AT7058 - Organising for Sustainability Transitions (OST)

What will I learn on this module?

This course provides you with conceptual and practical tools for analysing and evaluating collaborative arrangements for sustainability involving private and public sector organizations and civil society. Academic research and real-life examples will be studied through invited keynote speakers, business cases, role-plays and mini-research projects. You will also conduct a team-based project to launch a partnership yourself that addresses an issue of concern (e.g. litter in your neighbourhood). This learning-by-doing component of the course will allow you to experience the role of network orchestrator in governing partnerships and gain the necessary skills and capabilities in orchestration work. On-line and face-to-face project tutorials will support your learning and assignment preparation during this project.

Topics that will covered in this course include the drivers behind collaborative arrangements to address sustainability challenges, the different types of partnerships and collaborations, the different motivations of participating actors and the inherent tensions involved when collaborating with multiple actors from different societal sectors and the need to govern these tensions through network orchestration if the collaboration is to create value and facilitate private value capture.

How will I learn on this module?

While the overarching format for the course is active learning, part of this module will be theory-based, and the other part will be practice-based.

In the first 7 weeks, students will engage in active learning using the academic literature, business cases, and real-world examples of collaborative arrangements for sustainability. This module uses flipped classroom principles which requires you to read and prepare the assigned readings for lectures. The lectures are largely seminar-like discussions between the students and lecturer. Practitioners might be invited to share their experiences with the topic discussed. The tutorial hours require you to actively engage in learning activities with groups of students where you apply theoretical knowledge. Examples of such in-class exercises are role-plays, business cases and mini-research projects (e.g. coding of websites). You will present informally your group work at the end of each lecture and these exercises are part of your individual Portfolio.

In the second part of the course (from lecture 7 to lecture 12), students will collaborate in small groups to (a) identify a real-life sustainability challenge on campus, in their household/community or neighbourhood that requires collaborative action to be addressed and (b) mobilize the stakeholders into a collaboration for sustainability. In doing so, they will thus put the theories, concepts and tools on collaborative action into action. Thus, this half of the module is based on students’ practical engagement with a sustainability challenge and its stakeholder. This experiential learning will culminate in 15 minutes in-class Presentation. Reflection on your role within and contribution to this group activity and the significance of network orchestration for collaboration and achieving common goals is to be included in your individual Portfolio.

Please note that, for both parts, self-study is integral to student success. This includes preparation before and after class sessions by reading course material, doing assignments provided by the lecturers and working on group projects. Recommended and required reading and viewing will be specified in the lesson plans. Materials used will either be freely available on the internet, library or provided by your lecturers.

The format of the course is the following:

Weeks 1 - 7

Each weekly seminar period will consist of (a) teacher-led discussions on the assigned readings and (b) an in-class exercise to put the theory into practice.

Weeks 7 - 12

These weeks will involve intensive group work on launching a collaboration for sustainability. Groups will meet with course coaches on-line and face-to-face once per week in the normally scheduled timeslot to engage in designing and reflecting on their orchestration work to advance their collaboration for sustainability. In these sessions student groups will also provide updates, get feedback, resolve issues, and set weekly goals.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your learning is supported by a Teaching and Learning Plan that includes directed learning and outlines the content of weekly lectures and seminars. All readings and other supporting materials are provided through the Blackboard E-Learning portal. Your independent learning should combine deeper and broader reading in areas of particular relevance to the subject of your assignment. The weekly readings will be supplemented by guidance on further reading to facilitate this.

Lecturers will be available for student questions throughout the module (each lecturer will specify his/her availability). They will provide ongoing formative feedback in seminars, especially in relation to your understanding of conceptual and theoretical material.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?


How will I be assessed?






Module abstract

Organising for transitions necessitates a long-term focus on sustainable development and an understanding of the complexity and persistence of economic and social challenges that requires resources, skills and knowledge beyond any one organisation or firm. Grand challenges like climate change and social inequality have raised questions about the viability of established business practices leading to calls for more innovative ways of leading and managing within and across organisations and sectors. This module focuses on some of the theoretical and practical considerations for corporate sustainability and transition, including new networked models of collaboration and governance, leadership and learning for organising and managing transitions. On completing this module, you will have acquired an overview of the different collaborative arrangements in which companies participate, the drivers for their emergence, the dynamics in their establishment and governance and will have gained essential collaboration management and leadership skills that are imperative for 21st century careers.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 18 months Full-Time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location Netherlands

City Amsterdam

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy