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The University of Southampton

MANG3070 Social and Responsible Innovation

Module Overview

Society’s expectations for innovation tend to be high. However, innovation should not be limited to achieving economic success, as it can also address social challenges such as improving social inclusion or reducing poverty. It can be argued that innovation should also be ethically responsible, where its ‘harmful’ effects should be minimised. For instance, new technologies such as the genetic modification of food can be politically contested. Firms need to assess and consider ethical frameworks and the associated norms for innovating successfully. This module has been developed to address these important trends. It will provide you with a rigorous conceptual understanding of social and responsible innovation, and an understanding of the practical challenges for innovation management.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To examine how innovation can create social value, while examining the broader issues of responsible innovation. It aims to enhance understandings of key conceptual debates on developing socially valuable and responsible products, services and business processes. This will assist you in appreciating why social innovation and responsible innovation has become a strategic key imperative for a wide range of businesses. The module aims to highlight the considerable business opportunities, the challenges for managing innovation, and how challenges can be addressed.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The reasons why social and responsible innovation have become strategic key imperatives for a wide range of organisations
  • The business opportunities for innovations that create social value or meet societal responsibility standards
  • The barriers and limitations for successful social and sustainable innovations including why certain barriers are hard to overcome
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand and apply appropriate theoretical concepts, models, tools and techniques of social and sustainable innovation
  • Evaluate alternative approaches to understanding and managing social and responsible innovation
  • Evaluate how broader technological and societal contexts shape the enablers of, and barriers to, social and responsible innovation
  • Analyse the feasibility of implementing new product/service/process opportunities for meeting social needs or responsibility standards
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise that in many situations there is a range of alternatives which should be evaluated
  • Self-manage the development of learning and study skills, both individually and as part of a collaborative learning group
  • Contribute successfully to a peer work group
  • Apply the research skills to synthesise, analyse, interpret and critically evaluate information from a range of sources


The topics covered in this module will include • Introduction: why social and responsible innovation • Key concepts of social and responsible innovation • Key actors driving the social responsibility agenda • The wider context: socio-spatial ethical values, institutions and regulations, social exclusion • Barriers to and limitations of social and responsible innovation • Dimensions and case studies of social innovation (including e.g. innovation for social inclusion, poverty alleviation) • Dimensions and case studies of responsible innovation (including e.g. use of technology assessment and technology foresight)

Special Features

This module examines business ethics within the course context assisting in the achievement of the graduate attributes. Where possible, external speakers from business and industry will be invited to discuss their work.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Interactive case studies • Problem-solving activities • Directed reading • Private/guided study Learning activities include • Introductory lectures • An assignment (individual written coursework to deepen learning in a specific topic of the module chosen by you) • Case study / problem solving activities • In class debate and discussion • Private study • Use of video and online materials

Wider reading or practice40
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task24
Follow-up work20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Owen, R., Bessant, J. and M. Heintz (2013). Responsible Innovation. 

Nicholls, A. and A. Murdock, eds. (2011). Social Innovation. Blurring Boundaries to Reconfigure Markets. 

Prahalad, C.K. (2010). The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. 



Class Exercise


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 70%
Individual assignment  (1500 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual assignment  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual assignment  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ENTR6033 Enterprise, Entrepreneurship And New Business Venturing, ENTR2004 Innovation, Technology And The Environment


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Students will be able to use resources available through the library, but the purchase of some books is recommended.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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