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MGMT646 Governance in Not-For-Profit Organisations

Teaching organisation

150 hours over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period

Unit rationale, description and aim

Management's understanding and ability to ensure best practice in corporate governance and risk management are seen as being of critical importance to an organisation. This unit provides an introduction to the theoretical, conceptual and ethical issues which impinge on the way in which corporate directors and managers work, solve problems and interact with their employees, shareholders, clients, government and statutory agencies, and the community at large as part of their stewardship of the organisations. The nature of governance will be examined against a background of how ethical perspectives influence decision-making. Risk management will be examined in detail given its vital role in corporate governance and organisational stewardship aligned with organisational social responsibility in a local and national context.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Examine the concept of corporate governance and the role of managers and directors in creating socially responsible organisations in a local and national context
LO2Analyse and appraise the role of corporate governance in risk management when responding to various stakeholders’ needs
LO3Critically analyse leadership and management processes in organisations with respect to governance and policy compliance taking into account their stewardship role of the organisations
LO4Evaluate the conceptual, contextual and ethical issues which bear upon corporate decision making with respect to corporate governance and risk management
LO5Apply contemporary strategic, risk management and compliance process in a workplace to ensure effective stewardship of organisations


Topics will include: 

  • Defining corporate governance, the corporation, managing and governing 
  • The history of corporate governance including models and theories of governance 
  • Corporate responsibility, business ethics and organisational stewardship
  • Types of legal structures for profit and not-for-profit organiations and their implications (including the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). 
  • The law and standards as they relate to corporate governance.  
  • Roles, responsibilities and development of the board and the chair, executive and non-executive directors, CEO, company secretary and board committees. 
  • Board process, effective board meetings and other governance processes.
  • Enterprise risk management 
  • Risk management concepts and processes 
  • Strategic versus operational risk management 

Note: Those students conducting this unit as part of the Graduate Diploma or Master of OHSE will be provided with content, examples and applications specific to this discipline.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Attendance mode

In attendance mode, the unit will be delivered over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period. Students will have access to all primary learning materials online, along with formative and summative assessments, so as to provide a learning experience beyond the classroom. 

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit for both on-campus and online delivery is based on the need to determine authentic student achievement of the learning outcomes. All assessments are linked so as to provide integrated and progressive understanding, reflection on, and application of the key concepts and techniques discussed in the unit. The Case Study Analysis and Governance and Risk Audit provide assurance of assessment authenticity and that students have attained the knowledge, skills and dispositions required to achieve the Learning Outcomes. The final assessment provides students with an opportunity to engage in a simulated professional activity and to apply learning and skills acquired in the first two assessments. The second and third assessments promote synthesis of what has been learned across a range of topics, and will enhance and consolidate the learning, as well as demonstrating the application of learning and skills. 

To pass this unit, students must demonstrate competence in all learning outcomes and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%. Marking will be in accordance with a rubric specifically developed to measure students’ level of achievement of the learning outcomes for each item of assessment. Students will be awarded a final grade which signifies their overall achievement in the unit.

Students conducting this unit as part of the Master of OHSE will be expected to conduct their Governance and Risk Audit on a topic relevant to OHSE. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Reflective Report 

This assessment task consists of a 1250-word reflective report. This task requires students to analyse Good Governance Principles and determine how the governance board could ensure management adherence through practical means while considering the stewardship responsibility of the board. The report should also address the organisation and its governance contributions to environment, society and the common good.

This assessment is intended to stimulate reflection on the key characteristics of these terms as they apply to students personally and in the context of their work and/or communal experience. 

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Reflective Essay

Artefact: Written essay


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2: Group Presentation 

This assessment consists of a 15 minute group presentation in addition to a written script. Working collaboratively, this assessment requires students to analyse, evaluate and apply the topic of the allocated week to a given workplace. Students are to make recommendations to enhance the board processes using knowledge gained in this unit while considering ethical implications in their recommendations.

Submission Type: Individual/Group

Assessment Method: Presentation/script

Artefact: Written script


LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Critical Report 

This assessment task consists of a 1750-word written report. This task requires students to analyse, evaluate and apply a governance knowledge on a given case study. This is an individual case study designed to give students practical experience as a board member in planning, evaluation of risks and policy needed to ensure sustainability.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Critical Report

Artefact: Written report


LO2, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

The latest editions of: 

AS/NZS ISO 31000:2018 Risk management - principles and guidelines, Standards Australia/ Standards New Zealand, Sydney. 

Australian Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Council 2019, Corporate governance principles and recommendations, 4th edn, ASX, Sydney. 

G20/OECD Principles of corporate governance, OECD, Geneva. 

Baxt, R Duties and responsibilities of directors and officers, 21st edn, AICD, Sydney. 

Browning, PC & Sparks, WL The director’s manual: a framework for board governance, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 

Du Plessis, JJ, Hargovan A & Bagaric M Principles of contemporary corporate governance, 4th edn, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.  

Hillson, D (ed) The risk management handbook, Kogan Page, London 

Lam, J 2014, Enterprise risk management: from incentives to controls, 2nd edn, Wiley, NJ. 

Larcker, D & Tayan, B Corporate governance matters: a closer look at organizational choices and their consequences, 2nd edn, Pearson FT Press, London. 

Leblanc, R & Fraser, J (eds) The handbook of corporate governance: a comprehensive guide for public, not-for-profit board members, John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 

Mallin, C Corporate governance, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 

Solomon, J, Corporate governance and accountability, 3rd edn, Wiley, Chichester.  

Tricker, B Corporate governance: principles, policies and practices, 4th edn, 2019 Oxford University Press, Oxford.(required text)

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