What makes good leadership? What are the issues you might face in leading organisations, and how can you practice leadership in an ethical and responsible manner? In this specialist route available in our Bachelor of Business Management (IS1C01) degree, you will develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the management of business organisations and build specialised knowledge and skills in leadership and change management. On completion of your degree, you will be equipped with the necessary skills to use and apply leadership practices and concepts in the workplace, and will acquire a wide range of transferable management skills.
BA Business Management (Leadership Practice)
The first stage 120 Credits
This key introductory ISC level 1 module provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to business and management in a globalised world. Through readings and international case studies you’ll explore a wide range of topics in contemporary business and management: what motivates people to work; how to assess financial soundness of a business; what attracts customers; how economic crises affect businesses; and ethical challenges in business and management. Using a blend of text, audio video and interactive online activities, you’ll develop vital skills for study and for work in business, public or voluntary sector organisations.
What you will study
Businesses make up a hugely significant aspect of global society and provide both goods and services for people to use and employment for a large proportion of the population. This introduction to the fascinating world of business consists of seven Coursees of materials that cover a wide range of topics in contemporary business. Each Course consists of a Readings book in addition to an online study planner and interactive online activities. A wide variety of case studies are used to enhance your learning through application to real world situations. Two large case studies of real, international companies - one of them in video form – will help you understand the complexities of business and management and how different aspects of a business work together.
In Course 1 you'll learn what a business is and what distinguishes it from other types of organisations in the public and voluntary sector. You will gain a first insight into a business’s external environment and its main business functions, as well as into the nature of organisational structures, cultures and values.
In Courses 2, 3 and 4 you'll learn about three of the main business functions: human resources management, accounting and finance and marketing.
Course 2 looks at the people at work. You'll explore what motivates people to work, and how organisations select, train and evaluate employees. Throughout the Course you'll learn about both the techniques that organisations use to manage their employees and how these human resource management techniques are perceived by and impact on the people working in the organisation.
Course 3 gives you an accessible introduction to financial information for business. In this Course you'll learn how to read and interpret the main financial statements produced in a business, a crucial skill for any student of business and management.
Course 4 focuses on marketing, its importance in a business and how a marketing plan is put together. This includes collecting marketing research, understanding customer behaviour and tailoring products and services to meet customer requirements. You'll also learn about the significant role that marketing plays in contemporary consumer society.
In Coursees 5, 6 and 7 you'll explore the way in which business is embedded in its external environment.
Course 5 is about the economic and political context in which businesses and other organisations operate. You'll learn about topics such as supply and demand, the economic system, the role of central banks, and about the role of governments in making economic policy and regulating businesses.
Course 6 introduces you to the subject of business ethics. Businesses regularly face difficult ethical challenges, such as whether to use sweatshops to produce more cheaply or how to balance environmental concerns with the desire for growth. In this Course you'll explore some ethical theories that can help you to think through these issues.
Course 7 concludes the module with a look at the global context in which businesses operate. No matter how small a business may be, it will be influenced by globalisation. You'll learn what globalisation actually means, what drives it and how it impacts upon businesses. The Course concludes with a look at some of the key challenges posed by globalisation.
In summary, this module offers a broad and engaging introduction to the fundamentals of business and management in its global context.
You’ll be provided with seven printed module books, each covering one block of study, and have access to a module website, which includes:
a week-by-week study planner
course-specific module materials including interactive online activities
audio and video content
assignment details and submission section
online tutorial access.
This multi-award-winning ISC level 1 module will develop your language and skills for communicating effectively in the world of business and management. You will learn to write successful business assignments and a range of workplace documents; develop strategies to read complex texts on business topics; be able to give effective presentations and take part in business negotiations and academic discussions. The module materials use a blend of texts, audios, videos and interactive online activities to help you develop both your written and spoken business communication skills.
What you will study
This module enhances your language and communication skills needed in the world of business and management through the application of key business concepts and frameworks to real business case studies from various organisations. The activities you carry out will also raise awareness of your own use of language in business communication.
The module has three courses as described below:
In Course 1: Analysing and Reporting, you will develop your communication skills through reading, analysing, writing and speaking about business case studies. You will learn to summarise business cases and you will learn to use frameworks such as SWOT and STEEPLE to analyse cases and make recommendations. You will develop your formal business language to write reports which propose solutions to business problems and you will learn how to search for information and support your ideas with evidence.
