Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)


Department: Business School (Business)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N1KS17
Tied to N1KR17
Tied to N1KS14
Tied to N1N317
Tied to N1N417


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • BUSI45O15: Managing in the Competitive Environment (Taught)


  • To explore in depth the complex environmental pressures at work on organisations, how they can respond to these influences, and the key issues involved in aligning with these forces.
  • Specifically, the module takes an integrated perspective of the operating environment of the organisation from the standpoints of two core areas of activity: marketing and operations management. Firstly, the module begins by exploring the network of exchanges between buyers and sellers in a market economy and the particular role of marketing in facilitating those exchange relationships. This is then followed by an exploration of the extent to which the organisation-customer interaction is wholly dependent upon effective operational management in terms of the design, planning, control, forecasting and management of resources.
  • A particular feature of the module is the way in which it not only conceptualises the pressures faced by organisations, but also identifies the main issues that need to be addressed by individual managers.


  • The module takes an integrated perspective on two core areas of business activity:
  • Marketing: the contexts of marketing; the consumption experience; building relationships; creating ‘solutions’; brand selection and brand management; the movement of space and time.
  • Managing Operations: operations strategy; product and service design; quality management; process design; planning and control; supply chain management; operations improvement.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • developed an integrated and critical appreciation of the key business areas that need to be managed in a competitive operating environment to achieve a holistic view, the emphasis being on process and integration rather than functional 'silos';
  • developed a critical appreciation of the dynamic pressures of the environment, both internally within the organisation and externally;
  • developed a critical understanding of the existing theoretical knowledge base on key areas of marketing and operations management.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should:
  • be able to apply their understanding to the analysis of complex issues in marketing and operations management;
  • be able to formulate an information-driven strategic response to marketing or operational circumstances.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.
  • 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 module is delivered via online learning, divided up into study weeks with specially produced resources within each week. Resources vary according to the learning outcomes but normally include: video content, directed reading, reflection through activities, opportunities for self-assessment and peer-to-peer learning within a tutor-facilitated discussion board. Tutors provide feedback on formative work and facilitate discussion board communication as well as being available for individual consultation as necessary (usually by email and Skype).
  • The summative assessment of the module is designed to test the acquisition and articulation of knowledge and critical understanding, and skills of application and interpretation within the business context.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Video content, directed reading, self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading 150
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 words maximum 100% Same
Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Examination 2 hours 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

A written assignment of 1,500 words, or its multimedia equivalent, which may involve some group work.

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