Business for Social Impact and Sustainable Development

Course title

Business for Social Impact and Sustainable Development

Course summary

The post-pandemic world is reinforcing calls for a renewed ‘social contract’ between business and society, with stronger demands on (business) organizations for responsibility, accountability, purpose, and social impact from a diverse and increasingly complex range of stakeholders.


Effective leaders in the private, public, and non-profit sectors will need to navigate a new set of intra- and inter-organizational relations and tensions. They have to respond to novel societal challenges, and embrace new ways of organizing to deliver on their value proposition. This includes the emergence of innovative organizational forms and institutional arrangements, such as in cross-sector collaboration.


This module will explore the changing understandings of socially responsible, sustainable, and impact-driven (business) organizations as well as the management strategies and managerial skillset essential to successfully lead towards social impact and sustainable development.


Content overview

In this module, we will cover different levels of analysis that will help you to develop deep(er) insights into a broad range of topics linked to social impact and sustainable development.


  1. Managers in organizations: Leading your organization informed by new ways of thinking about responsibility, accountability, purpose, social impact, and sustainable business development
  • Responsibility and accountability for social and societal consequences of management (across all sectors)
  • Identify institutional ‘logics for action’ that underpin managerial, organizational, and sectoral understandings of innovation and (social) impact
  • Managing upwards: Develop an in-depth understanding of board-level concerns with leading for impact – and approaches on how to successfully navigate them
  • Opportunities for ‘cultural’ and ‘institutional entrepreneurship’


  1. Organizations and organizational forms: Developing and extending your understanding of processes of social value creation, capture, and distribution across different organizational forms
  • Learn about new organizational forms and business models for social innovation and sustainable business development
  • Explore approaches to managing and scaling ‘hybrid’ and purpose-driven organizational forms, such as in social enterprises
  • Discover the multiple frameworks available for measuring organizational-level social impact
  • Examine the emerging global market for ‘impact investing’


  1. Organizations in institutional environments: Analyzing your organization’s embeddedness in global and field-level institutional environments
  • Conceptualize markets and industries as ‘fields’, and position your organization within these
  • Map relationships and network-structures
  • Understand macro-level influences on both fields and organizations, including mechanisms of ‘glocalization’
  • Explore issues of field-level governance


  1. Inter-organizational and cross-sector collaboration: Identifying templates for building inter-organizational and/or cross-sector collaboration to maximize social impact and sustainable development of your organization
  • Cultivate institutional infrastructure for inter-organizational and/or cross-sector collaboration, including via digital platforms
  • Explore how to successfully navigate institutional plurality and complexity in inter-organizational and/or cross-sector collaboration
  • Sustain collaborative efforts to secure social and institutional change, including ‘robust action’ and resilience


Whilst AGSM will endeavour to time sessions to suit the majority of continents where possible, we realise this may not work for every participant and our synchronous sessions will be recorded for those who have challenges with time zones.