Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module BUSI3181: Strategic Management

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI3181: Strategic Management

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of key issues relating to strategic management and the processes of strategy-making.
  • To encourage students to think critically and strategically about strategy, competition and business development.
  • To enable students to understand and apply different and diverging perspectives, debates and concepts arising in strategic management.
  • To provide students with tools, knowledge and skills for managing strategy in future employment.


  • This module will focus on strategic management and key subjects in this domain as well as addressing more contemporary theories and topics of strategy. This module will take a critical perspective on the subject matter with alternate and often contrasting perspectives on subjects provided to students to reinforce the central messages of this module that (1) strategy and strategic management are essential; (2) there is no one best way of developing strategy or conducting strategic management, and; (3) key ideas and concepts within strategy can be contentious and require addressing and balancing for success.
  • Content covered in this module include:
  • Definitions and explanations of the nature of strategy and strategic management.
  • The strategic management process (deliberate vs emergent strategy; planning vs improvisation).
  • Strategy-making: the tools of strategic analysis, internal and external analyses, developing strategic options including warfare strategies.
  • Implementation.
  • Strategic thinking and learning.
  • Competition and strategic positioning.
  • Competitive advantage.
  • Failure.
  • International strategic management.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate a deep and critical understanding of strategic management and the associated literature.
  • Have developed a critical understanding of the factors influencing business strategies.
  • Comprehend the multiple different perspectives and approaches to strategy.
  • Develop understanding of a range of theoretical frameworks for analysing of strategy.
  • Explore the nature of strategy, competition and ‘success’.
  • Understand the nature of ‘failure’ and how to strategically manage such situations.
  • Understand complications and challenges faced in international strategic management.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to apply relevant analytical tools and frameworks to assess environments, strategies and strategic options.
  • Understand, and be able to apply, the concepts and theories of strategic management to practice.
  • Be able to locate, comprehend and critically evaluate relevant research and sources of information relating to strategic management.
Key Skills:
  • Critical thinking, analysis, evaluation and synthesis.
  • Identify and address strategic problems.
  • Develop cohesive and persuasive arguments.
  • Research appropriate periodicals, books, websites and other references to extract and draw together information and knowledge.
  • Research companies and draw out meaningful knowledge and conclusions from various information sources (e.g., from financial statements, Annual Reports, analysts’ reports).
  • Effective written communication, for instance in terms of analysis of strategic issues, report writing and delivering effective critique.

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

  • Teaching is by lectures and seminars. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, reading (which will be recommended at the end of each lecture session), preparation for and participation in seminars, and independent study.
  • Students are expected to read and make additional notes on each subject delivered throughout the module with directed reading suggestions at the end of each lecture, but also through additional reading based on students’ self-motivation.
  • Seminars will consist of examining case examples of strategies management in practice and questions, exercises and debates will be used to support and reinforce knowledge as well as encouraging further study. Students are expected, with no exception, to take full part in discussions within the seminar setting.
  • Formative assessment will be by means of students developing a positioning document that includes an outline and plan of the summative coursework assignment (up to a maximum of 1000 words). Feedback will be provided to each individual student which can then be built upon and developed for the summative coursework assignment. A seminar will also be used as a forum to discuss general feedback on the formative assessment.
  • The summative assessments will provide a test of the understanding and analytical skills acquired by students. As part of the summative coursework assignment, students will be expected to analyse, in detail, the strategy of a chosen firm in the form of an individual report. The word limit is set at a maximum of 4500 words inclusive. The summative assessment will require students to think critically, be able to analyse, evaluate and then apply concepts and theories taught during the module in their assessments. Ideally, students should apply their own research skills in finding information and also use their own initiative to develop insights into strategy.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Seminars 8 4 in term 1; 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written coursework assignment (individual report) 4500 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Positioning document consisting of an outline and plan of the summative coursework assignment (up to a maximum of 1000 words)

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