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Unit information: Strategy in 2016/17

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Unit name Strategy
Unit code EFIM30030
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Humphrey Bourne
Open unit status Not open

Organisation Theory EFIM20014 or International Business Management EFIM20003 or Management Accounting ACCG20011



School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Strategy is concerned with the future direction and scope of organisations and so requires an understanding of the questions: ‘where are we now?’, ‘where do we want to get to?’ and ‘how might we get there?’. The answers to such questions are complicated by, among other things, changing environments, incomplete information, organisational history, politics and cultures, and the actions of other players. Strategy therefore involves the application of concepts and theories to help to understand strategic situations, the ability to recognise alternative future paths, and the skills associated with what is essentially a social practice. The unit takes an organisational view of strategy, acknowledging the considerable influence of organisations on strategy and vice versa. Strategy is essentially political, social and cultural as well as economic in its development and effect.

The unit aims to: develop knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation of the concepts, theories and techniques that organisations employ in making strategy; develop analysis, diagnosis and evaluation skills through applying strategy concepts to case situations; and develop skills in thinking and acting strategically through experiencing the social practice of making strategy and reflecting critically on group and individual actions.

Lectures and classes will be underpinned by e-learning material delivered through Blackboard, and students are expected to develop their own portfolio of work through the unit for eventual submission for summative assessment. Students who fully engage with the unit will develop their ability to think and act strategically – a transferable skill that is relevant to almost any career.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation of concepts, theories and practices of strategy;

2. Explain and discuss alternative strategy approaches and discourses;

3. Appreciate the implications of strategy decisions on individuals, organisations and wider society;

4. Analyse and diagnose strategic situations, recommend and appraise alternative strategies through the application of relevant theory;

5. Negotiate, advocate, critically review and effectively communicate strategy issues in groups and in individual work;

6. Demonstrate awareness of strategic thinking through reflective self-appraisal.

Teaching details

The component methods of teaching include lectures and classes in an integrated mix where elements on Blackboard effectively drive the unit through short introductory online talks to introduce topics, supporting videocasts, video scribes, YouTube links, wikis, selected readings, on-line assessment exercises, and on line case studies. Similarly, assessment and feedback is integrated into the teaching, initially through on-line tests and then through a portfolio of work using an e-portfolio facility, such as that available through Blackboard.

The pattern of teaching is for lectures to be more concentrated in the first half of the unit, and classes in the second half. Classes will involve groupwork and case studies in developing analytical and diagnostic skills. Over the teaching period, students will be expected to evaluate each others’ work and to write about this experience in their portfolios. Selected readings will be introduced for discussion and evaluation. Throughout, support for group and individual learning will be facilitated through online communication and collaboration.

Assessment Details

Assessing ILOs 1 (mostly), 2 & 3 (in part):

Early formative work: weekly online-based tests of knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation over the first five weeks of the unit, multiple choice and with immediate (automatic) assessment.

Summative Test (20%): Blackboard-based test of knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation through multiple choice questions and short discursive answers. Open book, timed and held midway through the term.

Assessing ILOs 1(extending), 2&3 (in part), 4, 5 & 6 fully:

Final Summative assessment (80%): Portfolio of work comprising a number of elements, including, for example: a synopsis of a case study; a strategy proposal based upon the analysis of case material; a critical appraisal of one or more strategy proposal(s); and a reflective account of each student’s learning. The portfolio may contain audio and video elements, and in total will be of a size equivalent to a 3,000 word essay.

Formative individual feedback: Peer review of developing work as part of learning to appraise and review and to receive feedback (ILOs 4,5,6). Students will be able to submit a draft of portfolio elements for feedback before final submission. This will be the principal feedback for the summative assessment.

Reading and References

Grant, R. & Jordan, J (2015) Foundations of strategy, 2nd edition, Chichester: Wiley.

Clegg, S., Carter, C. Kornberger, M. & Schweitzer, J (2011) Strategy: Theory and Practice, London: Sage Publications.

Sminia, H. (2014) The strategic manager, London: Routledge.

Selected articles from journals including:

Strategic Management Journal

Long Range Planning

Harvard Business Review

Organisation Studies

Strategy and Organisation