Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module BUSI5B415: Small Business

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI5B415: Small Business

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap
Tied to N1K607
Tied to N1K307
Tied to N1K807


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with the opportunity to study some key issues in small business management at an advanced level.


  • The characteristics of small businesses, their stakeholders and their relationships with other businesses
  • The contribution of small business to employment, innovation and competition
  • The reasons why small firms vary in importance across sectors and the management implications of that variation
  • Different approaches to entrepreneurial activity and its contribution to small business development
  • The formation decision and its determinants
  • Factors influencing growth and success
  • Survival rates of new businesses
  • The financial characteristics of small businesses and the existence of financial 'gaps'
  • The rationale for policy intervention and some recent experience
  • Specific readings will be set with each lecture and seminar.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should have a critical knowledge and understanding of:
  • The nature of small business and its stakeholders
  • The contribution of small businesses to the economy and different sectors
  • The role of the entrepreneur and entrepreneurship in small business
  • The factors influencing the creation of small business
  • The growth, success and survival of small business
  • The financing of small businesses
  • The policy environment.
Subject-specific Skills:
    By the end of the module students should be able to critically assess the strategic or competitive position of a small business.
Key Skills:
    Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The key concepts, theories and navigational assistance for the literature will be prepared in a series of lectures, each with a question and answer session. These will be supported by lectures, guided reading and seminars.
  • The seminars will be run in small groups and commence with prepared written papers and presentations resulting from background reading and case study analysis from groups of 2 or 3 students. Formative assessment through feedback will be provided at these seminars.
  • External small business practitioners will be invited to present their perspectives on small business issues, to give students a greater sense of the complexity and pragmatics of everyday practice of working in or with small businesses.
  • The summative assignment will require the student to assess the strategic or competitive position of a specific small business, either through case material or preferably a local small business. This assignment will necessarily require reference to most of the syllabus content in order to assess the practical situation and identify management imperatives.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 2 hours 14
Seminars 4 1 hour 4
Practioner sessions 2 2 hours 4
Preparation & Reading 128
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 2,500 words (max) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Peer and tutor feedback will be provided at compulsory seminar presentations.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University