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Associate Professor Chris Mason

Adjunct Associate Professor


Chris Mason is Adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology.
Chris is Australia’s research field leader in ethics, and recognised as a global leader in social enterprise research. He studies the complex relationships between entrepreneurs, organisations and policy-makers to understand how they foster and constrain social innovation. Chris's research is deeply industry relevant and has major real-world impacts. He has contributed new thinking, ideas, practices and tools in several areas:

  • Pioneered innovative ways to understand social enterprise boards and governance.
  • Mapped government policy making for housing outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in Australia.
  • Investigated how social impact investment can unlock greater investment in social and affordable housing.
  • Developed a ground-breaking social innovation for social enterprise business operations.
  • Evaluated government financial programs to support social enterprise development.
  • Systematically reviewed social innovations in health equities.
  • Mapped the social enterprise sector across Australia.

Chris is a highly-respected scholar in his field. He has been Chief Investigator on research projects funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), and by Commonwealth and State governments in Australia, securing over $3 million in research funding.

He publishes high-impact scholarly work across the entrepreneurship, policy and organisation studies disciplines, in elite and top-tier scholarly journals, including the Journal of Business Venturing, Policy & Politics, the Journal of Business Ethics and the Journal of Small Business Management. He is an Associate Editor of both the Social Enterprise Journal and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, and an External Affiliate of the Centre for Social Policy and Social Entrepreneurship (CSPSE) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In his role as Course Director for the PhD by Practice-based Research at Swinburne, Chris led the only transdisciplinary practice-focused PhD program in Australia. This ground-breaking program attracts senior leaders from across business, government and civil society, using an innovative model to support high-impact and practice-focused research.

Research interests

Social enterprise; Social innovation; Social impact; Corporate social responsibility; Business ethics

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Assessing Social Enterprises in the NDIS: The emergence of the NDIS in Australia presents new opportunities and challenges for policy-makers, service providers and service users alike. This research will explore how social enterprises engage in this new quasi-market. The knowledge created will provide insights into how social enterprises make a difference through their approaches to disability services provision.

Comparing Social Enterprise and Nonprofit Boards: This reserch will challenge the assumption that nonprofit and social enterprise boards are similar in terms of structure, process and culture. The project will use multiple methods to compare, contrast and critique governance in these organsations, creating knowledge of significant benefit to several stakeholder groups.

Measuring Social Enterprise Governance Performance: The emergence of the NDIS in Australia presents new opportunities and challenges for policy-makers, service providers and service users alike. In this project, the research will explore and compare how social enterprises engage in this new quasi-market. The new knowledge created will provide insights into how social enterprises make a difference through their approaches to disability services provision.

Social Enterprise Discourses - A Critical Analysis: This research project will explore and critique discourses of social enterprise and entrepreneurship. Critical studies of SE represent a significant gap in scholarly knowledge, thus the research will adopt a critical approach, including actor-network theory or participatory action research. The project will produce a critically-informed view of SE discourses, valuable to practitioners.

Social Enterprise Governance and Integrated Reporting: This project will use social enterprises as the context to explore the application of an Integrated Reporting framework. The project will benefit practitoners seeking appropriate reporting processes for organsations that seek to balance both financial and social goals.

Social Enterprise Policy - A Comparative Analysis: This research builds on recent work (Mason and Moran 2016) to comparatively explore social enterprise policy-making in Australia. Addressing federal and state levels of government, the research will contrast global policy evidence to social enterprise development.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Business Ethics - 500102
  • Corporate Governance - 350701
  • Stakeholder Engagement - 350717

Teaching areas

Social enterprise


  • 2019, National, National Research Leader: Ethics, The Australian
  • 2017, National, CSIRO ON Prime Pre-Accelerator (Adapative Design Social Enterprise), CSIRO
  • 2009, International, Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards, European Foundation for Management Development

Further information



Also published as: Mason, Chris; Mason, C.; Mason, Christopher
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2021: Evaluation of the Homes Victoria Rental Relief Grant *; Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
  • 2021: Program Evaluation - Melbourne Legacy *; Melbourne Legacy Fund Scheme
  • 2020: Mapping the Terrain: Policy Coordination and Housing Outcomes during the COVID-19 Crisis *; AHURI 2020 NHRP Rapid Research Round - Covid-19
  • 2019: The role of campaign disclosure and communication strategies in the crowdfunding strategies in the crowdfunding success of social enterprises *; AFAANZ Research Grants
  • 2017: Improving Health Equity of Young People? The role of social enterprise *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2017: What’s your Story? Social entrepreneurship *; City of Port Phillip
  • 2016: Evaluation of the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds *; The University of New South Wales
  • 2016: The conditions for collaboration that enable social and business innovationcommunities to radically reduce carbon outputs and improve sustainability *; CRC Low Carbon Living
  • 2016: The opportunities, risks and possibilities of social impact investment for housing and homelessness *; AHURI National Housing Research Program - Research Projects
  • 2014: Evidence Review: Social Innovation for health (equity) promotion *; VicHealth
  • 2014: Measuring Outcomes for Impact in the Community Sector and Social Enterprise Resilience *; Bankwest Foundation

* Chief Investigator