SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN225845
Module Leader Micaela Mazzei
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

Social innovation is a rapidly emerging concept that has been put forward as a possible means of transforming the lives of people in both developing and developed worlds. Governments and foundations, meanwhile, are paying increasing attention to social enterprise, understood as non-dividend, non-loss businesses with a social purpose. In the United States an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation was created within the White House under the Obama Administration. At the European level the EU has created a Social Business Initiative to help create a favourable environment. In Malaysia, government is developing an interest in this area and organisations such as the Malaysian Social Enterprise Alliance and Social Innovation Lab are helping to develop the social innovations of tomorrow. The social economy, meanwhile, is understood to be the trading part of the third sector - the space between the traditional private and public sectors. It has been presented as an alternative means of organising the economy for the benefit of societal and environmental well-being. This unique module critically introduces the student to the concepts of social innovation and alternative forms of economic organising. The module aims to equip students with a general overview as to how global and local circumstances shape social innovations, and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to determine what factors they should take into account when developing their own social ventures, or when creating an enabling environment for social enterprise. Particular attention is paid to how different political, cultural and economic institutional environments favour the evolution of different forms of social innovation. Attention is paid to how different forms of social enterprises negotiate tensions between social and commercial objectives, for example. Students are then introduced to examples of new (and existing) legal forms for social economy organisations using examples of Italy, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom.


Theoretical perspectives on the rise of social innovation Theoretical perspectives on alternative approaches to organising the economy in the context of global capitalism The third sector and the social and solidarity economy Global and local differences in social innovation Balancing social and commercial goals An economy fit for society

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Appraise and critically assess the concept of social innovation and its relationship with the social economy2. Identify how different political, economic and cultural circumstances produce different 'flavours' of social innovation 3. Understand and critically comment on evolution of alternative economic forms in various cultural, political and religious contexts 4. Move beyond a 'one size fits all' model of developing social enterprise and other social economy initiatives5. Consider the kind of world they would like to co-create, and the knowledge and tools to proceed 6. Develop and apply critical thinking skills

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered in 36 lectures and seminars. Overview: Learning and teaching will be carried out through lectures, guest lectures, seminars and visits to social enterprises. Guest speakers will provide examples of different approaches to organising the economy. Case studies, journal articles and book chapters will be used as a basis for discussion and debate. Use will be made of GCU Learn to provide additional module material. Lectures: Lectures will be designed around the latest research findings. Key concepts will be introduced alongside theories purporting to explain their evolution. Where appropriate, lectures will be given by research active lecturers and social innovation practitioners who are leaders in their field. Academics and PhD students from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health will play a key role in delivering lectures, and assisting with tutorials. Seminars: Contact based seminars delivered in partnership with the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health. The seminars will be structured around key articles in the research literature related to the lecture topics. 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 GCU Learn 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 three working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Ayob, N., Teasdale, S., Fagan, K. (2016). How Social Innovation 'Came to Be': Tracing the Evolution of a Contested Concept. Journal of Social Policy 45, 635-653. <> Audretsch, D. B.; Boente, W.; Tamvada, J. P. (2013), Religion social class, and entrepreneurial choice, Journal of Business Venturing, 28, 774-789 Borzaga, C., Poledrini, S. & Galera, G. (2017), Social Enterprise in Italy: Typology, Diffusion and Characteristics, Euricse Working Papers, 96 |17. <> Brandsen, T., Pestoff, V. (2006), Co-Production, the Third Sector and the Delivery of Public Services, Public Management Review 8: 493-501. Calo', F. and Teasdale, S. (2017) Governing the zoo, Chapter 9 in Young, D.R., Searing, E.A., and Brewer, C.V. (Eds.). The social enterprise zoo: a guide for perplexed scholars, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, leaders, investors and policymakers. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (pp. 193-212) Calf3, F., Roy, M., Donaldson, C. Teasdale, S. and Baglioni, S. (2019) Exploring the contribution of social enterprise to health and social care: A realist evaluation, Social Science & Medicine, 222 ,154-161 Defourny, J. and Kim, S.-Y. (2011) 'Emerging Models of Social Enterprise in Eastern Asia: A Cross-Country Analysis', Social Enterprise Journal, 7(1): 86-111. Harlock, J. (2013) Impact measurement practice in the UK third sector: a review of emerging evidence, Third Sector Research Centre Working Paper 106 Hazenberg, Bajwa-Patel, M., R., Roy, M. J., Mazzei, M. and Baglioni, S. (2016). A Comparative Overview of Social Enterprise 'Ecosystems' in Scotland and England: An Evolutionary Perspective, International Review of Sociology - monographic issue on: exploring the patterns of emergence and evolution of social enterprises. Kerlin, J. A. (2013) 'Defining Social Enterprise Across Different Contexts: A Conceptual Framework Based on Institutional Factors', Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42(1): 84-108. Martin, G. (2011), The Third Sector, user involvement and public service reform: a case study in the co-governance of health service provision, Public Administration, 89(3): 909-932. Mazzei, M. (2017). Different ways of dealing with tensions: Practices of (re)negotiation in local social economies, Social Enterprise Journal, 13 (3,):299-314. Mazzei, M. (2016). Understanding difference: the importance of place in the shaping of local social economies, Voluntas International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. Mazzei, M. and Roy, M. J. (2017). From policy to practice: exploring practitioners' perspectives on social enterprise policy claims, in Voluntas International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations Moizer, J. and Tracey, P. (2010) Strategy Making in Social Enterprise: The Role of Resource Allocation and Its Effects on Organizational Sustainability', Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 27(3), pp. 252-266. Muf1oz S-A, Farmer J, Winterton R, and Barraket, J. (2015) The Social Enterprise as a Space of Wellbeing: An Exploratory Case Study. Social Enterprise Journal 11(3). Nicholls, A., Murdock, A., (2012) Introduction: The Nature of Social Innovation, in: Nicholls, A., Murdock, A. (Eds.), Social Innovation: Blurring Boundaries to Reconfigure Markets. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, pp. 1-32. Teasdale, S. (2012). 'What's in a name? Making sense of social enterprise discourses', Public Policy and Administration, 27(2), pp. 99-119. Teasdale, S., Lyon, F. and Baldock, R. (2013) 'Playing with Numbers: A Methodological Critique of the Social Enterprise Growth Myth', Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 4(2): 113-131. Welter, F. (2011), Contextualizing Entrepreneurship: Conceptual Challenges and Ways Forward, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 1042-2587

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Understanding of the rapidly developing field of social innovation within its wider context Applying critical thinking and analysis The ability to communicate clearly The ability to work independently Understanding of complex problems and ability to negotiate them

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 74.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Essay n/a 100.00 50% Individual Essay (3000 words)