MM253-Managing Small Enterprises

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Anna Spadavecchia


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on small businesses (SMEs), their economic importance and raison d’être. It analyses the distinctive features of management in the SME environment, its complexity, the additional challenges and risks, but also the advantages related to the small dimension. The module covers theoretical and empirical content with the support of academic publications, case studies and contributions from SME owners and managers as guest speakers.


This module aims to provide students with a broader view of the business environment and management theories and practices, which very often focus on large businesses. It wants students to achieve an in-depth knowledge of the SME sector and equip them with analytical tools that would enhance their employability in SMEs. Furthermore, the critical understanding of the challenges and advantages related to the small dimension would contribute to their success as future entrepreneurs

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of the module students are expected to have a thorough understanding of the importance of SMEs in contemporary economies and their strengths and weaknesses as compared with large enterprises. Students should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the impact of size on the management of businesses, from their ability to raise finance to their ability to undertake R&D and innovate, to their marketing and internationalisation strategies. By the end of the module students are expected to be able to question relevant theories and standard knowledge, often referring to large corporations, and apply this body of knowledge to SMEs.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have to work both independently, and in groups, leading to the development of time-management and team working skills. They should be able to organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed coursework assignments.

Outline content:

The module discusses the raison d’être of SMEs and the determinants of their size; the importance of SMEs in our economies, their contribution to economic development and government policies in favour of SMEs. Various important aspects of SME management will be covered, such as finance, innovation, marketing, patterns of business organisation and managerial structures. The module will be organised thematically and for each topic international comparisons will be drawn.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module consists of lectures (11x2) and tutorials (3x1). The main topics of the syllabus are covered in the lectures. Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with key readings and contribute to the lectures, sharing their ideas and relevant work experience.

Seminars have an empirical emphasis and students will discuss case studies. Invited experts from the business world contribute to the seminar programme by sharing and discussing their experience.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Seminars 3
Work-based learning 15
Guided independent study 160
Total hours by term 198.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One 2-hour unseen written paper.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One 2-hour unseen in-class test in week 15.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A weighted average mark of coursework and examination of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    By examination only (one 2-hour unseen written paper) in August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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