  • MBAD663-18M1 (C) MBA One 2018