SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3N222503
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge


Summary of Content

Social Enterprise is a growing global phenomenon and social enterprises are increasingly seen as potential solutions to market and state failure as well as new models for equitable and fair business practice. 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. This module develops knowledge and skills for critical analysis, conceptual criticism, business analysis, opportunity identification and recognition. Students are required to apply critical thinking as they critically 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, case study analysis and site visits. 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: [First Trimester] Introduction to social enterprise as a concept and different social enterprise theories and approaches Historical background 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 Role of the state and government policy. Relationship between social mission (purpose), ethics and commercial imperatives. Issues of and differences between viability, sustainability and self - sufficiency . Social Investment Evaluating performance and measuring success Different Legal models [Second Trimester] 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) Visit to a Social Enterprise Mohammad Yunus and other social entrepreneurs From small scale activity to changing a paradigm Social innovation and social enterprise Strategic management for social enterprises Case Study Report and Presentation

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to: 1. To critically reflect on the concept of social enterprise and different approaches to social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development.2. Demonstrate a critical analysis of different social enterprise business models including charities, NGOs and voluntary organisations.3. Demonstrate a developed understanding of the different public policy approaches to social entrepreneurs and social enterprise development in the UK and internationally 4. Critically evaluate how to establish and manage a social enterprise, reflecting on their governance practices, their purpose (social mission) and how this is balanced with commercial imperatives.5. Evaluate the sustainability/performance of a social enterprise in terms of delivering its social mission6. Critically evaluate the contemporary issues of Social Investment and Social Return on Investment

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 case study project providing insight and practice into current real world challenges. The case study will critically examine the social mission, legal structure, trading performance, sustainability and socio-entrepreneurial performance of a social enterprise. Student-centred learning will be encouraged through debate and discussion around key concepts and alternative measures of success. Students will be required to identify and contact a social enterprise with a view to gathering information about that (case study) social enterprise. 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 essay will be submitted at the end of Trimester 1 and will address learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3 The case study analysis will be submitted at the end of Trimester 2 and will address learning Outcomes 4, 5 and 6 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). 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. 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, Additional reading materials will be drawn from online resources. Journals

Transferrable Skills

Students following this module will further develop the following personal transferable skills: Critically evaluate complex ideas, concepts and issues relating to social enterprise theory and practice, notions of the wider social economy and different philosophical approaches relating to social enterprises and the social economy. Use a range of approaches to formulate evidence based responses to issues relating to theories, definitions, legal forms and business models. Work independently and gather material from a variety of sources. Convey this material by written and verbal means. On successful completion of this module, students will be able to: Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of social entrepreneurship Demonstrate a broad knowledge of what social enterprises are and why they exist Understand how the concept of profit is understood and addressed by social entrepreneurs Understand government policy in relation to the development of the social enterprise sector Critically evaluate aspects of the various legal models and structures that exist within the sector Understand the issues of corporate governance and democracy within the social economy Understand a range of social enterprise business models Critically assess the concept of Social Return on Investment Demonstrate an understanding of new developments in Social Investing The learner will be able to develop: -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
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 116.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Essay (Trim 1) 2000 words
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Case Study Analysis (Trim 2) 2000 words