Oxford Brookes Business School

Oxford Brookes Business School Social Enterprise and Social Innovation Conference

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Social Enterprise and Social Innovation Conference

The third annual Social Enterprise and Social Innovation Conference (SESI), organised by Maureen McCulloch and Simon Adderley, took place on the 8 December.

The Business and Management programmes at Oxford Brookes Business School are characterised by their focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship. Our programmes foster enterprising and entrepreneurial behaviours, attributes and competencies among our students, which enhances employability and can culminate in graduate start-ups. The range of curricula and extra-curricular opportunities to pursue enterprise and entrepreneurial learning are a defining feature of Oxford Brookes University.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, Tim Vorley, in his opening the conference said “There is a need for Business Schools to drive societal change, and this is embodied by the SESI conference with our students exploring socially enterprising and innovative ways to address societal challenges"   

The conference showcased the work of Final Year students on the BMGT 6012 SESI module, giving them the opportunity present papers based on socially enterprising and innovative topics of their own choosing.  The conference is always fascinating and in the past papers have explored the social policies of drug cartels within local communities in South America, the opportunities of social innovation within the Civil Rights Movement of 1950s America and the neo-colonial aspirations of large NGOs among many other topics. 

This year students organised their papers into six tracks;  Finance and Capitalism, Hybridity and Purpose, Sustainable Business Models, Resource Depletion, Social Media and Legitimacy and Decoupling.  Individual papers explored a number of topics from case studies of the CSR policies of large corporations to the impact of extensive agricultural production on the natural world and indigenous populations.  A series of papers also explored topics such as the role of the prison system as a corporate entity and whether sustainability was compatible with a socialist state.

A particular theme this year was the mechanisms by which industries are granted legitimacy by changing moralities and social norms. A number of papers looked at companies engaged in gambling, alcohol and pornography and explored how companies had re-positioned themselves to secure greater public acceptance.  Interestingly a number of paper were concerned with the "democratization" of such industries facilitated by the growth of social media. Following the SESI conference Programme Lead, Ross Jordan, said "It was great to hear our student engaging with a wide variety of significant and challenging societal topics, and performed exceptionally well given the conference was virtual this year”.

The conference was made possible by the support of a large number of staff who volunteered to chair sessions and sit in on the different tracks. 

For more information, contact: helloOBBS@brookes.ac.uk