Sustainable Business Analysis

Assessment task 1: Sustainable Business Analysis – Individual

In this major assessment you will examine how major organisations are responding to the sustainability imperative in practice. Your task is to critically assess and compare and contrast the performance of two organisations in the same sector, drawing on the frameworks and concepts discussed in the subject and your own research.

You will select two organisations within the same sector from the list provided. These are all major listed organisations for which there is plenty of publicly available information and analysis. (The two companies I chose are Intel Corporation (US) and NVIDEA Corp (US)) The core analytical framework which you must use is the UTS ‘phase model which is the basis of our required text. The assessment comprises a set of questions which relate to successive lecture topics based on this model. For each question I have provided some suggested prompts. Note that you are expected to draw on the detail of the required text, other pre-learning, lecture and tutorial material. You are also expected to provide additional insights from your own research of professional and academic resources – see the Q&A below.

Write your answers in report format and use APA referencing style. This is a concise analysis – write no more than 2000 words in total.

Research Question 1 (15%): sustainability framing

This first question is your reflective summary of how the two organisations express their engagement with the sustainability imperative. For example:

  • How do you assess the concepts (sustainability, CSR, shared value etc) they use?
  • To what extent are sustainability issues reflected in vision and mission statements, or strategic objectives?
  • Are the executives and board members vocal advocates for sustainability issues (or not)?
  • Overall, how do you critically assess the story each company tells about sustainability?

Research Question 2 (15%): compliance and efficiency phases

How do you critically assess each organisation in comparison to the characteristics of these two phases? For example:

  • What are the most material sustainability issues for your organisations?
  • What does sustainability compliance mean in the context of these two organisations?
  • Are the organisations engaging in any sustainability efficiency practices?
  • What (if any) form of sustainability reporting does the organisation undertake? How do you assess the quality of this? How could it be improved?

Research Question 3 (15%): strategic phase

How do you critically assess each organisation in comparison to the characteristic of the strategic phase? As part of your analysis, summarise your use of the ‘indicators of strategic sustainability’ template which will be provided as a resource.

Research Question 4 (15%) overall assessment and potential transition to the ‘ideal’ phase

Firstly, what is your overall critical assessment of the two companies according to the phase model? For example, you might include:

  • What are the key differences between the organisations?
  • Can you identify global best practice in the sector? What are the defining characteristics of this best practice and how do your organisations compare?

Secondly, are your case organisations likely to become ‘ideal’ corporations? Use both the phase model and the Sustainable Business Typology by Dyllick & Muff (2016) introduced in the subject.

For example:

  • If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Identify any barriers and drivers in the global and local environment that may affect these companies in becoming ‘ideal’ corporations.

Assessment criteria

Assessment will be according to the following criteria – note the emphasis on the connection to theoretical concepts, and the critical perspective expected. Pure description is insufficient and will lead to a fail of the assessment based on these criteria.

  • Application of key theoretical concepts to analyse sustainability practice (45%)
  • Critically evaluate sustainability principles and apply to the business context (35%)
  • Quality of analysis derived from evidence (20%)

Q&A

Q: Should I answer the questions separately, or in an integrated format? A: The format is up to you, but you have a limited word count and the need to demonstrate a critical and concise analysis.

Q: How tight is the word count? A: Very tight. I will not mark beyond 2000 words. The task is to provide a concise, critical analysis of these organisations, guided by the above questions.

Q: What professional and academic resources should I use? A: This is a research exercise and your task is to find industry and academic resources which are insightful in the context of your analysis. You should cite: relevant readings and materials from the subject, from your case organisations (e.g. sustainability reports), and other industry and academic resources.

  • The industry resources which are relevant will vary by sector. Start with the resources provided in the subject (Week 1 on the Canvas site).
  • Limit your academic references to clearly relevant citations from quality journals (see list below) which support your specific points and arguments. Using poorly chosen or irrelevant citations will be penalised and you may fail the assessment.

Relevant journals:

  • Academy of Management Annals
  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Academy of Management Perspectives
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Business and Society
  • Business Strategy and the Environment
  • Harvard Business Review
  • International Journal of Management Reviews
  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • Journal of Cleaner Production
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • Organization and Environment
  • Strategic Organization
  • (The journal ‘Sustainability’ is a paid-for, open access journal and is not preferred)

some websites to use in assessment. There are  www.wbcsd.org

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