Director

Associate Professor Melissa Edwards

Business School
Centre for Social Impact

Melissa is an award-winning researcher and educator and has pursued a career of engaged scholarship at the intersection of social impact and sustainability for over 15 years.

Through her applied research, Associate Professor Edwards explores how people and organisations respond to complex sustainability issues through leadership, strategic action, and business model innovation. Her recent research focuses on stakeholder capitalism, the circular economy, ESG disclosures and reporting, and sustainable investment. She collaborates with organisations across sectors and has led research contracts with Surf Life Saving Australia, the Wayside Chapel, Slyp and RACE 2030, and was awarded Commonwealth grants through Business.gov. au, the Office of Learning and Teaching, DIIS and DEEWR. She publishes in a variety of professional and academic journals including Organisation and EnvironmentAustralian Journal of ManagementVoluntasBusiness Strategy and the Environment, and Environmental Education Research.

Associate Professor Edwards also brings extensive experience in innovative curriculum design, incorporating interdisciplinary experiential and action learning approaches to embed sustainability and social impact in business and leadership development programs. She is passionate about upskilling changemakers to lead through purpose and inclusion while implementing effective and impactful strategies for organisational innovation and system transformation.

Prior to joining UNSW Centre for Social Impact, she was the Executive MBA director and Research Director of the Centre for Business and Sustainable Development at the UTS Business School. She currently serves as the Australian Business Deans Council Inaugural Climate Action Fellow, where she leads a national action plan to raise the collective impact of the 38 member schools across education, research, and operations.

She received a PhD in Management and holds a Bachelor of Business (Hons I) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.

