MG4H2E      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Business II

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Stephan Chambers Marshall Institute, 5 Lincoln's Inn Fields


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Social Business and Entrepreneurship. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

     The social business, as any other firm, has to understand its environment and undertake consequent activities to enable sustainability and effectiveness; this challenge is complicated by the requirement to achieve not only profit or financial sustainability, but also environmental sustainability and mission-driven social impact.  Foundations of Social Business I is intended to provide students with the foundations of strategy and marketing for social businesses.  It seeks to introduce students to the commercial opportunities that have intentional, long-term social value and to help students develop mechanisms for defining and communicating with key stakeholders beyond the usual marketing concentration on customers.

     The course focuses on the opportunities for and external constraints on social business.  Its purpose is to introduce students to the environment of both opportunity and threat in which pro-social business exists.  It examines strategy development where the imperative is not market-capture but the reversal of market-failure.  It combines overviews of strategy-making with an explicit focus on market-failure as opportunity and on marketing as scaling a theory of change. 

     Social businesses research, identify, and exploit opportunities just as firms do.  Students will be introduced to the main techniques for planning and implementing activities to take advantage of those opportunities, including situation analysis, sources of advantage, competencies, and the resource-based view of the firm.  They will be able to explain where corporate parallels apply and where they break down.   They will be introduced to hybrid models (social enterprises, B-corporations) and use these emerging corporate forms to test assumptions about creating social and financial value – together with the trade-offs implicit in the models.  The course draws on the literature of strategy and marketing.


Ten integrated lectures / seminars of three hours each, delivered across two modules (teaching blocks)

Formative coursework

One formative assessment will be provided - a practice essay.

Indicative reading

  • James Austin, Howard Stevenson and Jane Wei-Skillern. (2006). ‘Social and Commercial Entrepreneurship: Same, Different, or Both?’ Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 30(1)
  • M. Tina Dacin, Peter A. Dacin and Paul Tracey (2011). ‘Social Entrepreneurship: A Critique and Future Directions’. Organization Science 22(5): 1203-1213
  • Angela Eikenberry and Jodie Drapal Kluver. (2004). ‘The Marketization of the Nonprofit Sector: Civil Society at Risk?’ Public Administration Review 64(2):  132-140
  • Robert M. Grant (2010).  Contemporary Strategy Analysis. Oxford: Wiley. Part 1 ‘The concept of strategy’
  • A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin, (2013). Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works.   Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review Press


Essay (50%) and essay (50%).

Assessment is through three individual assignments of 2,000 words each, from which the students' top two marks will be taken for credit, each worth 50% of the overall grade.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills