Module code: MANM379

Module Overview

An MBA graduate needs to not only understand the different disciplines of management but also needs to understand how those disciplines fit together to give the business a purpose and coherence and how to grasp the signals coming from the external environment and the forces that determine them. This module begins that process of integrative understanding by considering the fundamental question: how do businesses work? How do international forces may affect the business? In this module we will introduce theory across a broad range of disciplines such as micro and macroeconomics, people management, organisational behaviour, operations management and strategy.


The module introduces students to strategy as the long-term direction of an organization, on the basis that any employee, consciously or unconsciously, contributes to the realisation of an organization’s strategy, which must fit with the business’s positioning in the international arena, and all managers have the responsibility to communicate strategy to their teams. Increasingly managers at any level are expected to play a growing role in shaping strategy.  Good strategic thinking is both rigorous and structured. Being able to participate in an organization’s “strategic conversation” by engaging with senior managers is an important route to become recognized as a “high potential” worthy of promotion. Together we will investigate how business strategies are formed and how they are implemented.


Given that up to a third of our waking lives are spent at work, this module fulfils the imperative to study people in their working environments; we will explore the behaviour of people within their organisational context, as well as salient features of the environment, such as processes and policies, which have a bearing on individual and organisational performance.


The module will also enable students to evaluate the role and nature of supply chain and operations management strategies in meeting the objectives of retail and industrial organisations. Students will become familiar with the specific management approaches to meet the product and service criteria set by customers. We will examine the technical and commercial environment that dictates the supply chain management approach adopted by service and manufacturing firms in local and international arenas. The impact of sustainability on operations will be explored as business leaders embrace issues of social and environmental sustainability alongside traditional economic challenges.


This module introduces the concepts that represent the theoretical basis of this subject. Concepts will indeed be applied to examples and case, however it is in Understanding, Developing and Growing the Business II that they will come alive with more applications.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

COHEN Smadar (SBS)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: N120

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Evaluation of the external international business environment and exploiting future trends

  • Industry attractiveness, industry value chain and industry lifecycle

  • Internal business resources, capabilities, and core competencies

  • Strategic planning process and strategy cycle

  • Business models and generic business strategy

  • Value innovation and blue ocean strategy

  • Digital platform strategy

  • Strategic intent and mission, vision, values

  • International strategy

  • Macroeconomics

  • Microeconomics

  • Corporate strategy

  • Growth strategies

  • Creating shared value and green business models

  • Individual differences at Work

  • Work Motivation

  • Selection & Assessment

  • Stress Management and Well-being

  • Performance Management

  • Training & Learning

  • Reward

  • Diversity in Organisations

  • Conflict

  • Human Resource Policies and Practices

  • Group Behaviour in a Team Context

  • Customer value

  • Matching supply and demand

  • Generic supply chain strategies

  • Managing logistics internationally

  • Ethical sourcing and corporate social responsibility for supply chains

  • Service and manufacturing operational strategies

  • Supply chain integration and information technology

  • Supplier management

  • Supply chain costs and performance

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate theories

The summative assessment, due in by Monday of week 9 (FT) and by the fourth Monday after completion of the module (PT), consists of:

  • Individual strategy assignment (max 900 words)

  • Individual Written Assignment on organisation behaviour (max 900 words)

  • Individual assignment on operations (max 900 words)

  • Individual assignment on micro and macro economics (max 900 words)

Formative assessment and feedback for this module consists of:

  • Students can be expected to receive feedback from faculty to discussions and team exercises in class

  • Teams will receive feedback on their business project ongoing work


A detailed marking scheme which provides guidance on how marks will be awarded for each element of different assessments will be provided.

Module aims

  • • Introduce a range of management, micro and macro economics issues pertinent to understanding how different elements of a business fit together to create a coherent organisation and an effecive strategy;
  • • Systematically analyse organisations from a process rather than a functional perspective with the emphasis on integration;
  • • Equip students with a sound understanding of the process of strategic management and the different components of the strategy development cycle
  • • Awareness of the criticality of the study of people at work to enhancing our understanding of employee, as well as, organisational effectiveness.
  • • Critical thinking skills as they maintain an analytical and interpretative perspective to understanding a global research agenda on human processes at work.
  • • Awareness of various theories and models, underpinned by psychological research, which serve to shed light on the management of people in the workplace.
  • • Develop a critical awareness of the strategic challenges facing supply chain and operations management through an understanding of the theoretical foundations of the areas.
  • • Gain an understanding of the challenges and differences between service and manufacturing operations in the delivery of customer value.
  • • Introduce students to the financial and practical management issues relating to supply chain management at a local and global level.
  • • Consider the wider social and environmental issues of international sourcing and its impact on supply chain management.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the underpinning principle of strategic management and relevant theoretical frameworks K
002 Appraise the different theories of strategic management ,microeconomics and international macroeconomics relevant to the design of business strategy C
003 Demonstrate robust knowledge of a variety of theories and concepts central to our understanding of people at work KC
004 Utilise experiential and participative learning principles to better understand how to develop an effective workplace both from the perspective of an employee as well as the organisation KC
005 Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the breadth and complexity of operations and supply chain management KC
006 Demonstrate the knowledge and analytical ability to recognise barriers and solutions to delivering value through operations and the supply chain KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to focus on learning fundamental theories and critical evaluation, by giving students the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of relevant theories, models and research, from a cross-cultural perspective.


The module will comprise lectures and discussion groups, as well active and self-directed learning. Whilst the lectures are mainly designed to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and models, the seminars/discussion groups explore and illuminate the theoretical concepts and models by reference to and explanation of a range of topical issues and case studies. Group discussions are therefore designed to develop a more practical insight into the applied nature of the various topics covered. Active learning includes engaging in classroom practical exercises, video and case analyses, and, group work on the practical component of the assessment. Self-directed learning pertains to engaging in reading material relevant to the module.


Prior to attending the lecture and seminar, students are expected to undertake the essential reading for the sessions.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Teaching concepts and then learning through case studies

  • Video and simulations

  • Conversations with external senior managers

  • Presentations by external clients and Q&A sessions

  • Workshop activities conducted in teams and with clients

  • Self-directed learning

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for UNDERSTANDING THE BUSINESS IN ITS INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/manm379

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.