SM4023 - Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship

What will I learn on this module?

This is a 20-credit module running in the second semester of the MSc Business with programme and is developed for those of you who have prior awareness of entrepreneurship and seek a deeper understanding of contemporary issues of entrepreneurship and small business subjects. The aim of the module is to introduce you to the main theoretical concepts of entrepreneurship and small business – Entrepreneurship Characteristics; Creativity; Risk and Strategic Options; Technology Innovation; Networks; Sustainability; Orientation – and show how each can contribute to the activities, success or otherwise of entrepreneurship. On completion of the module you will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills suitable for strategic leadership roles adept at organisational change and innovation and utilise oral, written and communication skills. The content of the module comprises of a range of components which are listed below.

Introduction to the module; Entrepreneurship; context; entrepreneurial revolution; influences; Differences between entrepreneurs & owner-managers’; characteristics and traits, skills; stakeholders; models of entrepreneurship and critical thinking & summative assessment guidance.

Strategies & Models of Entrepreneurship
The Entrepreneurial Environment, Entrepreneurial Strategies; Objectives and Competitive Advantage; Entrepreneurial Productivity & Performance.

Characteristics and Activities of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship Traits and Behaviour; Motivations and Values; Growth & Skills; Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Culture; Structure & Control; Types of Entrepreneurs including Social and Civic Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Technology & Innovation
Role of technology innovation & Change; Technology Industries Leadership; High Tech; HEI-SME knowledge interactions; Entrepreneurial State; Benefits & Limitations of Open Innovation and Business Clusters, Creativity and Knowledge; Diffusion and Adoption.

Entrepreneurial Networks and Open Innovation
Understanding Social Networks and their contribution to Entrepreneurship. Weak and Strong Ties; Enterprise Partnerships & Policy; Public Entrepreneurship; Business Ventures; Motivation & Engagement.

Public Sector Entrepreneurship
Social Innovation; Public Sector Entrepreneurs; Regional Policy.

International Entrepreneurship
Globalisation & International Entrepreneurship; International Start-up; Models of Internationalisation; Influence of Networks and Learning Theories.

Entrepreneurial Orientation
Entrepreneurial Synergies ; Psychological Orientation ; Gender in Entrepreneurship.

Critical Thinking Skills
The module seeks to foster your critical thinking, analytical, synthesis and reflection skills through developing your awareness of contemporary issues of entrepreneurship and small business to ensure a critical appreciation of the entrepreneurship and small business field of study.

How will I learn on this module?

A research rich learning approach alongside awareness and understanding of contemporary issues, investigations and developments within the entrepreneurship field. Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and practice underpins the learning and teaching philosophy along with the explicit development of competence. This is key to your learning on the module. To put this in place, the module will be taught by lectures and seminars covering contemporary theories and debates concerned with entrepreneurship and small business combined with developing analytical awareness to aid critical thinking and writing.

The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan, which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. An interactive approach to lecture sessions will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and your own experiences. Throughout, the emphasis will be on high levels of your participation, both individually and within small groups or teams. You can therefore expect the reflective-practitioner approach to learning to be embedded in all workshop/seminar sessions through undertaking activities which facilitate you to apply theory through considering the different methodologies, ways of thinking about and reflecting through a contemporary issue to enable you to examine a concept of choice and develop a clear and convincing argument through to drawing conclusions and/or recommendations for appropriate ways forward for an organization/individual.

Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform. Independent learning will centre upon you identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the subject area or by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc.

Throughout the module until its end, you will engage in individual writing exercises and group role play to debate to consider the pros and cons of contemporary issues and test, develop and present your arguments logically and persuasively.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided to you by a member of academic staff leading the module and a set of subject experts leading the lecture inputs on Entrepreneurship and Contemporary Issues. Individual and group work will be supported by individual members of academic staff to provide closer, more focused and personal academic support.

The eLP will serve as a learning tool house lecture and seminar materials relating to the module supported, where appropriate, various lecture recordings to support you in your independent study. These lecture recordings will include introduction to the module and support in preparation for assessment. The module uses software which is fully supported by a comprehensive range of materials which are housed on the eLP for your reference.

In mid-semester a fact finding CITYLAB fieldtrip will aid your understanding of the evolution of the local entrepreneurship context will be undertaken with academic staff.

