Sustainable Development: Individual, Organisational and Network Perspectives

Course - second cycle - 7.5 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2013

Course Code:
OL644E revision 1
Level of specialisation
A1F
Main fields of study:
Leadership and Organization
Language:
English
Date of establishment:
10 May 2012
Date of ratification:
31 May 2012
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
03 September 2012

Course description

The aim of the course “Sustainable Development: Individual, Organisational and Network Perspectives” is to provide students with the understanding that sustainable development occurs at different levels. The course adopts a thematic approach on sustainable development, including individual/group dynamics, learning in organisations and finally interorganisational cooperation/collaboration. This course underlines the interaction between these different levels of sustainable development so that three perspectives (individual, organisational and inter-organisational/network) must be considered when organising, leading and evaluating sustainable development. This course provides students with abilities to assess challenges involved in a project aiming at sustainable development so that students can feel confident to take leadership roles in areas suited to their competences. This course provides students with skills to argue for a relevant approach to sustainable development.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course is included in the main area Leadership and Organisation at advanced level of 91-120 credits.

Entry requirements

Students must have passed the course OL641E - Organising and Leading Sustainable Organisations (7,5 credits).

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After a successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  • 1- identify and describe the main models and lines of thoughts in the three levels of sustainable development in terms of individual/group dynamics, learning in organisations and inter-organisational cooperation/collaboration.
  • 2- classify, synthesise and interpret the current research about sustainable development in relation to the three perspectives in focus: individual, organisational and inter-organisational/network.
Skills and competencies
After a successful completion of this course the student will be able to:
  • 3- review, examine and contrast three perspectives in focus: individual, organisational and inter-organisational/network.
  • 4- analyse and assess how the three perspectives in focus, i.e. individual, organisational and inter-organisational/network, interact one with another for sustainability and sustainable development.
  • 5- apply and integrate the three perspectives in focus to analyse and assess the challenges involved in a project aiming at sustainable development.
  • 6- critically evaluate a project aiming at sustainable development and argue for a relevant approach to sustainable development as well as generate alternatives to the problem in the lens of the three perspectives in focus.
Judgement and approach
After a successful completion of this course the student will be able to:
  • 7- critically reflect on the contemporary literature and research within the fields of individual/group dynamics, learning in organisations and inter-organisational cooperation/collaboration.
  • 8- problematise organisations and leadership from a sustainable development angle via the three perspectives in focus.
  • 9- critically reflect on sustainable development in the context of organisation and leadership using a multi-frame set of minds.
  • 10- critically reflect about the roles of leaders, managers and project managers for sustainable development and extrapolate about his/her own leadership and managerial roles, skills and behaviours in his/her fields of competence.

Assessments

The course is evaluated through seven main examinations as follows:

  • Three individual theoretical syntheses; 3 credits (1 credit each); graded with the A-U scale. Each synthesis assesses the learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 stated above. Each synthesis is first evaluated on the A-U scale following guidelines in line with learning objectives. Each grade is then translated into points as follows: A (Excellent)=13,5; B (Very good) =12; C (Good) =10,5; D (Satisfactory) =9,5; E (Pass)=8,5; U (Fail)=0.

  • Three group theoretical syntheses; 3 credits (1 credit each); graded with the A-U scale. Each group theoretical synthesis (written teaching material and oral presentation, peer-teaching) assesses the learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 stated above. Each group’s theoretical synthesis is first evaluated on the A-U scale following guidelines in line with learning objectives. Each grade is then translated into points as follows: A (Excellent)=13,5; B (Very good) =12; C (Good) =10,5; D (Satisfactory) =9,5; E (Pass)=8,5; U (Fail)=0. The grade U (Fail) is re-examined with one overall written work covering the missing discussion and/or activities done in class.

  • One case simulation; 1,5 credits; graded with the A-U scale. The case simulation (a written solution and an oral presentation report) assesses the learning outcomes 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 stated above. The case simulation is first evaluated on the A-U scale following guidelines in line with learning objectives. The grade is then translated into points as follows: A (Excellent)=19; B (Very good) =17; C (Good) =15; D (Satisfactory) =13; E (Pass)=11; U (Fail)=0. If the student obtain the grade ’U’ (Fail), his/her active participation is re-examined with one overall written work covering the missing discussion and/or activities done in class.

To pass the course:
The student must obtain the grade A, B, C, D or E at each individual theoretical synthesis, each group theoretical synthesis and at the case simulation.

The seven examinations above and their translation into points are added to reach a total amount of points. The compilation of the grade over the entire course then respects the following scale:
  • 90-100 = A (Excellent)
  • 80-89 = B (Very good)
  • 70-79 = C (Good)
  • 63-69 = D (Satisfactory)
  • 60-62 = E (Pass)
  • 0-59 = U (Fail)

Course content

The course is based on three perspectives or themes. These perspectives are addressed from a micro to meso logic. The first perspective, i.e. individual/group deals with the micro level and focuses sustainability at the individual level and in group dynamics and processes. The second perspective namely learning in organisation deals with sustainable development at the organisational level. The third perspective referred as inter-organisational projects and network deals with challenges in inter-organisational cooperation/collaboration.

As a combination of the three perspectives, the course ends with a comprehensive case study on sustainable development. Students must analyse the case using the three perspectives discussed and must propose a solution to the case.

Learning activities

The course is based on:

Three self-contained modules organised as follows://

  • Four lectures enabling to establish a common understanding about the theme in focus so that in depth discussions can occur during the theoretical seminar. The lectures are developed to support learning in regards to the learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 stated above. Lectures for all modules represent approximately 40 hours in class.

  • One compulsory theory seminar. A theory seminar is a discussion of theory that has been brought up during the lectures complemented by research collected by students. As a preparation to each theory seminar, students must individually find, select, analyse and synthesise several scientific publications in relation to the perspective in focus. At the seminar, students are arbitrarily divided in groups. In each group, students first share their individual syntheses and then reflect, analyse and review the accumulation of knowledge and understanding. The group discussion results in a group under-standing. Groups must prepare a synthesis of their understanding and must deliver as a short lecture for the entire class. The seminar is made in the spirit of peer teaching. The theory seminars are developed to support learning in regards to the learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 stated above. Theory seminars represent approximately 25 compulsory hours.

One case study organised as follows://
  • The case is organised as a case simulation enabling students to connect and apply knowledge acquired in the course. The simulation consists of a board meeting situation during which a consulting company or a project manager must in the name of his/her team expose his/her solution(s) to a problem, analysed and assessed earlier by the team.
  • The case simulation is developed to support learning in regards to the learning outcomes 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 stated above. It represents approximately 10 compulsory hours in class.

Self-studies represent approximately 125 hours.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Hayes, N. (2001). Managing teams: a strategy for success. Andover: Thomson Learning.
  • Sandberg, J., & Targama, A. (2006). Managing Understanding In Organisations. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:

Other scientific publications and case
A reading list with current research is provided at the beginning of the course. Case may have to be bought via Harvard Business School Publishing.

Additional comments on literature
  • Students must search and select several scientific publications. The reference list with additional readings will complete the readings for the course.
  • Students must build over the course literature used in previous courses. OL641E, OL642E and OL643E.

Course evaluation

All students are given, at the end of the course, the opportunity to comment on the course in writing. A summary of the results of the evaluation as well as responds from the course coor-dinator will be discussed with students / course representatives during a course evaluation meeting / Programme Council.