SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1L325482
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

As the title suggests, this module has two broad aims: (i) to introduce GSBS students to the principles, ideas and value of the social sciences; and (ii) to demonstrate how social science perspectives are fundamental to understanding in business and professional studies. The module is structured around three blocks, each of which comprises one lecture for six core themes (economy, people, problems, power, places and environment). (A) Key issues in business and society (B) Global Social Science (C) Local Social Science Although tailored to the needs of non-social science students in GSBS, the module shares a core programme of learning with a complementary module (Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Introduction), which is presented to GSBS students who are pursuing a social science degree. Deviations permit specialist study, with business students examining the relevance of social science for business studies (achieved through a bespoke class programme and a focus in the lecture programme on 'key issues in business and society'). This module provides all (non BA Social Sciences) first year GSBS students with an introductory multidisciplinary analysis of the challenges facing contemporary societies, and helps them to think creatively about responses to these. In particular, it encourages students to think about the specific contributions that can be made by those working within their future profession. This module will capitalise on the combined strengths of the Department of Social Science to offer a learning experience that contributes to one of the core aims of the School - to add social and economic value through both multi- and inter- disciplinary teaching. The ultimate outcome (of a GSBS degree, to which this module would contribute) is to produce graduates who can act as responsible citizens and managers with a broad and deep understanding of the complexity of contemporary societal challenges. The module will start to develop attributes which all GSBS graduates should possess, including an international perspective and awareness of global issues; the ability to think holistically (e.g. to consider business and management issues from a range of perspectives); being digitally aware; the ability to work collaboratively; the ability to manage workload effectively (time management skills); and the capacity to think independently with a critical and questioning perspective. Although providing a comprehensive introduction to the value of the social sciences, the opportunity will be taken throughout to demonstrate the importance of this knowledge to practice and understanding in the professions and business studies.


In addition to introductory and concluding lectures, and a lecture to prepare students for fieldwork, the module will comprise three thematic blocks of lectures, with common themes addressed across each. Students will be encouraged by staff to make connections between the same issues at global and local scales, through comparison and contrast. Lect. 1 - Introduction to the module Lect. 4 - Fieldwork Briefing Lect. 20 - Conclusion to the module Block A: Key Issues in Business and Society Lect. 2 - ECONOMY: The pursuit of profit Lect. 3 - PEOPLE: Who are you? Lect. 17 - POWER: Is it a man's world? Lect. 18 - PLACES: What is the purpose of a university? Lect. 19 - ENVIRONMENT: Is social media ruining your life? Block B: Global Social Science Lect. 5 - ECONOMY: Globalisation - a shrinking world? Lect. 7 - PEOPLE: Global population crises? Lect. 9 - PROBLEMS: Global inequality Lect. 11 - POWER: Global institutions Lect. 13 - PLACES: World regions Lect. 15 - ENVIRONMENT: Global environmental challenges Block C: Local Social Science (Understanding Glasgow) Lect. 6 - ECONOMY: The development of the city Lect. 8 - PEOPLE: Population and migration in Glasgow Lect. 10 - PROBLEMS: Health and well-being in Glasgow Lect. 12 - POWER: Who controls Glasgow? Lect. 14 - PLACES: One Glasgow or many? Lect. 16 - ENVIRONMENT: Quality and sustainability in Glasgow Trimester Debates Weeks 1-6 - The common/wealth of Glasgow Weeks 7-12 - Global and local security Class Programme - where XXX = specialist degree area, e.g. replace XXX with Marketing Professional, Journalist, international Businessperson, etc. Class 1 - What is a XXX? Class 2 - Perceptions of social science Class 3 - Reading XXX and social science Class 4 - Experiencing and picturing Glasgow as a XXX Class 5 - Role play exercise: XXX and environmental stewardship Class 6 - Your professional future and social science Class Tutors will be provided with a resource pack and a Class Tutor Handbook to assist with the effective delivery and efficient organisation of each class. Similarly, students will be provided with a module handbook, resource pack and field trail guide to support and direct learning in each task.

Learning Outcomes

:On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1 Understand the origin, historical development and contemporary manifestation of some of the principal challenges which confront contemporary societies2 Appreciate the contribution that the social sciences (as a whole and from their different disciplines and perspectives) make to understanding and responding to these issues3 Appraise the relevance of social science to their specialist area of business/professional expertise4 Utilise social science to enhance understanding of their personal lifeworld, local issues and global issues5 Access and effectively utilise a range of learning resources (online, library, field-based, and classroom based), working both independently and in small groups

