Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to some of the key issues associated with the small and medium business and its development in different cultural contexts.
  • To develop your knowledge and understanding of the role and importance of small and medium business/enterprise (SMEs).
  • To explore in-depth the nature of the small business owner-manager and the key stages in small business development.
  • To develop your understanding of the public policy debates for SME development.
  • To provide you with models and perspectives that are from forms associated with corporate and large business.
  • To provide you with the opportunity to participate in student-centred learning drawing on recent research.
  • To offer you the opportunity to develop some key skills.


  • Small and Medium Business in the Economy - The scale, nature and purpose of the SME sector.
  • The role and importance of the SME sector in different contexts.
  • The rationale for intervention.
  • The SME Environment - Public policy issues.
  • Overview of types and forms of intervention.
  • Intervention at various stages of the business life-cycle.
  • Regional and local intervention strategies.
  • Segmentation strategies for SME development.
  • Agents and agencies of intervention.
  • Support for the individual business.
  • Elements for successful business start-up.
  • Frameworks for analysis of the potential growth business.
  • Public and private support mechanisms.
  • The Small Business as an Organisation: The holistic nature of managing a small business.
  • The ownership-management interface in the small business.
  • The critical nature of the 'Task Environment'.
  • Small business/large business interaction - the critical issues of perception, language and empathy.
  • The Maturing Business: The diversification of managing a business in transition.
  • The separation of ownership and management.
  • Formalising Business Processes.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students are expected:
  • To have an understanding of the key characteristics of different types of enterprise in the SME sector in a range of developed and developing economics and cultures.
  • To understand the internal form and structures of different types of SMEs.
  • To be able to demonstrate an understanding of the key elements and processes of business creation, survival, growth, and ways of growing a small business.
  • To be aware of the main policy issues in the public provision of support for the SME sector and have knowledge of the key characteristics of different types of business support and interventions.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To have had the opportunity to further develop skills in independent learning drawing on recent research.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication - through summative assignment.
  • Computer literacy - by typing up summative assignment.

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

  • Teaching is by lectures, seminars and a structured reading week. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in classes, and private study. Formative Assessment is by means of an essay plus contribution to a group presentation. Summative assessment is by means of a written examination and a written assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 per Week 1 Hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in Term 1, 4 in Term 2 1 Hour 8
Structured Reading Week 1 In Term 2 1
Preparation and Reading 171
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one written examination 1 hour 30 mins 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one written assignment 1500 words max 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 1500 word essay plus a contribution to a group presentation.

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