Social Changes and Sustainable Development

Provided by: Tilburg
Master's degree (EQF level: 7)

The course provides an overview of the most urgent global challenges for sustainable development (e.g. poverty, climate change, inequality, migration, environmental degradation, etc), illustrating how they foster social change on different levels of analysis and discusses the role organizations can play in tackling (or causing) these problems, through e.g. (sustainable) business models and digital technology.

In particular, the course will incorporate SOC and OS perspectives by:
Presenting different frameworks to analyze social change, sustainable development goals and address different aspects of current dynamics of social change ¿ (SOC)
exploring organizational interventions targeted at addressing sustainable development challenges to create social and/or environmental value ¿ (OS)

At the end of this course, students are able to:
understand, critically analyze and compare leading concepts and theories on sustainable development, social change, and (sustainable) (digital platform) business models,
understand different frameworks, levels and dimensions of social change, and how they relate and reinforce each other,
apply relevant theories and concepts to analyze global (sustainable) development challenges and formulate targeted interventions at organizational level,
identify and distinguish different types of sustainable business models and assess their sustainability,
analyze, design, and discuss the advantages and shortcomings of digital platforms for sustainable development,
communicate clearly and concisely when presenting, discussing, and reporting about sustainable development challenges and organizational interventions to tackle them.

The course is the first specialization module in the Master Specialization in Global Management of Social Issues. The course incorporates different theoretical perspectives from sociology and organization studies to promote an interdisciplinary understanding of social changes and sustainable development, and to illuminate how we can address global grand societal challenges such as economic inequality and poverty, climate change, environmental degradation, gender inequities, migration, humanitarian relief and global health needs.
The first aim of this course is to identify the most urgent global challenges for sustainable development (climate change, inequality, migration etc), but we will further put emphasis on how these problems foster social change on different levels of analysis and dimensions of change. Socio-demographic, political, economic, and technological developments worldwide are causing deep social changes and lead to new social and political challenges. Social change can be analyzed regarding 1) types of change, (2) the levels of change, (3) the time frames of change, (4) the causes of change, and (5) relationships of change to human intentions (Harper and Leicht 2015). The outcomes of social change can be yet again of different nature, as not everything that follows from social change is necessarily improving the wellbeing of people but can be distributed unequally within and across nations or globally and can cause other large-scale disruptions such as climate change and other social and environmental crises.
The most urgent environmental and social challenges have been formally recognized in the ¿2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development¿, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, which establishes 17 global ¿sustainable developments goals¿ (SDGs) that ought to be achieved by 2030. While each of the SDGs demands massive effort by the global community, none of these goals can be attained on its own without acknowledging their interconnectedness.
The second aim of the course is to offer tools to tackle sustainable development issues that not only impact the lives of some, but all humankind as well as the natural environment. We will particularly look at the role organizations can play in contributing to address sustainable development challenges and/or in minimizing their own environmental and social impact. We will first take a business model perspective and examine whether and how alternative, `sustainable¿ business models can help address diverse sustainable development challenges and create environmental and social value. The design of new business models has been fundamentally influenced by a key global technological development currently ongoing, i.e. the digitalization `wave¿. We will thus take digitalization as second perspective, to explore how organizations (can) leverage digital platforms to tackle sustainable development issues and assess the difficulties and shortcomings they may entail.
Students will adopt relevant theories and concepts to examine sustainable development challenges and formulate targeted interventions.

  • Block 1 2022/23 (from to )

    Course start date 2022-09-01
    Course end date 2022-10-21
    Language English
    Credits 6 (ECTS)
    Grading scheme: Grades will be awarded on a 10 point scale where 6 is the passing grade