Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI55715: Managing Process Improvement

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI55715: Managing Process Improvement

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap
Tied to N1KG07
Tied to N1DL07
Tied to N1DE07
Tied to N1DB07
Tied to N1KG12
Tied to N1DL12
Tied to N1DE12
Tied to N1DB12
Tied to N1KG14
Tied to N1DL14
Tied to N1DE14
Tied to N1DB14
Tied to N2K107
Tied to N2K112
Tied to N2K114
Tied to N1KB07
Tied to N1K512
Tied to N1KR07
Tied to N1KH12
Tied to N1K114
Tied to N1KS07
Tied to N1KJ12
Tied to N1K214


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module helps the students stand back from the task and examine the current processes within their organisation and to see how systematised they really are.
  • The operations within any organisation involve key and sub-processes that involve inputs an outputs across business areas/functions. It is important to be able to identify what these are and how their efficiency and effectiveness can begin to be measured. This module aims to help the participants identify core processes and be able to map their flow through the organisation’s operations, highlighting where critical decisions are made and where performance should be measured.


  • The content of this module is set within a medium sized organisation or department perspective and covers the following areas:
  • The concept of control and management control systems;
  • Quality management including concepts such as TQM, EFQM and learning organisations;
  • business process analysis, mapping and improvement;
  • the changing world of work;
  • organisational development and structures;
  • the management of organisation crises;

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should:
  • Be able to characterise aspects of organisational development and recognise the stages of transition appropriate to their own organisation;
  • Critically review quality initiatives, their merits and purpose in benchmarking performance from which to build;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students should:
  • Be able to critically evaluate the impact of cross functional issues within key business processes;
  • Show a critical understanding of techniques for mapping process activities using the knowledge and involvement of staff and live documentation;
  • Be able to design a process map with employees to agree current sub-process ownership and the factual, and more sensitive issues about process inefficiencies/ineffectiveness (duplication, multiple communication lines, lack of knowledge, poorly managed sub-activities);
  • Be able to set appropriate performance targets for processes and assess performance against these;
Key Skills:
  • Be able to critically review, identify and analyse the underpinning key processes of business redesign and of how to gain involvement, participation and commitment of staff.

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

  • Through the management profiling feedback and discussion, there should be increased understanding and knowledge of generic management challenges facing everyone in the group (although practical examples will obviously differ). Experience exchange may have provided options for networking and collaboration.
  • Lectures and seminars, supported by guided reading, will be used to introduce and explore the key concepts and theories.
  • Established questionnaires will be used to help people identify organisational stage of development.
  • Case studies and groups exercises will help them develop their own synthesised models which the assignments and mentor support will then help them adapt and apply to the specific needs of their own organisation.
  • A major role play exercise allows students to develop the process mapping techniques from prime documents to final flow chart. It reinforces some of the learning from the Leading Your Team module concerning the importance of communication skills in extracting the appropriate information from staff.
  • A formative assignment will enable students to think about the impact of stage of development on organisational performance.
  • The summative assignment will require the student to analyse their current internal processes in relation to the modules discussed and their own stage of organisational development. This will be compared with best practice examples within the Medium Enterprise sector. They will also consider how what they are and what they do, impacts on the performance of the people they work with. This assignment allows students to consider the practical application of the subject covered.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 2 2 days (one residential) 18
Tutorials 1 Once 5 hours 5
Visit by students to the place of work of one of the other students 1 Once 5 hours 5
Mentor visits 2 Twice 5 hours 10
Preparation & Reading 112
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words (Max.). 100%

Formative Assessment:

A practice assignment covering issues in this module plus the module Leading Your Team develops relevant assignment writing skills for senior managers returning to study

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