module specification

MN7124 - Developing Organisational Capabilities (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Developing Organisational Capabilities
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
255 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   A 1500 work briefing paper on Capabilities at the workplace
Coursework 80%   A 4000 word work- based report on capabilities.
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North To be arranged -
Autumn semester North To be arranged -

Module summary

This integrated, multi-disciplinary module is focused on outcomes, drawing upon organisation theory, finance, marketing, operations, corporate governance, innovation and CSR it blends a variety of perspectives to provide insights into the nature, analysis and development of organisational capabilities.  At its heart is the notion that all organisations are a collection of resources and it is how these are combined and developed that is central to the ability of organisations to compete and therefore to their longer-term success.

The capabilities agenda has been a major theme in public policy debates for the past decade and in organisational analysis and strategic management for far longer.  At the organisational level it has been associated with sustainable competitive advantage through the concept of core competencies and through capacity building initiatives.  This module builds upon what has been covered at the Certificate stage to explore how those running organisations can identify their value drivers and their sources of competitive advantage, and how they nurture these and protect them .

Module aims

The module aims to develop competencies in identifying the key drivers for adding value and enhancing organisational effectiveness in specific organisational settings and to examine ways in which these can be developed, supported and protected over time.  Important themes are how capabilities and core competencies are identified, nurtured and protected within organisations in a socially responsible manner and how those running organisations provide the architecture to ensure these are combined in ways that ensure sustainability and competitive advantage.


The capabilities agenda, social and corporate responsibility and public policy
Resource capability, organisational effectiveness and competitive advantage
HR capability and organisational capacity and performance
Capabilities through networks – building and sustaining strategic connections
Strategic architecture, assets
Financial capabilities and added value
Capabilities and the supply chain
Capability and innovation
The role of law and corporate governance in leveraging organisational capability
Organisational capacity building, creativity and agility
Leadership and leveraging organisational capabilities

Learning and teaching

The module draws upon a wide range of learning and teaching approaches.  It makes use of problem-based learning using case studies and groupwork, involving course members in discussion of organisational issues.  Where appropriate it draws upon involvement from practitioners and consultants providing practical organisational scenarios to work with. 
This module relies heavily on course members participation, both in undertaking a considerable amount of pre-reading of material and in working with others.  Indeed, a key element of the module is a focus on problem-based learning, taking case material and ‘live’ organisational issues and exploring these through group analysis and discussion.  

Work Based Development
This module adopts a workplace development perspective by considering how the topics covered in the module can be applied to real-life workplace issues. This involves students adopting an organisational development (OD) perspective, based upon one or more of the topics covered in the course and a reflection on the practicalities of how to design and implement such an approach in the context of a particular workplace issue. Through this mechanism, students are able to engage in a critical reflection and evaluation of the material covered in the course and consider the relationship between theory and practice in the area.

E learning
Students will be timetabled for regular workshops which they must attend. Students should also look at Weblearn/Blackboard regularly to see any preparation activities that they need to undertake or slides or other material that they may wish to print or download. Additionally students should  spend time each week online maintaining and updating their Learning Journal which is on WebLearn/Blackboard. This journal records not only what students have done in class but also other activities, and thoughts and reflections which contribute to their learning. Students will be guided in class as to what they should focus on each week. It is important that students make their entries regularly as they will help to consolidate learning throughout the module.
The module tutor / lecturer will regularly review entries in students Learning Journal and will comment and leave feedback. This provides regular formative feedback.

Entries in students learning journals can only be viewed by the student and the tutors on the module. Students studying the MBA may pursue e learning and work-based development in scheduled classes during the week.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the course member should be able to:

  • Appreciate the significance of the capabilities agenda and the contribution of organisational capabilities to the effectiveness and performance of organisations
  • Appreciate how an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach assists in understanding the processes by which capabilities can be identified, developed and protected
  • Understand how organisations can harness the potential of capabilities by creating competitive advantage through the development of appropriate infrastructure - building links internally and networks externally 
  • Understand the role of human resource capabilities as a source of unique added value
  • Assess the worth of capabilities to an organisation and how they add value

Assessment strategy

The summative assessment is in two related parts with the second assignment building upon the first and utilising the summative feedback from this.  Both are individual pieces of work, with the first requiring course members to apply the central learning around capabilities, competencies and capacity building to their own organisation.  The second, takes this further, exploring the capabilities from within a critical reflective framework and to produce a work-based report to their organisation identifying the opportunities available for further development. Students studying the MBA will be set an alternative assessment if they are unable to complete an organisationally based assessment.


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Centre for Creative Leadership, (2009), Transforming Your Organization, Greensboro, CCL
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