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Unit information: Strategy in 2018/19

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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

(Students should have had prior experience at university of presenting discursive arguments in essay form.)

Any one of: Organisation Theory EFIM10013, International Business Management EFIM20003, Management Accounting ACCG20011, History of Economic Thought ECON20021 or Applied Microeconomics EFIM20002



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, and reflecting critically on, the social practice of making strategy.

Intended learning outcomes

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

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

2. Analyse and appraise strategies through the application of relevant theory;

3. Gather and organise strategy-relevant information from a variety of academic and practice sources in order to critically evaluate strategy concepts, approaches and/or discourses;

4. Discuss the implications of strategy decisions for individuals, organisations and/or wider society;

5. Demonstrate awareness of strategic thinking through reflective self-appraisal;

6. Advocate, critically review and effectively communicate strategy issues in group situations*.

Teaching details

The component methods of teaching include lectures and classes in an integrated mix where elements on Blackboard effectively shape the unit through short introductory 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.

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 group discussion, case studies etc., aimed at developing analytical and diagnostic skills, critical evaluation, awareness and reflection. Selected readings will be introduced through the online reading list, organised by week. Support for group and individual learning will be facilitated through online communication and collaboration.

Assessment Details

Assessment 1 (20% of final mark)

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

Summative Test: Blackboard-based test of knowledge and understanding through multiple choice questions. Open book, timed, and carried out mid-term (ILO 1).

Assessment 2 (80% of final mark)

Formative work: a) Presentation and peer review in class of developing work as part of learning to appraise and review and to receive feedback (*ILO 6); b) Submission of a draft of up to 1/3rd of portfolio for feedback before final submission. This will be the principal feedback for the summative assessment.

Final Summative assessment: Portfolio of work comprising 3-5 elements testing ILOs 1-5 (including for example: an analysis of a case study; a strategy proposal; a critical appraisal of strategy theory and/or practice; a reflective piece etc.). The portfolio may contain audio and video elements, and in total will be of a size equivalent to a 3,500-word essay.

Reading and References

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

Clegg, S., Schweitzer, J., Whittle, A. & Pitelis, C. (2017) Strategy: Theory and Practice, 2nd Ed., London: Sage Publications.

Sminia, H. (2018) The strategic manager,2nd Ed., London: Routledge.

Selected articles from journals including:

Strategic Management Journal

Long Range Planning

Harvard Business Review

Organisation Studies

Strategy and Organisation