Section 7: Past & future plans


7.1 Review of 2017 Goals

7.1.1 Embedding PRME Themes in the Curriculum

  • The new specialisation, “Global Sustainability and Social Enterprise”, was launched in 2018 in the Master of Commerce and Master of Commerce (Extension) programs. See Section 3.2.1.
  • A comprehensive review of our program learning outcomes has now been completed and the importance of business ethics is now clearly articulated, with three of the seven goals explicitly related to PRME principles and the Global compact. See Section 3.1.1.
  • Social Entrepreneurship Practicum suite of courses. Students work in teams and projects may involve social innovation and entrepreneurship; philanthropy; impact investing; business and human rights; corporate social responsibility; pro bono and volunteering; measuring social impact; social finance; and other related fields. See Section 3.2.2.
  • The revamped and relaunched Master of International Business (MIB) focuses on how to be effective in today’s globalised world, especially in multinational organisations, and is centred on three components: organisational features (primarily economic and operational); institutional features (the political, governmental, and social context); and cultural features (cross- and inter-cultural, normative and behavioural features) of global economic activity. Courses include MGMT5602: Cross-Cultural Management and COMM5030: Social Entrepreneurship Practicum. The capstone course, MGMT5610: Integrative Cases in International Business, places emphasis on critical, innovative and integrative thinking in facing business and societal challenges.

7.1.2 Building Staff Capacity

  • Professional staff development workshop: “Building trust and asserting influence in a diverse workplace”, May 2018. Facilitated by Sally Ann Gaunt, LIC for UNSW Business School’s course, MGMT5602: Cross-Cultural Management.

    “Trust is often considered an integral ingredient for achieving successful personal and business contacts, yet rarely do we discuss the many aspects that contribute to achieving it. However, without trust, we all too often find our negotiations, influence, and ability to make change at a stalemate. This workshop, based on the most up-to-date research and thinking in the field of diversity and cultural awareness, explores how professional staff in our diverse workplace may have contrasting ways of establishing trust. The aim of the session is for participants to walk away with new strategies for building lucrative relationships (with their staff, managers, colleagues and students), regardless of the diverse mix that makes up a modern-day university working environment.”

  • Professional and academic staff development workshops: “Creating Cultural Awareness: Intercultural capabilities and inclusive culture in the Business School”, April – May 2018. Facilitated by Joost Thissen, partner at the Culture Resource Centre.

    “Dealing with culturally diverse people presents challenges in the way we interact and communicate while operating in a culturally diverse setting. During the workshop we discuss cultural attributes, stereotyping, and (un)conscious bias; recognise your own and other’s intercultural preferences and the impact on effective interactions; and apply intercultural communication skills with colleagues and students from culturally diverse backgrounds.”

    Pre-work included completion of The Intercultural Readiness Check© (IRC), a validated diagnostic online questionnaire developed for assessing an individual’s potential strength and pitfalls in the area of intercultural competencies, how they handle cultural differences, and areas that need to be further developed in order to be more effective in intercultural situations.

  • Masterclass and workshop: “Teaching Ethics and Responsible Management in Finance”, November 2018.
    Conducted by Andrew Newton, adjunct professor at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University; and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Andrew has extensive experience in teaching Ethics, Corporate Responsibility and Stewardship in Finance-related fields. In this workshop Andrew shared his experiences in teaching Responsible Management in Finance, providing practical strategies and suggestions for how our Program Learning Goal and Outcome 5, responsible business practice, can be applied in banking and Finance courses.
  • PRME Community Lunch Meeting, February 2019
    The Community of Practice held a meeting and heard a special presentation by Professor Peter Sheldon on the Industrial Relations Research Centre report for the CFMMEU, investigating how to achieve a just transition for mining communities in Australia. The group discussed suggestions for topics, presenters and events for 2019. Two events for students and one for scholars and visitors are planned.

