Year

2024

Credit points

10

Campus offering

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  • Term Mode
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  • ACU Term 2Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 4Online Unscheduled

Prerequisites

Nil

Incompatible

MGMT638 Ethical Leadership in Organisations; MGMT638 Ethical Leadership and Social Responsibility

Teaching organisation

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

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit reflects on the nature of ethical leadership and socially responsible organisations. The aim of this unit is to contribute to the development of ethical leaders with a commitment to the advancement of the common good. Increasingly, effective leaders and organisations understand that ethics are an integral component of sound business and organisational functioning. This unit seeks to develop reflective leaders with independent, critical thinking, equipped to apply practically relevant subsidiarity principles and ethical leadership practices in contemporary workplaces. Ethical and moral frameworks that guide ethical decision-making in organisations will be critically examined. Further explored will be what this means for the organisational processes and work practices. Consideration will be given to the leadership qualities of personal values and ethical decision-making in fostering employee engagement, cooperation, and trust. Global challenges, rapidly accelerating change, and the need for more sustainable practices provide a vital context for exploring the role of ethical leadership in shaping today’s organisations in effectively facing future challenges in dynamic environments. 

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 DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Examine theoretical, practical, and ethical issues in the management of people, organisations and stakeholders in dynamics local, national and global environmentsGC1, GC8
LO2Critically assess the application of different leadership styles and approaches in today’s complex business environmentsGC7
LO3Evaluate core values involved in subsidiarity inclusiveness and leadership styles that are required for sustainable and ethical practice of organisationsGC2, GC8
LO4Develop responsible solutions for various ethical dilemmas faced by today’s leaders and organisations.GC3, GC6

Content

Content in this unit is underpinned by a framework of why, who, what and how. 

 Topics will include but are not limited to: 

  • Overview: Are there Ethical Leaders?
  • Leadership theories and styles
  • Psychology of ethical leaders and managers
  • Ethical frameworks for leaders: Corporate sustainability
  • Leading responsible organisations for sustainability                 
  • Organisational culture, values and leadership
  • The impact of the environment of organisational leadership
  • Leading ethical organisation: Governance & Stakeholders          
  • Leadership, subsidiarity, inclusiveness and diversity

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Practice and applied practical activities are essential for learning. Therefore, students are expected to adopt an ‘active’ learning strategy and learn by doing. ACU’s learning & teaching policy focuses on learning outcomes for students in the form of knowledge, capabilities and background. ACU promotes and facilitates learning that is autonomous and self-motivated, is characterised by the individual taking satisfaction in the mastering of content and skills and is critical, looking beneath the surface level of information for the meaning and significance of what is being studied.

This unit is offered in multiple modes in order to attract the widest possible number of participants by appealing to a range of learning preferences and providing opportunities for participation for isolated and/or marginalised groups.  

Intensive mode 

This unit uses an active learning approach to help students explore and understand different aspects of ethical leadership and decision making. Students will learn about the theoretical foundation and practice of ethical leadership on campus lecture style classes. Students are required to attend intensive executive workshops to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge with other students so as to develop a level of understanding sufficient to assess various ethical aspects of today’s business and how effective leaders would behave under such circumstances. Students are also required to attend a series of workshops in which they reflect on their own leadership potential. This approach is designed to appeal to students with a preference for learning within a physical social environment and allows for essential skill development with expert support.  

Attendance Mode 

This unit uses a blended learning strategy to enable students to explore and understand different aspects of ethical leadership and decision making. Students are encouraged to attend facilitated tutorial classes to collaborate with other students in synthesizing different sources of knowledge to develop a level of understanding sufficient to assess various ethical aspects of today’s business and how effective leaders would behave under such circumstances. Students will learn how to reflect on their own leadership potential. This approach is designed to appeal to students with a preference for learning within a physical social environment and allows for essential skill development with expert support. 

Online mode  

Students are given the opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online tutorial classes to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge with other students so as to develop a level of understanding sufficient to deal with various ethical dilemmas faced by today’s leaders. Students are required to participate in a series of online interactive workshops in which they develop a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of leadership and reflect on their own leadership potential. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates the participation of students unable to attend classes, therefore promoting social inclusion in the field of leadership.

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

A primary goal of the unit’s assessment is to assess each student’s level of learning via individual and group-based tasks where different aspects of ethical and sustainable leadership are discussed. In order to successfully complete this unit, students must demonstrate competence in all learning outcomes and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%. Students will be awarded a final grade which signifies their overall achievement in the unit. The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to critically assess various aspects of ethical leadership and understand their own leadership potential.  

Intensive Mode 

This unit will develop the capabilities that managers need to lead organisations ethically in diverse contexts. In order to develop students’ understating of leaders’ ethical and sustainable behaviours, students first demonstrate knowledge in an essay where they reflect on their own leadership potential, further develop their understanding through synthesising this knowledge in an individual project involving a real-world case study and finally they engage in a consulting project where they propose detailed solutions for ethical dilemmas faced by managers of an organisation.    

