How would you make a difference in the development of your own locality? What role would business play in that development? The MSc in International Business and Socio-Economic Development provides the tools for you to address those questions in a distinctive and innovative way. It analyses the nature and strategies of international business and explores current issues in globalisation in a creative, critical and constructive manner. It encompasses variety by looking at alternative business forms such as social enterprises and cooperatives. It focuses on the impact that different business choices have on economies and societies, and on the context in which those choices are made. It provides the conceptual background as well as the practical knowledge for you to contribute to the creation of more inclusive socio-economic systems.
This unique course builds on complementary scientific disciplines in management and economics, equipping you with the tools necessary to understand and address the complexity of socio-economic issues. During your period of study theoretical and critical reflection will be complemented with insights and practise from business practitioners and policy agents.
The course is especially designed to offer you the opportunity to develop your competences, imagination and ideas in practice. You will be enabled to learn through experience and engagement – with other students, with the course leaders, business practitioners, and with your environment, both physical and cultural. Inspired by the UN’s Principles for Responsible Management Education, the course aims to further the development of responsible reflective practitioners and researchers.
How do different businesses contribute to the socio-economic development of people and localities? What is the role of institutions? What is the role of individual critical thinking, and moral imagination? The course critically addresses these questions by developing your competences, your imagination and ideas in practice.
- Foundations in international business, including the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for managing international organisations, and understanding international business, its environment, and its operations.
- In depth analytic skills in socio-economic development regarding the context and impact of business on societies, focusing on: Transnational corporations, production and trade; Globalisation and its implications for the development of localities; Economic exclusion; The sustainability and responsibility of business towards people, territories and the environment; Creativity and wellbeing; Competitiveness and competitiveness-related policies; Social enterprises and cooperative organisations; Differential development outcomes regarding diverse forms of production organisation; Specific knowledge, via the choice of electives, in socio-economic related areas, human rights, social marketing, environmental economics, energy management and policy, emerging economies.
- Understanding of the process of academic research and research skills.
- Understanding of the role of creativity, knowledge and innovation for the development of localities and people.
- Appreciation of the role of imagination in establishing inclusive and sustainable communities and enterprises.
A good degree in any subject from a recognised university, normally the equivalent to a lower second class Honours degree in a UK university.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6 (minimum 5.5 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21.
Stirling Management School Postgraduate Scholarships
Stirling Management School is committed to investing in academically talented students, enabling them to further their education with a reputable qualification from one of the many Postgraduate Degree Programmes on offer at the University of Stirling. There are various categories of funding available to support the cost of your studies at Stirling Management School.
Information on possible sources of funding
Modes of study
Full-time: MSc: one year; Diploma: nine months; Certificate: six months
Course start date
Structure and content
Semester 1: compulsory modules
- Introduction to International Business: provides the means to understand and manage changes in the international business environment. It considers macro and microeconomic, political and social issues currently affecting the competitiveness of international business.
- Managing International Organisations: introduces the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for managing international organisations in a global market economy, including the context of international business, the range of strategic options open to companies, and how the differences between societies and national cultures affect the various functional areas of management.
- Responsible Business in Society: addresses the contemporary challenges to business practice emanating from the sustainable development and ethical responsibility agendas. It provides a strong theoretical foundation for understanding the implications of business practice on broader society, and critically assessing issues of business governance and strategy in light of social expectations, moral citizenship and activism.
- Globalisation, Creativity and Socio-Economic Development: provides the analytical foundations for understanding the significance of production activities for social and economic development. Issues addressed include: Strategic choice in the organisation of production under globalisation, economic exclusion and uneven development, the role of institutions in enabling inclusion and cooperation, the use of creativity across economies and societies and its impact on development and wellbeing, the role of imagination in addressing social and ethical issues.
Semester 2: compulsory modules
- Shaping Business and Policy: brings socio-economic development issues to life by bridging the theory, the policy and the practice of shaping business locally and internationally. Issues addressed relate to different sectors, such as private for-profit and private non-profit, in different industries. Particular focus is on social enterprises and cooperative firms.
- Management Research Methods: addresses directly the need for both appreciation of the nature of academic research in management, and the practical problem solving and creative inquiry skills needed by postgraduate students. The module prepares you for the dissertation.
Semester 2: option modules, from which you select two, currently include:
- Social Marketing
- International Marketing
- The Economics of Climate Change
- Energy Markets and Policy
- Seminar on Energy Management
- Europe and Emerging Economies
- Ethics, Power and Imagination
- Dissertation in Socio-Economic Development: builds on an original research question and reflects your own understanding and knowledge of selected topics learnt during taught courses. The topic must be critically positioned with a socio-economic development framework. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are accepted, consistently with the research question.
View full module descriptions
The list of modules, including electives, is subject to updates.
Delivery and assessment
You have an active role in your learning experience, which is supported by teaching techniques such as group-work, role-play, problem-solving, case studies, individual reflection and presentations. The course modules are assessed by various methods which include essays, individual and group projects and final examinations. The period of assessed study (lectures, tutorials, seminars) is followed by a period of supervised research resulting in a dissertation.
