Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4J010: Strategic Management (FT)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4J010: Strategic Management (FT)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1T517
Tied to N1T617


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by developing students' understanding of the strategic management of organisations and the impact of the wider external environment.
  • To examine how companies attempt different business and corporate strategies to achieve or maintain a competitive advantage.
  • To give students an in-depth understanding at an advanced level of strategy formulation and implementation under conditions of changing industry competition, firm resources, and technology.
  • To provide an in-depth understanding and critical evaluation of specialist techniques to aid analysis of the competitive and contextual environment.
  • To understand the linkages between strategic management and the other core business disciplines including finance and accounting, marketing, operations and supply chain management, human resource management and organisational development.
  • To explore contemporary debates in strategic management research.
  • To develop links with the Business School's research strategy by incorporating current research into strategic management within organisations.


  • Business and corporate strategy formulation and implementation: the process of developing strategy; making strategic choices; analysing the competitive and contextual environment; implementing strategy; business planning/business case development.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students should:
  • Have a critical appreciation of the main strengths and weaknesses of various strategic actions such as cost-based and differentiation strategies, consolidation, market penetration, specialisation, product development and technological first-mover strategies, market development and internationalisation, diversification, acquisitions and mergers, strategic alliances.
  • Have an advanced understanding of many of the routinely-encountered difficulties in strategy implementation and have methods at hand to address those difficulties, including negotiating and persuading.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should:
  • Be able to think strategically and critically about a firm, as well as functionally;
  • Be able to define a firm's main capabilities, competencies and competitive advantages;
  • Be able to analyse critically the non-market environment of business on firms, such as the strategic constraints and opportunities presented by social, environmental sustainability, and political developments.
  • Be able to conduct an in-depth industry analysis and gain advanced understanding of its strengths and limitations;
  • Be able to develop and defend a cohesive organisational strategy;
  • Be aware of key debates within contemporary strategic management and be able to undertake critical appraisal of the latest strategic management literature and research, applying critical judgement and discrimination;
  • Be aware of, and familiar with, methods employed in formulating and implementing corporate and business-level strategies;
  • Be aware of, and familiar with, tools and techniques to analyse the competitive and contextual environment to develop appropriate strategies;
  • Be able to understand the implications for the strategic purpose and ethical stance of an organisation arising from the influence of different stakeholder groups within the organisation;
  • Be able to develop appropriate business plans/business cases that communicate detailed strategic plans to a range of appropriate audiences.
Key Skills:
  • Sourcing appropriate data and evaluating evidence.
  • Interpreting and using numerical and financial information.
  • Interpreting and using qualitative information.
  • Reflecting and synthesising from experience.
  • Developing critical thinking.
  • Synthesising diverse perspectives.
  • Developing coherent and persuasive arguments.

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

  • Main content is delivered via “flipped classroom” sessions centred on pre-prepared case study analyses. Student preparation for each session includes directed reading, online video lectures and an inter-active strategic analysis toolkit to prepare individual analyses. Post-session learning is consolidated by further reading of academic articles and other research.
  • In addition there will be a number of shorter lectures and debates centred upon the latest research into key topics within strategic management.
  • A business plan/case development workshop will develop student competence across this discipline, as well as integrating learning with the other main business disciplines. The exercise will provide the formative input into the summative assessment.
  • Summative assessment will be by students preparing an individual business case/plan for an organisation or business opportunity of their choice. As well as demonstrating competence across most aspects of strategic management knowledge, it requires students to understand the linkages to the other business disciplines and to demonstrate competence in the key skills of strategy analysis and evaluation using relevant tools and frameworks.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop sessions - case study-based workshops including lectures, groupwork and plenary discussions 8 4 32
Student preparation/follow-up for classroom sessions - online videos, exercises, reading & case study analysis 52
Business plan/case development workshop 16
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Business case/plan 4,000 words maximum 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Business plan/case workshop will provide an interactive learning experience with group and individual coaching to provide feedback on business case/plan development

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