Attendance Mode 

In a weekly attendance mode, students are asked to reflect on their own leadership potential, strengths and weaknesses. They then further develop their understanding through synthesising this knowledge in a syndicated group project involving a real-world case study, where various aspects of ethical and sustainable leadership explain why some leaders are more effective than others in managing sustainable organisations. Finally, students are engaged in a consulting project where they propose detailed solutions for an ethical dilemma faced by managers of an organisation.    

Online Mode 

ACU promotes and facilitates learning that is autonomous and self-motivated. Assessments in the online mode are designed to capture the essence of these features. Therefore, students are first asked to think about their personal and professional experience where their personal and social traits, styles and behaviours helped them achieve specific goals. Reflection on these experiences enables students to better understand the theory and practice of leadership and relate it to real world examples. Assessment two builds on this level of knowledge. It requires students to critically analyse a case study where leaders of an organisation face various ethical and managerial challenges. Finally, students will complete a consulting project in which they help leaders of an organisation make decisions to resolve ethical dilemmas and deal with leadership challenges.   

ACU Online Mode

Students are first asked to think about their personal and professional experience where their personal and social traits, styles and behaviours helped them achieve specific goals. Reflection on these experiences enables students to better understand the theory and practice of leadership and relate it to real world examples. Assessment two builds on this level of knowledge. It requires students to critically analyse a case study where leaders of an organisation face various ethical and managerial challenges. Finally, students will complete a consulting project in which they help leaders of an organisation make decisions to resolve ethical dilemmas and deal with leadership challenges.

Overview of assessments

Intensive Mode 

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Perception of leadership potential

This assessment task consists of 1500-word written report. This task requires students to reflect on how they perceive their leadership potential affecting their future role as a manager and a leader.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written Report

30%

LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2: Case Presentation

This assessment task consists of a 15-minute presentation, accompanied by a 500-word written brief. This presentation requires students to demonstrate understanding and applications of leadership knowledge learned in the unit in developing solutions for ethical dilemmas and/or Leadership issues with a focus on subsidiarity, inclusiveness and diversity.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Presentation

Artefact: Presentation / Written presentation brief

35%

LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Consulting Project (Individual task based on collaboration with peers)

This task requires students to engage peers in order to develop a comprehensive detailed argument and analysis of a current dilemma/issue in ethical leadership, where concepts, applications of theories and their impact on organisational sustainability are considered in a 1500 word written Project Report.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written paper

35%

LO2, LO3, LO4

Attendance Mode 

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Perception of leadership potential

This assessment task consists of 1500-word written report. The task enables students to discuss their understanding of the key theories, ethical frameworks, and ethical leadership models and issues from their own experience using knowledge learned in the unit.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written Report

30%

Assessment Task 2: Case study

This assessment task consists of a 15-minute group presentation, accompanied by written script. This assessment task focuses on a critical analysis of a Leader’s style and provides recommendations to improve leadership effectiveness based on perception of followers using an actual short case study with a focus on subsidiarity, inclusiveness and diversity.

Submission Type: Group

Assessment Method: Case report

Artefact: Presentation / Written 

30%

Assessment 3: Consulting Project

The purpose of this assessment is for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of leadership concepts and applications of ethical decision-making frameworks in dealing with ethical dilemmas and/or Leadership issues and their impact on organisational sustainability in a 1500 word project Report.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written paper

40%

Online 

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Perception of leadership potential

This assessment task consists of 1500-word written report. The task enables students to discuss their understanding of the key theories, ethical frameworks, and ethical leadership models and issues from their own experience using knowledge learned in the unit.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written report

30%

Assessment Task 2: Case study

This assessment task consists of a 15-minute presentation, accompanied by written script. This assessment task focuses on a critical analysis of a Leader’s style and provides recommendations to improve leadership effectiveness based on perception of followers using an actual short case study with a focus on subsidiarity, inclusiveness and diversity.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Case report

Artefact: Presentation / Written 

30%

Assessment 3: Final Project (Individual task)

The purpose of this assessment is for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of leadership concepts and applications of ethical decision-making frameworks in dealing with ethical dilemmas and/or Leadership issues and their impact on organisational sustainability in a 1500 word written project Report.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Report

Artefact: Written paper

40%

Representative texts and references

Daft, R.L., 2018, The Leadership Experience, 7th Ed., Cengage Learning US.

Dubrin, A.J. (2019). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills, 9th edn. South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Robert M. M., Stanley J. W., & Alexandra K. P. (2018). Ethical Leadership: A Primer, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Treviño, L.K. & Nelson, K.A. (2017). Managing business ethics: straight talk about how to do it right, 7th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 

Sources for theoretical insights: 

  • Leadership quarterly  
  • Journal of management 
  • Applied psychology 
  • Journal of leadership 
  • Journal of Leadership development  

Sources for practical insights: 

  • Harvard Business Review  
  • Forbes 
  • Wall street journal 
  • Conversation 
  • California Management Review 
  • MIT Sloan Management Review 
  • Business insider 
  • Financial times  

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