You will be provided with a specialist electronic reading list that comprises of various materials including reports, conference papers and journal articles that showcase the application of a variety of subject material presented by specialists involved on the module.

The module assessment consists of two parts. Part A: Around the mid-point you will submit a short review of a contemporary issue, explaining it in terms of relevant theory (20%). This provides an opportunity to be given formative feedback to students on your grasp of theory as well as your writing style.
Part B: The main summative assessment will take the form of an assignment that requires you to critically evaluate and discuss certain contemporary issues with reference to theory, policy and practice, it is designed to permit you to demonstrate the extent to which you can achieve the learning outcomes for the module (80%).

Other inter-related tasks which will be distributed to you throughout your teaching semester. This will encourage your active participation in the learning process throughout the semester. The eLearning portal will be used to permanently host these tasks after release to ensure that you can access the information required at all times. Your work on these tasks will be the pre-work for your assignment at the end of the module.

The module will be assessed by two assignments. Both assignments are individually based on a critical evaluation of a contemporary issue where you will evaluate and write a critical appraisal of your article and present a balanced argument to demonstrate your reading and learning on the module. Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module, particularly in relation to seminar tasks and individually.

The final individual assignment will assess how you critically evaluate and discuss an entrepreneurial concept of issues and brings together the skills developed in the module. The role of the assessment is to ensure you bring together all the skills learnt on the module including applying critical thinking, research and reflection and demonstrates that you have fully considered the necessary aspects of entrepreneurship and small business in an integrated way. A second reason is to provide you with early feedback on your understanding of the module content and expectations of individual and group exercises to provide tangible outputs.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Understand and evaluate the wider impact of entrepreneurship and small business on social and economic and political contexts. [MLO1]
• Acquire, interpret and critically apply theoretical knowledge of contemporary entrepreneurship, small business and entrepreneurial characteristics and practices. [MLO2]
• Critically apply specialist knowledge in entrepreneurial theory and practice. [MLO3]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Demonstrate skill in the selection, planning and critique of contemporary entrepreneurship issues through professional communication skills, showing creativity both individual and within culturally diverse groups to develop a range of professional skills and project capabilities [MLO4]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / local/ Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

The module will be assessed by two assignments. Both assignments are individually based.

Assignment A (20%)
Write a short review (750 word) of a chosen
news item on small business/entrepreneurship
(in the last six months) to develop your critical and analytical thinking (20%). This assesses MLO1 and MLO2.

Assignment B (80%)
A 3000-word critical paper based on examination of a contemporary entrepreneurship issue from the taught sessions on the module (80%). This assesses MLO1, MLO2, MLO3 and MLO4.





Module abstract

You will learn about the main theoretical concepts of entrepreneurship and small business – Entrepreneurship Characteristics; Creativity; Risk and Strategic Options; Technology Innovation; Networks; Sustainability; Orientation – and show how each thematic can contribute to the activities of entrepreneurship in realising entrepreneurial objectives throughout the course of the module, alongside gaining an understanding of the overarching concepts of entrepreneurship and small business. This will consist of developing an enquiry-based approach to learning on the module which is further reinforced through the summative assessment where you will gain feedback on your choice of contemporary issue alongside theoretical research in which they realize and develop problem-solving, inspired, interpretative and synthesis that informs relevant critical thinking skills, analysis and synthesis.

In exploring contemporary issues as well as drawing on theoretical debate to inform your individual understanding of entrepreneurship research and practice activities. This complements the research enquiry-based learning approach where you will actively make decisions aligned to the significance of small business and entrepreneurial functions that inform your personalized learning as well as enable you to pursue your own interests drawing on aspects of entrepreneurial decision including individual, environmental, social, political, economic, technological, professional, intellectual and practical relevance using secondary research.

Within the setting of these strategic objectives, you will demonstrate a variety of skills in throughout the module including creativity, critical thinking, professional communication skills through written and debate. You will understand how holding a valuable critical approach to entrepreneurship and small business will impact on stakeholders, and by doing so, will enable you to gain an understanding of the concepts and mechanisms of entrepreneurship and small business, as well as being able to assess and critically evaluate issues of contemporary entrepreneurship.

Throughout the module, you will work both individually and in teams to practice your research, analytical and debating skills.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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