7.1.3 Research Impact

  • The Business School is actively and extensively engaged with stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, and is proud of the social and policy impact of its research. This is evident in the work of our centres – CEPAR and CSI for example – and the research agenda of individual academics. See the Section 8 for a selection of research publications that address a range of PRME themes. In these ways we are committed to wider knowledge transfers to the community.
  • Professor Peter Sheldon, for example, has continuing work on “Just Transitions” for workers and communities dependent on coal-fired power stations in Australia as economic decarbonisation policies take hold. This project covers: ethics, sustainability, labour rights and climate change.
  • Emeritus Professor Michael Quinlan has several projects relevant to labour rights. First, the origins of worker involvement in occupational health and safety (OHS) in the mining industry. This study examines the origins of regulatory rights to worker involvement in OHS in coal and metalliferous mining in Europe, North America and Australasia from 1871 onwards and its relevance to contemporary understandings of worker involvement in OHS in mining and other industries. It is emphasised that these mechanisms rely on active unions and regulatory controls, not necessarily management support, to be effective. Second, the impact of traumatic workplace death on families and their rights and entitlements. This study, the first of its kind globally, examines the financial, emotional, physical and other impacts of workplace death and how the regulatory apparatus responds (investigation, prosecution, compensation).

7.1.4 Strengthen Partnerships and Collaborations

  • The School of Taxation and Business Law is working with government to launch a Tax Clinic, to assist vulnerable, unrepresented taxpayers in dispute with the Australian Tax Office. See Section 3.2.3 for more information.
  • In December 2018, the Business School hosted the National Indigenous Business Summer School, where 23 Indigenous students engaged with and learnt from current UNSW Indigenous business students and alumni, as well as Indigenous industry leaders, entrepreneurs and business partners. See Section 3.3.1 for more information.

7.1.5 Supporting Student Initiatives

  • “Practicums with purpose” are being introduced across undergraduate and postgraduate programs. These include the Social Entrepreneurship Practicums, a suite of courses in which students work on projects that involve social innovation and entrepreneurship; philanthropy; impact investing; business and human rights; corporate social responsibility; pro bono and volunteering; measuring social impact; social finance; and other related fields. See Section 3.2.2 for more information.
  • Business School students have been supported to participate in entrepreneurship and social innovation competitions including the Indisprint and Pro-Rathon case competition. See Sections 5.4.2 and 5.4.3 for more information.

7.1.6 Governance

  • In 2018 the Business School established an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Committee to help achieve our vision is to be a leading exemplar in EDI. The committee consists of 18 members who are each passionate about developing an even more diverse and inclusive Business School. See Section 1.3.1 for more information
  • UNSW is committed to ensuring that all staff understand the University’s expectations about how we work together in a way which ensures the safety, wellbeing and inclusion of everyone at UNSW. These expectations are embedded in a range of codes, policies and procedures as well as in the UNSW Values in Action, which include embracing diversity (Values individual differences and contributions of all people and promotes inclusion) and displaying respect (Treats others with dignity and empathy. Communicates with integrity and openness). As part of annual career discussions, all staff, academics and professionals, are asked to self-rate and provide examples of how they demonstrate the values.
  • The compulsory Responsible Employee Refresher is one of a suite of UNSW on-line learning and development courses, all of which play an important part in ensuring there is integrity and high ethical standards across UNSW.
  • UNSW students are also expected to display similar values. A recent review of UNSW Student Code of Conduct has seen amendments proposed to the Code, as well as related policies and procedures (Student Misconduct Procedure, Plagiarism Policy and Managing Plagiarism for Students Enrolled in Coursework Programs Procedure). The amendments respond directly to internal audit recommendations flowing from a 2016 Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct internal audit and 2017 Student Academic Integrity Audit. These changes were subject to wider consultation in 2018 and community feedback was received on a broader range of matters.