In Course 2: Influencing, you will develop your communication skills for the purposes of persuasion, negotiation and discussion in business contexts. You will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in spoken interactions such as meetings and discussions. You will also develop the skills and language to write persuasive and influential workplace documents. You will develop your critical thinking skills for the purposes of discussion, business presentations and defending your viewpoint.
In Course 3: Collaborating, you will use case studies and workplace scenarios to develop your team working skills and consolidate the learning from the previous course. You will focus on the language of human resource management, marketing and finance and you will work as a team to create a presentation. You will develop the skills to present yourself effectively for a job interview and an understanding of the recruitment process. You will learn about training and professional development needs in the workplace and reflect on your own experience in a systematic way.
Throughout the module you will develop your skills of reflection through writing or speaking about your learning process. You will study this module mainly online. In addition, there are two printed resource books which contain case studies, useful tips on business communication skills and other reading texts.
This key introductory ISC level 1 module provides a gentle start to the study of mathematics. It will help you to integrate mathematical ideas into your everyday thinking and build your confidence in using and learning mathematics. You’ll cover statistical, graphical, algebraic, trigonometric and numerical concepts and techniques, and be introduced to mathematical modelling. Formal calculus is not included and you are not expected to have any previous knowledge of algebra. The skills introduced are required for successful study in many subject areas, such as in computing, economics, science, technology, social science, humanities, business and education. And they’re needed if you plan to study further mathematics modules, such as Essential mathematics 1 .
What you will study
In order to study this module successfully you should expect to be actively doing mathematics, rather than just reading it. You will also be encouraged to develop skills in interpreting and explaining mathematics, and this aspect will be assessed in some of the assignment questions.
Providing you have the appropriate background knowledge, you should expect to study for about eight hours a week. Many of the topics covered in the module depend on your understanding of topics in earlier units. So, if you have not fully understood earlier material, you may find later material more difficult and time consuming. This is particularly true of graphs, formulas and algebra. Naturally, the study time required for the module tends to increase before an assignment deadline.
You will learn
Successful study of this module should begin to develop your skills in working with mathematical concepts and using them to solve problems.
You will learn about:
- key ideas in mathematics, including some statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry
- mathematical vocabulary and notation introduced and developed in the module
- selection and use of mathematical techniques for solving problems
- interpretation of results in the context of real life situations
- simple mathematical arguments
- how to explain mathematical ideas from the module in writing
- development of skills in learning mathematics
- use of relevant ICT tools for learning and for working on mathematical problems
- describing problems mathematically
- analysing mathematical reasoning.
The module contains many real world contexts such as journey planning, glaciers, supply and demand, depreciation, poverty levels, chance events, and medical conditions (such as cancer), to help illustrate mathematical topics.
Why are markets so powerful in most economies today? What is the role of the government in different economies, and how does this role shape opportunities of different people and firms? What explains global inequalities? Why is economic growth such a key economic goal in most countries today? Are there other goals economies could pursue? You'll unravel these and similar questions using insights from recent history, key economic thinkers, and drawing on economic perspectives and examples. This module is a building block towards a critical perspective on economics and economic choices for our daily lives.
What you will study
This module primarily aims to:
provide you with foundations of economics and an initial set of skills and tools economists use
provide an insight into how economics and the economies have evolved over time
engage you with a large number of perspectives within and around the discipline of economics, and to embed standard economics in context.
There are three blocks of study as follows:
This provides a detailed historical analysis of how the UK economy, and its interactions with other economies, has changed since the 1700s. You'll look at some of the reasons why the Industrial Revolution occurred in the UK at that time. It also explores the themes of the module: change, agents and success, navigating through events in economic history, and in economics as a discipline.
In this block you'll explore the market and the role of markets in societies. The view of economics that looks at economic agents and their motives in isolation is the foundation to thinking about markets as the interactions between these agents, and their measures of success; and also how markets operate within economies that have organised themselves, and their main economic activities, in particular ways. You'll look at the competitive model of the market and as economists often analyse formal models using diagrams – a key skill in the economist’s toolkit – extensive use of demand and supply diagrams is made to explain how the model works.
