module specification

MN6003 - Strategy: Choices and Change (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Strategy: Choices and Change
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Summative Assignment 1
Coursework 40%   Summative Assignment 2
Coursework 30%   Summative Assignment 3
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Strategy is a crucial subject, concerned with the development, success and failure of all kinds of organisations, from multinationals to entrepreneurial start-ups, from charities to government agencies, and many others.

Accordingly, strategy constitutes a key element of all professional business and management qualifications.

This module addresses the QAA benchmark statements for business strategy. It also aligns with relevant components of CMI Leadership and Management Level 5 such as Planning a Change Process.

It equips aspiring managers and leaders with the knowledge, skills and techniques required to critically analyse contemporary organisations within changing environments nationally and globally; to formulate, evaluate and defend realistic and creative proposals for future strategic direction; and to plan for the effective implementation of the strategy selected.

Overall, the module aims to:

• Develop the knowledge and understanding to critically apply a range of practical strategic management tools for strategic analysis, choice-making and implementation across public, private and not-for-profit organisations of all sizes across all sectors;

• Enable students to translate their analysis of contemporary organisations and contexts into persuasive, creative and realistic proposals for an organisation’s future strategic direction;

• Enable students to apply structured insight into the realities of an organisation’s internal and external context in order to develop implementation plans which help maximise achievement of strategic objectives; and

• Enhance student employability by developing transferable skills such as research, analysis, evaluation, decision-making, presenting data and influencing others across different cultures, within both existing organisations and entrepreneurial start-ups


The syllabus is structured around the following three theme areas:

Theme 1: Introduction to Strategy and its influences
This block introduces strategy as an academic discipline and explores what strategy is. It explores different schools of strategic thought and the various different types of strategy-making; it examines whether strategy should be deliberately planned / tightly controlled or allowed to emerge and develop incrementally; it includes latest thinking such as Transient Advantage. Differentiating between public, private and not-for-profit organisations, the block examines the different reasons why firms exist and how their purpose, financial resources, sense of social responsibility and culture might impact how they create and articulate their strategy. LO1

Theme 2: Strategic Analysis and Decision-making
This block focuses on the range of strategy tools and techniques. It enables the development and application of practical, analytical skills to evaluate the current internal strengths and weaknesses of an organisation including ownership and financial status, the external threats and opportunities which it faces, its current and future competitive position, its stakeholder network, and the attractiveness of a particular market or industry.  It examines corporate level choice and the different development directions available such as acquisition, merger and joint venture. It explores the evaluation of options, making realistic and financially-informed strategic choices, plus defending strategic proposals both in writing and in person. It examines different strategy processes, including strategic planning and strategy workshops. LO2

Theme 3: Leadership and the Implementation of Strategic Change
This block focuses on the realities of effective implementation of strategic choice. It explores the role of leadership through all management levels in delivering strategy and sustainable change. It examines the impact of an organisation’s particular systems, culture, human resources and financial capability, internal politics, stakeholder groups and overall context on the actual delivery of change. It explores active stakeholder management, including influence, negotiation and conflict. It discusses ongoing risk management and business continuity planning, together with different ways of defining, evaluating and monitoring the effectiveness of strategy implementation in practice. LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Independent study and scheduled teaching activity are balanced 20% / 80% respectively (see table below).

The scheduled teaching activity is delivered through weekly workshops. A key starting point for the workshops is an explanation to the students for the choice of this method of delivery, and exploration and advice as to how individuals can maximise their own learning.

A formative assignment is also used early in the course to support and develop student learning.

Concepts of action and experiential learning are revisited, and students reminded to focus particularly on the opportunities the classroom sessions provide to engage in, and reflect upon, their aspirations as soon-to-be graduates. The weekly workshops consist of an inclusive combination of theoretical input, reports on independent reading, action-centred and problem-based tasks, supported by multimedia plus student-led discussions and peer evaluation.

Theoretical input will focus on the explanation of key strategic tools and outlining the stages in the formulation of strategic decisions and the effective implementation of change.

Case studies are used throughout the course as a key learning vehicle, allowing students to test their theoretical understanding and decision-making skills through application to case-study scenarios.

Blended learning combines intensive face-to-face interaction with regular signposting either in class or via Weblearn to topical webinars, podcasts, e-journals and just-published press articles for students’ self-study. Weblearn is also used for the distribution of the Module Booklet and for storing students’ e-portfolios.

