ELS-59206 Responsible Learning Organization for Sustainability


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work2
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. R Wesselink
Lecturer(s)dr. R Wesselink
dr. V Blok
Examiner(s)dr. R Wesselink
dr. V Blok

Language of instruction:



The world is changing quickly and so are the challenges tomorrow's entrepreneurs and business professionals face. One of these challenges is that a company's license to operate is no longer seen in terms of maximizing economic profits alone. Increasing social and environmental pressures provide opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship and the development of more responsible and sustainable businesses. To prepare future entrepreneurs and business professionals for this challenge, the way (new) businesses can deal with the necessary changes are explored from the points of human and social capital. Changes largely dependent on human efforts; identifying new opportunities and realising sustainability goals are better possible with the right people (with regard to their qualities) supported by the right environment (learning organisation). Managing and developing those (organisational) capacities is key. To address these issues, in this interdisciplinary course a multilevel perspective on organisational learning is taken;
-    the individual level; competencies for sustainability and sustainable leadership.
-    the team level; dynamics within teams and teams as accelerators of ideas/venture creation.
-    the organisational level; embedding intra/entrepreneurship within organisation and the development of responsible learning organisation.
Recent research on four specific topics which impact these levels will be discussed: 1) opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship, 2) changing existing businesses into sustainable businesses 3) ethical business dilemma's concerning the balancing of economic, socio-cultural and environmental interests. and 4) the collaboration between business and governments, NGO's and civil society (i.e., collaboration with stakeholders, cross-sector partnerships, etc.).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- analyse and apply theories, concepts and models with regard to individual learning, team learning and responsible learning organisation;
- analyse and apply theories, concepts and models with regard to sustainability recognizing the ethical dilemma's concerning balancing economic, socio-cultural and environmental interests;
- identify, based on theoretical underpinnings, how to improve organisational sustainability performance; analysing the role of individuals, teams and their managers in organization that work on sustainability;
- construct an advisory report for a (real) organisation in the agro-food/life sciences, on the crossroads of responsible learning organisations and sustainability;
- reflect on the content of their advisory report in a discussion with peers and teachers.


- (guest) lectures;
- discussion groups;
- self-study
- literature study
- guided group work to develop an advisory report.


- advisory report developed in small groups (50%);
- individual written open book exam (50%);
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.50.


The study guide and scientific papers will be offered online through Brightspace.