This third block looks at economies in a more holistic way, critically reflecting on the best way of organising economic activities, and striking a balance between market activity and government intervention. The key areas that are explored are employment, industry and trade. You'll return to discussions of economics across time and place to explore the experiences and evolution of markets under different types of economic systems. This block will also give you the chance to measure and explain success through the use and collection of data sources, which is another important skill in the economist’s toolkit.
The module is delivered through a textbook, written especially for the module, and the module website which includes:
a week-by-week study planner, your starting point every week
an online version of the textbook
module materials and activities
audio and video content
assignment details and submission section
online tutorial access.
This innovative and flexible ISC level 1 module allows you to count different types of learning towards a formal ISC qualification. The type of study you can count includes courses from the ISC’s profisional learning platform, other open educational resources (or learning programmes you may have undertaken through work or elsewhere. Through a series of topics and assessment tasks, you will explore what you have learnt whilst developing the skills you need to be a successful student. The courses that you choose to study is up to you, making this learning experience an entirely personal one. Your tutor will help you plan your study and identify what you are hoping to achieve through this module and your future study plans.
What you will study
Open & Virtual educational resources provide a valuable platform for learning about a wide variety of topics and subjects. This module allows you to take what you have learnt and use it towards the ISC qualifications outlined above. You will have a tutor to offer help and advice, and fellow students with whom you can share ideas.
These assessment tasks will help you develop your study skills over the course of the module. These will focus on developing the ability to plan and reflect on your learning. This will be done by supporting you to decide on the courses you will study and when. You will learn how to communicate your learning through a variety of tools, and then develop an appreciation of multi and interdisciplinary study. You will be able to look at other students’ work and comment on it, and develop the ability to learn about how assessment can consolidate your learning. All this will be carried out while you have a very wide choice of materials to give you a taste of a variety of topics and disciplines.
The final assessment task provides you with an opportunity to consolidate your learning as you approach the completion of this module.
You will learn
The module will help you explore what happens when you bring different knowledge, skills and learning experiences together. You will discover the richness that comes from thinking about a topic from a variety of angles. This new insight may confirm that your learning goals are exactly as you had originally planned, or it may open a whole new world of possibilities.
Today, more than ever, statistics is part of our lives. From this key introductory module you will learn how to use basic statistical tools and quantitative methods that are useful in business, government, industry, medicine, the economy, and most academic subjects. Topics covered include: summarising data; examining relationships; randomness and sampling distributions; probability; testing hypotheses; and estimation. Using data from a range of applications, you’ll learn practical statistical techniques and fundamental principles, as well as using software and a calculator to analyse data. The skills introduced will be ideal if you plan to study more mathematics modules or if you encounter data in another subject or your daily life.
What you will study
This key introductory statistics module is designed for people who have not studied statistics before. It focuses on the application of statistics, adopting the attitude that statistics is about solving problems. The module is data driven. We collect relevant data and we analyse them to answer the problems. The methods that are covered are not specific to one field of application alone, but apply to all areas in which statistics is used.
The text contains many exercises that you should work through to help you learn and to monitor your own progress. Most exercises involve calculations that you will do by hand (or by calculator), but some you will do by computer, using the software package Minitab, which you will be taught to use and which is supplied with the module. You will be encouraged to develop skills in interpreting and communicating your results and this will be assessed in assignment questions.
Providing you have the appropriate background knowledge (see Entry Requirements) you should expect to study for about nine hours a week. Many of the topics covered in the module depend on your understanding of topics in earlier units. So, if you have not adequately understood earlier material, you may find later material difficult and time consuming.
You will learn
Successful study of this module should begin to develop your statistical skills and enable you to analyse common forms of data so as to address practical problems.
You will learn about:
key ideas in statistics
statistical vocabulary and notation introduced in the module
selection and use of statistical techniques for exploring data
interpretation of results in the context of real life questions
communication of results
use of statistical software
use of relevant ICT tools for learning.
The module contains many data from real world situations based around three themes: economics, education and health.
This module provides a broad introduction to accounting study at university level. It covers the fundamentals of financial and management accounting as well as the essential skills, knowledge and ethics required to be a professional accountant. The module will also be suitable if you are in a general management position as the accounting material covers measuring management performance and improving financial planning, control and decision-making. You'll gain an understanding of financial reports through their preparation, based on the double-entry bookkeeping system, which is essential for the management of any organisation.
