MG4H2E      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Business II

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof 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 specifically introduces students to three critical aspects of this interaction between the social business and its environment: social finance; 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.  A primary challenge for any social business is funding. The course looks in detail at the varieties of financing available to social ventures (impact finance, social finance, grant finance), and introduces emerging social finance mechanisms that are enabling innovative collaborations and resourcing to solve social problems.  Social businesses must be able to analyse and respond to the markets in which they are situated, and the course explores the concepts and tools of marketing.  Finally, no business, whether social or commercial, can ignore the emerging importance of technology as an opportunity and perhaps a threat.  The course explores the use of technology, including AI, to analyse and to respond to complex task environments; it explores the potential for technology to improve the internal productivity of the firm including through radical decentralisation of the organisation.


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.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: 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