University of Technology Sydney

21767 Contemporary Contexts for Not-for-Profit and Social Enterprise

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to some of the ways of thinking about the third sector and the community sector within it. Students study a growing body of knowledge about the third sector, its origins, dimensions and contribution to society, the economy and the polity of Australia and selected other countries. It also introduces students to ways of thinking about the dynamic interaction between third sector organisations and the social, economic and political systems in which they are embedded.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. understand the diversity of NFP organisations and social enterprises in Australia and internationally and the major bodies of theory which have been developed to explain the existence and contributions of the broader third sector
2. apply knowledge in dynamic environments through a conceptual understanding of NFP and social enterprise management
3. critically analyse and provide solutions to practical problems in the specialist area of Not-for-Profit organizations and social enterprises
4. demonstrate knowledge of ethical and legal considerations in the specialist area of Not-for-Profit organizations and social enterprises

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject introduces students to the characteristics of Not-for-Profit organizations and social enterprises and some of the theory about them. It is these characteristics of these organisations that provide special challenges to their managers and which are the focus of subsequent subjects. Students working in the third sector have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the work by placing it within a wider national and international context and within the growing field of third sector theory.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Business knowledge and concepts
  • Critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills

This subject also contributes specifically to develop the following Program Learning Objectives for the Master of Not-for-Profit and Social Enterprise Management:

  • 1.1: Critically analyse complex theoretical business concepts and apply them in a global context
  • 2.1: Use relevant information and data to critically analyse complex issues in not-for-profit and social enterprise management practice

Teaching and learning strategies

The Learning Guide, which contains subject and content outlines and information, suggests a learning pathway students might follow and directs student learning towards the assessment tasks. It helps students to keep track of the entire subject while simultaneously working on the details, and to move through the subject with some freedom about the pace and times that best suit them.

Teaching strategies also include the promotion of learning partnerships. These partnerships are made up of smaller groups and provide an open and less formal forum for students to discuss interpretations of learning tasks, theoretical issues and responses to various readings. The Partnerships also allow students to share the diversity of their own experiences, including among those with business and not for profit backgrounds, as a way of informing responses to issues raised in the course and promote networking among class members.

Extensive use is made of the learning management system, which is used to share information, provide feedback and encourage interaction between staff and students.

These strategies are supported by the face-to-face lectures delivered in block mode at the beginning of the subject.

Content (topics)

  • Australia’s Not-for-Profit organizations and social enterprises: differences and similarities
  • The third sector in a wider context: relationships with business, government and relevant legal and ethical issues
  • The contribution of the third sector
  • International perspectives on the third sector


Assessment task 1: Report - Three third sector organisations (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Report - The third sector environments (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

Weight: 40%

Assessment task 3: Presentation (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

Weight: 30%

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Recommended texts

Lyons, M. (2001) Third Sector: the contribution of nonprofit and co-operative enterprises in Australia, Allen & Unwin.


  1. Anheier, H. and A. Ben Ner, (2003) The Study of Nonprofit Enterprise: Theories and Approaches, Plenum Pub Corp.
  2. Casey, John (2013), Hybrid Discourses on Social Enterprise: Unpacking the Zeitgeist. In Lyons, Tom (Ed.), Social Entrepreneurship. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Praeger. (Vol. 1, pp. 71-90
  3. Dalton, B.M. & Casey, J.P. 2008, 'Money for mission or moral minefield? The opportunities and risks of not-for-profit business venturing' in Barraket, J (eds), Strategic Issues for the Not-for-profit Sector, UNSW Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 163-186.
  4. Lyons, M.J. & Dalton, B.M. 2011, 'Australia: a Continuing Love Affair with the New Public Management' in Susan D Phillips and Steven Rathgeb Smith (eds), Governance and Regulation in the Third Sector: International Perspectives, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 238-259.
  5. McBratney, Amanda & McGregor-Lowndes, Myles (2012) "Fair" government contracts for community service provision : time to curb unfettered executive freedom? Australian Journal of Administrative Law, 19(1), pp. 19-33.
  6. McGregor-Lowndes, Myles & O'Halloran, Kerry (Eds.) (2010) Modernising charity law : recent developments and future directions. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, United Kingdom.
  7. Warren, M. (2001) Democracy and Association, Princeton University Press, Princeton: NJ.