Module: Developing sustainable business strategies

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Dr Inge Hill
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    15 hours

Module content

In an increasingly complex and competitive environment there is pressure for all managers to gain the skills and knowledge required to make, interpret or implement strategic decisions effectively. It has also to be noted that in the current globalized market there are many different agents, whose preferences are ambiguous and the surroundings uncertain. The food and agriculture sector provides a vivid example of the complexities and numerous external and internal forces affecting the feasibility of an industry.

Within this context, this module aims to develop students’ understanding of the process by which business and non-commercial organisations develop, select and implement their strategies.

The module begins by analysing the role and implications of strategic decisions. The module continues with an exploration of organizational purpose. Most successful companies tend to live in a culture where vision, mission and values are crystal clear.

The module also examines the way organisations analyse their external environment, their direct and indirect competitors, determine their competitive strengths and weaknesses, generate and select appropriate strategies to develop sustainable competitive advantage and implement them.

The above is achieved by providing a critical overview of a number of key strategy models/theoretical frameworks and helping participants to apply and critically evaluate these models through a range of online activities and academic seminar discussions during the residential part of the course. For example, the role of culture and corporate social responsibility in strategy implementation will be explored during residential seminars. Seminars focus on student-centred investigation, discussion and debate, allowing participants to arrive at informed judgements about strategic issues.

Assessment criteria require evidence of participants’ understanding of these strategic concepts to develop an effective argument. The pedagogical approach to this module will be one of active learning.  This means that learning will be structured around a variety of online activities supported by tutor input and more traditional resources.  It is crucial that you note that you will need to do independent reading and study to develop your topic understanding to a sufficient level to embrace the assessment appropriately.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the trends in the external environment and identify implications for decision makers
  2. Compile a resource audit and an analysis of an organization’s key sources of competitive advantage
  3. Formulate and critically evaluate a range of innovative strategic options and justify recommendations
  4. Evaluate the role of corporate social responsibility in strategic planning


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework A strategic review – Individual (3000 words) 100%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

  • Barney, J.B., and  Hesterly, W.S. (2018). Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage. (6th edition). Pearson
  • European Management Journal
  • Grant, R.M., Judith, J. (2015). Foundations of Strategy (2nd edition). Wiley
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Johnson, G., Regner, P., Scholes, K., Anwin , D.  and Whittington, R. (2017). Exploring Strategy. Pearson
  • Joseph, L., Henry, M., James, B.Q., and Sumantra, G.  (2013). The strategy process: Concepts, Contexts, Cases. Pearson
  • Lynch, R. (2018). Strategic Management (7th edition). Pearson
  • MacIntosh, R., and MacLean, D. (2014). Strategic Management: Strategists at Work. Palgrave
  • Mintzberg, H., Lampel, J., and Ahlstrand, B. (2011). Strategy Safari. Prentice Hall
  • Philippe, L. (2017). Global Strategic Management. Palgrave
  • Strategic Management Journal