MQM2GBC-Global Business Context: Challenges and Prospects

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 15 [7.5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Elena Beleska-Spasova

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module provides students with the opportunity to develop awareness of the contemporary global trends and developments and gain a critical insight into their implications on current and future business scenarios. Students are able to identify potential challenges and prospects for business and society relevant to their context and propose suitable solutions. The module will cover various aspects of the global business environment, from geopolitics, trade and investment, to global value chains, advanced technologies and climate change, and their impact upon business operations and strategy. It will give students an appreciation of the complex and dynamic nature of global business developments faced; the variety of factors influencing the choices and compromises that have to be made in international businesses, and the implications of those for the future viability and effectiveness of the organisations concerned.


The module aims to explore the challenges and prospects in the global economy stemming from global shifts and critical developments. Students will gain knowledge of frameworks, concepts and theories that will enable them to understand various global phenomena and critically assess their relevance and potential implications in a given context.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Knowledge outcomes:

Upon completion of this module participants will be able to:


  1. Identify critical business, societal and industry level challenges and prospects

  2. Assess the potential impact of the selected trends/challenges on business practices, systems, the role of leadership and employees

  3. Formulate potential scenarios to address the identified challen ges and prospects


Academic skills outcomes:


  1. Critically evaluate global micro, meso and macro trends by employing appropriate frameworks and models  

  2. Select appropriate tools/techniques to evaluate the impact of relevant challenges and prospects

  3. Construct a reasoned, evidence-based impact analysis

  4. Develop strategic options for h ow an organisation(s)/sector(s) may effectively address the challenges and/or prospects identified

  5. Critically evaluate the current business strategy, practices and system(s), along with the role and responsibilities of business, business leaders and employees  


Workplace skills outcomes:


  1. Identify global challenges and prospects relevant to a specific o rganisation/sector

  2. Critically assess the potential impact of the identified challenges/prospects on the specific organisation/sector

  3. Demonstrate awareness of the interdependencies across different parts of the organisation and distinct phenomena

  4. Develop an organisational strategy outlining how the organisation may effectively address the challenges/prospects identified taking into account and appraising current business practices, systems, the role of leaders and employees


Interpersonal skills outcomes:


  1. Formulate and communicate clear insights into complex global developments to variety of stakeholders across the organisation

  2. Communicate effectively the strategic options developed 

  3. Work as part of a team and effectively distil and communicate key concepts and theories

Additional outcomes:

Transferable skills:


  • Demonstrate excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Ability to use variety of sources/materials to make constructive recommendations

  • Critically assess the validity and reliability of information sources

  • Make evidence-based decisions

  • Reflect upon the process of learning and application of knowledge

Outline content:


The module focus is on understanding the global business context, its key trends and developments and their implications on businesses and society.


The module’s indicative content will include:


Part I: Understanding global business context

  • Globalisation and the new competitive realities

    • Key phenomena, concepts a nd players 

    • The political and economic systems 

    • Economic/regional integration

  • Technological changes and innovation

  • Global value chains and networks 

  • Emerging challenges and prospects


Part II: Assessing implications from global business developments

  • Tools and frameworks for assessing current/future trends

  • Tools and frameworks for assessing implications for businesses, sectors and society

  • Building competitive advantages in global context 


Global context:

see above

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module uses a blended-learning approach, incorporating independent-study, tutor led workshops, group work and tutor support. A structured pathway guides the learning journey through a series of sequential sessions of self-study utilising digital content, application and reflection tasks, facilitated on our VLE platform Canvas and tutor and peer interactions via face-to-face workshops.


The contact hours are a guide and the terms taught will va ry depending on the start date of the cohort.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Work-based learning 32
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 18
    Wider reading (directed) 32
    Advance preparation for classes 12
    Essay preparation 40
    Reflection 2
Total hours by term 150 0 0
Total hours for module 150

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assessment is through the completion of a 3,000-word individual assignment. A -10% to + 20% word count tolerance margin applies. Submission dates are according to the programme schedule.

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:


Assessment requirements for a pass:

The assignment / project / report must achieve a minimum mark of 50% to achieve a pass.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of the same assignment based on formative feedback. One resubmission-allowed, capped at 50%. Resubmission periods will be advised by the Examinations Manager following the relevant Programme Examiner’s Meeting.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required text books - £60


The cost of textbooks and study aids for apprentices are met by the University of Reading as per the Education and Skills Funding Agency Regulations.

Last updated: 1 September 2021


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