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Strategic Concepts for Business

Module description

Strategic thinking is important for businesses and not-for-profit organisations, and most managers are aware of the critical need to take a long term view and to see the bigger picture when developing strategy.

Like many of the other disciplines in business, strategic planning and management has evolved since its first modern iteration in the 1950s and 60s.

This module looks at how strategy is currently practiced in a wide variety of contexts from strategy formulation through to strategy execution on multiple organisational levels: Functional, Business and Corporate strategy, but the perspective on strategy here is not purely a competitive one. Today’s climate changing and digitally inter-linked economy demands decisions and action that will produce a value-creating strategy. Markets have globalised and business and management vocabulary now includes phrases such as; eco-system services, value proposition well-being and stakeholder. In addition, collaboration and effectiveness are emerging as business success factors rather than competition and efficiency. This together with an increasingly dynamic and challenging operating environment means new business models for a ‘New Economy’ (Walters 2012) is the new strategic imperative for business leaders, as they work to identify and leverage all sources of value from their strategic assets.

Using a case study approach this module will build on the lecture material and examine contemporary business strategy, encouraging students to examine the key concepts that underpin strategic management and the tools managers use to analyse their environment, frame choices and put the resulting strategies into action. 

Additional Information:


You will work with a number of case studies in this module to help you engage with the material and gain an international perspective on strategic management. These include a number of international studies, such as Dell, Proctor & Gamble, and Toyota, and anlaysing Puma’s sustainability strategy, and the partnership between Vodafone and Kenyan mobile network Safaricom.


Environmental sustainability and social responsibility are an implicit component of the BSc Business. The case studies used on this module will be used to illustrate business sustainability in practice. All of the resources are available through ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).

External Engagement

The Teaching team, comprising Academics and Business Practitioners have access to a network of industry experts who operate as directors of companies, consultants and strategy analysts. This network includes both international and national organisations from both the private and not-for-profit sector and will be used to facilitate ‘live-case study’ scenario seminars with guest speakers. These include:

Flybe, CrowdfunderUK, Ginsters, Dairy Crest, Shelter Box, Tulip Ltd., NHS Kernow, Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) and St Austell Brewery Co Ltd.


You will develop a number of transferable skills including presenting ideas at board level, team-working, problem-solving, numeracy, research, and report writing. You will also have the opportunity to develop practical skills in the tutorials which you may find useful for your final year consultancy project and more generally in assessment-centre exercises (through activities such as role plays and case study analysis). 

Full module specification

Module title:Strategic Concepts for Business
Module code:BEP2040
Module level:2
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Alison Ashby - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • present the 21st century competitive/business landscape from a strategic management perspective and
  • to assess how global and technological influences shape it
  • develop your ability to analyse strategic issues from a number of broad functional perspectives
  • study strategic competitiveness, competitive advantage, value creation, strategic intent and strategic mission, and evaluate their contribution to the strategic management process
  • formulate strategies, assemble implementation plans and evaluate cross-functional decisions that
  • facilitate the achievement of organisational objectives
  • develop an understanding of strategic management in different contexts, including commercial, not-for-profit and public sector, entrepreneurial, B2B, B2C and multi-national/global.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. recognise the different models of, and approaches to, strategic management, and interpret these as bases of strategic choice
  • 2. demonstrate a critical knowledge of selected strategy literature
  • 3. analyse an organisation’s competitive environment, evaluate competitive positions, and identify core competences
  • 4. assess strategic choices through the application of appropriate strategic models
  • 5. create an evaluation processes for strategic decision making

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. analyse an organisation's environment and evidence an awareness of strategy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. present and defend strategic analyses based on case material, desk research and research in the marketplace
  • 8. document strategic recommendations in written reports
  • 9. feedback on others’ strategic analyses in a constructive manner
  • 10. contribute to communities of practice via social networking

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities11Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities9Workshops
Guided Independent Study130Workshop/ presentation, Networking Events, Research, Revision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshops requiring preparation9 x 1 hour workshops1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6 7,8,10Verbal and peer feedback in workshop
Project proposal for group work1 side of A41, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8,10Written feedback from lecturer/tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay301500 words1,2,6,9,10Written/oral feedback from tutor
Group Executive Summary Report301500 words1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9Comments on paper, feedback to group from lecturer
Examination402 hours3,4,5,6As requested

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExamIndividual Exam 3,4,5,6July/August
Executive summary reportIndividual Report1,3,4,5,6,7,8July/August
EssayIndividual essay1,2,6,9,10July/August

Re-assessment notes

Although the group work cannot be recreated for referral or deferral candidates, the re-assessment will still cover the key ILOs and the assessors reserve the right to conduct a viva for the presentation and report element, should the need arise. 

Syllabus plan

The lectures and workshops will cover: the nature, process, content, context and purpose of strategy formulation; a study of the external environment and market based strategies; business, corporate and network level strategies; strategic capability and the resource-based view, organisational factors and competence based strategies; strategic methods including intrapreneurship, alliances, collaboration, mergers and acquisitions; assessment of existing strategy and future strategic choices; strategic management of technology, new product development and innovation; organisational and international content; schools of strategy formation; putting strategy into action through the systems, structures and culture of the organisation; and a critical analysis of the strategy literature.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

All students on the programme will have access to additional material in the form of a customised e-book

Basic reading:

Blowfield, M., (2013) Business and Sustainability

De Wit, B. and Meyer, R. (2010) Strategy Synthesis, Andover: Cengage.

Ireland, R., Hoskisson, R., and Hitt, M., (2009) The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J.B. (2008) Strategy Safari, London: Financial Times.

Thompson, A.A., Strickland, A.J. III., Gamble, J.E., Peteraf, M., Janes, A., and Sutton, C. (2013) Crafting and Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases, 1st European Edition: London: McGraw-Hill, Irwin.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE based discussion forums, links to internet resources and other resources
  • Various journal articles – some compulsory, some optional from a variety of relevant publications including Harvard Business Review, Long Range Planning, Strategic Management Journal etc.
  • Case studies which will require in-depth analysis for workshop activities

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Online forum discussions which will be used in producing an essay on one of the key current debates in strategy.

Origin date


Last revision date