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: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Joseph Lane


Type of module:

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 resources and 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 firms develop competitive advantage to outperform the averages in its industry and how it sustains this 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.


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 it’s long-run performance.


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

1. Analyse the strategic choices of a firm 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 firm.

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

4. Reason the future trajectory of the firm and make critical adjustments to strategy based on current knowledge of the firms’ environment.

5. Identify the pragmatic issues with altering the strategy and direction of the firm 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:

Theme 1: Introduction to strategy

Theme 2: Industry analysis and positioning 

Theme 3: Resources, Capabilities and Competitive Advantage 

Theme 4: Organising for Change and Competitive Advantage 

Theme 5: Industry Evolution and Strategy in Technology-Based Industries 

Theme 6: The Role of the Strategist 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching for this module will be delivered through lectures and tutorials.

By the end of the module, students should be able to critically 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, supple mented 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) 95
    Exam revision/preparation 45
    Preparation for tutorials 20
    Reflection 13
Total hours by term 0
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 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 both 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 Module Convenor 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[1] (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: £53.99

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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