Appropriate Research Methodology to Investigate a Topic Paper


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Word Count Requirements
The word count for this assignment is 1500 words.
The word count includes:
The word count does not include:
– Appendices. These may be used to include supporting data which may be
too detailed or complex to include as a Table. They are not a device to
incorporate material which would otherwise cause you to exceed the word
– Title page
– Contents page
– Abstract/executive summary
– Tables, figures, legends
– Reference lists
– Acknowledgements
Page 1 of 6
MAN00034M – Ethics and Sustainability Reporting
Part A – Essay – 50%
Question Part A
There is a developing view, in academic circles, among leading practitioners and
sections of the wider public, that many corporate social responsibility approaches do
not achieve a position in business that is sufficiently dominant to be transformative of
corporate behaviour and performance. This being concerned with the objective of
meeting the legitimate sustainability expectations of stakeholders.
In this context, critically discuss whether non-financial reporting initiatives such as
triple bottom line-based frameworks (e.g. TBL, GRI), Integrated Reporting (IR) or
alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contribute to businesses
legitimately connecting with the societies in which are embedded.
End of Assessment question
You must define the meaning of legitimately connecting with society in
your essay. When doing so, you also need to reflect on the breadth and scope
of businesses embeddedness. To do so, your answer should either include a
reflection on the Stakeholder Systems Model, which is advocated by Mason
and Simmons (2014), or include a reflection on the role of business purpose.
This essay should focus more on systemic sustainability issues (e.g. planetary
and ecological boundaries, biodiversity, labour standards, etc) and their
relationship with one of these reporting initiatives, not a detailed examination
of one or more of these reporting initiatives.
A consideration of relevant practitioner views is also indicated (refer to
Indicative References and Module Resources).
Indicative References (not exhaustive):
Banerjee, S. B. (2008), Necrocapitalism, Organisation Studies, 29(12): 1541–1563.
Browne, J. and Nuttall, R. (2013), Beyond corporate social responsibility: Integrated
external engagement.,
[Accessed 1 November 2019].
Browne, J., Nuttall, R. and Stadlen, T. (2015), Connect: How companies succeed by
engaging radically with society, WH Allen.
Grayson, D., Coulter, C., & Lee, M. (2018). All In: The Future of Business Leadership
(1st ed.). Routledge.
Hahn, R. (2013), ISO 26000 and the Standardisation of Strategic Management
Processes for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Journal of
Business Strategy and the Environment 22,442-455.
Haski-Leventhal, D. (2018) Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility; Tools and
Theories for Responsible management. Sage.
Page 2 of 6
Hillier, J. (2013), The Benefit Corporation and Social Responsibility, Journal of
Business Ethics 118:287-301
Mason, C. And Simmons, J. (2014), Embedding Corporate Social Responsibility in
Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Systems Approach, Journal of Business
Ethics 119:77-86.
Milne, M.J. and Gray, R. (2013), W(h)ither the Ecology? Triple Bottom Line, the
Global Reporting Initiative, and Corporate Sustainability Reporting, Journal of
Business Ethics 118:13-39.
Polman, P. (2014), Business, society and the future of capitalism, McKinsey and
Raworth, K. (2017) A doughnut for the Anthropocene: humanities compass in the
21st century.
Reinecke, J., Donaghey, J., Bocken, N. and Lauriano, L. (2019), “Business Model
and Labour Standards: Making the Connection” Ethical Trading Initiative, London.
Scherer, A. G. and Palazzo, G. (2010), The New political Role of Business in a
Globalised World: a review of a new perspective on CSR and its implications for the
firm, governance and democracy, Journal of Management Studies.
Searcy, C. Defining True Sustainability. MIT Sloan Management Review. [Online].
Available at: [Accessed 17 March 2021].
Whiteman, G. Walker, B. and Perego, P. (2013), Planetary Boundaries: Ecological
Foundations for Corporate Sustainability, Journal of Management Studies, 50:2.
Williams, A., Kennedy, S., Philipp, F., Whiteman, G., 2017. Systems thinking: A
review of sustainability management research. Journal of Cleaner Production.
Assessment Formatting Guidance:
Follow Harvard referencing system.
Include section headings and page numbers.
Follow formatting guidelines set out on Page 2.
Do not use lecture slides, Wikipedia or Investopedia (or similar) as sources.
Use simple, neutral language to express yourself. No need to use
sophisticated words.
Paragraphs should never be longer than 1 page (and even that is long). Guide
on paragraphing can be found here.
Do not use the Synonyms feature of MS Word. It is usually not providing good
Carefully proofread your assignment before submitting to avoid obvious
