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21012 Governance and Sustainability

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2019 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


The subject employs a stakeholder management perspective to analyse organisational strategies, values and operations that facilitate the development of sustainable, high-performing organisations, as well as enabling a balance between enterprise, society and the ecosphere. The subject focuses on how organisations develop a 'licence to operate and grow' through their relations with employees, wider society and the natural environment, developing skills in critical analysis, risk evaluation and management, scenario planning and stakeholder dialogue.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. appreciate the distinctive influences of different internal governance mechanisms, and external institutional structures, on business strategy and performance
2. discuss the significance of market-based and relationship-based governance systems, and the strategic impact of the globalisation of corporate finance and governance
3. evaluate, develop and implement strategies to develop ethical engagement and build cooperation with corporate stakeholders, and recognise the demand for accountability and transparency
4. analyse the key elements of social and environmental sustainability, and contribute to the debate on the relationship between environmental and social risk and corporate performance
5. apply key concepts and techniques of voluntary reporting, management and certification systems that could progress organisations towards social and environmental sustainability
6. design management strategies which enable organisations to integrate business opportunity with sustainability values.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject provides a deeper understanding of the contrasting ways companies are owned and controlled, and of the role of competing systems of corporate governance, which exist in different institutional environments, and how sustainable these different business approaches are. The subject will contribute to the objectives of the course by integrating the governance, investment, strategic and control elements of business decision-making.

The subject examines how distinct corporate values and objectives, aligned to competing systems of corporate governance, can produce diverse strategies and results in various product markets. The subject contributes to a better understanding of the complexity of internal business behaviour and control and the impact of the capital market environment, and how this may contribute to sustainable enterprise. The subject examines how an understanding of stakeholder relationships for sustainability is fundamental to the development of lasting, high-performance organisations in the rapidly changing business, ecological and social environment.

The subject develops students’ ability to critically assess their existing frames of reference when it comes to analysing organisational sustainability. It aims to develop the necessary skills in stakeholder dialogue and management for participants to work in an innovative fashion towards making organisations more sustainable, while sustaining the natural environment and society.

Teaching and learning strategies

Lectures and group discussions; case analysis and presentation; workshops and directed study using reading and library searches; internet searching and analysis of material; corporate governance evaluation software products.

Content (topics)

  1. Strengths and weaknesses of market-based and relationship-based governance systems, and how they are related to different business objectives, strategies and performance outcomes
  2. The mechanisms of governance including the role of the board, executive compensation and the influence of stock options
  3. The increasing significance of capital markets, including stock exchanges, institutional investors and private equity in merger and takeover activity
  4. The internationalisation of finance, governance and regulation
  5. Instrumental and normative perspectives on corporate social responsibility and sustainability
  6. Evaluating and managing risk, and the relationships between human and ecological organisational sustainability
  7. Efficiency and sustainability: the triple and quadruple bottom line
  8. Strategic sustainability, organisational identity and image
  9. Organisational change and leadership for development


Assessment task 1: Report and Presentation (Group) Forensic analysis of corporate governance failure.


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 30%

Case analysis a maximum of 15 power point slides with the final slide including a bibliography. Each student is expected to present.

Assessment task 2: Case Study (Individual) Analysis of sustainability in practice


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

4, 5 and 6

Weight: 25%

1500 words

Assessment task 3: Research Report (Individual) Report on theory, policy and implementation of corporate governance and/or sustainability to a business sector or industry

Weight: 45%

2500 words

Minimum requirements

To pass the subject, students need to achieve at least 50% of the total marks.

Required texts

Clarke, T. 2017, International corporate governance: A comparative approach, 2nd Edn, Routledge, London and New York.

Lecture readings and additional resources will be posted on UTS online under the lecture readings tab as the semester progresses.

Recommended texts

Klettner, A. 2017. Corporate governance regulation: The changing roles and responsibilities of boards of directors. Routledge, Oxon and New York.

Dunphy, D., Griffiths, A. and Benn, S. 2014, Organizational change for corporate sustainability: A guide for leaders and change agents of the future, London: Routledge.


  1. ASX Corporate Governance Council. 2014, Corporate governance principles and recommendations, 3rd edn, Australian Securities Exchange, Sydney
  2. Fox, J. 2014, Shareholder primacy: Is there a need for change?, Governance Institute of Australia Ltd, Sydney.
  3. Clarke, T. 2004, Theories of corporate governance. London, New York: Routledge.
  4. Clarke,T. and Branson, D. 2012 The Sage Handbook of Corporate Governance, London: Sage
  5. Benn, S. and Dunphy, D., 2007, Corporate Governance and Sustainability, London and New York: Routledge.
  6. Du Plessis, J.J., Hargovan, A. and Bagaric, M. 2010, Principles of contemporary corporate governance. Cambridge University Press.