SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN125567
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 concepts of social entrepreneurship and social innovation are 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. Social innovation is concerned with innovations which result in societal gains rather than merely improving profitability. 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 and implementing social innovations 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 and social innovation 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. Understanding the theory and practice of social innovation. Social investment and social impact - evaluating performance and evaluating success 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 and social innovation.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 and social innovation. 5. Develop critical thinking skills.

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. 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.

Indicative Reading

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. 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. Edwards, M. (2009). Civil Society. London: Polity Press.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). Kerlin, J. A. (Ed.). (2009). Social Enterprise: A Global Comparison. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. Leadbeater, C. (1997) The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur, London: Demos. Luce, Edward (2013) "Lunch with the FT: Michael Sandel April 05 2013" 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. Montgomery, M (2013). Implementing a Scottish Social Innovation Strategy: Support from the European Regional Development Fund 2014- 2020. Scottish Government. Mulgan, G., 2006. The Process of Social Innovation. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 1(2), pp. 145-162. p146 Murray, R; Caulier-Grice, J; Mulgan, G: (2010) The open book of social innovation Nicholls, A (2006) Social Entrepreneurship: New Paradigms of Sustainable Social Change, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Oppenheimer, M., & Deakin, N. (Eds.). (2011). Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Pearce J. (2003), Social Enterprise in Anytown, London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Porter ME (2008) Strategy for Social Enterprises. HBSCNY Social Enterprise Summit, September 23 2008 Ridley-Duff R. and Bull M., (2016) Understanding Social Enterprise Theory and Practice Second Edition Sage Publishers Rivera_Santos M., Holt D., Littlewood D., and Kolk A., (2015) Social Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa The Academy of Management Perspectives, Vol. 29, No. 1, 72-91.Ridley-Duff, R., & Bull, M. (2011). Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory & Practice. London: SAGE. 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. Sandel, Michael (1998) What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets: The Tanner Lectures on Human Values: Brasenose College, Oxford. Sandel, Michael (2012) What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets., Michael (2013) Michael Sandel and the Morality of Markets. 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: b7 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
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 114.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 60.00 35% 2500 essay - Week 14
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% 1500 essay - Week 6