Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI49S15: International Business in Context (BLENDED)

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI49S15: International Business in Context (BLENDED)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N1KS17
Tied to N1KR17
Tied to N1N317
Tied to N1N417
Tied to N1KM17
Tied to N1KN17
Tied to N1N107
Tied to N2K507
Tied to N5K407
Tied to N5K507
Tied to N6K207
Tied to N2K307
Tied to N5K107
Tied to N1K017
Tied to N1KB17


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To visit leading international companies and to understand and evaluate the complex nature of different dimensions of their business in one overseas country.
  • To compare and contrast organisations on a specific aspect (e.g. culture, strategy, finance, HRM).
  • To research and produce a detailed case study of leading international organizations, based on desk research prior to the tour and primary research conducted during the tour.
  • To provide an insight into international business in context.


  • Module content is divided into three major parts: the pre-tour preparation of a formative research report into two of the organizations which the students will visit; the tour itself; and the post-tour completion of the research report, plus an individual reflective assignment.
  • Pre-Tour preparation: There will be 3 preparatory webinars for the students prior to the tour. In groups of 3-4, students will research their chosen dimension (eg culture, HRM, finance) to examine in the two organizations which they will compare and contrast. They will produce a 1,500-word formative assignment based on their group’s desk-research (e.g. printed case studies, as well as journals and newspapers) one month before the tour, to be marked by faculty prior to the visit. A week before the tour, they will submit a research plan for how they will gather primary data when visiting the company.
  • The Tour: The tour will involve visits to each of the participating organizations, spread across five days.
  • The post-tour assignment: Following the tour, the group will submit a shared summative assignment comprising their final report comparing and contrasting both organizations (1,000 words). Each student will also submit a further individual assignment (3,000 words) detailing their own reflections on the experience, what they personally learned on the tour, and how they will make use of this experience and knowledge (i.e. ‘reflective practitioner’ activity). There will be an online de-briefing session for all students.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should have a critical understanding of:
  • How businesses operate in an overseas context.
  • The similarities and differences among leading international companies in aspects of their organisation
  • How these similarities and differences manifest themselves, how they originated, and their impact on performance.
  • Applied analysis of theory and frameworks in a real organization.
  • The benefits and limitations of primary research, especially the production of detailed case studies.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • The ability to put the organisational theory into practice.
  • Acquired effective group work skills, including collaborative effort in the research, drafting, refinement, and presentation of an assignment, as well as interpersonal sensitivity, perhaps across national cultural boundaries.
  • Acquired skills in desk research and primary research associated with the production of case studies. The ability to appreciate the concept of a ‘reflective practitioner’ and to reflect critically on organizations, as a way of learning and developing.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication;
  • Planning, organising and time management;
  • Problem solving and analysis;
  • Interpretation of data; computer literacy,
  • Team working
  • Interpersonal skills.

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

  • The summative written assignments are designed to test the students’ theoretical understanding of their chosen topic, and their ability to apply this to organisations. They also test their capacity for ‘reflective practitioner’ insights.
  • There will be three online webinars (seminars), which will prepare the students for the visit, get them to reflect on case study methodology in the preparation of their formative assignment, and a final webinar to examine the formative feedback, and to agree upon a viable approach to the primary research to be undertaken on the tour itself.
  • On the tour itself, the participating organisations – having been briefed and having agreed on the overall theme of their visit – will submit to questioning and other forms of primary research. The groups will prepare questions, and assess the evidence for the organisation’s responses to those questions.
  • The post-tour webinar will be an opportunity to reflect on learning and de-brief on the visit.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Preparatory webinars 3 2 hours 6
The tour: company visits 3 4 hours 12
Lectures 4 2 hours 8
Post-tour webinars 1 2 hours 2
Reading, project work and preparation (group work and individual) 122
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Group Assignment Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group project, taking the form of a multimedia presentation 1,000 word (equivalent) 100% Individual essay, 1000 words
Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual reflective learning journal, based around the company visits and accompanying strategic analysis exercise 3,000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

1500 word group assignment. Feedback will be provided on contributions to the preparation webinars, and the draft report.

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