University of Technology Sydney

21214 Business and Social Impact

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 2024 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 key challenge businesses now face is how to integrate social impact into the way they work. In this subject students explore how they can make a difference through creating businesses whose mission is dedicated to realising positive social and environmental change. Students first interrogate the relationship between a company’s mission, its operations and the resultant impact on society and the environment from multiple perspectives including accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, Indigenous and global perspectives. Students then examine the challenges and opportunities in harnessing the power of the markets to create both economic and social value. The resultant outcome is that students develop their own mission through purpose-learning tasks which support their agency as future business leaders to build a stronger and fairer society.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Debate issues of social impact and sustainability, summarising knowledge from a range of business disciplines
2. Apply problem solving methodologies to evaluate existing business social impact initiatives
3. Critically reflect on what it means to be a responsible business leader

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Do you want to help build a better world and make a difference? This question is now on the cutting edge of industry best practice. Businesses are increasingly being called upon to account for their impact on the environment and society, beyond their profit-margins and share price. Students will learn about approaches to tackle some deep problems facing society, including climate change, wealth inequality, racism, and sexism and gender discrimination. The subject reflects growing calls from employers, government, corporate shareholders and the public to equip future leaders with skills to address real-world challenges from multiple perspectives including accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, Indigenous and global perspectives. Unlike other subjects in this area, however, the emphasis is not just on businesses impacting on society, but the converse too: leaders listening, learning and collaborating with community stakeholders to build a sustainable and fairer world.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Social responsibility and cultural awareness

This subject also contributes specifically to introduce the learning required to deliver the following Program Learning Objectives (PLOs):

  • Demonstrate ability to work independently and with others as a member of a team to achieve an agreed goal (2.2)
  • Make judgements and business decisions consistent with the principles of social responsibility, inclusion and knowledge of Indigenous peoples (3.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is taught on a weekly basis which includes a combination of pre-recorded content and collaborative tutorials. Weekly recorded lectures, interviews and case study materials will be posted to Canvas and may be required prior to the face-to-face tutorials.

Online content will be designed to equip students with an appropriate level of background knowledge on different stakeholder perspectives on the relationship between business and its social, ecological and economic environments. It is expected that students have familiarised themselves with this content prior to their tutorial.

Tutorials will be highly interactive with students afforded the opportunity to work with their peers on the assessment of existing business approaches to social impact and sustainable development, as well as to debate their own evolving views on what it means to be a responsible business leader. We expect that the tutorials will be places where students use problem-based learning strategies that involve the students in researching and developing their own/group solutions to complex problems/scenarios.

Students should come to tutorials expecting to be challenged and have their views critiqued and debated by their classmates. Teaching staff will serve as facilitators in these discussions. After the tutorials, students are expected to do a considerable amount of individual reflection whilst continuing to work on the problems/projects they are preparing and completing outside tutorial times.

Facilitators and peers will give formative feedback continually through class activities as students develop their projects. Students are expected to read and reflect on this feedback. Extensive use will be made of UTS Canvas with all material posted electronically.

Content (topics)

  • Defining and evaluating social impact
  • Critiquing business ethics and corporate social responsibility
  • Historical and contemporary perspectives of sustainable development
  • Understanding and developing ecological, cultural and social intelligence
  • Personal mission-making
  • Equality, inclusion and diversity
  • Indigenous perspectives and cultural knowledge


Assessment task 1: Bi-Weekly quizzes (Individual)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

Weight: 20%

Weekly activities will test for

  • Knowledge of the weekly topic
  • Knowledge of terms and concepts relating to the weekly topic
  • Knowledge of interviews and panels posted on Canvas (reflection on content)

*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Assessment task 2: Group Presentation and Impact Report (25% Group and 15% Individual)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 40%


  • Capacity to collaborate with a team to develop ideas and solutions to problems
  • Extent, depth, and relevance of research undertaken
  • Oral presentation and visual depiction (further details provided in rubric)

*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Written sub-task:

  • Critical evaluation of the report
  • Extent, depth, and relevance of research undertaken
  • Capacity to link the chosen social impact initiative to theories introduced in this subject

Assessment task 3: Written reflection (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):


Weight: 40%
  • Depth of critical reflection on understanding of business and social impact
  • Ability to apply subject concepts to their own status as a future business leader
  • Capacity to articulate their own statement of purpose through their degree and beyond

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

There is no set textbook for this subject. Contemporary articles, media, book chapters, videos and practitioner reports are used in place. Please see the weekly schedule in Canvas for guidance on the readings to complete each week.