7.2 Future Plans (2019-2021)

7.2.1 Continue to Embed PRME Themes in the Curriculum

  • Further embedding of PLOs at Business School level with particular reference to Responsible business practice PLO 5, global and cultural competence PLO 6 and Leadership PLO 7. I relation to PLO 5, we plan to emphasise the role of business in addressing climate change adaptation.
  • Build on the provision of social entrepreneurship courses and leverage the success of the social impact course that is now available to a majority of UNSW undergraduate students.

7.2.2 Continue to Build Staff Capacity

  • The ethics in finance project in the school of Banking and Finance aims to deliver a professional development resource for academic staff in ethics education. The modules introduce threshold concepts in ethics and provide a foundation for presenting in-class activities that involves applying ethical perspectives and frameworks to finance-related issues and events. Academic staff having completed the modules themselves will be better equipped to discuss ethical perspectives in finance-related contexts.
  • A PRME Community of Practice event planned for December 2019 is an evening discussion panel coinciding with a conference of the Australasian Centre for Social and Environmental Research, being held by Business School’s Accounting School.
  • Business School professional staff will be invited to join as a team in the Green Impact Competition coordinated by UNSW sustainability in collaboration with Climate Change network @ UNSW. The competition encourages sustainable practices in reducing waste and through other initiatives.

7.2.3 Continue to achieve Research Impact by investing in Emerging Research Strengths

The Business School has established a Research Networks Scheme, which bringbrs academics (include leaders, rising stars, and early-career researchers) together in teams and provides seed funding for a 2-3-year horizon. Several of these networks reflect “emerging research strengths” in the Business School and have the potential to contribute to our understanding and awareness of social, economic and environmental responsibility. They are:

  • DERN: Pioneering Multi-disciplinary Digital Enablement Research
    The Digital Enablement Research Network (DERN) has developed a body of digitally enabled multi-disciplinary research which focuses on transforming organisations, the economy and society through innovative digital technologies. Digital Sandboxing is a methodology proposed and adopted by DERN to incubate collaborative and problem-driven impact-based research – research that bridges the academic-practice gap and that meets the contemporary needs of business and society.

    The Huli (Tiger) Sandbox: The DERN team collaborated with Karnataka Wildlife Department, in Southern India, to co-design and build a wildlife conservation analytics system using data captured by forest rangers across five different tiger reserves. Using the system, DERN performed conservation analytics to address research problems identified in collaboration with the wildlife department. The analytic system enables the department to analyse population dynamics of tigers and their prey, visualise areas of human-animal conflict and movement of the wildlife population. Such analytic capabilities assist the department to better manage internal resources and achieve conservation outcomes.
  • Auditing & Assurance Research Network
    This network evaluates auditing approaches and designs credible reporting mechanisms, including in terms of Integrated Reporting of financial and non-financial information and the issuance of corporate social responsibility reports and greenhouse gas statements.

    In particular, it is building research infrastructure around auditing and assurance services, including jointly working with the Australian Charities & Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) on auditing and assurance in the not-for-profit sector.
  • Cyber Security and Data Governance
    Data is now being accumulated and retained by businesses and governments on an unprecedented scale. Governance and accountability frameworks need to develop alongside technical and analytic capabilities to ensure data is protected from theft or misuse and that those who hold it act responsibility (and not just lawfully) in dealing with it. The Cyber Security and Data Governance Research Network supports interdisciplinary work on the development of effective data governance frameworks. A series of co-authored articles are being published across 2018-2019 setting the agenda for understanding and critiquing the current state of data governance generally and in the specific areas of health care, financial services, taxation and business regulation.

7.2.4 Continue to Strengthen Partnerships and Collaborations

  • Existing institutional partnerships will be leveraged. In addition, having recently joined the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), the Business School is exploring ways to work more effectively with other leading business schools around the globe.
  • Research centres, notably CEPAR and CSI, are looking for ways to strengthen their partnerships – including internationally – and newer clusters of research activity are being explored, notably in the field of health.
  • The appointment of Professors of Practice will assist in building new industry and governmental partnerships. New Indigenous Professors of Practice will firm-up our existing connections with the Indigenous Business sector.
  • Our participation in the UNSW Founders Program connects staff and students to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives – many of which have social and environmental purpose. This is an area we are keen to support and see potential for growth.

