Written report

  1. Written Report (25%)


This is the major piece of work for this course and as such, should satisfy the following criteria:



  • Demonstrate understanding of the legal/regulatory environment and relevant laws as well as economic, ethical, social/cultural, international and political issues
  • Demonstrate the ability to investigate, synthesise and analyse
  • Demonstrate understanding as to the most appropriate, efficient and effective means of managing the legal risks that arise from the circumstances
  • Clearly and convincingly communicate the findings
  • Be between 3000-4000 words




Topic: EITHER: For a selected organisation(Selected Organisation is BHP BILLITON LIMITED):


  • Summarise in about 250-500 words the characteristics/features of the organisation (you can choose a statutory/government body or select a business or not-for-profit organisation if you prefer and describe what goods/services it provides).
  • Outline any legal governance, management and relationship issues that affect the organisation as a whole (this is to link you into the lecture material) (about 250-500 words – awareness not depth is required at this stage)
  • List any general and specific legislation that is of particular importance in regulating the organisation and any relevant industry or similar bodies
  • Outline areas of high legal risk for the organisation as a whole and SELECT ONE to be the centre of your discussion and analysis
  • Explore the reasons and implications of this legal risk for the organisation both short –term and those that may arise in the long-term.
  • Identify and describe strategic options for management of this legal risk and evaluate those options in terms of cost and benefit to the organisation
  • Offer recommendations as to the most appropriate option and the rationale for those recommendations.

Example of links between points in final essay and questions, issues and need for further research




Your essay is around CSR (corporate social responsibility) and commercial responsibility of a particular company owned by the government (an SOE or State Owned Enterprise). One of the most important areas to look at is governance.

Area to discuss: the main theories of governance as they relate to such a company.

  • What are the major theories?
    • Agency
    • Stakeholder
    • Institutional
    • Resource Dependency
  • Possible References/resources (this is a long list, you might want to reduce it down)
    • Statute (Corporations Act 2001 – formation and governance generally , Competition and Consumer Act 2010 – competitive neutrality)
    • Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (2005). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidence and implications. The Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65-91. (Stakeholder Theory – what it is)
    • Fama, E., & Jensen, M. (1983). Separation of ownership and control. The Journal of Law and Economics, 26(2), 301-25. (Agency Theory, rationale and application)
    • Francis, R. (2000). Ethics and corporate governance: An Australian handbook. Sydney: University of NSW Press. (identifies and discusses the relationship of ethics (relevant to CSR) and governance in Australia)
    • Freeman, R. E., & Reed, D. L. (1983). Stockholders and stakeholders: A new perspective on corporate governance. California Management Review, 25(3), 93-94. (discusses difference between shareholder and stakeholder approaches to governance)
    • Van der Steen, P. Institutional theory. Unpublished paper. (examines and discusses institutional theory)
    • Rutherford, M. (1995). The old and new institutionalism: Can bridges be built? Journal ofEconomic Issues, 29(2), 443 (describes the different sorts of institutional theory)
    • Pfeffer, J. and Salancik, G.R. (1978). The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective. New York: Harper and Row (discussion of resource dependence theory and its application to companies/boards of directors)
  • Other questions to discuss or research:
    • How do these theories relate to governance in the particular context?
    • What critiques have been levelled at the governance practice in SOEs?
    • How does governance practice tie into CSR?


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