module specification

MN7027 - Business Problem Solving (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Business Problem Solving
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
100 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
64 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Present a solution to a case study based complex problem
Coursework 70%   Business project proposal (Individual 2,500 words)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Evening
Autumn semester North Monday Afternoon
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon
Autumn semester North Thursday Evening
Autumn semester North Friday Morning
Summer studies North Monday Evening
Summer studies North Monday Afternoon
Summer studies North Tuesday Evening
Summer studies North Tuesday Afternoon
Summer studies North Thursday Evening
Summer studies North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module will enable students to build skills and knowledge in problem solving and research that will support their studies throughout the programme and provide the essential foundation for their final project. In addition to developing problem solving skills students will develop a proposal for their final project that will completed during the final term of their course.
This module will help prepare students to become well-informed and effective managers, business owners and entrepreneurs able to lead, manage and solve problems in dynamic and complex environments.  The emphasis is on the practical skills of problem solving, critical thinking, presenting proposals, researching, analysing and making recommendation for a senior management or executive audience. 

The aims of the module are to ensure that students:

• have a range of tools and frameworks for solving complex problems
• appreciate the challenges in generating relevant evidence that improves business decision making and performance
• can critically evaluate business research and consultancy findings and reports
• can assess the ethical and access issues of conducting consultancy and  research in business and can plan accordingly.
• can apply suitable project planning methods to problem solving and consultancy
• can work through and plan for the practical challenges of business problem solving, including defending choices on the  data gathering and analysis approach

The module is intended to prepare students to critically read and evaluate research and practice within their chosen field of study and then to prepare a proposal for their final project

Prior learning requirements



Topic LO Addressed

1. Introduction to Problem Solving 1,2,3
2. Problem Solving: Definition, Disaggregation and Prioritisation 1
3. Theories and Frameworks 1
4. Problem Solving: Analysis and Work Planning 1
5. Desk Research, Literature Review and Secondary Data  1,3
6. Gathering Quantitative Data 1
7. Gathering Qualitative Data 2
8. Quantitative Data Analysis 2
9. Qualitative Data Analysis 2
10. Problem Solving: Synthesis and Presentation 2
11.  Problem Solving: Dealing with Long time frames and High uncertainty 2
12. Project Proposals 2,3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will attend three 3-hour workshops each week during which time they will receive material in the form of lectures/discussions, issues, and participate in group activities including complex problem-solving exercises.

Independent reading and problem solving - Independent research to identify a suitable project for their final 60 credit module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Apply suitable theories and frameworks to analyse and create solutions to business problems using robust and defensible methods
2. Design and plan an effective, practical business problem solving project
3. Communicate clearly and effectively problem analysis and solutions, and research findings.

Assessment strategy

1. Solution to a case study based complex problem e.g. how should a business respond to a disruptive technology or other innovation. Students to deliver a presentation video supported by slides with notes. (LO1 and 2). 30% of the overall mark.

2. At the end of the module students will submit a proposal for a Business Project based on a case study. 70% of the overall mark


Core Text:

Conn, C. and McLean, R. (2019) Bulletproof problem solving. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Available at:

Bell, E., Bryman, A., Harley, B. and Bryman, A. (2019). Business research methods. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other Texts:

van Aken, J. E., Berends, H. and van der Bij, H. (2007) Problem Solving in Organizations: A Methodological Handbook for Business Students. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511618413.

Checkland, P & Poulter, J (2006), Learning for Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology and its Use, for Practitioners, Teachers and Students. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Gill, J. and Johnson, P (2010). Research methods for managers  London; Sage

Kuiper. S (2009). Contemporary Business Report Writing Ohio: South Western Mason

Markham. C (2007). Practical management Consultancy Surrey: CCH

McNiff, J. (2013) Action Research : Principles and Practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

McNiff, J (2016), You and Your Action Research Project, London: Routledge,.

Newton R (2010). The Management Consultant; Mastering the Art of Consultancy Harlow England; Financial Times/Prentice Hall

Richard, N (2010), Consultant ebook, The, Harlow: Pearson Education UK,

Saunders, MN, Lewis, P, & Thornhill, A (2017), Research Methods for Business Students, Harlow, United Kingdom, Pearson Education Limited.

Silverstein D (2012) The Innovator’s Toolkit: 50  Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth. John Wiley & Sons; 2nd edition.

Whitney, DD, & Trosten-Bloom, A (2010), The Power of Appreciative Inquiry : A Practical Guide to Positive Change, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Incorporated, Oakland.

Wickham, L, & Wilcock, J (2016), Management Consulting 5th edn : Delivering an Effective Project, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, United Kingdom.


Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods
Harvard Business Review
Journal of Business Research
Journal of Small Business Management
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
London Business School Review
MIT Sloan Management Review
MIT Technology Review
Small Enterprise Research


Electronic Databases:


Talis Link –