7.2.5 Continue to Support Student Initiatives

  • Close collaboration with Student Clubs and Societies, and practical support for their social purpose initiatives in the communities they serve.
  • A student competition is being launched in mid 2019 in collaboration between a PG student, the School of Marketing student society and staff, Climate Change Network @UNSW and our PRME program. The student challenge, titled #EndClimateSilence aims to encourage students to think creatively about ways to education Australians on climate science.
  • A PRME event is planned for June 2019 for research students, whose research interests relate to responsible business practice and Global Compact Principles.

7.2.6 Continue to refine Governance to help us achieve our goals

An example is the Business School’s EDI Committee which is focussed on achieving:

  • 30% female academics at levels D (associated professor) and E (professor) by 2020 and 50% by 2025
  • 50% female at senior professional staff level 10+ by 2020
  • 9% low SES students in UG domestic student intake by 2020 and 15% by 2025

Initiatives to help achieve these targets include the following:

  • Two Point Co. partnership
    Having reviewed tenders from two external Indigenous consultancies, a new research project dedicated to uplifting our Indigenous undergraduate students will commence in early 2019. This will see collaboration with Two Point Co., a 100% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned consultancy, specialising in Indigenous engagement through strategy design, facilitation, community consultation and social impact assessment. As part of this partnership, a Business School sponsored research project examining the experiences of Indigenous people working in management positions across the corporate sector is to commence in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Business of Diversity Visiting Scholar Program
    The Business School is inviting up to three (3) Visiting Professors over three years to develop an impactful research agenda and disseminate research outcomes to the academic and broader business community, through the Business of Diversity (BoD) visiting scholar initiative. The aims of the award are:

    • To increase knowledge creation and exchange in the areas of EDI inclusion (as it relates to Business, students or workforce). Specifically, research and research translation that informs talent management, opportunity, constructions of merit, and social inclusion in the workplace;
    • To enhance the academic capability of the applicant/s and their School and more broadly, the Business School and UNSW;
    • To facilitate collaboration with industry and peak bodies focused on equity, diversity and inclusion in Australia and overseas, and particularly Asia.

The Business School will contribute up to $40,000 per annum per scholar for three years, with disciplinary schools expected to provide funding or in-kind support.

7.3 Summing Up

2017-2018 has been a period of extraordinary output and achievements for the Business School and our stakeholders. This report summarises our activities in each of the areas of the six principles, and cumulatively in working towards an inclusive and sustainable global economy and global social responsibility. It demonstrates our impact through critical involvement in significant and wide-reaching events such as the Royal Commission Inquiry into the Banking and Financial Services Industry in 2017-2019, in providing policy advice on ageing, financial resilience, superannuation, integrated and energy reporting, on transitioning from fossil fuels and others. Our students’ achievements, activities, academic and research strengths documented herein illustrate our commitment to developing their capabilities to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large.

The Business School’s endeavours have been guided by UNSW Strategy 2025 priorities in academic excellence through research and the educational experience, in social engagement, through emphasising a just society, in undertaking grand challenges and contributing towards knowledge exchange, and in achieving global impact through partnerships and provisions for disadvantaged and marginalised communities. We are confident in the contribution our staff, students and associates have made towards the UNSW’s goal of becoming a ‘global university and a leading research-intensive and teaching-intensive university’.

In looking forward to 2019-2020, the Business School acknowledges both our strengths and the societal and environmental challenges we face. The Financial Services Inquiry Findings have revealed that business education generally has to do more to prepare our graduates for institutional environments where compliance to rules and regulations is constrained and ethical behaviour may not be culturally entrenched. Business and economic models still operating on assumptions of economic growth have been found to be inadequate for addressing issues such as inequality. The environmental challenge of climate change demands that business plays a role in the change required to achieve not merely a just society but society’s survival.