Contact the School for information on your timetable and reading lists.
Dr Silvia Sacchetti
The School is committed to a research-led approach in all of its activities. This was recognised in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which rated 85 percent of our research activity to be of international significance.
The MSc International Business and Socio-Economic Development is for those students who want to build an understanding of current social and economic difficulties and explore diverse ways of organising economic activities which are both economically viable and beneficial for society. It addresses both topical and foundational issues at the core of macro policy-making such as equality and social justice, and the role of innovation in development and growth.
You will build solid foundations in the nature and strategies of conventional business organisations and their impacts on local development. In parallel you will learn about the meaning and implications of ethics in decision-making and corporate social responsibility. The course will then provide a distinct and deep analysis of why alternative forms of business may be desirable, focusing on those organisations which place at their core personal rights, democracy, worker participation, and community welfare. You will learn in particular about cooperatives, cooperation, social enterprises and how those firms marry economic democracy, community welfare, and economic sustainability.
Students who successfully complete the MSc in International Business and Socio-Economic Development have a strong interest in economic and social issues, both in their country of origin and more internationally. The course provides them with theoretical and conceptual foundations upon which they can think strategically about the challenges and opportunities of the international organisation of production, management and trade. Students are interested in gaining a critical understanding of the institutional, social, moral and economic dimensions of local development. They appreciate the complexity of business relationships to society, and wish to explore it further with a view to enhance inclusiveness, use of creativity and social justice. They are open-minded, curious and willing to engage in critical discussion supported by evidence and informed by theory. The course also strongly encourages students to read widely and strengthens self-reflective abilities.
Undertaking my Master in University of Stirling was a unique experience. I wanted to focus my studies on the social perspectives of economics. I thus chose the MSc International Business and Socio-Economic Development, which offered courses that gave me the opportunity to advance my academic knowledge and connect with people with practical experience in this field. Through the year, I had the chance to understand the role of creativity for development – something that always fascinated me. Moreover, I studied alternative approaches to management, such as cooperatives and social enterprises. This helped me take the first steps for my career not only through the advanced educational level and knowledge that I gained, but also through expanding my experiences on this field work.
Zoi Kantounatou, 2011-2012 Graduate
Dr Silvia Sacchetti is Course Director of the MSc in Human Resource Management and Socio-Economic Development. She joined the University of Stirling in September 2009, and has been involved in innovative curriculum development in the emerging area of economics and local social development.
Dr Sacchetti has extensive research experience in the field of economic development from a socio-economics perspective, and she has published empirical and theoretical papers on various topics such as American pragmatism and economics, inclusive economic institutions, co-operatives social enterprises and the social economy, the nature and evolution of institutions and businesses, the motivations of people, and the impacts of creative (inclusive) environments. She has conducted academic activities in both the UK and various universities in Italy, as well as being invited to collaborate on European projects on economic co-operation and local development by established research centres.
This is a course that escapes the boundaries of conventional business studies raising fundamental issues on the role of decision-makers in business and societies. It requires students to think about the possibility of developing a more inclusive socio-economic environment. It is for anyone who is interested in a different way forward in the development of localities and regions in a global world.
Dr Silvia Sacchetti, MSc IB & Socio-Economic Development Course Director
The course is for those who want to be socially responsible decision-makers in a variety of organisations. Specifically you will have a comparative advantage in understanding alternative and prominent business forms such as cooperatives and social enterprises, besides conventional business enterprises, public enterprises, international organisations, government departments and NGOs. The course also provides a sound foundation for those wishing to undertake doctoral research.
As a not for profit community interest company, Creative Stirling aims to develop a commercially sustainable programme of meaningful cultural activity for the local community as well as offering practical support for the local creative industry infrastructure. We work collaboratively with local partners and are developing new ways of working that provide opportunities for learning, employment and professional development. Our social value and impact on the local community is as important as our success as a small business.
Our plans to be minimally reliant on public funding mean that working closely with the University MBA students and staff, provides not only valuable insight into relatively new ways of working for a cultural organisation but critically important information and indicators of both our economic performance and social progress. It is vital to helping us understand what we do and be able to articulate our story to our funders, supporters and new potential partners.
Their involvement has helped us to create a more complete and relevant picture of what we need to do in order to develop and improve our business model to achieve our commercial and social aims. It has also provided exciting opportunity for students and staff to work together and gain insight and practical experience to complement their studies.
Joe Hall, Director, Creative Stirling
Social enterprise and other forms of values based businesses are of growing relevance today in a world that is facing many and increasing challenges from peak oil to environmental degradation. Assist Social Capital believes the Masters in Social Economic Development at Stirling University offers an important opportunity for Business students to widen their understanding of the relevance of values and how they influence business and society. We welcome the interest Stirling University has shown in our work and would like to thank Silvia Sacchetti for providing us with the chance to meet and talk to the students. We believe there should be far more University courses providing such opportunities.
Colin Campbell, Executive Director Assist Social Capital CIC