University of Technology Sydney

21895 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.


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 learn about approaches to tackle some deep problems facing society, including climate change, wealth inequality, racism, 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.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Analyse the current forms, structural causes and social and environmental effects of a range of challenges facing society
2. Apply knowledge of social impact in professional practice
3. Evaluate existing business social impact initiatives
4. Critically reflect on how corporates, social movements and individuals work towards making a positive social impact

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject is designed to help students understand how to contribute to the public good and make a difference, and as such, is aligned with the graduate attributes of intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving, and social responsibility and cultural awareness. Business globally is experiencing unprecedented transformation in a society facing increasingly complex social and environmental challenges (this includes evolving attitudes to indigenous populations, as well as to the relationships between businesses in diverse global markets). Addressing these issues requires that business graduates are purpose-led and can recognise their own agency to build a stronger and fairer world. Students will learn from interdisciplinary perspectives and begin to apply knowledge and skills to real world businesses wrestling with the question; how can we act responsibly in the world in which we operate? Drawing from different disciplinary outlooks, models of purpose learning and with reference to existing social impact and sustainable development measures this subject will empower students to make a positive public, ecological and economic impact. This involves a capacity for ethical reasoning and empathetic decision making. The subject is aligned to the UTS Social Impact Framework.

This subject also contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Objective for the Master of Management, Master of Human Resource Management, Master of Event Management, Master of Sport Management, and Master of Not-for-Profit and Social Enterprise Management courses:

  • Communicate information clearly and fluently to a diverse range of stakeholders (2.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is taught in a blended format on a weekly basis which includes a combination of pre-recorded content and collaborative 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 available via Canvas prior to tutorials so that they are prepared to participate in class discussion and problem-solving exercises.

Tutorials are designed to offer active learning experiences. Students will work collaboratively on tasks including problem-based scenarios and case study analyses. There will be opportunities 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. Tutorials will revolve around problem-based learning strategies that involve the students in researching and developing their own/group solutions to complex problems/scenarios.

In-class feedback on learning activities will be provided by the teaching staff from week 2 onwards, allowing students the opportunity to gain early formative feedback.

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine your current academic language proficiency, you are required to complete an online language screening task, OPELA (information available at [or a written diagnostic task]. If you receive a Basic grade for OPELA [or the written diagnostic task], you must attend additional Language Development Tutorials (each week from week [3/4] to week [11/12] in order to pass the subject. These tutorials are designed to support you to develop your language and communication skills. Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Content (topics)

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


Assessment task 1: Social Impact Case Study (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 4

Weight: 40%
  • Length: Written individual reflection should be 1000 words (+/-10%), which does NOT include the reference list.

In this task you will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of analysis and appropriateness of the recommendations
  • Extent, depth and relevance of research undertaken
  • Evidence of critical reflection
  • Professional written presentation

Assessment task 2: Social Impact Investigation (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

Weight: 30%

10 minute Team presentation and 5 min Q&A (Week 10 and 11)


In this task, you will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Critical evaluation of the the social impact initiative
  • Extent, depth, and relevance of research undertaken
  • Cohesion of the group delivery
  • Clarity and effectiveness of presentation including the use of visual aids

Assessment task 3: Critical Media Analysis of Social Impact (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 4

Weight: 30%

1,000 words (+/- 10%) excluding references list.


In this task you will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Understanding of key concepts covered in this subject;
  • Ability to apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios.
  • Quality of analysis of the individual or social movement
  • Evidence of critical reflection

Minimum requirements

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

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete OPELA [or a written diagnostic task]. Students who received a Basic grade in the OPELA [or the written diagnostic task] are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Required texts

A collection of contemporary articles, book chapters and videos will be used in place of a textbook for this subject.


Alcadipani, R., & de Oliveira Medeiros, C. R. (2019). When corporations cause harm: A critical view of corporate social irresponsibility and corporate crimes. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-13.

Banerjee, S. B. (2007). Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Banerjee, S. B. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly. Critical Sociology, 34(1), 51–79.

Crane, A., Matten, D., & Spence, L. (2013). Corporate Social Responsibility: In Global Context. Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context.

Frynas, J. d. G., & Stephens, S. (2015). Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Reviewing Theories and Setting New Agendas. International Journal of Management Reviews, 17.