Business and Sustainability


10. Assessment Briefs

The assessment for this module consists of two components.

  Assessment 1 Assessment 2
Type Essay Plan / Draft Essay
Length No more than 1500 words 2250 words (+/- 10%)
Weighting 10% 90%
Deadline Friday 8March 2019 Friday 12March 2019
Return date Friday 22 April 2019 Thursday 16April 2019

10.1.  Assessment 1: Draft Essay Plan (10%)

You are advised to submit a draft outline of your essay by Friday 8th March 2019. Note this is not compulsory but we strongly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity in order to allow you to receive feedback and improve your work before submitting the final version. Also, 10% of the mark for your final assessment is allocated to this task based on your reflection to the feedback received (see further details in section 10.2).

The reason we have built this into the module programme is twofold. Firstly, research consisting shows that feedback is one of the most important drivers for learning and improving.[1] Secondly, feedback is often perceived as a product that typically comes at the end of learning (along with a final grade). We therefore want to introduce an opportunity earlier on in the module to check your understanding of the assessment task, what you have learnt during the module (as it applies to the essay), and help you reflect on your ideas in a constructive and supportive way (in the sense that you will not receive a grade).

Again, this is entirely voluntary but you are strongly advised to take advantage of this opportunity as we cannot guarantee we will be able to accommodate everyone with queries about the essay during our office hours nearer the final assessment deadline. Note, however, that the lecture in week 27 is set aside to provide support on the assessment thereby giving you another opportunity to ask questions about the task (but as this is a lecture, you will not be able to receive feedback on specific ideas or a written piece of work).

The draft is essentially a plan of your essay. It outlines the main parts (i.e. its overarching structure) and a summary of its contents (i.e. your ideas / points) for each part. Most of you already do this when working on an assessment (such as an essay or presentation) where you plan out each section and what you want to say beforehand. You can, if you wish, provide a full written draft (i.e. as you would for your final assessment) but note the word limit is 1500, so we would only read up to 1500 words.

Your submission must meet the following requirements.

  • Submit your essay plan to Turnitin under the folder called “Assessment 1: Essay Plan” by 11.59pm on Friday 8th March 2019. Note that only online submissions will be accepted.
  • The word limit is 1500 words maximum.
  • You must not include your name anywhere in the document, as we mark your work anonymously.
  • You must include on the front pageyour P number, module title and code, and the essay you have chosen. Also include your P number in the file name.
  • Make sure you keep the submission email receipt as proof that you have submitted.
  • Both Microsoft Word and PDF files are acceptable.

10.2.  Assessment 2: Essay (90%)

You are required to answer one of the following questions. 

Note that 10% of the mark is allocated to the inclusion of a personal commentary (maximum 600 words) on how you used the feedback on your essay plan submitted for Assessment 1. You are free to write this in first person as you are reflecting on (a) whether you found the feedback useful or not and why, and (b) summarise the feedback you were given and how you acted on it (e.g. did you make the suggested changes or not, and why). Please include this at the beginning of your essay, after the title page.

If you did not submit a draft essay plan, you can still write a commentary (thus you are not excluded from the 10% allocated to this task), reflecting on why you were not able to submit a plan, the implications of not doing so, and what you did to mitigate and address this. Again, the commentary should be no more than 600 words.

Your submission must meet the following requirements.

  • Submit your essay to Turnitin under the folder named “Assessment 2: Essay” by 11.59pm on Friday 12th March 2019. Note that only online submissions will be accepted.
  • The word limit is 2250 (+/- 10%).
  • You must not include your name anywhere in the document as we mark your work anonymously.
  • The front page must include your, module title and code, and the essay you have chosen.
  • Use Arial font size 11 or 12 and at least 1.15 line spacing.
  • The title page, reflective commentary, and list of references are not included in the word count.
  • Make sure you keep the submission email receipt as proof that you have submitted.
  • Both Microsoft Word and PDF files are acceptable.
  • For citation of references, you are required to use the Faculty of Business and Law Harvard referencing system (available here)

10.3.  Marking

The essay will be marked according to criteria for each question (see below). This takes into account, and aligns with, DMU’s undergraduate marking descriptors (available here). For more information about what each criteria entails please refer to Appendix C, D and E. Note that the lecture in Weeks 21 and 27 will look at the assessment task, including marking criteria, in more depth.

Marking Criteria Question 1.

