SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 4.00
ECTS Credit Points 2.00
Module Code MMNY24890
Module Leader n/a
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject GCU New York
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

Social business and microfinance are rapidly emerging concepts which have been put forward as a possible means of transforming the lives of the poorest in both developing and developed worlds. Governments and foundations are paying increasing attention to social business, understood as non-dividend, non-loss businesses with a social purpose. In the United States an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation has been created within the White House. 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 businesses of tomorrow. Microfinance is a model to provide small loans that people, especially poor women, could use to bring themselves out of poverty. The global microfinance sector continues to grow rapidly. The Microcredit Summit Campaign estimates that microfinance currently reaches over 200 million clients worldwide and has assets over 30 USD billion. Popular in developing economies, the microfinance model has now expanded to countries such as the US and UK where pioneer microfinance institution Grameen Bank is operating in the cities of New York and Glasgow. This unique module critically introduces the student to the concepts of social business and microfinance. The module aims to equip students with a general overview as to how global and local circumstances shape social business and microfinance, 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 business and microfinance. The first semester is broadly devoted to the concept of social business. Particular attention is paid to how different political, cultural and economic institutional environments favour the evolution of different forms of social business. Attention is paid to how different forms of social business negotiate tensions between social and commercial objectives. Students are then introduced to examples of new (and existing) legal forms for social business using examples of Italy, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom. During the second semester, the module aims to develop critical awareness of microfinance in both developing and advanced economies. This includes the origins of microcredit, different types of microcredit methodologies, and organisation and operation of microfinance institutions (MFIs). The financial and non-financial product range will be introduced to the students, as well as regional case studies of successful MFIs. The role of commercial funding sources for MFIs will be discussed, focusing on microfinance investment vehicles and international financial institutions. Attention will be paid to the drivers of microfinance crises in different countries and the subsequent recent developments of the microfinance market. Summary of how PRME-related issues / topics are covered in this module: This module critically engages with the principles for responsible management education. The module is wholly focused around the PRME related topics of harnessing business principles for societal benefit Internationalisation: This module aims to engage students with internationally informed social business and micro finance research; to purposefully develop understanding of different international institutional environments and to move beyond traditional dominant paradigms in teaching students to think creatively and critically.


Theoretical perspectives on the rise of social business Global and local differences in social business Balancing social and commercial goals Legal forms for social business The origins of microfinance Forms of microfinance The geography of microfinance Contemporary issues in microfinance

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:" Appraise and critically assess the concepts of social business and microfinance" Identify how different political, economic and cultural circumstances produce different flavours of social business and microfinance" Understand and critically comment on evolution of social business and microfinance in various cultural, political and religious contexts" Move beyond a "one size fits all" model of developing social business and microfinance initiatives" Consider the kind of world they would like to create and equip the with the tools to proceed" Develop critical thinking skills

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Overview: Learning and teaching will be carried out through lectures, guest lectures, seminars and visits to social businesses and micro finance projects. Guest speakers will provide examples of different approaches to social business and microfinance. 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 business / microfinance 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 on social business and micro-finance, 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 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

-567 Books and articles: Set texts: Kerlin, J. (2010). Social enterprise: A global comparison. New England: Tufts University Press Yunus, M. (2007). Creating a world without poverty: social business and the future of capitalism Armendariz, B., & Morduch, J. (2010). The economics of microfinance (2 nd Edition). MIT press. Course readings: Course readings: -720 Bateman, M. (2010) Why Doesn't Microfinance Work? London: Zed Books. Berger, M., Goldmark, L., & Miller-Sanabria, T. (eds.), An Inside view of Latin American Microfinance. Washington D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank. Biosca, O., Mosley, P. & Lenton, P. (2010) Microfinance non-financial services: A key for poverty alleviation? Lessons from Mexico. University of Sheffield. -864 Brakman Reiser, D. 2011. Benefit corporations: A sustainable form of organization? Wake Forest Law Review, 46(1): 591-626. -720 Conning, J. & Morduch, J. (2011) Microfinance and Social Investment. Annual Review of Financial Economics 3: 407-434 -864 Defourny, J and Nyssens, M, 2010. Conceptualisations of social enterprise and entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and Differences, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1): 32-53. -720 Galera, G., and Borzaga, C. 2009. Social enterprise. An international overview of its conceptual evolution and legal implementation. Social Enterprise Journal, 5(3): 210-228. -864 Kerlin JA (2010) A Comparative Analysis of the Global Emergence of Social Enterprise, Voluntas, 21(2): 162-179. -720 Krauss, N. & Walter, I. (2009) Can Microfinance Reduce Portfolio Volatility? Economic Development and Cultural Change, 58(1), 85-110. Ledgerwood, J. & White, V. (2006). Transforming Microfinance Institutions: Providing Full Financial Services to the Poor. Washington, DC: World Bank. Lenton P & Mosley P. Financial Exclusion and the Poverty Trap: Overcoming poverty in the inner city. Routledge, New York, 2012. Morduch, J. (2000). The Microfinance Schism. World Development, 28(4), 617-62. Mozier, J. & 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: 252-266. -864 Porter, M., and Kramer, M. (2011) The big idea: creating shared value, Harvard Business Review, 89(1-2): 62-77 Smith, G., and Teasdale, S. (2012) Associative democracy and the social economy: Exploring the regulatory challenge, Economy and Society, 45(2): 151-176. Teasdale, S. (2012). What's in a name? making sense of social enterprise discourses, Public Policy and Administration, 27(2): 99-119. Teasdale, S. 2012. Negotiating tensions: How do social enterprises balance social and commercial considerations? Housing Studies, 27(4): 514-532 Young, D., and Lecy, J. (2014 forthcoming) Defining the universe of social enterprise: competing metaphors, Voluntas Journals Journal of Social Entrepreneurship Social Enterprise Journal Stanford Social Innovation Review Additional reading materials will be drawn from online resources.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Understanding of the rapidly developing fields of social business and microfinance 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
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 116.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 n/a Microfinance essay (3000 words)
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 n/a Social Business Essay (3000 words).