Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Business School (Business)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to NN12
Tied to N205
Tied to N208


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module encourages students to reflect on their learning and consider one or more major issues related to management and organizations. Students are challenged to link their learning with both their direct and vicarious experience of the workplace gained through the course, internships or part time work.
  • Students will have opportunities to develop skills by working as project members with local not-for-profit/outside agencies.
  • Through working with their tutor and with other students in groups, students will also develop critical skills in negotiating projects, developing actions plans, co-ordinating group activities, observing effects, reflecting on results and recommending future actions in support of others.
  • The module specifically aims to:
  • Develop a deeper understanding of management, the role of the manager, and how individuals add value in the workplace.
  • Reflect on the relationship between theory and practice and how new ideas and practices are introduced into an organization to improve performance
  • Challenge students to develop their self-awareness, criticality and self-reflection
  • Develop sound foundations for lifelong learning
  • Address the reflective, collaborative and action mindsets at a high level.


  • Action research & learning
  • Revisiting the lens
  • Working with non-profit agencies / social enterprises
  • Negotiating projects
  • Managing self and other
  • Representing the other
  • Types of leading & learning
  • Possibilities for and limitations of change
  • Sense-making and making sense to clients
  • The ethics of action research
  • Bringing it together
  • (note, exact content will vary in accordance with the development/reflective focus of students, and the requirements of the action research)

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Be able to critically assess the role and competences of a manager and researchers in the workplace
  • Be able to understand and apply different perspectives on leadership and ways of adapting leadership styles and practices in different situations
  • Be able to understand issues affecting the gap between theory and practice and which may act as barriers to performance improvement in an organization
  • Be able to understand the concept of the reflective practitioner and to reflect critically on their own practice as a way of learning and improving
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Become reflective practitioners in the management of their own work
Key Skills:
  • Have the ability to communicate effectively: listening; communicating complex ideas; using a range of media which are widely used in business such as the preparation and presentation of business reports.
  • Have developed skills of effective self-management in terms of time, planning and behaviour, motivation, self-starting and individual initiative.
  • Have developed interpersonal skills of effective listening, negotiating, persuasion and presentation.
  • Have the ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently.
  • Have developed skills of self-reflection and criticality including self-awareness, openness and sensitivity to diversity in terms of people, cultures, business and management issues.
  • Have the skills of learning to learn and developing a continuing appetite for learning; reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning

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

  • Students will bring to the module a variety of in-depth knowledge from the specialist topics they have studied in the third year. Teaching on the module will aim to create an environment where students with different specialisms can work together effectively and learn from each other. Their different perspectives will be valuable in tackling the shared issues of reflection, learning and putting knowledge into practice.
  • Teaching will involve a number of extended seminars providing students the opportunity to work together and test out a number of ideas covered in the module.
  • Students will engage in an action research project with an external agency (referred to hence forth as the ‘project organisation’) identified by the module leader (e.g. local charity, social enterprise or public sector body).
  • Working as a team, students will negotiate the terms of an action research project with the project organisation under the guidance of the module leader.
  • Students will draw on their qualitative and ethnographic skills to observe and understand the work and challenges of the project organisation
  • Employing the marketing and presentation skills developed in years 1-3 of the degree programme, students will work in a team to produce a critical photo essay explaining the nature and challenges of the work undertaken by the project organisation (such that the organisation and its work may be understood by a lay audience).
  • Having understood the nature of the project organisation, student will then devise and execute an action research project agreed with the project organisation. Students will work together, on one or two discrete research issues, to produce a short report/presentation for the project organisation. Student will then produce individual summative assignments reflecting on their experience of working as part of an action research team.
  • Students will have opportunities to draw on any work experience (internships, part time work) and also the activities within the module to help them reflect on their own practice and also to explore the relationship between theory and practice.
  • + Engagement in ‘action research’ activities refers to the fieldwork undertaken by students. In term one this means observing the work of the ‘project organisation’ so that they may demonstrate understanding of its work and challenges (assessed in the form of a photo essay). In term two this refers to data collection on research issues negotiated with the project organisation. The exact nature of the methods will depend on the issue, and may be qualitative or quantitative in nature (and will therefore build on the skills acquired in ARBS1 and ARBS2 modules of the programme).
  • *Block teaching ensures that theory and content are delivered up-front each term, freeing students to engage in the fieldwork required for assessment. The 2-hour interactive workshops are all delivered in the first 5 weeks of each term. Student then go out into the field (engagement in action research) with the ‘project organisation’ for the remainder of the term, with ‘drop-in clinics’ provided during this phase. Drop-in clinics are student led and allow learners to set the agenda depending on the issues arising in the field.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
+Engagement in ‘action research’ activities Varies Varies Varies 10
Workshops 10 *Block 2 hours 20
Drop-in clinics 10 *Block 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflective report combining theory and practice (supported by extracts from personal journal) 2000 words plus journal 100% Individual 2000 word reflective report
Component: Group Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Critical Group photo essay based on engagement with local organisation / issues 10-15 photos, maximum 500 words text 100% Individual photo essay 10-15 photos, 500 word maximum

Formative Assessment:

Feedback on seminar / workshop activities including peer assessment. Reflection on experience of photo-essay production (undertaken at level 1) and critical appraisal of the history and methods associated with this mode of communication. Feedback will also be given an outline essay plans and photo-shoots.

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