Location
Kens Hilmer, E10, Lvl7 Room 749
  • Books | 2021
    Benn S; Edwards M; Williams T, 2021, Sustainability: A key idea for business and society, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780429022173
    Books | 2018
    Benn S; Edwards M; Williams T, 2018, Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability: Fourth Edition, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315619620
    Books | 2017
    Edwards M; Benn S, 2017, Theorizing the field of sustainability in management education (SIME) development in practice, http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781785361241
  • Book Chapters | 2023
    Benn S; Angus-Leppan T; Edwards M; Brown P; White S, 2023, 'Changing Directions in Business Education', in Reframing the Game: The Transition to a New Sustainable Economy, Routledge, pp. 87 - 102, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003423676-7
    Book Chapters | 2023
    Benn S; Angus-Leppan T; Edwards M; Brown P; White S, 2023, 'Changing directions in business education: Knowledge sharing for sustainability', in Reframing the Game: The Transition to a New Sustainable Economy: A Special Issue of Building Sustainable Legacies, pp. 87 - 102
    Book Chapters | 2023
    Edwards M; Benn S; Dunphy D, 2023, 'LEADERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES', in Organizational Change, Leadership And Ethics: Leading Organizations Towards Sustainability, 2nd Edition, pp. 215 - 232, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003036395-15
    Book Chapters | 2021
    Edwards M; Stubbs W, 2021, 'An ecocentric radically reflexive approach to walking the “Earth System talk” in sustainability education', in Personal Sustainability Practices: Faculty Approaches to Walking the Sustainability Talk and Living the UN SDGs, pp. 149 - 161
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Edwards M; Benn S; Angus-Leppan T; Perey R, 2018, 'Enacting sustainable entrepreneurial action for a circular economy', in Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Routledge, pp. 117 - 134, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315611495-7
    Book Chapters | 2017
    Arevalo J; Mitchell S; Edwards M; Benn S; Starik M, 2017, 'Chapter 1: Business cases for sustainability-integrated management education', in Handbook of Sustainability in Management Education, Edward Elgar Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781785361241.00010
    Book Chapters | 2017
    Edwards M; Benn S; Starik M, 2017, 'Business cases for sustainability-integrated management education', in Handbook of Sustainability in Management Education: In Search of a Multidisciplinary, Innovative and Integrated Approach, pp. 45 - 66, http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781785361241.00010
    Book Chapters | 2015
    Edwards M; Logue D; Schweitzer J, 2015, 'Towards an understanding of open innovation in services: Beyond the firm and towards relational co-creation', in The Handbook of Service Innovation, pp. 75 - 90, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-6590-3_4
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Darcy S; Maxwell H; Edwards M; Almond B, 2023, 'Disability inclusion in beach precincts: beach for all abilities–a community development approach through a social relational model of disability lens', Sport Management Review, 26, pp. 1 - 23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14413523.2022.2059998
    Journal articles | 2023
    Suggett DJ; Edwards M; Cotton D; Hein M; Camp EF, 2023, 'An integrative framework for sustainable coral reef restoration', One Earth, 6, pp. 666 - 681, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2023.05.007
    Journal articles | 2021
    Williams T; Edwards M; Angus-Leppan T; Benn S, 2021, 'Making sense of sustainability work: A narrative approach', Australian Journal of Management, 46, pp. 740 - 760, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0312896220978447
    Journal articles | 2020
    Edwards M; Benn S; Perey R, 2020, 'Exploring the Social Dimension of Business Models for Circularity', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020, pp. 15268 - 15268, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2020.15268abstract
    Journal articles | 2020
    Edwards M; Brown P; Benn S; Bajada C; Perey R; Cotton D; Jarvis W; Menzies G; McGregor I; Waite K, 2020, 'Developing sustainability learning in business school curricula–productive boundary objects and participatory processes', Environmental Education Research, 26, pp. 253 - 274, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2019.1696948
    Journal articles | 2019
    Benn S; Edwards M, 2019, 'Corporate Sustainability In A Fragile Planet', , pp. 640 - 664, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198737063.013.26
    Journal articles | 2019
    Williams T; Edwards M; Angus-Leppan T, 2019, 'Making Sense of Sustainability Work', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2019, pp. 13985 - 13985, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2019.13985abstract
    Journal articles | 2018
    Bagley CE; Donaldson TJ; Edwards M; Nelson JS; Snapp M; Useem M, 2018, 'Legal Lacunae & Governance Solutions Related to Human Well-Being', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018, pp. 12350 - 12350, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2018.12350symposium
    Journal articles | 2018
    Edwards M; Stubbs W; Starik M, 2018, 'How do B Corps interact with their stakeholders to scale up their B-impact?', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018, pp. 10476 - 10476, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2018.10476abstract
    Journal articles | 2018
    Perey R; Benn S; Agarwal R; Edwards M, 2018, 'The place of waste: Changing business value for the circular economy', Business Strategy and the Environment, 27, pp. 631 - 642, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bse.2068
    Journal articles | 2018
    Sulkowski AJ; Edwards M; Freeman RE, 2018, 'Shake Your Stakeholder: Firms Leading Engagement to Cocreate Sustainable Value', Organization and Environment, 31, pp. 223 - 241, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1086026617722129
    Journal articles | 2017
    Edwards M; Angus-Leppan T; Benn S, 2017, 'Learning Through Contestation: When are Boundary Objects Productive for Sustainability?', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017, pp. 11454 - 11454, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2017.11454abstract
    Journal articles | 2015
    Edwards M; Benn S, 2015, 'Transdisciplinarity by Interdisciplinary Integration: A Proactive Sustainability Education Case.', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2015, pp. 11660 - 11660, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2015.11660abstract
    Journal articles | 2015
    Edwards M; Onyx J; Maxwell H; Darcy S; Bullen P; Sherker S, 2015, 'A Conceptual Model of Social Impact as Active Citizenship', Voluntas, 26, pp. 1529 - 1549, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11266-014-9480-z
    Journal articles | 2014
    Darcy S; Maxwell H; Edwards M; Onyx J; Sherker S, 2014, 'More than a sport and volunteer organisation: Investigating social capital development in a sporting organisation', Sport Management Review, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2014.01.003
    Journal articles | 2014
    Darcy S; Maxwell H; Edwards M; Onyx J; Sherker S, 2014, 'More than a sport and volunteer organisation: Investigating social capital development in a sporting organisation', Sport Management Review, 17, pp. 395 - 406, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2014.01.003
    Journal articles | 2014
    Edwards M; Sulkowski AJ, 2014, 'Shaking Stakeholders to Leverage a Firm’s Unique Capacity in Issue Networks', Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society, 25, pp. 129 - 139, http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/iabsproc20142516
    Journal articles | 2014
    Maxwell H; Edwards M; Stronach M; Brown V, 2014, 'A ‘fair go’ on Australian beaches', Annals of Leisure Research, 17, pp. 476 - 494, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2014.964274
    Journal articles | 2013
    Benn S; Edwards M; Angus-Leppan T, 2013, 'Organizational Learning and the Sustainability Community of Practice: The Role of Boundary Objects', Organization and Environment, 26, pp. 184 - 202, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1086026613489559
    Journal articles | 2013
    Benn S; Edwards M; Baker E, 2013, 'Learning and Change in Social Networks: New Insights for the 4I Learning Framework', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2013, pp. 10759 - 10759, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2013.10759abstract
    Journal articles | 2013
    Edwards M; Baker E, 2013, 'Construction in human interaction dynamics: Organizing mechanisms, strategic ambiguity and interpretive dominance', Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 15, pp. 21 - 36
    Journal articles | 2013
    Edwards M; Burridge N; Yerbury H, 2013, 'Translating Public Policy: Enhancing the Applicability of Social Impact Techniques for Grassroots Community Groups', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5, pp. 29 - 44, http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v5i2.3319
    Journal articles | 2012
    Edwards M; Baker E; Onyx J, 2012, 'Organizing Dynamics in Grassroots Networks: Social Spaces as Sites of Emergence', Academy of Management Proceedings, 2012, pp. 12231 - 12231, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2012.12231abstract
    Journal articles | 2012
    Edwards M; Onyx J; Maxwell H; Darcy S, 2012, 'Meso level Social Impact: Meaningful Indicators of Community Contribution', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 4, pp. 18 - 37, http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v4i3.2576
    Journal articles | 2011
    Baker E; Onyx J; Edwards M, 2011, 'Emergence, social capital and entrepreneurship: Understanding networks from the inside', Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 13, pp. 21 - 38
    Journal articles | 2011
    Onyx J; Ho C; Edwards M; Burridge N; Yerbury H, 2011, 'Scaling Up Connections: Everyday Cosmopolitanism, Complexity Theory & Social Capital', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 3, pp. 47 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v3i3.2180
    Journal articles | 2010
    Onyx J; Edwards M, 2010, 'Community Networks and the Nature of Emergence in Civil Society', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2, pp. 1 - 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v2i1.1336
    Journal articles | 2007
    Edwards M; Onyx J, 2007, 'Social Capital and Sustainability in a Community under Threat', Local Environment, 12, pp. 17 - 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549830601098206
    Journal articles | 2007
    Onyx J; Edwards M; Bullen P, 2007, 'The intersection of social capital and power: An application to rural communities', Rural Society, 17, pp. 215 - 230, http://dx.doi.org/10.5172/rsj.351.17.3.215