MM276-Business Strategy

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring 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 or AC110 Introduction to Accounting
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Joseph Lane

Type of module:

Summary module description:

An organisation’s strategy addresses three fundamental questions: Where should the organisation compete? How should it compete to generate competitive advantage? How can it continue to do this over the long run?

Thus, effective strategists excel at three tasks. First, identifying the factors within the industry environment that influence an organisation’s ability to generate competitive advantage and outperform rivals. Second, analysing and considering how to configure internal resources and activities to increase the value created and captured so as to give a competitive advantage over rivals. Third, to sustain the advantage of an organisation over time in the face of changing competitive dynamics.

Focusing on these three key elements, 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.

This module is delivered at the University of Reading and the University of Reading Malaysia


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 organisation to improve the it’s long-run performance.

1. Analyse and evaluate the strategic choices of an organisation in order to appraise its performance and future direction.

2. Consider contemporary issues in strategic management, drawing from a sound theoretical underpinning of how strategic choices are made in relation to the context of the organisation.

3. Evaluate the various strategies organisations employ to gain and sustain a competitive advantage.

4. Consider the future trajectory of the organisation and make critical adjustments to strategy based on current knowledge of the organisation’s environment.

5. Identify the pragmatic issues with altering the strategy and direction of the organisation based on a more developed sense of commercial awareness.

Assessable learning outcomes:

1. 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.

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

3. 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.

4. Evaluate the impact of external environmental forces and internal stresses on the need for strategic actions by the strategic leader. Hone a capab ility to bridge financial analysis and strategic analysis, both to interpret performance data and to diagnose sources of high or low business unit performance.

5. Refine habits of logical and analytical thinking and skill in reporting conclusions effectively in oral and written form.

Additional outcomes:

• Strengthen abilities to learn from a combination of modes, including by individual and group 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 an understanding of the key strategic dilemmas facing a broad range of functions as they relate to strategy.

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

Outline content:

  1. Introduction to strategy

  2. The Positioning School and Industry Analysis

  3. Resources, Capabilities and Competitive Advantage 

  4. Strategic Change Management

  5. Competitive Advantage in Tech-Based Industries

  6. Decline, Crisis and Resilience

  7. Executing Strategy

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching for this module will be delivered through lectures and tutorials.Core material will be delivered in the lectures which will involve class interaction. Tutorials are interactive and based on business case studies to allow for practical application of the core module concepts, and a deepening of understanding.

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

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Tutorials 5
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 90
    Exam revision/preparation 35
    Preparation for tutorials 20
    Essay preparation 18
    Reflection 10
Total hours by term 0 163 37
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1 x 2 Hour Unseen Individual Written Examination

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1 x 2,500 Word Group Assignment (due in week 11 of Spring Term)

Formative assessment methods:

Tutorials are an opportunity to receive oral feedback on a variety of small group tasks,oriented around close case studies of a range of organisations. Through this informal feedback mechanism students are able to practice and develop various skillsets related to case study analysis and the communication of ideas and arguments in a coherent manner.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres 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 (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:

Reassessment will require students to sit a written examination during August/September of the same year.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required textbook for purchase:

Grant, R. M. (2019). Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Text and Cases. 10th Edition. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781119576433 

RRP: Approximately £45-£54

Last updated: 20 May 2021


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