University of Technology Sydney

26812 Navigating Managerial Dilemmas

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Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 3 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

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


Organisations operate in complex contexts characterized by multiple stakeholder needs, interests and values. Organisational leaders have to navigate various dilemmas, the nature of which increasingly impacts our organisations, societies and the planet at large. This subject builds upon relevant ethical and philosophical foundations, examples from past and contemporary organisational contexts characterized by dilemmas as well as students’ personal experiences to assist them to discover ways to cultivate their capability to address organisational dilemmas. Students reflect on how leaders' and managers' decisions and actions impact stakeholders' in a number of contexts and cultivate a personal commitment toward earning and sustaining public trust in consideration of others in their business judgements and decision-making. The subject develops their capability to guide others to meet collective responsibility when facing dilemmas.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Analyse multiple stakeholder needs, interests and values and how they can lead to organisational dilemmas
2. Critically evaluate existing organisational practices and structures and their impact on multiple stakeholders
3. Critically reflect on one’s role in ensuring personal accountability and responsibility when engaging in management, leadership and followership practice
4. Discuss the personal capacity an individual needs to build to guide others to meet collective responsibility

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to developing students as responsible managers, leaders and followers. The subject aims to prepare students to understand the dilemmas modern organisations face and to address these and guide others to meet collective responsibility. To do so, the subject helps students appreciate the symbiotic integrity of business and society. The approach taken in the subject delivery and associated assignments is to encourage students to cultivate a personal commitment toward consideration of others in decision making.

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

  • Social responsibility and cultural awareness

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is delivered through a mix of online learning, three live online webinars and online consultations. The subject features a mix of theoretical concepts and application in the contemporary context that is designed to enhance knowledge and capabilities in business administration. Students have access to online resources, and self-directed learning activities and are expected to study online content provided via the UTS learning management system. They are required to complete online learning activities, which will help identify knowledge gaps and inform discussions. Webinars are designed to present the theory and practice of the subject’s content. Students are required to complete pre-work activities before attending webinars. Discussions focus on the application of concepts, techniques and tools. Ongoing general and individual feedback will be provided throughout the subject via consultation sessions. A summative assessment provides feedback on students' comprehension and application of learning. Students also receive formal feedback on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Organisational dilemmas
  • Ethical and philosophical foundations of responsible management/leadership practice
  • Stakeholder analysis and perspectives
  • Action-guiding principles


Assessment task 1: Organisational dilemma analysis (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

Weight: 50%
  • Substantive analysis of the dilemma and alternative decision paths
  • Ability to consider the key stakeholder needs, interests and values and their relevance to the dilemma
  • Critical reflection on the rationale supporting the recommended decision and depth of considerations of the implications to the decision maker and the key stakeholders of the recommended decision
  • Clarity of communication and structure in the memo

Assessment task 2: Self-reflective report (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

Weight: 50%
  • Substantive analysis of the dilemma and alternative decision paths
  • Critical reflection on stakeholder needs, interests and values identification
  • Critical reflection on the rationale supporting the decision made and the alternative paths available
  • Clarity of individual action-guiding principles and examples of how these will guide the student’s judgements and actions in the future
  • Effectiveness of actions identified to influence the organisation to manage appropriately similar future dilemmas

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks and complete both assessment tasks


Clarke, C. (2016) Ethics and Economic Governance: Using Adam Smith to understand the Global Financial Crisis. London: Routledge.

e Cunha, M. P., Clegg, S., & Rego, A. (2013). Lessons for leaders: Positive organization studies meets Niccolò Machiavelli. Leadership, 9(4), 450-465.

Nonaka and Toyama (2007) Strategic management as distributed practical wisdom (phronesis).

Freeman, R. E., Wicks, A. C., & Parmar, B. (2004). Stakeholder theory and “the corporate objective revisited”. Organization science, 15(3), 364-369.

Padilla, A., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2007). The toxic triangle: Destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conductive environments. The Leadership Quarterly, 18(3), 176-194.

Palazzo, G., Krings, F., & Hoffrage, U. (2012). Ethical blindness. Journal of business ethics, 109(3), 323-338.