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BESC1901 Managing in Ambiguity and Change

Bachelor Course Unit


Bachelor of Counselling (Coaching) - 200

Bachelor of Applied Social Science - 100

Associate Degree of Applied Social Science - 100

Credit points: 6

Prerequisites: None

Unit Description

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

The overall focus of 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. Also important is 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 proposition that management can be regarded as a scientific discipline;

  • Describe and discuss how an evidence-based approach can assist in managing conditions of complexity, ambiguity and change by utilising organisational models of change and learning.   

  • Describe and demonstrate how the knowledge and application of psychological models such as emotional intelligence, mental models, cognitive biases, motivational theory and adult learning principles can be utilised by managers to help them in conditions of ambiguity and change;

  • Describe and discuss the roles of leadership and influence in managing in ambiguity and change; 

  • Examine the roles of ethics, values and principles in developing sustainable solutions amongst uncertainty and complexity.

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

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 to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing. Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.