MNM3SCA-Scenario Analysis

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Peter McManners


Summary module description:
Scenario analysis is making resurgence as a tool in support of strategy in response to an increasingly uncertain global business environment. Rapid change in technology and processes is taking place in a world facing difficult challenges, such as economic instability, responding to climate change and dealing with the potential dangers of political problems in the Middle East and elsewhere. Looking beyond such immediate challenges, in the not-too-distant future, business will have to respond to the emerging challenge of a global economy coming up against resource limits. In such circumstances, making accurate forecasts of the future is almost impossible, but scenario analysis provides a way to open strategy thinking to a range of possible futures. An understanding of how to deal with uncertainty is critical to strategy formulation in today’s complex globalised world.

This module defines scenario analysis applied in support of strategy. It is framed within the context of a changing and uncertain business environment where political, economic, social and environmental parameters are in a state of flux. The principles and theory of scenario analysis are explained and real-world examples used to show how it can be applied within organisations. A particular methodology is presented which meshes neatly with the Strategy module which precedes this module. The aim is to expand the strategy toolbox to open out analysis to considering a more diverse range of possible futures. Strategy which includes such scenario analysis can equip organisations with the dynamic flexibility required to exploit the opportunities of the 21st century.

Assessable learning outcomes:
• The ability to frame a scenario analysis in support of strategy.
• Identification of the issues that may be the drivers of the future business environment.
• Able to prioritise which issues have the potential to have the most impact.
• Analyse the possible alternative outcomes for how the prime drivers might play out in the future.
• Generate scenarios of the future which are appropriate to the organisation and the circumstances it faces, which are richly detailed, though-provoking and plausible.
• Be able to reflect on how scenarios can be used in support of strategy in a real organisation.

Additional outcomes:
• The ability to think ‘outside the box’ in considering the diverse challenges of a changing and uncertain business environment.
• An appreciation of the wider utility of scenarios in strategic management.

Outline content:
• The strategic context: Insights into the nature of the uncertain future of an increasingly complex global business environment and how scenarios can help to craft strategy which can deliver business success despite this uncertainty.
• The development and application of scenarios: The theory of scenarios and how they have been applied and the lessons for corporate strategists.
• Scenario Case Study: A real-world recent worked example of how a major multinational corporation has used scenarios, including pointers to what works and what does not.
• Linking Scenarios to strategy: Explanation of how scenarios support the strategic process (complementing the STR module teaching).
• Scenario practical group exercise: An exercise which works through the stages of a particular scenario methodology. This is designed to be accessible to senior executives, broadening their strategic expertise.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The learning transmission will be primarily through the workshop. Before the workshop, participants will be invited to read selected material on scenario analysis as it relates to strategy. This will include insights into the application of scenarios and the strategic approach within which scenario analysis fits. The one-day workshop will focus on the use of scenarios in practice, and has a group scenario exercise running through the day to give hands-on experience. Following the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to carry out a scenario exercise for their organisation and present the results in a report which will be examined. The learning materials will include a short study guide which includes signposts to relevant pre-workshop reading, and additional resources on strategy and scenarios, and the assignment brief.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 90
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
At the completion of the module, programme members will be required to submit an individual written assignment. (approx. 3,500 words)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: 

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
The pass mark for the individual assignment is 50%

Reassessment arrangements:
Programme Members who fail an assessment may re-submit.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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