MG4H2E      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Business II

This information is for the 2020/21 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 II 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. It specifically introduces students to three critical aspects of this interaction between the social business and its environment; strategy, marketing and technology. 

     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 customer journeys, 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.  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 exercise will be offered: 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


Coursework (100%).

Assessment will be through an individual coursework assignment (100%) comprised of 2 essay questions.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: 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