In 1970 Milton Friedman famously argued that “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”. Critically assess the extent to which this view is still relevant today. Use real-life business examples to illustrate your points

1 Outline of Milton Friedman’s perspective 30%
2 Critical analysis of Milton Friedman’s perspective i.e. is it still relevant today 40%
3 Use of business examples / practices to illustrate points 15%
4 Personal commentary on feedback received from draft essay plan 10%
5 Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation 5%


Marking Criteria Question 2.

Compare the shared value and ethical perspectives of sustainability and assess the extent to which either offers a suitable lens through which to view Unilever’s approach to sustainability.

1 Outline of the shared value and ethical perspectives of corporate sustainability 30%
2 Brief/succinct overview of Unilever and their approach to sustainability 15%
3 Critical analysis of Unilever’s approach to sustainability vis-à-vis shared value and ethical perspectives of corporate sustainability 40%
4 Personal commentary on feedback received from draft essay plan 10%
5 Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation 5%

Marking Criteria Question 3.

Focus on one of the Sustainable Development Goals and analyse (a) the role that companies should take towards this goal, and (b) what companies are doing to address and contribute towards this goal. Use real-life business examples to illustrate your points.

1 Overview / outline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 25%
2 Discussion of the role that companies should adopt towards one SDG 30%
3 Analysis of whether / how companies are contributing towards one SDG 30%
4 Personal commentary on feedback received from draft essay plan 10%
5 Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation 5%

 


Appendix C: Essay 1 Marking Criteria (Milton Friedman)

Grade   Marking
criteria
criteria  
Distinction Merit Pass Fail
80-100% Excellent – Outstanding 70-79% Very Good – Excellent 60-69% Good – Very Good 50-59% Satisfactory – Good 40-50% Poor – Satisfactory <40% Unsatisfactory
Outline of Milton Friedman’s perspective (30%) Demonstrates outstanding knowledge / understanding of Friedman. Exceptional positioning of his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Uses a wide range of high-quality sources, most of which go beyond those provided in class. Demonstrates excellent knowledge / understanding of Friedman. Effectively places his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context/academic field. Uses a wide range of high-quality sources, many of which go beyond those provided in class. Demonstrates very good knowledge / understanding of Friedman. Good placement of his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Very few errors made. Uses a range of sources which go beyond those provided in class but some not of high-quality.   Demonstrates good knowledge / understanding of Friedman but some errors present. Reasonable placement of his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field but some detail lacking. Uses a range of sources, some of which go beyond those provided in class, but many not of high-quality. Demonstrates a basic knowledge / understanding of Friedman. A number of errors made. Weak positioning of his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Uses a limited number and range of sources, most not of high-quality, and/or mainly relying on those provided in class only. Demonstrates unsatisfactory knowledge / understanding of Friedman. A significant number of errors made. Little or no attempt to place his argument within the broader corporate sustainability context/academic field. Inadequate number, range and quality of sources (e.g. textbooks only and source materials not cited).
Critical analysis of Milton Friedman’s perspective i.e. is it still relevant today (40%) Outstanding analysis of Friedman. Exceptional use of corporate sustainability theories, business examples/practices, and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Significant originality displayed. Excellent analysis of Friedman. Very good use of corporate sustainability theories, business examples / practices, and/or academic literature/research to explore and evidence points. Some originality displayed. Very good analysis of Friedman. Good use of corporate sustainability theories, business examples / practices, and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but some aspects lacking in detail (e.g. research/theories not discussed or applied fully). Reasonably good analysis of Friedman. Attempts to use corporate sustainability theories, business examples / practices, and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but large sections lack detail/clarity and often descriptive. Satisfactory analysis of Friedman. Clear attempt to use corporate sustainability theories, business examples / practices, and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but application is weak and predominantly descriptive. Unsatisfactory analysis of Friedman. Little or no attempt to use corporate sustainability theories, business examples / practices, and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. A descriptive account of Friedman only.
Business examples/practices to illustrate points (15%) Outstanding selection / use of business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points. Excellent selection / use of business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points. Very good use of business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points. Some minor inaccuracies / lack of clarity (e.g. selection of examples not suitable). Good attempt to use business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points but often not fully applied and/or suitable. Satisfactory use of business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points but most are not suitable or applied fully. Limited or no use of business examples / practices to illustrate and evidence points.
Draft essay plan personal commentary (10%, max. 600 words) Outstanding level of critical reflection. Outlines clearly  if / how / why feedback was useful and acted on. Excellent level of critical reflection demonstrated. Effectively outlines if / how / why feedback was useful and acted on. Very good level of critical reflection. Good outline of if / how / why feedback was useful and acted on but some parts lack detail (e.g. partial explanation for if/how recommendations were addressed). Good critical reflection demonstrated. Outlines some aspects of if / how / why feedback was useful and acted on but generally lacks detail. Some critical reflection displayed. Limited discussion of if / how / why feedback was useful and acted on. Very little critical reflection demonstrated and/or no personal commentary provided.
Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation (5%) Outstanding structure, coherence, clarity and presentation. The essay flows seamlessly. Contains no spelling or grammatical errors. Excellent structure, coherence, clarity and presentation. The essay flows almost seamlessly. Contains very few spelling or grammatical errors. Very good structure, coherence, clarity and presentation. The essay flows well with only a few points lacking in clarity. Contains some spelling or grammatical errors. Good structure, coherence, clarity and presentation. The essay flows reasonably well but some parts lack clarity / feels disjointed. Contains many spelling or grammatical errors. Satisfactory structure, coherence, clarity and presentation. The essay feels disjointed in places and large parts lack clarity. Contains a significant number of spelling and/or grammatical errors. Unsatisfactory structure, presentation, clarity and presentation. The essay is disjointed, lacks clarity, and arguments are difficult to follow. Spelling and grammatical errors present throughout.

