University of Technology Sydney

21881 Advocacy and Social Change

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 2024 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 explores the theoretical frameworks related to advocacy and activism in the context of not-for-profit and social enterprise management. One of the defining features of not-for-profit and social enterprise is that they have a social purpose. In order to achieve this social purpose, not-for-profit and social enterprises must engage in forms of advocacy in order to achieve social change. The subject explores the context of advocacy for not-for-profit and social enterprises both in Australia and internationally. It examines a variety of useful advocacy strategies for engaging with businesses, government, the public, indigenous peoples, and individuals in and beyond the third sector. The alignment of different advocacy strategies with an organisation’s mission is explored, as are legal and ethical issues related to advocacy. Students develop a tailored advocacy strategy, including consideration of appropriate tactics and development and application of communication skills for effective and empathetic advocacy with a range of stakeholders.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Critically analyse issues facing advocacy in the third sector contexts in Australia
2. Critically reflect on the relationship between not-for-profits and social enterprise, and government, business, Indigenous peoples, and the public
3. Create targeted advocacy strategies and plans to address equity and intersecting social and organisational issues
4. Communicate information effectively to engage a targeted audience when advocating for groups and parties’

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject is aligned with the graduate attributes of communication and collaboration, intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving, social responsibility and cultural awareness, and professional and technical competence. This subject helps students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in advocacy and activism activities creatively and effectively on behalf of a particular group or organization. Communication is an important part of advocacy, so this subject develops a range of interpersonal skills which support the student in engaging with a variety of stakeholders across local community, indigenous, and professional groups. The subject also provides students with a variety of strategies to integrate empathetic and equitable attitudes and values into their organizational practice.

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

  • Communicate information clearly, effectively and persuasively to a diverse range of stakeholders (2.1)
  • Evaluate and apply principles of law, ethics, sustainability and Indigenous values as advocates and not-for-profit managers (3.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is presented in seminar format. Essential principles are presented and analyzed. There are readings assigned as pre-class activities. The face-to-face seminar allows students to discuss interpretations of learning tasks, theoretical issues, and responses to various readings. Learning involves a combination of workshops, case study discussions, video analysis, role-plays, and simulation exercises. Such approaches will improve student’s ability to work independently and as part of a team and students will also be encouraged to employ these skills outside of the classroom through assessment and industry engagement.

Students are lead through practical application exercises. An important element of the seminar is group work where learning partnerships are formed. Additionally, this subject includes a group assessment which is designed to encourage students to work collectively and critically, furnishing them with the skills to conduct their own academic research through engagement with key research on advocacy. In class-feedback on group activities and prescribed pre-work will be provided. Students will also receive written feedback on each of their assessments no more than two weeks after the assessment has been submitted.

Content (topics)

  • Third sector organizations, social enterprise, and social and political change: organizing for social purpose in the contemporary third sector context
  • Theories of civil society, democracy, and collective action
  • Advocacy strategies and campaigning (including examination of case studies of successful campaigns) including: social media, consultation, public education, protest, primary intervention, lobbying elected officials, petitions, media partnerships, public events, and letter campaigns
  • The relationship between government, social enterprise, and third sector in relation to advocacy
  • The relationship between business, social enterprise and third sector in relation to advocacy
  • The relationship between individual and systemic advocacy including the role of social entrepreneurs
  • Institutional and non-institutional forms of advocacy
  • Indigenous rights movement in Australia and advocacy with indigenous peoples


Assessment task 1: Written Assignment (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

Weight: 30%

1500 words

  • Critical analysis of advocacy issues facing the third sector
  • Evidence of evaluation of relationships between the third sector and government, business, indigenous peoples and the public where relevant
  • Convincing justification of the conclusions expressed in written form

Assessment task 2: Presentation (Group)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

2, 3 and 4

Weight: 30%

20 minute presentation and 10 minutes facilitated discussion. Please note that these presentations CAN be precorded & played during the online lecture as well as presented live. The 10 minutes faciliated discussion MUST be presented live in the class.

  • Ability to identify advocacy strategies for an advocacy campaign in the third sector and consideration of how these apply to other issues
  • Critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign in relation the organizational, political, and social context, as well as the response of the campaign to issues relevant to indigenous people
  • Evidence of evaluation of ethical, legal and other considerations in advocacy campaigns
  • Clarity and professional management of the presentation

*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Assessment task 3: Written report (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 40%

2500 words

  • Quality of analysis and appropriateness of the advocacy plan proposed
  • Evaluation of ethical, legal and other considerations in developing an advocacy plan
  • Professional written presentation of the advocacy plan

Minimum requirements

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


  1. Clear, A., Paull, M., & Holloway, D. (2018). Nonprofit Advocacy Tactics: Thinking Inside The Box? VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 29(4), 857-869.
  2. Dempsey, S., Kirby, E., & Koschmann, M. (2012). Nonprofits as Political Actors. Management Communication Quarterly, 26(1), 147-151.
  3. Edwards, M, Onyx, J, Maxwell, H, Darcy, S, Bullen, P & Sherker, S 2015, 'A Conceptual Model of Social Impact as Active Citizenship', Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 1529-1549
  4. McPhail-Bell, K., Bond, C., Brough, M., & Fredericks, B. (2015). ‘We don’t tell people what to do’: Ethical practice and Indigenous health promotion. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 26(3), 195-199.
  5. Diochon, M., & Anderson, A. (2011). Ambivalence and ambiguity in social enterprise; narratives about values in reconciling purpose and practices. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 7(1), 93-109.