SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN123268
Module Leader Geoffrey Whittam
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge


Summary of Content

Social Enterprise and the related concept of social entrepreneurship is a growing global phenomenon. Social enterprises are increasingly seen as potential solutions to market and state failure as well as new models to address a variety of social and economic challenges using equitable business practices. Social enterprise is about meeting double and triple bottom lines rather than a mere financial bottom line as the benchmark of success. This module offers students insight to the social entrepreneurial process, the motivation for social entrepreneurs and the complex challenges that establishing and managing social enterprises entail. Students will study issues of social mission, governance, legal forms, attitudes to profit, relationship to the public and private sectors, business planning and resource management. It is anticipated that students will realise that the problems that social enterprises face such as growth, sustainability, strategic fit are precisely the same challenges that any commercial enterprise face. In addition they will develop an appreciation of the challenges faced in achieving and demonstrating positive social change through social entrepreneurship Students are required to apply critical thinking as they evaluate conceptual frameworks, examine case study evidence, critique different development approaches and philosophies and analyse the sustainability of social enterprise practice. PRME-related issues This module is consistent with the GCU/GSBS approach to adopting the PRME Principles. In particular, students will be studying issues of sustainable value for society, ethical approaches to socio- economic development and, through experiential learning methods, will be engaged with practising social entrepreneurs through guest lectures, and case study analysis. A particular focus of this course is an analysis of the practical application of the social mission of social enterprises as it relates to equality, inclusion, double and triple bottom lines, governance practices and the balancing of commercial and ethical/mission imperatives.


The syllabus is organised as follows: Concepts of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, different social enterprise theories and approaches. State and market failure and how social entrepreneurs/enterprises respond. Corporate governance and democracy within the social enterprise sector. The meaning of "not for profit" and attitudes to profit in the social economy. International differences between the concept of social enterprise/business Relationship between social mission (purpose), ethics and commercial imperatives. Issues of and differences between viability, sustainability and self-sufficiency . Social investment and social impact - evaluating performance and evaluating success Different Legal models: how to establish and manage a social enterprise. Case study analyses - review of models/examples from a list that includes Co-ops and Mutuals, Credit Unions, Social Firms, Registered Social Landlords, Development Trusts and Community Interest Companies (CICs.) Mohammad Yunus and other social entrepreneurs. From small scale activity to changing a paradigm. Social innovation and social enterprise.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to: 1. Appraise and critically assess the contested concept of social entrepreneurship.2. Identify the range of contexts in which social entrepreneurship can take place. 3. Analyse what is meant by social change. 4. Evaluate the circumstances in which business can play a role in driving positive social change. 5. Develop critical thinking skills.6. Reflect on how the skills they have learnt during their degree programme might be applied to creating social change

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Learning and teaching will be carried out through lectures, guest lectures, case study analysis and student led seminars. This module engages with local and global communities which provide the real-world learning environments. Students will undertake a critical literature review comparing two texts to develop critical reading of academic literature. This will lead on to a more in depth investigation relating to one of the topics raised on the module which will require students to further demonstrate their critical thinking skills and reflect on the concepts underpinning the module. Student-centred learning will be encouraged through debate and discussion around key concepts and alternative measures of success. Case studies, journal articles and conference papers will be used as a basis for discussion and debate. Use will be made of GCU Learn to provide additional module material. Seminar groups will be student led with small student groups of up to three/four being tasked to lead particular seminar topics. The first assignment will be submitted in week 6, feedback will be provided by TURNITIN and additional face to face feedback will be provided on request. The second assignment will be submitted during the first week of the Trimester B assessment period. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Avila, R. C. & Campos, R. J. M. (2006) The Social Economy in the European Union, CIRIEC, Nb0. CESE /COMM/05/2005, (The European Economic and Social Committee). Birch K., and Whittam G., (2008)The 'Third Sector and the Regional Development of Social Capital' Regional Studies Vol 42.3 p437-450 Callagahan G., Danson M., and Whittam G.,(2011) Community Ownership and Sustainable Economic Development., Scottish Affairs 74, Winter p.50-71 Defourny, J. & Nyssens, M. (2006) "Defining social enterprise" in Nyssens, M. (ed) Social Enterprise at the Crossroads of Market, Public and Civil Society, London: Routledge. Leadbeater, C. (1997) The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur, London: Demos. Nicholls, A (2006) Social Entrepreneurship: New Paradigms of Sustainable Social Change, Oxford: Oxford University Press. +Pearce J. (2003), Social Enterprise in Anytown, London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Kerlin, J. A. (Ed.). (2009). Social Enterprise: A Global Comparison. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. +Ridley-Duff, R., & Bull, M. (2011). Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory & Practice. London: SAGE. Defourny, J., & Nyssens, M. (2010). Conceptions of Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and Divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 32-53. Luke, B., & Chu, V. (2013). Social Enterprise Versus Social Entrepreneurship: An Examination of the "Why" and "How" in Pursuing Social Change. International Small Business Journal. Edwards, M. (2009). Civil Society. London: Polity Press. Roy, M. J., Donaldson, C., Baker, R., & Kay, A. (2013). Social Enterprise: New Pathways to Health and Well-being? Journal of Public Health Policy, 34(1), 55-68. Oppenheimer, M., & Deakin, N. (Eds.). (2011). Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Key Websites EMES European Research Network, <> ; International Society for Third Sector Research, International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), Office of the Third Sector, Social Enterprise Scotland The European Civil Society Corner, The Social Economy Network,

Transferrable Skills

Students following this module will further develop the following personal transferable skills: -360b7 Analytical skills - through case study analysis in seminars b7 Communication and interpersonal skills - through presenting individual findings in seminars and through group discussions b7 Problem-solving skills - through the application and integration of knowledge gained (from this and other disciplines) to making recommendations on the validity of various tools and techniques b7 Self-management/independent learning skills (reflected in management of coursework and directed learning activities) b7 Writing skills (through the courseworks) b7 Research skills - through directed investigative work b7 ICT Skills - through the use of the Internet, GCULearn b7 Enterprise skills involving project management, communication and creativity

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 114.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 60.00 n/a Coursework2,500
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 n/a Critical Literature Review week 61,500 words