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Unit information: Small Business Development in 2016/17

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Unit name Small Business Development
Unit code POLIM2030
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Fornes
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

The unit aims to give participants a starting point in the management and development of small and mid-sized business (SMBs). This knowledge is especially relevant for development practitioners as SMBs represent an important part of the economic activity in most countries. In this context, the unit will attempt to analyse how, from the micro (organisation) and macro (institution) level perspectives, SMBs can create sustainable competitive advantages.

Aims:

The unit aims to give participants a starting point in the management and development of small and medium-sized business (SMBs). This knowledge is especially relevant for development practitioners as SMBs represent an important part of the economic activity in most countries. In this context, the unit will attempt to analyse how, from the micro (organisation) and macro (institution) level perspectives, SMBs can create sustainable competitive advantages.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit, it is expected that the participants will acquire:

  • An overview of the particular conditions that SMBs face when attempting to develop competitive advantages
  • An understanding of the meaning of analysing, planning, managing, and controlling in the context of SMBs,
  • Hands-on experience in managing SMBs,
  • Tools and skills needed to manage and analyse SMBs in the context of development,
  • The ability to reflect on their own previous experience,
  • The skills to think strategically.

Teaching details

There are ten seminars in the unit, attendance is compulsory. Every session is based on both the readings and the case studies assigned for this day. Each session will be divided into two parts: first, a discussion on the issues assigned for this day; second, the presentation and analysis of a case study. The objective of this is linking concepts with practice. The unit's material/case studies are posted on Blackboard and all the communication will be handled using this system. Participants should visit Blackboard for new information and updates on a regular basis. The class is divided into groups of 3 or 4 students. These groups work together during the semester to carry out the project as well as to analyse the case studies every week. The latter means that every group should bring to each session its own analysis of the case studies.

Assessment Details

(i) 1500 word essay (45%)

(ii) final project in teams (40%)

(iii) team-mates assessment (15%).

The changes try to incorporate the nature of the course, the development of personal skills, in the assessment process. The rationale for this assessment follows: (i) The aim of the short essay is to provide an opportunity for students to understand, use, and apply one of the management tools studied during the unit with the idea that this practice will help them in the final project in groups. The essay is due on week 20, as it falls in the middle of the term, it also aims at developing the skill of working under pressure. (ii) The final project in groups is an opportunity to test and practice what students have learned working as part of a team throughout the unit, mainly in terms of transferable skills such as teamwork, leadership, etc, This project is due on week 22. (iii) Assessment by team-mates attempts to minimise free-rider behaviours during the work in groups.

Reading and References

  • Bridge, K. O'Neill and S. Cromie, Understanding Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Small Business (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
  • Hodgetts and Kuratko, Effective Small Business Management (Fort Worth, Tex.; London: Harcourt, 2001).

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