Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Ignatian Spirituality should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. In this unit, each student will carry out a participative action research intervention in their own organisation, with the support of group spiritual direction. This intervention is designed to bring about an organisational transformation. Each student will articulate how the intervention evolved and the subsequent impact of the intervention. This unit aims to develop students’ skills in responding to organisational needs on the basis of critical discernment and a clear understanding of evidence.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Design and undertake an effective intervention in an organisation seeking transformation, using appropriate action research methods (GA6); 

LO2 - Analyse the organisational intervention through developing, testing and modifying working hypotheses as a basis for further action (GA6); 

LO3 - Illustrate how they have provided effective leadership of organisational transformation (GA2); 

LO4 - Work transparently and constructively with challenges, criticisms and conflict (GA6; GA7);

LO5 - Demonstrate how Ignatian spirituality was integrated into and informed their organisational transformation project (GA2; GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 


Topics will include:

·       Reflexive Engagement;

·       Insider Inquiry, Levels & Interlevels;

·       Group Dynamics;

·       Organisational Change and Learning;

·       Ignatian Spirituality and Leadership;

·       Ignatian Discernment Framework;

·       Identity, Images of self and God, being and becoming;

·       Dynamic relationships, role assumptions and expectations.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP608 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include:

·       Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks or web-based exercises) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;

·       Small-group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion forums or undertaking peer review) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings;

·       Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas;

·       Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice;

·       Critically reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or private journal-writing) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action.

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spiritual and leadership practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Critical reflection (2500-words) on the unfolding of the intervention, based on extensive journal notes. This task is designed to enable students to illustrate how they have provided effective leadership of organisational transformation by attentiveness to the process of discernment.


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7

2. Critical account (3500-words) of the intervention project. This task is designed to enable students to demonstrate their ability to consider critically the rationale behind the intervention and the methods used to design and address it, as well as to provide evidence of its effective evaluation.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

* set texts recommended for purchase

Benefiel, Margaret. Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organisations. New York: Church Publishing, 2005.

Coghlan, David, and Teresa Brannick. Doing Action Research in Your Own Organisation. London: Sage Publications, 2005.*

Coghlan, David. “Ignatian Spirituality as Transformational Social Science.” Action Research 3, Vol.1 (2005) 89-89.

Delbecq, André, Elizabeth Liebert, John Mostyn, Paul C. Nutt, and Gordan Walter. “Discernment and Strategic Decision Making: Reflections for a Spirituality of Organizational Leadership,” In Moses L. Pava, Patrick Primeaux (eds.) Spiritual Intelligence At Work: Meaning, Metaphor, and Morals. 139-174. London: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2003.

Liebert, Elizabeth. “Discernment for Our Times: A Practice with Postmodern Implications.” Studies in Spirituality 18 (2008): 333-35.

Long, Susan. “Action Research, Participative Action Research and Action Learning on Organisations” in Yiannis Gabriel (ed.) Organizations in Depth: The Psychoanalysis of Organizations. London: SAGE Publications, 2004.*

Long, Susan. “Drawing from Role Biography in Organisational Role Analysis,” in John Newton, Susan Long, and Burkard Sievers (eds). Coaching in Depth: The Organisational Role Analysis Method. London: Karnac, 2006.

Long, Susan. “Role Biography, Role History and the Reflection Group,” in Susan Long (ed) Socioanalytic Methods. London: Karnac, 2013.

Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003.

Lowney, Chris. Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads: Lessons from the First Jesuit Pope. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2013.

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