Do you know what a social business is? Do you know what the ethical justifications are for social business? These are some of questions that are answered in this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The topics will include:
The speaker for this MOOC is Roland Fox, a finance lecturer at Salford Business School. Roland Fox has had his work published in books including “International Financial Management“. Roland draws on has practical experience gained during his time at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and previous teaching experience at De Montfort University and Leeds Metropolitan University.
We discuss the implications that being a social business has on society. We will look at the challenges that social businesses face with emphasis on microfinancing and ethical issues. To help explain the background thinking behind these practical problem the concept of blended value proposition will be used to understand social business more generally.
What are the ethical issues facing social businesses?
There are a range of ethical issues related to social business and microfinance. To highlight the ethical issues facing social businesses we look at the role of microfinancing in developing countries.
For example, companies in India are letting poor people borrow money. However, they are then forced to repay the money on very short terms and receive little or no support for making these repayments. The stress and pressure it places upon people is revealed by an alleged number of suicides that can be linked to these money borrowing activities.
Consider how social businesses are conducted in Russia and other emerging economies.
There are many examples of social businesses that have become very successful. But how and why do social businesses fail? When a social business does something that affects its finances is it necessarily considered a failure? Mistakes in a competitive market can cause issues with public trust in an organisation.
However, social businesses exist to help people and this relationship between a company’s bottom line and a commitment to an ethical position may not always be completely compatible. Start-up social businesses almost always compete with established businesses so despite a commitment to people there is always financial competition.
Often this balance between people and money prevents start-up social businesses from progressing financially.
Are social businesses always good?
China is a fast growing market, but what drives this growth? A more surprising example is Comic Relief – a major charity based in the UK – which promotes a vision of a just world free from poverty.
But recently Comic Relief has received more negative press attention.
What are some of the negatives to being a social business?
We hope you all enjoyed our MOOC on microfinancing and social business. Feel free to like, share and tweet this MOOC. If you have any more thoughts about what you have just seen and read, please comment below.
This material was created by Vlad Jiman, Jonathan Bedard, Dionisios Paranichianakis and Jaina Chothani. We are currently in our final year of study at Salford Business School.