mistakes. Please use spell check.
Familiarise yourself with the assessment criteria attached below.
You are advised to include academic references in your assignment to
support your arguments and analysis.
Page 3 of 6
Generic criteria
Theory and
literature review
Analysis and
problem solving
Structure and
Correctness of
Module specific learning outcomes
S1 Explain, with reference to business and society
relations, how sustainable development, CSR
and stakeholder theory, set the framework for
SER in practical and theoretical terms.
S2 Critically evaluate the historical development of
the different techniques developed and used to
measure and audit social and environmental
S3 Explain the origins and development of SER in
theory and in practice, in particular in the context
of globalisation.
S4 Evaluate the market-related and socially-related
arguments in favour of SER, and the impact of
SER on corporate performance, with
interpretation from practical cases.
S5 Evaluate the relationship between SER and
financial reporting, and investigate investors’ and
other stakeholders’ responses to SER.
S6 Evaluate the role of regulation in SER.
Comments on assessment criteria
Suggestions for
Page 4 of 6
Generic Assessment Marking Criteria
You will be marked according to five criteria:
? Quality of Presentation
? Understanding and use of Theory
? Quality of Analysis
? Structure and Argument
? Conclusions
The examiners will be looking for the following elements for each of these criteria.
? All material is thoroughly and correctly referenced.
? Citations are given in the Harvard format, unless specifically specified otherwise in the
assignment brief.
? Direct quotations from sources are referenced with page numbers.
? Appropriate use has been made of tables, diagrams, graphs and pictures.
? The use of formatting (line spacing, font, justified margins etc.) is consistent throughout.
? The text is clear and readable, without typographic errors and spelling mistakes.
? The assignment is within the maximum word length suggested.
? The bibliography contains only the works cited in the assignment, is presented in author
alphabetical order and is complete, accurate, and consistently formatted.
? Evidence of wider reading i.e. not relying on a textbook or single text source, but
engaging with specialist texts, journal articles and reports.
? A demonstration of an understanding and awareness of a range of theoretical positions
or technical options.
? The ability to place a particular text’s argument within a range of positions evident in the
literature and to recognise its strengths and limitations as an explanatory framework.
? Direct quotes, paraphrasing or other evidence of active engagement with theory and/or
technique is apparent throughout the assignment.
? The assignment demonstrates an ability to understand different perspectives i.e. the
student can evaluate different options, engage critically with theory and practice and can
justify their analysis above other available solutions or viewpoints.
? The analysis results from the use of judgement and discernment in selecting theory and
applying it to the situation or problem.
? The selection of techniques and viewpoints are justified by the problem or issue outlined.
? Reflection and observation are integrated in the analysis in an appropriate way i.e. a
supported argument illustrated with observation rather than a statement of opinion.
Page 5 of 6
Structure and Argument
? An essay assignment will normally include an introduction, several sub-titled sections in
the main body, a conclusion and a bibliography. Alternative formats may be specified by
the assignment brief and, if so, have been used.
? A coherent argument is evident, which clearly links the different elements of the
assignment together and leads the reader through to a justifiable conclusion.
? The argument is logically constructed with each section building on the insights of
preceding sections i.e. different perspectives are not simply thrown together without an
understanding of how they contribute to the overall argument presented.
? Theory is integrated into the analytical and/or practical elements of the assignment
where appropriate
? Meaning is not obscured by poor grammar, paragraph or sentence construction.
? The conclusion summarises the whole of the assignment and not just the analysis i.e.
conclusions relate questions posed, adequacy of the theory, empirical issues explored and
reflect on the student’s approach to the work.
? The conclusions refer to the argument presented to that point and do not introduce new
ideas or arguments “at the last moment”.
? The conclusion demonstrates the ability of the student to justify their theoretical and
analytical approach.
? Conclusions have been drawn and follow, and are justified by, the analysis in the main
body of the assignment. Where required, practical recommendations are feasible and
follow on from the conclusions, addressing the issues identified.
Page 6 of 6

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Appropriate Research Methodology

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