Pressures on organisations to pursue ethical operations and environmental management

Individual Research Report (2,000 words) You are required to produce a report which demonstrates a critical understanding of pressures on organisations to pursue ethical operations and environmental management practices in ONE of the following industry sectors:


 Agriculture

 Beverages

 Public Transport

 Health

 Telecommunications

Your report must provide:

·  Evidence of the extent to which organisations in the industry sector researched are pursuing sustainable and ethical business practice in response to regulatory/government policy and stakeholder pressures (LO1, LO6);

·  Evidence of good practice on how organisations are striving to manage emissions to air, land and water in line with the requirement of an Environmental Management Accreditation System or Standard (such as ISO 14000) (LO4);

·  Overall conclusions that reflect on the progress evidenced in the report, current challenges and issues faced in the sector, key lessons learned and recommendations emerging from discussions within the report (LO5).

Although you are asked to choose only one industry sector, you are encouraged to research several organisations / workplace contexts (two – three maximum) in order to compare and contrast how organisations within this sector tackle the above topic areas.

Your report should provide a critical discussion of academic literature as well as applied examples to demonstrate you have fully researched the issues. To pass the report it is critical to underpin your discussion with reference sources from academically accepted references (sourced through the library, Google Scholar or a similar acceptable site) however, you may also use evidence of company practices from organisational websites (fully referenced using Harvard conventions).

Report layout: a formal report structure should be employed with academic referencing used throughout as well as in the provision of a reference page, complying fully with the Harvard Referencing system.

The report must include a completed and signed (typed signature will suffice) Self- Declaration Plagiarism Checklist form positioned at the back of your report, behind the ‘Reference page’, as an appendix. Failure to submit this will result in a FAIL. (please see Appendix A).

Use the ‘spell-checker’ facility and read through once again, your draft (to ensure that your work makes sense) before submitting your draft to the ‘DRAFTS’ link on the Turn-it-in’ site, to guard against inadvertent plagiarism.

  1. (iii)  Include the word count on the front page (as well as providing standard front cover details).
  2. (iv)  Provide an executive summary; this ‘summarises’ the main sections / findings of the report. (Take care to avoid providing an introduction of what the report sets out to do, or an overview of what the report entails (for further guidance on the differences between and introduction and an executive summary, please read further guidance offered within the coursework 2 remit in the section below).
  3. (v)  Submit your 2,000-word report with the references pages immediately positioned after the report, followed by appendices, including the Self- Declaration Checklist form.
  4. (vi)  Submit ONLY an electronic copy (via Turn-It-In) by the following deadline

Further Guidance on both Coursework Assignments 1 and 2:

Structure: the standard format for formal reports applies; at an elementary level the report should encompass an executive summary; contents page and sections containing an introduction, main body (which should be further broken down into subsections according to the report remit); and a conclusion and recommendations section. The word count should also be commensurate with the weighting attributed to each section and within the established coursework word-count remit (+/- 10%).

Executive Summary: an executive summary is NOT the same as an introduction. They serve different purposes within a formal report. An executive summary is an abbreviated version of the whole report and provides a concise summary of the main points written within the report. It should cover the report’s main discussion and key findings, conclusions and if appropriate, recommendations. It may be written in the ‘past tense’ (e.g. Findings highlighted that ….). Although it is the last piece of the report to be written, the executive summary is the first item that the reader should see and is positioned before the contents page.

Further information is available on what constitutes an executive summary and it is advised that students take heed of the

guidance offered on how to construct an executive summary and what should be considered within a report introduction and conclusion section.

Critical rigour required: You should undertake a keyword academic literature search for research on the application of the approach within the sector you are studying.

You should not spend too much time describing frameworks or theories you choose to use. While you must be explicit about the frameworks you are using, and must cite them appropriately, you can assume that your marker is familiar with them.

What the marker is looking for is evidence of your understanding through critical discussion of theory and application of sectoral examples to underpin arguments conveyed.

In order to ‘critically assess’, you should critically reflect on any weaknesses in the evidence reviewed, including its currency (e.g. given the date of the article, are the findings still fully applicable today?), identify any research gaps, and consider the challenges as well as the benefits of deploying the management approach in the sector you are discussing in terms of contributing to the achievement of sustainable and ethical business excellence given the increasing external pressures faced.

Conclusions and recommendations section: this should summarise evidence presented in both sections of how successfully the management challenges are being addressed or the techniques are being applied. Recommendations should (a) provide advice to organisations in the sector as to how best they can successfully implement the approach to achieve the benefits and avoid any implementation challenges; and (b) suggest further research that needs to be undertaken to address gaps in academic knowledge in relation to the issues researched in the sector studied.

Supplementary reading

  1. Aldag, R.J. and Kuzuhara, L.W. (2015), Creating High Performance Teams; Applied Strategies for Managers and Team Members, Oxon: Routledge.

Benn, S., Dunphy, D. and Griffiths, A. (2014), Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability, 3rd Edition, Oxon: Routledge.

Chatfield, T. (2021), How to Think: Your Essential Guide to Clear, Critical Thought, London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Chatfield, T. (2020), Think Critically, London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Chatfield, T. (2020), Think Critically (Super Quick Skills), London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Evans, J.R. (2014), Quality & Performance Excellence; Management, Organization and Strategy, 8th Edition, Cengage Learning, USA: Boston.

Halliday, S. (2019), Sustainable Construction, 2nd Edition, Routledge: Oxon. Johnston, R., Clark, G. and Shulver, M. (2012) Service Operations management;

Improving Service Delivery, 4rd Ed, Essex: Pearson Education Ltd
Laasch, O. (2022), Principles of Management; Practicing Ethics, Responsibility,

Sustainability, 2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Oakland, J. S. (2014), Total Quality Management and Operational Excellence: text

with cases, Oxon: Routledge.
Slack, N., Brandon-Jones, A. and Johnston, R. (2016), Operations Management 8th

Edition, Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. [available as Ebook]
Slack, N., and Brandon-Jones, A. (2019), Operations Management 9th Edition,

Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. [available as Ebook]
Wick,A.C., Freeman,R.E., Werhane,P.H., and Martin, K.E.(2010), Business Ethics; A

Managerial Approach, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Verma, R. and Boyer, K.K. (2010), Operations & Supply Chain Management: World

Class Theory and Practice, International Edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning.

Relevant Journals:

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Management
European Business Review
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management International Journal of Healthcare Quality Assurance

International Journal for Quality in Health Care
International Journal of Operations and Production Management International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management International Journal of Supply and Operations Management Journal of Business Ethics
Journal of Operations Management
Managing Service Quality
Measuring Business Excellence
Operations Management Research
The Service Industries Journal
Total Quality Management and Business Excellence

Recommended Web Sources:

European Organisation for Quality: ; http://www.european-

Chartered Management Institute, British Quality Foundation,

Chartered Management Institute,

International Organization for Standardization,

Ethics Resource Centre,

Improvement Service (Scottish local government),

Office of Government Commerce,
European Foundation for Quality Management, Quality Management Systems,
Quality Scotland,
Six Sigma,

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