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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS1010 Understanding Social Enterprises

10 creditsClass Size: 135

Module manager: Peter Gittins

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In this module we consider social enterprises at their broadest level - as 'for-purpose' enterprises that aim to tackle a wide range of social and environmental issues at all scales. They have primarily social objectives with surpluses reinvested in the business or in their beneficiary community, or they may take some limited profit as hybrids. We also consider the emergence of other forms of social business such as B-Corps. These organisations place their social and/or environmental goals at the heart of their business mission and their business model. They respond to a vast range of issues that face society such as poverty, inequality, lack of healthcare, financial exclusion, lack of educational opportunities, inadequate sanitation and global issues such as climate change. In particular we explore how context influences these types of organisations, reflecting the normative and institutional environments in which they are set, and the specific issues they seek to address. This course will use lectures, workshops, real-life case studies, and group exercises to gain in-depth understanding of the major issues addressed by these enterprises, the different models used in differing contexts, and the specific challenges they confront.


This module aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to explore how for-purpose social businesses find socially innovative and enterprising win-win solutions to local and global social and environmental challenges. It will help students to develop insights into the contextual influences on the mission and possible business model adopted by these types of firms, how they deliver on this mission, and the role of the social entrepreneur. This module will allow students to reflect on how such businesses relate to their own experiences and issues they identify with. This module will use a range of interactive teaching methods and real-life examples to allow students to explore concepts, ideas and new developments in the increasingly popular area of social enterprise.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
- Evaluate how a broad range of for-purpose social enterprise business models have emerged to address a range of social and environmental issues facing society
- Explain how social enterprises may experience trade-offs and potential unintended consequences
- Differentiate how resultant business models are influenced by the different contexts and potential stakeholders surrounding them
- Evaluate how real-life social enterprises operate and function

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
- Creatively apply basic social enterprise skills and attributes in presentations and team working
- Identify how their own experiences and interests might influence the creation of potential social enterprises


The general outline of the syllabus is included below. The learning activities are explored and illustrated using a broad range of for-purpose social/hybrid enterprise examples in both developed and developing countries.

These sessions include a focus on:

1. Introducing for-purpose firms. The social enterprise and the social entrepreneur
2. Framing the challenges that businesses can help address? SDGs and the role of business
3. Who are the stakeholders and how do for-purpose firms respond to them?
4. What is Fairtrade? (including case examples of Fairtrade social enterprises)
5. What is a B-Corp? (including examples of B Corp social enterprises)
6. How does CSR fit in?
7 Understanding context and how it shapes socially-oriented businesses
8. Trade-offs and unintended consequences
9. What is Social innovation? (including examples of social innovation in social enterprises)
10. Financing and scaling social enterprises

During the module student will undertake a range of activities linked to the learning objectives for this module. These include recorded elements, videos, and working through independent study tasks. There will also be private study tasks. Tasks will link to the interactive elements of the module; which may include discussion forums, interactive webinars and a CEES panel event (held for all students on the enterprise discovery modules and including discussion by panel members and student-led Q&A)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

This could include a variety of activities, such as reading, watching videos, question practice and seminar preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Your teaching methods could include a variety of delivery models, such as face-to-face teaching, live webinars, discussion boards and other interactive activities. There will be opportunities for formative feedback throughout the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportA discursive assignment that draws on 2-3 case study examples - 2,500 words excluding references*100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

* The potential case studies used in this assessment will be explored by groups during the class room sessions. The resit for this module will be 100% by coursework.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/10/2023


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