Objectives of the Midterm Take-Home Assignment:
The assignment aims at analysing more in depth, and with the support of case studies or literature and experiences, some of the topics presented during the classes.
Students are expected to show they understood the core-logic laying behind the main concepts used (how they have been conceived & why), the major steps to embed sustainability in the business world, the consequences of the implementation of theory (e.g. CSR, sustainable development, etc.) at the firm’s & the society’s level, the difficulties met in the implementation process, the role of sustainability and sustainable development policies in the global society.
The assignment will aim at assessing: the students’ capacity to summarise complex logical and explanatory structures, their ability in recognizing theoretical issues in business and societal practice, in making use of specific frameworks for the interpretation of sustainability and in understanding the change process that is happening at different levels (from the global society’s level to the single company’s one)
Description of the Assignment:
The assignment is a take-home written group project with in-class oral presentation.
The students are expected to work in small groups, according to the structure of the assignment that they will propose. Each group shall be composed preferably by 3 students and in no case by more than 4 students.
A project proposal including a brief presentation of the project, a draft structure of the report, and at least one case study (if applicable) need to be submitted to the lecturer by each group of students, who can start working once it has been approved.
Each group project is expected to address a comprehensive topic presented or analysed during the classes (e.g. a framework of indicators, or a synthetic Index used to assess the sustainability of an organisation or a territory) and may focus on a single or more case studies (e.g. sustainable development and its metrics; specific sustainable development indicators; advantages in implementing corporate social responsibility for a specific organisation; corporate sustainability performance according to specific frameworks; etc. ). Some aspects of each topic should be identified and analysed under the different sections of the project (one relevant aspect for each section, with a single author). Conclusions are not to be considered mandatory, but will be appreciated if consistent with the discourse developed within the report. They may result from the merger of the considerations drawn under each of the sections and will be assessed as a part of the whole group of students’ work.
A short oral presentation based on slides and illustrating the structure of each report and its sections is to be presented as an Annex to the report, and will be presented during the classes, according to a time-schedule to be defined with the lecturer.
Structure of the Assignment:
A group project is to be delivered in the form of a report / paper. It should consist of an introduction and some specific sections, each composed by numbered paragraphs. The project should also include an executive summary, summarising the main contents of their work and to clarify what will be presented in each section.
The level of coordination of the group will be assessed globally, on the basis of the executive summary and the introduction, and the conclusions (if available). The overall logic of the work will also be assessed as part of the whole group’s work.
Format of the Assignment:
The assignment shall be written in Arial 11 point, with 1.5 lines spacing. Introduction and the conclusions should be briefed as possible.
The professor gave us 5 topics to choose one of them and I choose (Natural Step)
1) it has to deal with a framework to measure sustainability i.e. an Index, a set of indicators, a comprehensive approach to the way in in which organisations tend to work or should tend to work in order to bring to more sustainable outcomes. There are basically two topics that do not suit the purpose and namely:
a. the GRI that does provide a metrics with no clear purpose if not the one to “measure” the performance of an organisation
2) What is expected to see as a result in the paper and how it should be organised internally.
Well the paper could consist of some fundamental sections:
i) – one dealing with the purpose of the framework under inquiry, in line with the sustainable development indicator theory (or the social indicators’ history) (see the article by Boulanger): all social indicators/indices have a purpose and are based on a certain idea of what is to be achieved / what is right / etc.
the goal of the framework should be clarified.
iii) – then the purpose under i) and the functioning under ii) have to be somehow integrated: the third important section should be dealing with the way and effectiveness of the framework under analysis to achieve the declared purpose. This is a section that requires a critical approach and is highly dependent on your judgments and discussion within the group. It is also important to closely link it to the following section iv).
iv) – under this section you are expected to provide some consistent examples/case studies from real organisational experience where the framework has been applied (eg a company, a state, a local government or municipality, a business association, etc.) demonstrating satisfactorily that the framework was suitable to achieve the purpose/goal discussed under i). It is not important to have a full history of the company / organisation applying the framework but the focus should be placed on the experience of application.
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