What you will study
Proper accounting is crucial for the prosperity and survival of any organisation. Our complex economic system depends on accurate, trustworthy and relevant financial records and reports. While this module focuses on the accounting required for a sole trader, the skills and knowledge you'll learn are of central importance for accounting, and managing in any organisation, whether for-profit, not-for-profit or governmental.
Course 1: Introduction to accounting
You'll begin by being introduced to the scope and structure of the module and the purpose of bookkeeping and accounting, as well as the skills, knowledge and ethics required for accounting.
Course 2: Essentials of double-entry bookkeeping
You'll be introduced to the key principles of the double-entry bookkeeping system, which is based on the accounting equation.
Course 3: Accruals accounting explored
You'll develop an understanding of recording a wide range of transactions through ledger accounts.
Course 4: Control over the ledgers
This introduces the books of original entry that underpin ledger accounts as well as the different ways that ledger accounts are monitored, controlled and corrected.
Course 5: Preparing financial statements
You'll revisit end-of-period adjustments and how they are used to prepare financial statements. You'll learn how to derive useful information from incomplete records, and how to prepare manufacturing accounts.
Course 6: Essentials of cost and management accounting
You'll be introduced to the basic concepts and principles of management accounting, including cost analysis, accounting control systems and cost bookkeeping. You'll also cover the differences between manual and computerised accounting systems.
Course 7: Management accounting applications
You'll consider some important management accounting applications, applying the concepts and principles of management accounting introduced in Course 6.
Course 8: Preparing for the exam
The final Course is designed to help you revise the module teaching materials and prepare for the end-of-module examination.
There will also be a tutorial on incomplete records and you’ll have access to video tutorials on suspense accounts, bank reconciliations and control account reconciliations.
You will learn
You will learn the fundamental concepts and techniques of financial and management accounting as well as a range of relevant skills. These include double-entry bookkeeping, advanced numeracy, reading and analysing relevant case studies, using information and communication technologies, preparing appropriate reports and using and manipulating spreadsheets.
This innovative module sets personal finance against its wider social, economic and political background. You'll be provided with a gentle introduction to aspects of economics, while also gaining practical tools and ideas on how to manage your own money effectively. The module is structured around four themes: the changing economic, political and social context; individuals, households and other relationships; economics and the real world; and the life course and financial planning. You'll study income, expenditure, debt, savings and investments, housing, insurance, pensions and caring, critically appraising the balance between personal and social responsibility for financial well-being.
What you will study
This module has three primary aims to:
- give you the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to manage your own money well
- provide an introduction to the social sciences, especially economics, relating them to the real world in which we live
- gently build and practise your study skills and employability skills as a strong foundation for your further studies at the OU and life beyond.
The study weeks are arranged in pairs with each pair devoted to a different topic. In the first week of each pair, you’ll read a chapter in the module textbook. This textbook has been specially written for this module and includes lots of activities to help reflect on the material, test your understanding and apply the ideas to your own finances. In the second week, you’ll consolidate your learning through a rich mixture of video, audio clips, slideshows, activities and interactive tools.
You can use the interactive tools to understand your own finances. For example, how tax affects your earnings, how much you’d need to save to reach a goal, what the repayments would be on a loan or mortgage, and your options for building up enough pension savings.
Throughout the module, you’ll share in the lives of 12 households, two each from the UK, USA, Germany, Sweden, Brazil and India, so you can compare financial experiences from across the globe and the factors that influence them.
Here is a taste of what you’ll study in each pair of weeks:
- Setting the context. An introduction to the module themes. This includes some major world trends, such as ageing populations and the march of technology which are changing the demands on our money. You’ll look at the behavioural traits we all have that influence the way we interact with our finances, firms and each other.
- Income. What influences pay, including worker power and gender issues. How the tax and benefits system affects your income and can be used to relieve poverty and reduce inequality. The way income flows between the different sectors of the economy.
- Expenditure. Why we spend on what we do from rational choices about meeting our needs to the social factors and marketing influences that work on our more subtle desires for belonging or displaying our worth. In small teams with your fellow students, you’ll explore the world of symbolic advertising. Using cash-flow and budgeting to control your household’s spending.