Opportunities for reflective learning are offered throughout the module, including a Formative Assignment plus Personal Learning Reflection exercise early in the module.

The Student Feedback Assessment sheets are specifically tailored for each assignment; these sheets require students to evaluate their own work (and in the case of the group assignment, the work of their peers), thereby consistently encouraging focused student reflection.

Preparation for, and participation in, weekly workshop exercises provide further opportunity for formative feedback and reflective learning.

Learning outcomes

The following three focused learning outcomes align with the indicative syllabus and assessment items.

At the end of the module, students will demonstrate the ability to:

1. Apply the major theories of strategic management to the analysis of organisations within their specific contexts;

2. Formulate and evaluate a range of strategic options to address strategic issues in a particular organisational or industry situation using appropriate frameworks and concepts, and justify selection of a particular strategic course of action; and

3. Apply the assessment of the main issues and risks confronting an organisation when implementing strategic change to the creation of context-specific recommendations for the effective delivery of strategic change.


Assessment strategy

The assessment and feedback strategy is based on the constructive alignment concept developed by Biggs (2003) and on the Module Action Plans developed from reviewing previous years’ module performance, including provision of inclusive feed-forward as well as detailed and timely student feed-back.

The strategy is based on complete transparency between staff and students on the basis on which academic judgements are made. Briefings at the beginning of the module, plus every assignment brief and every feedback sheet include the grading schedule which contains detailed descriptors on how student achievement of specified learning outcomes translates into grades.

Students will receive formative feedback throughout the year, together with summative feedback at designated points in the year.

In week 2, a formative assignment will be introduced for assessment in week 4. In weeks 5 and 6, students receive feedback on their formative assignment, are asked to reflect on this feedback through a structured Learning Reflection process, and are offered the opportunity to discuss the formative feedback in class. This helps prepare students for the first summative assignment.

Further formative feedback is provided consistently throughout the year through quick in-class quizzes, in-class case studies and student presentations.

Ongoing in-class and in-person feedback, the early formative assignment together with the structured summative assignment feedback sheets, provide multiple opportunities for students to develop an understanding of, and the necessary skills to demonstrate, good academic practice.

Aligned exactly to the relevant section of the indicative syllabus and to one learning outcome only per assignment, the three well-spaced summative assignments across an inclusive range of formats enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.

Using feedback sheets tailored to each specific assignment / learning outcome / syllabus section, feedback is constructive, developmental and consistently delivered within the Student Charter deadlines.

The detailed grading schedule described above which contains detailed descriptors on how student achievement of specified learning outcomes translates into grades, a moderation system operated to University guidelines, together with regular teaching team meetings, all ensure consistency of marking across all those involved in the assessment process.


Core text book:

Johnson G, Whittington R, Scholes K, Angwin D & Regner P (2017), Exploring Strategy, Ed11, Pearson.

This book (and others shown below) are available in library e-book format

Other texts:

Balogun J, Hope-Hailey, V and Gustafsson S (2015) Exploring Strategic Change, Ed4, Prentice Hall

Grant R (2015), Contemporary Strategy Analysis: concepts, techniques, applications Ed .Wiley.

Grant R and Jordan J (2016) Foundations of Strategy, Wiley

Hayes, J. (2018) The Theory and Practice of Change Management, Ed5, Palgrave Macmillan

Ireland, R., Hoskisson, R, and Hitt, M. (2012) The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases, 10th Ed. Cengage Learning

Johnson G, Scholes K and Whittington R (2014), Fundamentals of Strategy, Ed 3Pearson.

Lynch, R (2015) Strategic Management, 7th Edition, Pearson.

Mintzberg, H., Quinn, J and Ghoshal, S. (2014).The Strategy Process, Ed. 5, London, Pearson

Wickham, L and Wilcock. J (2016) Management Consulting: Delivering an Effective Project, Ed 5. Pearson

Academic Journals:

Long Range Planning, Harvard Business Review and Strategic Management Journal are all available via the Library catalogue

Online resources, including social media:

Additional resources for Johnson G, Whittington R, Scholes K, Angwin D & Regner P (2017), Exploring Strategy, Ed11,Pearson:

Strategic Planning Society:

Rita Gunther McGrath:

McKinsey & Company (Insight Reports and podcasts):

Boston Consulting Group (Insight Reports and podcasts):

Bain & Company (Insight Reports and podcasts):

TED (podcasts):