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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- the module study guide
- module materials
- audio and video content
- assessment guide
- online tutorials and forums
- Library resources including ejournal articles and referencing guides.
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.