Managers are increasingly confronted with issues of sustainability, responsibility and ethics. Managing responsibly is an integrative approach to sustainability, responsibility and ethics, which allows you as a manager to deal competently with such challenges. This course will facilitate your learning process to engage in changing practices to make them more sustainable, responsible, and ethically informed.
We will first introduce the context of the trend towards responsible management practices (week 1). We then explore the basics of each set of issues, sustainability (week 2), responsibility (week 3), and ethics (week 4). In week 5 you will work on your own responsible management issue/task and explore responsible management practices in an area of professional interest (e.g. strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, organization, operations, supply chain, human resources, marketing and communication, international management, accounting and finance). In week 6 we will try to understand and experience what managing responsibly means in practice, including opportunities and challenges, and with a focus on transformative change. During these last two weeks you will work in a problem-oriented way, based on a challenging topic you have come across in your own management practice.
In the course we will form multicultural teams to learn about problems you bring forward. The course also facilitates the formation of peer networks that allow you to continue this learning experience after finishing the MOOC. The MOOC is an initiative in collaboration with the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative.
Overall Learning Outcomes
1) To provide an introduction to the three constituting fields of managing responsibly: sustainability, responsibility and ethics.
2) To help apply the knowledge and insights gained from these three fields to real life problems in your own setting.
3) To identify, understand and facilitate individual action that can lead to change at the organisational and system level …to ‘act is to move’
4) To learn to appreciate and bring together different points of view, and negotiate collective solutions to pressing problems.
Who is this MOOC for? (Recommended Background)
While this course is primarily designed for executives who want to work on particular responsible management issues and create responsible management practices, also advanced business students will find it helpful.
There are no specific required texts. However, the contents and assignments of this course have been based on the following book which might be helpful as complementary materials:
Laasch, Oliver, and R. Conway (2014). Principles of responsible management: Global sustainability, responsibility and ethics, Cengage Learning: Mason.
We will explore the context and importance of managing responsibly and how it relates to sustainability, responsibility, and ethics. Adopting a systemic perspective, we will also look into what kinds of competences managers might need to develop responsible management practices.
After an introduction of the roots of (un)sustainability, we will have a look at concepts of sustainability, such as social, environmental and economic dimensions, and the importance of time. We will then focus on sustainability in a business context by looking at prominent management tools, such as impact assessment, footprinting, and life-cycle management.
We will explore the roots of responsible business practices and different approaches to responsibility in organizations, such as corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, or corporate citizenship. We will then look at typical management applications such as stakeholder management and corporate social performance.
We will look at behavioural ethics and moral philosophy as main approaches to business ethics. These will then be applied to address moral issues, and to develop practices for acting ethically in challenging situations. We will also learn how to apply common ethics management instruments, such as ethics hotlines, codes of ethics, or ethics training.
Professions and Occupations
In this week you will self-select groups of people with similar responsible management issues and tasks to discuss coping approaches. You will also pick an area of professional interest (e.g. strategy, entrepreneurship, organization, operations, supply chain, human resources, marketing and communication, international management, accounting, finance) to further explore and to innovate responsible management practices in the professional context.
Integration 'Bringing it all together'
This last week of the course will be dedicated to the preparation for real-life challenges of managing responsibly and responsible innovation. We will learn how to critically reflect upon and challenge the status quo; to attend to systemic complexity, power struggles, paradoxes and inertia; and to translate these considerations into transformative action.