Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Organising for Social Change: Strategy, Governance & Innovation (CMSE11346)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits15 ECTS Credits7.5
SummaryIn recent years there has been growing interest in understanding how 3rd sector organisations (social enterprises, low-profit corporations, community interest corporations, benefit corporations and other forms) can make a difference through innovation that addresses issues such as social inequality and environmental sustainability. Effectively taking on these social and environmental issues however, pose specific challenges in terms of organisational design, management and oversight. This course seeks to provide students with greater insight into those challenges through a critical look at how 3rd sector organisations can better cope with these operational, strategic and governance challenges.
Course description Aims, Nature, Context

The aim of this course is to develop student knowledge and understanding about the strategic and governance related challenges faced by 3rd sector organisations engaged in the work of social innovation. With a high level of input from 3rd sector managers, students will gain a broader and deeper conceptual understanding as well as practical experience of current and future opportunities and challenges faced by these organisations who exist in a climate of complex stakeholder demands and intense competition for resources. A primary focus of the course is the development of transferable skills directly applicable to 3rd sector organisations through guest lectures with social enterprise managers and a hands-on group project with a 3rd sector organisation. Students are expected to spend at least two days as a volunteer in 3rd sector organisation as fieldwork for their respective group projects as a means to develop a deeper contextual understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing 3rd sector organizations.


This course will be structured around the following content:

1. Why the 3rd sector? The history and context of how and why 3rd sector organisations serve needs that are unmet by the private and governmental sectors.

2. Understanding the stakeholder environment. These organisations compete in a complex political economic environment of diverse and often conflicting stakeholder demands. Understanding this environment is crucial for survival and growth.

3. Current issues in the 3rd sector. 3rd sector managers consistently face a number of issues including: procuring and allocating resources, performance measurement, stakeholder communications, governance challenges.

Student Learning Experience

This course will consist of several major components:

a) Lectures

i) Lectures w/ guest speakers: To provide students with a practice-based perspective into the 3rd sector work of social innovation, approximately half of the lecture time will feature interactive sessions from guest speakers drawn from various organisations from Edinburgh's 3rd sector.

ii) Hybrid learning: The remaining half of the lecture time will be spent on more interactive exercises. Some of the more basic concepts, such as fundamental strategy concepts which will be new to many students from non-management programmes, as well as basic concepts in social enterprise and governance will be done online via Learn.

b) Groupwork: Each student will work in a group to do a strategic analysis of a 3rd sector organisation. The deliverables will include an assessment of organisational mission, business model, stakeholder relations and governance processes. Each group will also spend at least three half-days in their respective host organisation to understand the work of social innovation at a deeply grounded level.

c) Reflective learning: Each student will also write a blog that allows for reflection on the experience of getting one's hands dirty by getting involved with a 3rd sector organisation and then their experience in doing an analysis of that same organisation. The main objective of this reflective learning exercise is to chart their development of their personal journey in understanding how to make a difference.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  37
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 150 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Fieldwork Hours 16, External Visit Hours 10, Online Activities 20, Formative Assessment Hours 30, Summative Assessment Hours 43, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 3, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 0 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework (groupwork)

Final report 50%. Peer assessment (WebPA) will adjust the group mark up to 25%.

Coursework (individual)

Reflective learning blog 50%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of opportunities and challenges facing 3rd sector organisations.
  2. Demonstrate a capacity to work in groups and resolve difficulties.
  3. Display an ability to reflect upon one's experience and its significance to learning.
  4. Be able to critically analyse the stakeholder environment of an organisation engaged in social enterprise.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to gather, synthesise and analyse information to develop a compelling argument.
Reading List
Barsamian, D. (2011). Amartya Sen. The Progressive.

Colombo, A. (2008). The 'Lombardy Model': Subsidiarity-informed Regional Governance. Social Policy & Administration, 42(2), 177-196.

Doane, D. (2005). The myth of CSR: The problem with assuming that companies can do well while also doing good is that markets don't really work that way. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall, 23-29.

Duany, A., & Talen, E. (2002). Transect planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 68(3), 245-266.

Kickul, J., & Lyons, T. S. (2016). Understanding social entrepreneurship: The relentless pursuit of mission in an ever changing world: Routledge.

Fukuyama, F. (2001). Social capital, civil society and development. Third world quarterly, 22(1), 7-20.

Gibbon, J., & Dey, C. (2011). Developments in social impact measurement in the third sector: scaling up or dumbing down? Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 31(1), 63-72.

Mair, J., Mayer, J., & Lutz, E. (2015). Navigating institutional plurality: Organizational governance in hybrid organizations. Organization Studies, 36(6), 713-739.

Ostrom, E. (2010). Beyond markets and states: polycentric governance of complex economic systems. The American Economic Review, 641-672.

Taleb, N. N. (2012). Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder (Vol. 3): Random House.

Taleb, N. N., & Sandis, C. (2013). The skin in the game heuristic for protection against tail events.

Voss, K. (2010). Enduring legacy? Charles Tilly and Durable Inequality. American Sociology Journal, 41, 368-374.

Smith, W. K., Gonin, M., & Besharov, M. L. (2013). Managing social-business tensions: A review and research agenda for social enterprise. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(3), 407-442.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research & Enquiry:
An enhanced ability to conduct independent research in a 3rd sector social innovation organisation.
Personal & Intellectual Autonomy:
Students will gain some understanding of how to reflect and analyse their experiences in a host organisation and also to synthesise these understandings.
Personal Effectiveness
Students will gain some understanding of techniques for personal effectiveness through engagement with readings in order to complete quizzes, and the need to manage people and process in order to develop the group project.
Communication skills
An ability to communicate through the medium of video, written blogs and between group members through a virtual environment.
KeywordsSocial Enterprise,3rd Sector,social change,social innovation,sustainability
Course organiserDr Winston Kwon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5980
Course secretaryMiss Fionna Ogilvie
Tel: (0131 6)51 3028
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information