MN6071 - Practising Business Strategy (with simulation) (2021/22)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2021/22|
|Module title||Practising Business Strategy (with simulation)|
|Module level||Honours (06)|
|Credit rating for module||15|
|School||Guildhall School of Business and Law|
|Total study hours||150|
|Running in 2021/22||
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.
In the digital age of accelerating change, disruptive technologies and rising competition, the ability to set strategy and to rapidly adapt that strategy in the light of changing reality is vital. Accordingly, strategy constitutes an increasingly important element of all professional business and management qualifications.
It is aimed at students wishing to fulfil up-to-the minute strategy roles, using business intelligence, web solutions and agile methods to develop and deliver strategy in today’s technology-dependent business environment.
In brief, the module equips aspiring and digitally-aware managers and leaders with the knowledge, skills and techniques required to 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 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 in a digitally developed environment;
• Enable students to translate their analysis of contemporary organisations and contexts into 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 and deliver 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, group-working and influencing others across different cultures, within both existing organisations and entrepreneurial start-ups.
Prior learning requirements
The syllabus is delivered through the following three thematic segments:
Segment 1: Introduction to Strategy and its influences LO1
This segment 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 highlights latest thinking such as Transient Advantage within the Digital Age. Differentiating between public, private and not-for-profit organisations, the segment examines the different reasons why firms exist and how their purpose, financial resources, sense of social responsibility, technology focus and culture might impact how they create and articulate their strategy.
Segment 2: Strategic Analysis and Decision-making LO2
This segment 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 digital orientation, 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 strategic choices, plus defending strategic proposals both in writing and in person. It examines different strategy processes, including strategic planning and strategy workshops.
Segment 3: Leadership and the Implementation of Strategic Change LO3
The final segment focuses on the realities of effective implementation of strategic choice in the Digital Age. 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, conflict and the management of virtual teams. It discusses ongoing risk management, together with different ways of defining, evaluating and monitoring the effectiveness of strategy implementation in practice.
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
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.
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.
Up-to-the-minute case studies are also 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. In addition, the introduction of the Business Simulation exercise half-way through the module provides further action-learning.
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 articles in traditional media for students’ self-study. Weblearn is also used for the distribution of the Module Booklet and for storing students’ e-portfolios.
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.
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
LO1. Using and appraising the major Strategic Management theories, frameworks, concepts and techniques, analyse organisations within their specific contexts.
LO2. Examining appropriate Strategic Management concepts and evaluate a range of strategic options specific to particular organisational or industry situations.
LO3. Analysing the theories and concepts of strategic change implementation, create context-specific recommendations for the effective delivery of strategic change.
The assessment and feedback strategy is based on the constructive alignment concept developed by Biggs (2003).
For this module, the strategy benefits from 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.
Formative feedback is provided consistently throughout the module through quick in-class quizzes, in-class case studies, student presentations and discussion of the weekly Business Simulation rounds as the module develops.
Detailed and timely feedback summative feedback is provided for each of the two assignments.
A1. The first summative assignment is an individual presentation on case-study analysis.
A2. The second summative assignment is based on a six-week Business Simulation exercise to be undertaken in small groups. It encourages students to integrate all the previously accumulated knowledge and skills and apply them to a real-life situation. Weekly class-time is dedicated to group working on the Business Simulation, and to the provision of feedback on the outcomes achieved each week. Students submit a group video presentation and group written report on the exercise when it is concluded. Group reflective written report 3500 words.
Both summative assignments are aligned to the relevant sections of the indicative syllabus and represent an inclusive range of formats, enabling students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.
Ongoing in-class and in-person feedback 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.
Using feedback sheets tailored to each specific assignment / learning outcome / syllabus section, feedback is constructive, developmental and consistently delivered.
Henry, A (2018) Understanding Strategic Management. 3rd edn, UK: Oxford.
Johnson, G. et al. (2017) Exploring Strategy. 11th edn, UK: Pearson.
Balogun, J., Hope-Hailey, V. and Gustafsson, S. (2015) Exploring Strategic Change. 3rd edn, UK: Pearson.
Grant, R. (2015) Contemporary Strategy Analysis: concepts, techniques, applications. 9th edn. UK: Wiley.
Grant, R. and Jordan, J. (2016) Foundations of Strategy. UK: Wiley.
Hayes, J. (2018) The Theory and Practice of Change Management. 5th edn. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ireland, R., Hoskisson, R. and Hitt, M. (2012) The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases. 10th edn, Canada: Cengage Learning.
Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. (2014) Fundamentals of Strategy. 3rd edn, UK: Pearson.
Lynch, R. (2015) Strategic Management. 7th edn. UK: Pearson.
Mintzberg, H., Quinn, J. and Ghoshal, S. (2014) The Strategy Process. 5th edn, UK: Pearson.
Wickham, L. and Wilcock, J. (2016) Management Consulting: Delivering an Effective Project. 5th edn. UK: Pearson.
Long Range Planning, Harvard Business Review and Strategic Management Journal are all available via the Library catalogue.
Online and Social Media Sources:
Additional resources for Johnson, G. et al (2017), Exploring Strategy. 11th edn. UK: Pearson.
MIT: Strategic Agility Project: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/strategic-agility/
Strategic Planning Society: http://www.sps.org.uk/
Rita Gunther McGrath: http://ritamcgrath.com/blog/
McKinsey & Company (Insight Reports and podcasts): https://www.mckinsey.com/
Boston Consulting Group (Insight Reports and podcasts): https://www.bcg.com
Bain & Company (Insight Reports and podcasts): http://www.bain.com
TED (podcasts): https://www.ted.com/talks