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Tackling Global Challenges and Developing an Ethical Perspective

Module description

This module introduces the cohort to the thinking, tools, and culture of the Exeter MBA. It is designed to build an understanding of our global challenges and the risks they pose to business and society. It will provide an overview of progressive business thinking and frameworks that offer a path to build business resilience.  The module is delivered by a number of contributors made up of faculty and external partners with the aim of introducing a diversity of perspectives and ideas. 

Internationalisation: The module uses a wide-angle lens to explore our interconnected global challenges and emerging solutions.

Employability: As way of introduction to the latest thought leadership this module gives the cohort access to the latest language, thinking, frameworks, and tools, all in the context of global risks.

Sustainability: The module explores ‘sustainability’ from the point of view of both risks and business opportunities, as a driver of new forms of value creation.

External Engagement: Guest contributors from organisations such as: The Met Office, Oxfam, and IBM.

Ethics: This module will introduce students to the study of ethics and encourage a critical application of ethical principles to the assessment of actions we take when leading change in the face of our global challenges.

Research in Teaching: This module will draw on the expertise of both faculty and guest contributors and their relevant research. It will also lean on current institutional research such as the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report series. It will also encourage curiosity in the cohort and shine a light on possible areas for further individual research. 

Full module specification

Module title:Tackling Global Challenges and Developing an Ethical Perspective
Module code:MBAM954
Module level:M
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Stuart Robinson - Lecturer
Module credit:10
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:

5 days (and study over 10 weeks)

Module aims

The module aims to: (1) Explore the global challenges and the risks they pose (2) Provide an overview of ethical perspectives, progressive business thinking and frameworks that are relevant when addressing these challenges (3) Introduce the cultural setting of the Exeter MBA to the cohort in order to build a strong team and learning environment (4) Provide the foundations for good work processes and the creation of high quality output.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a clear understanding of global challenges and risks they pose to business.
  • 2. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the complex and interconnected global context that business operates within.
  • 3. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the characteristics of emerging business models such as the sharing economy, the circular economy and the performance economy and their potential to disrupt firms and industries.
  • 4. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the ethical implications of managing change, and the ethical responsibilities of leaders and managers relating to change.
  • 5. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the relationship between specific global challenges and the individual student’s MBA journey in all its different aspects.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how our global challenges affect ‘business as usual’.
  • 7. Apply theoretical concepts and arguments to the analysis of empirical case studies.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Demonstrate individual research skills and undertake independent learning.
  • 9. Develop capacity to participate in classroom discussion and debate.
  • 10. Develop capacity to work in multicultural and multidisciplinary teams.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities 28Lectures, seminars, workshops
Guided Independent Study72Reading, research, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshop exercises, presentations, and discussionsIn class (Approximately per day = 60 minutes)1-5, 7Oral feedback
Draft Assignment (individual) – to give students early insight into programme requirements for assignment preparation3000 words1-7Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Assignment (individual)1003000 words1-7Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Assignment (individual)Individual assignment 3,000 words1-7Four weeks after briefing

Re-assessment notes

The new assignment will have a brief which contains a different emphasis to the initial assignment.

Syllabus plan

The 5-day module critically explores the global challenges and the risks they pose to business. These are broken down into categories as typically used by the World Economic Forum. Through a variety of contributors, the ‘challenges’ are explored and the risks they pose to business and society are discussed. This is complemented with an introduction to ethical perspectives that have a wider relevance to students’ MBA education. The ideas around such terms as; the sharing economy, sustainability, circular economy, purposeful innovation, and business model innovation are highlighted and discussed. The module deliberately uses a broad approach in order to form contextual understanding within the cohort. The module also has space set aside to coach the cohort on how to effectively communicate their perspectives and ideas, something that is also built into the formative assignment.  

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Mason, P. 2016. Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future. London: Penguin Books.

Zolli, A., and Healy, A.M. 2012. Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. London: Headline Publishing Group.

Crane, A. and Matten, D (2004) Business Ethics: a European Perspective, Oxford, OUP.

Fisher, C. and Lovell, A. (2009) Business Ethics and Values: Individual Corporate and International Perspectives. Pearson.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 2015. Towards a Circular Economy Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition.


World Economic Forum. 2016. Global Risks Report 2016.


World Economic Forum. 2016. Global Agenda Council on Risk & Resilience:

Resilience Insights.


WWF. 2014. Living Planet Report

Origin date


Last revision date