Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module BUSI4J010: Strategic Management (FT)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4J010: Strategic Management (FT)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2020/21
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 taught on the Durham Full-Time MBA programme.
  • 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; innovation, strategic change, technology and democratizing strategy, strategy and society (ethics, sustainability), strategy in times of environmental jolts.

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 models and approaches in order to remain relevant, valuable and sustainable.
  • An appreciation and understanding of cost-based and differentiation strategies, consolidation, market penetration, specialisation, product development and technological first-mover strategies for incumbent and new entrants, market development and internationalisation, diversification, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances.
  • An advanced understanding of many of the routinely encountered difficulties in strategy design and implementation and have methods and tools at hand to address those difficulties and market opportunities.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should be:
  • Able to think strategically and critically about a firm and its function.
  • Able to define a firm's main capabilities, competencies and competitive advantages.
  • 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.
  • Able to conduct an in-depth industry analysis and gain advanced understanding of its strengths and limitations.
  • Able to develop and defend a cohesive organisational strategy.
  • 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.
  • Aware of, and familiar with, methods employed in formulating and implementing corporate and business-level strategies.
  • Aware of, and familiar with, tools and techniques to analyse the competitive and contextual environment to develop appropriate strategies.
  • 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.
  • 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 at a strategic level.
  • Interpreting, making sense of and using data to inform strategic decisions.
  • 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.
  • Summative assessment will be by students preparing a, 3,000-word individual strategic management research-based essay. The task is in two parts, summative and formative. The task will involve reading and making sense of key strategy literature in a chosen topic area and creating an interview protocol which will be used to interview three strategists in your chosen industry or sector. The formative task will require students to produce and justify 7 interview questions on strategic management (standard demographic questions will be provided for you). They will receive feedback on these questions you designed, in order to conduct the summative part of the assessment. Students will critically analyse these interviews in relation to the strategic management literature and prepare an essay on strategy (a detailed assignment brief will be provided in class).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop sessions - case study-based workshops including lectures, groupwork and plenary discussions 10 4 40
Student preparation/follow-up for classroom sessions - online videos, exercises, reading & case study analysis 60
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Strategy in Focus Essay 3,000 words maximum 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Strategy interview questions – individual presentation.

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