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Strategic management

Are you ready to discover how strategic management can help to explain our dynamic world? In this module you’ll learn how to apply strategic management models and frameworks to real cases — from entrepreneurial companies to large multinationals and see how companies succeed in competition or how corporations expand internationally. You'll become able to make sense of the strategies of the organisations around you and strategic decision making. This module will also show how you can have an active role in the analysis of strategic contexts and in shaping and implementing strategy.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
B302
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU FHEQ
3 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

In an ever-changing world, organisations must make strategic choices based on solid analyses and decision making processes. This module adopts an innovative teaching approach to illustrate how strategic management theories and models can be applied in different contexts and how they inform decision making. You will develop a skill-set founded on strategic management theory that will allow you to become an active actor in the strategy process that organisations deploy to ensure their long-term success.

The module is relevant to anyone interested in understanding how organisations can be managed strategically and sustainably. You will be exposed to the key theoretical frameworks that inform the understanding and practice of strategy, with particular attention paid to competitive and corporate strategy domains. You will apply strategic management models to real cases from different contexts and critically assess their implications for organisations and stakeholders at large.

You'll hear from managers and consultants and learn from their experiences in a wide range of examples and cases from several industries at national and international levels. The selection of cases ranges from traditional production companies to innovative businesses. You will also benefit from the experience of an international module team who has designed the module for practical application and use of strategic models and frameworks. A key feature of your learning will be a collaborative role play activity in the final phase of the module, where you will work as a consultant in a small team with other students to offer advice to a company and prepare a professional presentation.

Block 1
You’ll be introduced to key concepts in strategy and strategic management. There is much debate on what strategy is and you’ll learn different definitions and develop a clear understanding of what comprises strategic choices for organisations. You’ll also explore the core concepts of vision, mission, values, and goals. As strategic management is strongly connected with performance, you’ll learn how to evaluate a firm’s performance in financial and non-financial terms. There is also a section on corporate social responsibility to enhance your appreciation of performance indicators beyond financial performance. While engaging with these sections, you’ll develop your study and professional skills, starting with a skills audit, and with sessions on professional writing and on how to build an argument.

Block 2
You’ll examine the implications of the external and internal environments for strategy. The external analysis considers how external forces and competition in industry influence organisations and their strategic choices. The internal analysis looks at how resources and capabilities shape the strategies of organisations. The analytical frameworks from this block will be complemented with an in-depth explanation of several core concepts and demonstrations of how you can apply them to real cases. 

Block 3
In this block, attention turns to examining business and competitive strategies and how they influence how organisations conduct their business. Key considerations in the block will be developing your understanding of the types of competitive advantage, focusing on cost leadership and differentiation. Special attention is given to explaining how companies adopt different business models and types, and how they can create value. You’ll be engaged in defining the value proposition of a new business as part of a role play in order to understand how several dimensions are interconnected.

Block 4
You’ll look at strategy at a corporate level and covers where strategic decision making takes place. Some of the most important considerations here will touch on vertical integration, diversification and internationalisation (drivers, location, speed, and outcomes). You will learn how organisations grow and expand following different strategies such as new greenfield operations, mergers and acquisitions, alliances and joint ventures. You will learn about emerging markets and how multinationals can operate in those increasingly important areas by leveraging their political capabilities.

Block 5
You’ll identify and assess the challenges and barriers in implementing strategies as you learn how to put strategy into practice by aligning its formulation and implementation. Core elements that influence implementation will be examined, including organisational structure, management systems, organisational culture and people management. In this final part, you’ll join a small group of other learners for a collaborative activity that feeds into your individual reflection for the end of module assessment.

Vocational relevance

The focus on developing academic and professional skills closely reflects the Quality Assurance Agency's benchmark statement expectations for business studies and clearly expresses the module's intention to enhance the employability of its students. Although it has a significant theoretical component, the module's emphasis on practical application of strategic models also supports employability across a range of sectors.   

Outside the UK

This module has been designed to be relevant to business students in both UK and non-UK contexts.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to The Open University, you'll find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. To support your study, there will be a series of learning events which you are encouraged to attend. You can attend all the events via online meeting rooms on a synchronous online platform used to deliver tuition.  They provide an opportunity for you to engage with members of the module tutoring team and fellow students on a series of activities that will help you to consolidate your learning and prepare for module assessments. Some events will also be available face-to-face. The cost of these learning events, excluding travel expenses, is included in the module fee.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Strategic management starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.
 

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    This module makes as few assumptions as possible about what you already know about business or about your experience of formal academic study. However, as this is an OU level 3 module and if you have no previous experience of studying business, it is strongly recommended that you first study An introduction to business and management (B100) and Shaping business opportunities (B207). If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 £3012.00

    Registration closes 12/09/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2026.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 24/08/2019.

    What's included

    Access to online study materials via the module website including the Module Study Guide, an online study calendar, video, audio and multimedia material, assessment resources and library resources including ejournal articles and referencing guides.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B302 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.