Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4P930: Global Strategic Management (Level 4)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4P930: Global Strategic Management (Level 4)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1A560


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop students’ knowledge of the theory and practice of strategic management in a global context.
  • To introduce students to different, and often contradictory theories on the sources and processes of building and maintaining competitive advantage.
  • To develop students’ skills in analyzing complex business situations and synthesizing heterogeneous theoretical arguments into meaningful and testable hypotheses.
  • To develop students’ proficiency in designing and conducting empirical research projects.


  • This module covers fundamental perspectives on strategic management. It focuses on some foundational theories from Mintzberg (the question of whether strategy is emergent or planned), Porter (the cconcepts of competitive and sustainable advantage) and Barney (the “resource-based view”) with an eye to understanding how these seminal contributions continue to reverberate in contemporary research on organizations worldwide. Topics addressed include notably:
  • The concept of strategy.
  • Research on the evolution of firm capabilities.
  • Competitive dynamics.
  • Corporate strategies (i.e., mergers & acquisitions, diversification & divestiture, alliances).
  • Critical and organizationally inflected strategy theories such as strategy as practice.
  • A broad array of research methods, incorporating both quantitative and qualitative approaches as well as a plurality of paradigms.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Critical understanding of research gaps in current strategic management literature.
  • Critical understanding of theories’ boundary conditions - for instance context-sensitive appreciation of the variety of circumstances and contingencies, as well as kinds of organizations to which the theory may apply.
  • Critical understanding of research methods and their relevance to global management practice.
  • Critical understanding of the micro-practices that influence how strategy is enacted in daily work - this will be addressed in relation to research methods by incorporating aspects of ethnography (understood broadly as a methodological stance) and observation (as a method).
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to critically evaluate theories and research on global strategic management
  • Richer appreciation of the case method
  • Appreciation of the relevance of institutional theory to strategy
  • Ability to develop relevant research questions, assess different research designs, choose suitable measurement methodologies, select appropriate samples and analyze data using statistical tools and software.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication skills
  • The development of cohesive and persuasive arguments
  • Developing well-motivated, interesting and relevant research questions suitable to explanatory, exploratory and rich, inferential description (for instance grounded theory or case study designs)
  • Logically building up (explanatory) hypotheses and propositions, or devising (exploratory) novel research questions, or identifying (rich, inferential description) well-framed settings and problems
  • Designing robust and coherent research that, where appropriate, draws from one or more epistemological stances and traditions

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

  • The module involves workshops that highlight the main issues, strengths, weaknesses, controversies, and gaps in the readings for each session.
  • Workshops take the form of intensive and guided small group discussion of research questions in relation to theory and methods.
  • Learning will occur primarily through critical assessment of ideas, concepts, theories and methods discussed in the class, supported by guided reading (including academic papers, book chapters and videos) which will be available online.
  • Summative assessment is by means of an enquiry-based essay. (The essay will involve the critical analysis and application of a particular aspect of the strategic management literature. The essay is chosen from a list of contemporary strategic management-related debates.). The formative assessment comprises an outline plan of the summative essay, on which feedback is provided.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops 1 Over 4 days 16 hrs 16
Tutor-supported Learning Groups via webinars and other e-learning tools. With follow-up support as necessary using videoconferencing software. As required 20
Individual Supervision 4
Reading of current published journal articles (available from library) and Independent Study, research design. 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Enquiry-based essay 3,000 words max 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