- Debt. Understanding the good as well as dark side of debt. How to identify the best ways to borrow and be aware of hidden costs. Using a household balance sheet to check whether you are vulnerable to debt problems. How household debt contributes to economic growth but perversely can bring down economies.
- Savings and investments. Why low-risk products promising amazing returns simply don’t exist. Choosing the right products for different types of goals. Navigating the risk-return trade-off, with strategies for managing stock-market risk. Why saving matters to the economy.
- Housing. How, in many countries, homes are more than just a place to live and may be driving a wedge between younger and older generations. Using the economic model of supply and demand, you’ll explore what influences house prices and analyse different solutions to making homes affordable.
- Insurance. The role of insurance in building your financial resilience – your ability to withstand and recover from shocks and life events. The principle of risk-sharing and how it is being undermined by Big Data and other technological changes.
- Pensions. The implications for you personally and society as a whole of saving for a pension and the ageing population. How saving for the long-term means battling our behavioural traits. The way different pensions work and what that means for the choices you make and the risks you run.
- Caring and sharing. The short-term and long-term consequences of decisions about having a family and the social norms that surround unpaid work. The choices households and society face about caring for the elderly.
- Personal finance in context. What does it mean to be ‘financially capable’? What are the options for society if all individuals and households are to enjoy at least a minimum level of well-being?
You will be provided with a textbook that is written especially for this module and accounts for 50% of the study. The rest of the study uses the module website which includes:
a welcome forum at the start of the module
a week-by-week study planner
cluster forum where you can communicate with your tutor
10 interactive tools used in your study and can help manage your money
audio and video content
online tutorials and forums.
The second stage 120 Credits
This module provides you with a broad grounding in business and management practice and study. You will explore how organisations work by looking at their internal functions (operations, finance and marketing). You'll also learn about the external environment and how the economic and political context helps shape how businesses respond to global challenges. Using a blend of text, audio, video and interactive online activities, you’ll develop vital skills for study and for work in business, public or voluntary sector organisations. Particular attention is paid to developing your critical thinking skills. You will also be introduced to mind mapping as a technique to help you express your ideas and creativity.
What you will study
This module is divided into five sections. These comprise an introduction and conclusion (both emphasising skills development), and three substantive courses each with a crucial theme that integrates the internal functions and external environment.
This introduces the rationale for the module and covers skills development around critical thinking, a skills audit, and mind mapping. We believe that developing your critical thinking skills fosters intellectual self-improvement, leads to a more creative mind-set, and allows you to become a better team player. You'll also be introduced to mind mapping as a potential technique to help you express ideas and creativity.
Course 1: Big ideas in organisations
No matter the sector, innovation is a key feature of the contemporary business context. This course explores why new products and services are imperative to contemporary business practice and why investing in their development is crucial to business growth and profitability. This course will provide you with a broader understanding of how innovation infuses the current business world and how internal business functions integrate to facilitate this.
Course 2: Competing in a global context
This course examines the significance of context for organisational innovation and the implications of globalisation for internal business functions. The course will then explore the consequences of the global vs local dynamic for a range of functional areas as well as point out the need for organisations and those who work for them to adapt these internationalising trends to local situations and contexts.
Course 3: Building long-term success
This course introduces you to the concept of fostering long-term value creation. Whilst Course 2 focused primarily on issues of geography and context, just as essential for successful organisational innovation is the impact of time. In essence, how can an innovative idea be effective in the long term as well as the short term? Key themes recurring throughout this course focus on ‘nurturing long-term value creation’, ‘understanding the sustainability of innovations’, ‘adapting to incremental and radical change’.
This final course draws together the diverse themes from the preceding courses and encourages you to reflect on what you have learned. In particular, it will make connections between the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have developed in different parts of the module and help you to reflect on how you can harness these for your personal and professional development; as well as prepare you for the end-of-module assessment (EMA).
This module offers you the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge leadership ideas in tandem with developing as a practitioner. You'll cover topics such as identity, person-based leadership, collective leadership, ethical leadership and aesthetic views of leadership. You’ll also learn how to be a more discerning and critically engaged consumer of leadership ideas, in the workplace and more generally in society. The module follows a developmental approach, meaning that you’ll reflect on leadership practice in your working environment and/or in the wider world, and be well placed to experiment with new concepts and practices as a result.