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The demands of introducing social science to such a large and diverse group of students necessitates a bespoke approach to learning. The module will be characterised by blended learning and innovative pedagogy. Learning is acquired through a carefully balanced and complementary blend of lectures, fieldwork, independent learning and small group work. In some respects, the learning strategy is conventional, i.e. it comprises a spine of lectures, supported by small group work and underpinned with online support (GCU Learn). Typically, this involves two lectures per week, one class per fortnight, one fieldwork exercise and two online debates across the trimester. However, the manner in which this is delivered/made available has been designed to attend to the particular challenges of this module. Active learning and reflexivity are central to BOSS learning through lectures, independent learning, fieldwork and small group work. For example, in terms of reflexivity, students will be asked to complete an online survey at the outset, which will provide a summary of the cohort's opinion and experiences. At least one question in the survey relates directly to each lecture topic. The survey findings will be utilised throughout the module to enhance (and personalise) the learning experience, e.g. it will provide material that will be utilised in some classes (e.g. class 1: YOUR perceptions and expectations of social science) and all lectures. In advance of each lecture, relevant survey results will be presented to students to prime the students for the lectures and to encourage the students to 'think around' lecture topics. As befits an introductory module, acquiring grounding in the fundamentals of social science is a primary goal of BOSS, which will be achieved through a core programme of lectures. All lectures will be 'delivered' by the Module Leader. This will provide a degree of consistency and continuity for students. However, a wide range of GSBS staff will contribute to these lectures, through professional pre-recordings of material that will be integrated to the presentation. A typical lecture might comprise a spine of learning delivered by the Module Leader and one or two recordings (of 5-10 minutes duration) from subject specialists. Multiple possibilities present for a wide array of GCU's social science and professional/business expertise to inform and enhance the learning experience in lectures. It is envisaged that these pre-recordings would each have a shelf-life of at least three years. Although imparting knowledge is the primary goal of the lectures, each lecture will involve at least one active learning task. Students will be expected to attend lectures in person. Students complete independent learning tasks across the module. For example, students will draw a mental map of Glasgow, which will be used to better understand our perceptions and to appraise the extent to which their professional interests impact upon their understanding of the city. Clear guidance is provided and key questions are posed in advance for each exercise. Each task is completed independently, but students are then encouraged to use the discussion board facility in GCU Learn. Students will attend six classes, typically one per fortnight. A range of learning techniques will be used, e.g. role-play debates, formal academic debates and workshops based on analysis of evidence. Critically, the class programme will be centred on the particular business/professional interests of the student. Visualising social science in-the-field through fieldwork is an important learning strategy in BOSS. Simultaneously, this brings the class-based learning to life and affords an opportunity to better understand places through social science. Fieldwork will be equivalent, but approached in different ways by each cohort. Students will complete a student-led field trail through the city of Glasgow (from Giffnock to Easterhouse). Fieldwork will be underpinned by a fieldwork briefing and will be followed by a fieldwork conference (in which students will present fieldwork findings in the form of an A3 Research Poster).

Indicative Reading

Students will be directed to key reading for each lecture, class and field activity. Reading will be bespoke to each task and online sources will be used to ensure ease of access to all students. The focus in this module will be on students following a directed reading programme, rather than students taking responsibility for sourcing material (although sourcing material independently will also be important for coursework exercises). Students are directed to two recommended readings for each lecture, one of which is a generic reading grounded in the social sciences, the other being drawn specifically from their area of business / professional expertise. By way of indication, the following guidance is provided for further reading to supplement lecture 10 (local problems). Key Reading. For a decade, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health ( has sought to describe and understand health and well-being in Glasgow. Evidence is made widely available through briefing papers, reports, journal articles, short films, conference reports and through 'Understanding Glasgow', the Glasgow Indicators project ( Scroll through the publications section of the GCPH website to access detailed papers on different aspects of health and well-being in Glasgow. An excellent resource is the summary report of the Centre's work, published in October 2014, Ten years of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, downloadable at: Degree Programme Specific Reading . Local problems, most of which don't focus on Glasgow as the case study example. Accountancy Lee, T. A. (2000). A social network analysis of the founders of institutionalized public accountancy. Accounting Historians Journal, 27(2), 1-48. Business Management Lee, N., & Cowling, M. (2013). Place, sorting effects and barriers to enterprise in deprivedareas: Different problems or different firms? International Small Business Journal, 31(8), 914-937. Finance, Investment and Risk Flaherty, J., & Banks, S. (2013). In whose interest? The dynamics of debt in poor households. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 21(3), 219-232. International Business Roy, M. J., McHugh, N., Huckfield, L., Kay, A., & Donaldson, C. (2015). "The Most SupportiveEnvironment in the World"? Tracing the Development of an Institutional 'Ecosystem'forSocial Enterprise. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 26(3),777-800. International Events Cla rk, J., Kearns, A., & Cleland, C. (2016). Spatial scale, time and process in mega-events: Thecomplexity of host community perspectives on neighbourhood change. Cities, 53, 87-97. International Fashion Branding Elliott, R., & Leonard, C. (2004). Peer pressure and poverty: Exploring fashion brands andconsumption symbolism among children of the 'British poor'. Journal of ConsumerBehaviour, 3(4), 347-359. International Fashion Business Johar, S., Kashyap, R., & Kulshreshtha, U. (2013). Clothing behavior as predictor of self confidenceamong adolescent girls. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(2), 272-277. International Marketing Thompson, C., Cummins, S., Brown, T., & Kyle, R. (2013). Understanding interactions with the food environment: an exploration of supermarket food shopping routines in deprived neighbourhoods. Health & place, 19, 116-123. Media and Communication Arthurson, K., Darcy, M., & Rogers, D. (2014). Televised territorial stigma: how social housing tenants experience the fictional media representation of estates in Australia. Environment and Planning A, 46(6), 1334-1350. Multimedia Journalism Society of Editors (2 009) Reporting poverty in the UK: A practical guide for journalists. London: Society for Edtors. Risk Management Shaw, R., Cukic, I., Deary, C., Gale, E., Richardson, G., & Der, R. (2016). Objective and selfreported neighbourhood risk factors for sedentary behaviour in older adults. European Journal Of Public Health, 26(S1), European Journal Of Public Health, 2016 Nov, Vol.26 Suppl 1.

Transferrable Skills

-567 By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Academic and intellectual skills: Identifying, gathering, assessing and organising evidence Understanding of the different approaches which disciplines take to global social and economic issues Critically comparing alternative perspectives on social and business issues Personal Development: Group working with students from a range of disciplines and perspectives Experience in exercising judgement on the relevance and reliability of information Capacity for working independently Enterprise or Business skills: Communication - verbal, written and online Effective time management and organising tasks to meet deadlines

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment 40.00
Practicals 14.00
Lectures 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Seminars 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment comprising 1500 word Essay (2nd week of exam period)
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment in the form of a Powerpoint presentation with embedded audio (10-15 slides maximum; 5 minutes duration maximum) (week 11)