Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

To achieve success and longevity in the industry, professionals working in high performance sport must have an appreciation of its particular cultures as well as the professional standards required. In this context, culture refers to the social behaviour norms found within sports, organisations and ethnic groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This unit will introduce perspectives of culture and leadership in the high performance sport environment, with the aim to develop in students an understanding of the relationship between culture and values to that of the behaviour of individuals and the organisation. Leadership styles frequently used in professional settings will be addressed, including their place in communication in one-to-one relationships to that of multi-team leadership. Building on the introduced perspectives and understanding, students will further their understanding of strategies for effective communication and conflict management in the high performance sport organisation. An emphasis will be placed on professionals as socially responsible leaders, who exercise concern for the wellbeing of their clients, colleagues and the community, within appropriate standards of ethical practice.

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 - Identify knowledge of the organisational culture and leadership frameworks in high performance sport organisations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives (GA1, GA2, GA7, GA10).

LO2 - Examine and exemplify appropriate standards of ethical conduct in professional practice, including relevant  national and international ethical and code of conduct frameworks (GA3).

LO3 - Investigate the use of a range of strategies for communication and management with individuals and groups in specialist and non-specialist settings (e.g. athletes; coaching staff; support staff; managers; stakeholders), including working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA6) .

LO4 - Apply moral reasoning and identify and recognise moral reasoning and non-moral reasoning in sport (GA4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • organisational culture in high performance sport 
  • principles and theories of professional leadership  
  • leadership theories, models and styles 
  • neuroleadership principles 
  • ‘Brain Based’ coaching in the workplace 
  • ethics, responsibility and codes of conduct  
  • moral reasoning in sport 
  • professionalism and governance in sport 
  • communication for leadership
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives/knowings.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies has been purposefully designed for the assessment of learning outcomes reflecting the principles of authentic assessment design and include:

  • Assessment Task 1: a discussion task to assess knowledge, understanding and application of unit learnings, which includes a reflective written task;
  • Assessment Task 2: an essay to assess critical thinking, application of unit learnings and communication of argument. 

Students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Discussion Board and FlipGrid Activity 

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of unit content in discussing a simulated situation/challenge in a high performance sport environment. In addition, peer review and reflection upon own professional practice is supported with this assessment. 


LO1, LO2 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA7, GA10

Assessment 2


Enables students to demonstrate the ability to critically analyse and synthesise selected literature, and communicate and argue findings clearly and coherently.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Walker, S. (2017). The captain class. New York, USA: Penguin Books (available online as an eBook and in ACU Bookshop)  

Cassidy T, Jones R and Potrac P (2015) Understanding sports coaching: The social, cultural and pedagogical foundations of coaching practice. (3rd ed) London: Routledge. (available as an eBook)  

Dubrin AJ (2015) Leadership: Research findings practice and skills. (8th ed.). Boston: Houghton and Mifflin.  

Kotter J P (2012) Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press  

Marlin D, Apoifis N & Bennie A (2020) Aboriginal Sports Coaches, Community, and Culture (Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and the World, 2, Springer

Morgan W J (ed) (2018) Ethics in sport (3rd ed) Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics  

Lumpkin A (2011) Practical ethics in sport management. Jefferson: McFarland & Co. (is also an eBook available in Kindle)  

Rock D (2009) Your brain at work: Strategies for overcoming distraction, regaining focus and working smarter all day long. New York, USA: Harper Business  

Rock D & Ringleb A H (2013) Handbook of neuroleadership. California: Createspace Independent Pub  

Rock D & Page L J (2009) Coaching with the brain in mind: Foundations for practice. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons  

Simon R L (2016) The ethics of sport: What everyone needs to know. New York: Oxford University Press (available as an eBook)  

Sinek S (2011) Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. USA: Portfolio Penguin  

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