Appendix D. Essay 2 Marking Criteria (Unilever)

Grade   Marking
criteria
criteria  
Distinction Merit Pass Fail
80-100% Excellent – Outstanding 70-79% Very Good – Excellent 60-69% Good – Very Good 50-59% Satisfactory – Good 40-50% Poor – Satisfactory <40% Unsatisfactory
Outline of the shared value and ethical perspectives of corporate sustainability (30%) Demonstrates outstanding knowledge / understanding of shared value / ethical perspectives. Exceptional positioning of both within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Uses a wide range of high-quality sources, most of which go beyond those provided in class. Demonstrates excellent knowledge / understanding of shared value/ethical perspectives. Effectively places both within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Uses a wide range of high-quality sources, many of which go beyond those provided in class Demonstrates very good knowledge / understanding of shared value / ethical perspectives. Good placement of both within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Very few errors made. Uses a range of sources which go beyond those provided in class but some not of high-quality Demonstrates good knowledge / understanding of shared value/ethical perspectives but some errors present. Reasonably good placement of both within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field but some detail lacking. Uses a range of sources, some of which go beyond those provided in class, but many not of high-quality. Demonstrates basic knowledge / understanding of shared value and ethical perspectives. A number of errors made. Weak positioning of both within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Uses a limited number and range of sources, most not of high-quality, and/or mainly relying on those provided in class. Demonstrates unsatisfactory knowledge / understanding of shared value and ethical perspectives. A significant number of errors made. Little or no attempt to place these within the broader corporate sustainability context / academic field. Inadequate number, range and quality of sources (e.g. textbooks only and source materials not cited).
Brief / succinct overview of Unilever and their approach to sustainability (15%) Outstanding overview of Unilever and sustainability approach. All relevant information identified and clearly outlined (i.e. provides the context necessary for the critical analysis discussion). Excellent overview of Unilever and sustainability approach. Relevant information effectively identified and outlined. Very good overview of Unilever and sustainability approach. Most key areas identified / discussed but some relevant information missing and/or not relevant. Good overview of Unilever and sustainability approach but some key information missing and/or not relevant. Satisfactory overview of Unilever and sustainability approach. Some information provided but predominantly not relevant. Unsatisfactory overview of Unilever and sustainability approach. Limited or no information provided and/or not relevant (i.e. does not provide the context necessary for the critical analysis discussion).
Critical analysis of Unilever’s approach to sustainability vis-à-vis shared value and ethical perspectives (40%) Outstanding analysis of Unilever’s sustainability approach. Exceptional application of shared value / ethical perspectives as well as academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Significant originality displayed. Excellent analysis of Unilever’s sustainability approach. Very good application of shared value / ethical perspectives as well as academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Some originality displayed. Good application of the shared value / ethical perspectives as well as academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but some aspects lacking in detail (e.g. theories / research not discussed or applied fully). Reasonably good analysis of Unilever’s sustainability approach. Attempts to apply shared value / ethical perspectives but some sections lack detail / clarity, and/or are often descriptive, and/or poor use of academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Satisfactory analysis of Unilever’s sustainability approach. Some attempt to use shared value / ethical perspectives but application is weak, predominantly descriptive, and/or poor or little use of academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Unsatisfactory analysis of Unilever’s sustainability approach. Little or no attempt to apply the shared value / ethical perspectives, and/or is purely descriptive, and/or limited or no use of academic literature / research to explore and evidence points.
Draft essay plan personal commentary (10%, max. 600 words) See Essay 1
Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation (5%) See Essay 1

