Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4L020: Strategic Management (Taught)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4L020: Strategic Management (Taught)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1T717


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Strategic Management (Online) BUSI 4K920


  • To develop 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 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 interaction and implications of different strategies and the business models adopted by organisations.
  • 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.


  • Business and corporate strategy formulation and implementation
  • The process of developing strategy
  • Making strategic choices
  • Analysing the competitive and contextual environment
  • Implementing strategy: developing business models, business cases and business plans
  • Contemporary debates in strategic management research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the 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 strategic decision-making within organisations, including the inter-action between corporate/business strategies and the other functions and disciplines within the organisation;
  • have an advanced understanding of the interactions between differing strategies and the business models adopted by organisations to deliver them;
  • have an critical appreciation of the key debates within contemporary research into strategic management.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the 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 aware of, and familiar with, tools and techniques to analyse the competitive and contextual environment to develop appropriate strategies;
  • be aware of, and familiar with, methods employed in formulating and implementing corporate and business-level strategies;
  • be able to develop and defend a cohesive organisational strategy using methodologies like value proposition design and the business model canvas to design, prototype and evaluate alternative business models to deliver successful strategies;
  • be able to communicate strategic proposals effectively in a variety of media, such as elevator pitches, business cases and business plans;
  • 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 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.
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

  • Learning outcomes are met through classroom-based workshops, supported by online resources. The workshops consist of a combination of taught input, groupwork, case studies and discussion. Online resources provide supplementary material for the workshops – typically consisting of directed reading and video content.
  • The formative assessment includes classroom-based exercises involving individual and group analyses of specific business situations/problems relevant to the learning outcomes of the module. Feedback will be given as appropriate.
  • The summative assessment is an individual written report that critically assesses an individual or group-based business case for a new venture or strategic proposal for an existing business. As well as demonstrating competence across most aspects of strategic analysis and evaluation, this requires students to understand the linkages to the other business disciplines and to demonstrate awareness of the latest strategic thinking.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (a combination of taught input, groupwork, case studies and discussion), timetabled in blocks 8 Over a 4-day teaching block 4 hours 32
Preparation, reading and other independent study 168
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written report 4000 words max 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Group-based case study analysis

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