MM276-Business Strategy

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: MM1F12 Markets, Marketing and Strategy or AC103 Introduction to Business and Finance and AC105A Introductory International Financial Accounting A or AC101 Introduction to Accounting
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Giulio Nardella

Email: g.nardella@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

A firm’s strategy answers three fundamental questions: Where should the firm compete? How should it compete to win? How will it continue to win in the long run? Corresponding to these three elements, effective strategists excel at three tasks. First, strategists can identify the factors within the industry environment that influence a firm’s ability to create competitive advantage and outperform rivals. Second, strategists analyse how to configure a firm’s internal activities to increase the value the firm creates and captures so as to give it competitive advantage over rivals. The third distinctive job of the strategist is to sustain the advantage of a company over time in the face of competitive dynamics. The module is the first of a sequence of three strategy modules that builds on the introduction to strategy in module MM1F12-Markets, Marketing and Strategy. MM276 focuses on business strategy (also referred to as competitive strategy). Business strategy is concerned with how the firm develops competitive advantage to beats the averages in its industry and how it sustains competitive advantage over the long run. The module introduces research-based theories, frameworks, concepts, tools and techniques of strategic management to prepare you for each of the strategist’s three jobs.


Aims:

Effective strategists develop a sense of what they must do in the short run for their firms to be healthy in the long run. This module aims to develop students’ abilities to craft and evaluate the overarching strategy of a single business firm to improve the firm’s long-run performance.


Assessable learning outcomes:



• Become familiar with the skills required by the strategic leader of a firm from a general management perspective, as strategist, organization builder, and leader, and of how to make decisions that cut across functional and product boundaries of a business unit



• Understand the fundamental concepts in strategic management, including strategy identification and evaluation, the relationship between strategy and organization, industry analysis, competitor analysis, firm and industry evolution, and strategic and organizational responses to external change



• Apply the tools of the module to significant, relevant, and authentic problems facing the strategist through analyses of cases



• Compare and contrast, synthesize and evaluate different theoretical perspectives on strategy



• Evaluate impact of external environmental forces and internal stresses on the need for strategic actions by the strategic leader



• Hone a capability to bridge financial analysis and strategic analysis, both to interpret performance data and to diagnose sources of high or low business unit performance



• Refine habits of orderly and analytical thinking and skill in reporting conclusions effectively in oral and written form



• Develop skills in working as a team player and evaluate the added value from teamwork



 


Additional outcomes:



• Enhance capabilities to formulate and analyse complex problems, to evaluate alternative solutions and make policy recommendations



• Strengthen abilities to learn from a combination of modes, including by individual study, from textbooks and the analysis of cases



• Enhance employability by developing capabilities to analyse businesses, to formulate good questions, and to make good strategy policy decisions



• Strengthen career progression by providing a broad understanding of the key strategic dilemmas facing a broad range of functions as they relate to strategy


Outline content:

 At the level of the firm:



1. The concept of strategy (business strategy, corporate strategy, global strategy)



2. Goals and performance: mission and vision



3. Industry analysis



4. Competitive advantage and the logic of value creation and capture



5. Types of competitive advantage and strategic positioning



6. Value chain analysis, activity analysis, and business models



7. Sustaining competitive advantage over the long run



8. Sources of competitive advantage: resources and capabilities



9. Industry evolution, strategic decline and strategic renewal



10. Strategy in technology-intensive industries



 


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will be delivered in lectures and tutorials.



By the end of the module, students should be able to compare and evaluate the sometimes competing logics and theories presented in the module.



Teaching materials for MM276 are principally drawn from the adopted module textbook, supplemented by scholarly journal articles, other book sections, and business cases drawn from high quality academic journals and publishers, such as Harvard Business Publishing, The Financial Times, The Economist, supplemented, by short video clips.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Tutorials 5
Guided independent study 129 44
       
Total hours by term 154.00 46.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 40

Other information on summative assessment:

The module is assessed by examination – 60% of the assessment weighting – and an individual assignment - 40% of the coursework weighting.



Coursework: Students are required to submit for formal assessment an assignment which analyses a case study. Details of the case study will be published online during the course. Assignments for this module will have a word limit of 2,500 words (+/- 10%).



 


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.



The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    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.

    Length of examination:

    One two-hour unseen written paper. Examinations take place in the Summer term.


    Requirements for a pass:

    A weighted average mark of coursework and examination of 40%.


    Reassessment arrangements:

    By written examination only. Re-examination for Finals takes place in August/September of the same year.


    Last updated: 22 September 2017

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