Appendix E. Essay 3 Marking Criteria (Sustainable Development Goals / SDGs)

Grade   Marking
criteria
criteria  
Distinction Merit Pass Fail
80-100% Excellent – Outstanding 70-79% Very Good – Excellent 60-69% Good – Very Good 50-59% Satisfactory – Good 40-50% Poor – Satisfactory <40% Unsatisfactory
Overview / outline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (25%) Demonstrates outstanding knowledge / understanding of the SDGs. All relevant information identified and clearly outlined (i.e. provides the context necessary for the critical analysis discussion). Exceptional positioning of the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field. Demonstrates excellent knowledge / understanding of the SDGs. Relevant information identified and outlined. Effectively places the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field. Demonstrates very good knowledge / understanding of the SDGs. Key information is mostly identified / discussed. Good placement of the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field and but some detail lacking. Demonstrates good knowledge / understanding of the SDGs but some key information missing and/or not relevant. Reasonable placement of the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field but lack of clarity in places. Demonstrates basic knowledge / understanding of the SDGs. Some information provided but predominantly not relevant. A number of errors made. Weak positioning of the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field. Demonstrates unsatisfactory knowledge / understanding of the SDGs. Little or no information provided and/or not relevant (i.e. does not provide the context necessary for the critical analysis discussion). Limited little or no attempt to place the SDGs within the corporate sustainability context / academic field.
Discussion of the role that companies should adopt towards one SDG (30%) Outstanding discussion / outline of the debate about the role companies should adopt. A wide range of high-quality sources used. Excellent outline / justification for choice of SDG. Excellent discussion / outline of the debate about the role companies should adopt. A number of high-quality sources used. Very good outline / justification for choice of SDG. Very good discussion / outline of the debate about the role companies should adopt. A range of sources used but some not of high-quality. Good outline / justification for choice of SDG but some detail lacking in outline and/or reasoning. Reasonably good discussion / outline of the debate about the role companies should adopt but some detail / clarity lacking. A range of sources used but many not of high-quality. Clear attempt to focus on one SDG but outline / reasoning is fairly weak and/or not fully justified. Satisfactory discussion / outline of the debate about the role companies should adopt but large parts lack detail / clarity. Limited number, range and quality of sources used. Outline / reasoning for choice of SDG is generally weak and/or not fully justified. Little or no attempt to discuss / outline the debate about the role companies should adopt, and/or discussion lacks support / evidence (i.e. personal opinion). Uses an inadequate number, range and quality of sources (e.g. textbooks only and source materials not cited). Little or no outline / justification for choice of SDG and/or focuses on more than one SDG.
Analysis of whether / how companies are contributing towards one SDG (30%) Outstanding analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Exceptional use company examples and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Significant originality displayed Excellent analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Very good use of company examples / practices and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Some originality displayed. Very good analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Good use of company examples / practices and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but some aspects lacking in detail (e.g. research / business examples not applied fully or suitable / justified). Good analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Clear attempt to use company examples / practices and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but large sections lack detail and/or clarity and/or is often descriptive. Satisfactory analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Some attempt to use company examples / practices and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points but application is predominantly weak (e.g. research / business examples are not applied fully or suitable / justified). Unsatisfactory analysis of business practice vis-à-vis one SDG. Little or no attempt to use business examples / practices and/or academic literature / research to explore and evidence points. Focuses on a different SDG from that when discussing the debate about the role that companies should adopt (towards one SDG).
Draft essay plan personal commentary (10%, max. 600 words) See Essay 1
Structure, coherence, clarity and presentation (5%) See Essay 1

[1] Biggs, J. and Tang, C. 2011. Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4th ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

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