BUSM3011 Managing in Ambiguity and Change

Bachelor Course Unit

BUSM3011 Managing in Ambiguity and Change

Level: 3rd year

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: none

Unit description

Conditions of ambiguity and change create tensions at a personal level and group level. For the manager who must lead under such conditions there is the need to develop awareness of the psychological impacts and uncertain conditions and then develop the thinking skills needed to counter those impacts.

The overall focus Managing in ambiguity and change is the development and application of critical thinking skills to examining complex issues and decision making. A key aspect of this is the self management required of the manager/leader: being aware of and managing psychological response to uncertainty; examining biases in mental models that affect decision making; and developing principles that guide ethical and sustainable management practice.

Managing in ambiguity and change develops ways of examining how the manager's thinking affects decision making and, therefore, the consequences of those decisions. Skills for being appropriately adaptive to uncertain conditions are developed throughout the unit.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • critically evaluate the suggestion that management is a science
  • clarifying business communication through appropriate questioning and critical thinking
  • demonstrate with appropriate examples the danger of oversimplifying complex issues
  • apply simple causal loop mapping processes when making decisions
  • identify ways you can develop four abilities that comprise emotional intelligence
  • critically examine and revise your mental models used in decision making
  • propose ways of engaging individuals' values to engage intrinsic motivation
  • give an account of how adaptive leadership is relevant to managing in ambiguity and change
  • explain how practical wisdom is different from intelligence and give examples of its application in transforming visions into reality
  • analyse how metaphors shape your frameworks for thinking and assess the effectiveness of these frameworks
  • propose ways of implementing double-loop learning when managing in ambiguity and change
  • explain how rhetoric has a role in managing and leading and give examples of its ethical application

Unit content

  • The ambiguity and change challenge
  • A critical approach
  • Sustainability and management practice
  • Introduction to systems thinking
  • Managing oneself
  • Decision making and uncertainty
  • Drives and motivations
  • Leading others
  • Practical judgement, persuasion and ethics
  • The good and evil of metaphor
  • Sustainability through learning
  • Action guiding principles

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Regular Term



Word count


Academic essay




Professional report




Summer School (2014)



Word count


Reflective Journal and Activity 3.2


Reflective Journal (600), Evidence of completed activity 3.2 (400)

On campus:

End of on campus week.

Flexible Delivery: 3

Professional report



On campus: 10 days after assignment 1

Flexible Delivery: 5

Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Knowledge of the framework of counselling theory, and a foundational understanding of the major theories of counselling
  • Understanding of and the appropriate application of counselling skills in a range of contexts and circumstances
  • Understanding what constitutes ethical practice in counselling interactions
  • The ability to effectively and appropriately apply the micro and macro skills of counselling
  • The ability to recognise major transition points in human development and major forms of mental illness and know when and how to appropriately refer clients

Recommended text

There is no textbook for this unit.

Relevant journals

Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Australian Journal of Management
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
European Management Journal
Group and Organization Management
HR Monthly
International Journal of Training and Development
International Studies of Management and Organizations
Journal of Applied Management Studies
Journal of Business Ethics
Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Journal of Leadership Studies
Management Today
Organizational Analysis
Organizational Dynamics
Review of International Economics
Strategic Management Journal
Systems Research and Behavioral Science

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer tohttp://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.