What you will study
You'll learn about many of the major concepts of leadership, one of the oldest organisational concepts, with a history stretching back as far as the Ancient Greeks. Leadership is a practice and area of study that has persisted for so long for good reason: people find it incredibly appealing as an idea. At a very basic level this is because leadership perhaps inevitably deals with big questions about the overall direction of a group, organisation or society. In addition, people tend, for good or ill, to find the idea of leaders exciting, even bewitching.
You'll cover a broad range of ideas in this module: learn about various key concepts related to what it means to be a leader, all the way through to far more recent accounts that hold that leadership resides more in the collective acts of people.
In more detail, you'll cover the following aspects of leadership.
Leadership as person: these are approaches that assume that leadership resides in individual leaders. These views try to generalise what it means to be an effective leader through studying the personalities and behaviours of individual leaders.
Collective leadership: these approaches assume that leadership is a practice conducted between people working together collectively in a group to offer direction.
Identity and power: you'll learn how leadership has become a desirable identity and how some people are (unfairly) deemed more suitable for leadership than others. You'll also learn how identities in groups can be refashioned to create leadership with more possibility.
Leadership ethics: you'll learn about perspectives that try to understand what it means to be an ethical leader and also perspectives that help you understand ethical practices of leadership.
Leadership aesthetics: you'll learn how leadership can adopt an aesthetic quality that moves people. You'll learn how to interpret aesthetic presentations of leaders but also how to improve your leadership practices through aesthetic practices.
Key module practices
You'll be asked to follow these learning practices as you proceed through the module:
Understanding basic concepts of leadership. This is the important but more straightforward task of understanding what is meant by various key concepts, such as collaborative leadership, identity, and so on.
Noticing examples of leadership (good, bad and indifferent) in the world around you, in the mass media and in your daily lives.
Collecting examples of leadership – in the form of texts (written records of what people say), in order to notice how people talk leadership; pictures, photographs, paintings or sketches, so that you can notice how people visualise leadership; audio and video, so that you can notice how people enunciate and visualise leadership.
Reflecting on these examples in relation to the concepts that you encounter in the module: their strengths and weaknesses. You'll reflect on the effect some concepts seem to have – or that they could have - in organisations and in society, whether or not they are helpful, harmful or somewhere in between.
Self-reflection: targeting your practices, assumptions and views. You will be asked to think in some depth about what you hold to be significant and important in terms of leadership, which inevitably means reflecting upon your values and even your own background. In turn, you'll be asked to reflect upon how your sense of self and sense of what you find valuable in others translates across into your practice – in leadership terms and as a follower.
Experimenting with leadership concepts. Firstly, you'll be asked to experiment in terms of your thinking. This means trying to think outside your normal zones of comfort: for example, if you are someone who usually holds leadership to be something tied very much to charismatic individuals, you will benefit from trying to think about leadership as something tied to a collection of people or to a practice, instead. You'll be asking yourself: what does it mean to see a particular person, practice or group in a different way? Secondly, experimenting means really trying out new ideas in your own environments. This could mean experimenting with new ideas and practices in a paid working environment, in a voluntary environment or more informally in your everyday lives. By experimenting with leadership ideas in real life we come to see their potential because these are ideas that are based on real human interaction – or at least they should be.
You will learn
By the end of the module you will be able to:
understand and describe key aspects of leadership
critically analyse and discuss various key approaches to leadership
find and discuss information in the media or in your own lives in relation to key concepts of leadership
critically reflect on your own beliefs and practices in relation to leadership
critically reflect on your own working environment in relation to leadership
communicate an approach to leadership rooted in an understanding of yourself and your working environment
experiment in your own lives with different approaches to leadership
reflect on and describe your learning in relation to key employability skills.
