MQM1HRB-Handling Risks at Board Level

Module Provider: Marketing and Reputation
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Nadeem Khan

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces risks as a concept of future uncertainty (favourable and unfavourable outcomes) at the board level. The relationship between risk and uncertainty will be considered in relation to business decisions; behavioural economics; cognitive bias; accounting and finance. The appetite and tolerance for risk will be understood and linked to internal/external factors. The perception of interpreting and reporting risk by board and board members will be considered as not just controlling against unfavourable outcomes/interruptions but more so, being better understood as a complex dynamic conceptualisation of connectivity between contingencies and resources i.e. a better board preparedness for possibilities - and as enabler for transformation. The module will further consider the relationship between risk and strategy at board level and how both of these need to be understood together as a business model. Students will be able to consider how to articulate board level risk reporting in meeting regulation and setting expectations/future direction for different stakeholders – regulators, auditors, legal, investors, shareholders and industry analysts. 

Risk at board level should be embraced as uncertainty i.e. dealing with it positively and in turn recognising it as offering options to create value and as opportunity for progress; risk then becomes an enabler as opposed to a simple control function too often linked to governance compliance and certainty seeking. Key elements of risk literacy include:

• Board dynamics

• Decision making environment  

• Strategic risk

• Accounting and finance

• Governance vs management

• Managing uncertainty

• Forecasting risk and strategy

• Communicating risk


• develop enhanced effective director judgement, skills and capabilities for handling risk

• recognise risk and handle uncertainty at board level

• appraise risk as a concept of future uncertainty (favourable and unfavourable outcomes) at the board level

• distinguish between controlling for risk and connecting contingencies in board decisiontaking

• evaluate risk as an ongoing dynamic of strategic oversight and stakeholder engagement

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

• Explain risk as having consequences in action favourable and unfavourable outcomes.

• Formulate risk as more than just controlling against unfavourable outcomes

• Assess different types of risk as part of decision-making process at board level 

Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that participants should be able to: 

  • explain risk as having consequences of actions that can be favourable or unfavourable as outcomes 

  • formulate risk as more than just controlling against unfavourable outcomes 

  • assess different types of risk as part of the decision-making process at board level 

  • explain the dynamic link between risk and strategy at board level 

  • evaluate their own board and organisation’s tolerances for risk to enable more confidence in handling uncertainties, as different to a fear of controlling possibilities. 

  • coherently organise and articulate risk to different stakeholders at board level 


  • Explain the dynamic link between risk and strategy at board level 

  • Evaluate their own board and organisational tolerances for risk as having the confidence to handle uncertainty rather than just a fear to control for possibilities 

  • Coherently organise and articulate risk to different stakeholders at board level 

Outline content:

This module provides insight into understanding risk and how to handle uncertainty at the board level. Students will benefit from understanding to recognise controlling for risk as different to making connectivity to contingencies. Students will learn about risk not as controlling for it, but as having confidence in dealing with risk as an ongoing dynamic that links it to decision making, stakeholders, finance and strategy at board level. Students will benefit from specialist board level risk practitioner engagement in this module. 


This module is designed to allow for multiple delivery points. 


Content includes:

• Appreciating risk as future uncertainty

• Decision risk round the boardroom table

• Homework briefing and case-study analysis

• Case-study feedback

• Risk as in trinsic part of strategy

• Communicating risk to stakeholders 

Global context:

Private, Public and Third sector boards context as multi-level (e.g., Head-Office – subsidiary) 

International governance environments (e.g., Regional and country variations) 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

• The module will be taught inclusive of specialist risk practitioner insights. The lectures will include:

• PowerPoint presentations

• Appropriate use of learning technologies where relevant

• Interactive Q&A

• Individual/group exercises

• work based and active learning opportunities

• problem solving opportunities 

There will be an evening session end of day one on homework and case study analysis. Day two will include case study feedbacks combining theory and practice to support facilitated learning. 

T&L approaches and exercises will cater to individual needs by including wide ability range questions as part of scaffolding, moving progressively towards more active learning for confident learners. 

Each stud ent will also have opportunity to contribute to their own diary as part of the learning experience. 

Guided Independent Study includes preparation and planning for scheduled sessions, pre-reading or research, follow-up work, wider reading, practice or application to practice, understanding learning tools and techniques (e.g. technologies, software and different research methods) - relevant to participants own area of interest or context of study. This a lso includes completion of assessment tasks e.g. getting access or information, analysing data, evaluating, synthesising and reflecting on the particular case or topic of interest. GIS is balanced between pre and post study. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 40
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Peer assisted learning 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation of practical report 15
    Group study tasks 40
    Essay preparation 40
    Reflection 5
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Individual written assignment - 3000 words

Group case-study analysis - 1200 words

Submission dates are in accordance with the programme schedule

Formative assessment methods:

Engagement with class activities; interactive Q&A.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy 

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% for each lement 

Reassessment arrangements:

One resubmission of any element with a mark below 50% 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required text books - £60

Last updated: 15 March 2022


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