The thrid stage 120 Credits
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 Course 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 Course, attention turns to examining business and competitive strategies and how they influence how organisations conduct their business. Key considerations in the Course 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 provides you with the unique opportunity to learn about leadership in the current world, characterised by precarious times and new opportunities to develop positive leadership. You'll discover what type of leadership is needed in a world of disruptive technological change and turbulent contexts, how to be influential in this era of social networking, and what is your leadership call to develop your career and to improve the world. You'll gain an appreciation of how leadership is increasingly mediated through social networks and you'll have the possibility to practice leadership within social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
What you will study
This module is divided into the following three Courses. Each Course will develop a particular key skill: critical thinking; problem solving; and storytelling.
Course 1: Leadership in turbulent times
You'll focus on the turbulent contexts for contemporary leadership, analysing real life examples related to the future of work (e.g. short-term contracts, zero hours contracts, and the rise of the “precariat”) and discuss issues around the future of democratic global governance (e.g. Brexit, populism). You'll reflect on globalisation and multiculturalism exploring also non-Western views of leadership.
Course 2: Developing leadership opportunities
In this course you'll focus on the opportunities to develop positive leadership in a changing world, and on your leadership identity by examining the challenges of leading across boundaries and of bringing people together. You'll learn how collaboration, or in some cases, conflict and constructive dissent can support positive leadership.
Course 3: Dealing with a collective leadership challenge
You'll focus on the things you need to do in order to feed a practice of leadership. You'll look at practices of resistance, radical and place-based leadership for social change. You'll reflect on how responses to leadership challenges might be co-created and have the opportunity to work in a group focusing on the societal challenge you choose to work on.
You will learn
By the end of the module you'll be able to:
develop your critical thinking, problem solving and storytelling skills
explain leadership related concepts to different audiences (academic, professional, the general public) and using a wide range of media
reflect on your own leadership potential and capabilities.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to core management accounting and international financial concepts within organisations for decision making purposes. It will enable you to understand management accounting which is concerned with providing information and analysis to managers to help them plan, evaluate and control activities, in order to achieve an organisation's objectives.
What you will study
Building upon some of the concepts that are alluded to in the OU level 1 and 2 accounting modules, this module uses different perspectives to engage you in learning about management accounting and international finance. You'll gain a varied and interesting tool kit of theories and techniques to apply in organisations.
The first part of the module covers management accounting which is concerned with providing information and analysis to managers to help them plan, evaluate and control activities, in order to achieve an organisation’s objectives.
The international perspective of the second part of the module will help you gain a deeper understanding and skills in the field of financial management, reflecting closely a highly globalised and integrated real-world business environment.
Whether you are interested in a career in marketing or merely curious about how marketing works, this module provides an opportunity to explore marketing practice in action. The module is built around marketing communications as a fundamental marketing practice and is informed by insights from practitioners. You’ll learn how marketing is applied in different contexts, how to keep pace with marketing trends and emerging practices and appreciate the role of marketing research. You’ll also examine social and environmental sustainability, enhance your ethical awareness and analysis skills, explore stakeholder marketing and navigate the plethora of marketing evaluation measures.
What you will study
Course 1 explores the topic of marketing communications. This is a dynamic area of marketing and you'll be introduced to the key drivers and trends in the field and be provided with an overview of the marketing communications mix. The material then proceeds to encourage you to explore the key elements needed to develop an effective marketing communications campaign. You'll examine how communications theory and branding help inform the messaging and media strategy for a campaign. With the rise of digital marketing, you'll explore its role when developing an integrated marketing communications mix. Finally, you'll consider the importance of creativity in the execution of a marketing communications campaign.
Course 2 immerses you in a range of different contexts to explore the nuances of marketing theory and practice. From exploring the differences for marketers operating in the areas of services, B2B and SMEs within the commercial sector, you'll expand your appreciation of the role of marketing to public sector, charities and non-profit organisations. This includes coverage of strategic and operational aspects of social marketing. You'll look at a range of wider social and consumer trends that are impacting all marketing practice, such as big data, AI, blockchain and authenticity. The course concludes by exploring the marketing research process, and the methods of data collection and analysis employed by marketers when developing new campaigns.
Course 3 takes a wider perspective, considering a number of issues that directly and indirectly inform marketing practice. Topics covered include sustainability and marketing ethics; stakeholder marketing; and finally evaluating marketing communications campaigns, considering variations in evaluation between marketing contexts. These topics involve assessing an organisation's activities and their impact on society, the environment, stakeholders and the organisation's performance.