Managing Finances and Strategic Decision Making

Module code: MN7703
Module coordinators: Geraldine Catlow, Dr Richard Godfrey, Professor Peter Jackson, Dr Maria Puig de la Bellacasa

Strategic decisions lie at the heart of many of the challenges that confront the senior managers of any organisation. A rapidly changing, complex, ambiguous, and highly uncertain environment can threaten the performance of an organisation. Managers need to be able to think strategically in order to respond effectively to these challenges, whilst at the same time embracing the opportunities that change presents. Effective strategic thinking assures the sustainable survival of the organisation in the long run.

Thinking strategically requires frameworks that will shape these decisions. These frameworks draw upon knowledge found in the disciplines of economics and accountancy. In particular knowledge about demand; costs; pricing; the measurement of financial performance and the macro trends taking place in the wider decision environment. A strategic perspective, however, moves beyond these narrow knowledge bases and seeks to use them to establish policies and core competences that will assure the sustainability of the organisation in the long run.

The purpose and values of any organisation extend beyond the narrow goal directed behaviour of performance maximisation. Consideration of the impact of the activities of the organisation on the wider physical and social environments is also important as too are the effects that management decisions have upon employees, customers and other stakeholders. Evaluation of the means chosen is as important as the goals of an organisation.

This module will provide you with the skills that are necessary for thinking strategically along with the critical skills that are required to evaluate the foundations of many current strategic practices.

Topics covered

  • Formulating strategy; planned and incremental decision making
  • Corporate level strategy; business level strategy and competitive advantage
  • Strategy, value and innovation
  • Economics for decision making; market analysis; thinking about costs; pricing
  • The macro economic environment and managerial decisions
  • Accounting information and analysis for decision making; costs; profits and financial control
  • Long term decision making; capital investment appraisal and risks
  • Business ethics; corporate social responsibility and stakeholder analysis
  • Globalisation; the ethics of multinational business; environmental sustainability and environmental accounting.

Learning

  • 12 two-hour lectures
  • 12 one-hour seminars
  • 1 two-day (16 hours) residential workshop
  • 48 hours of participation in online discussion forums
  • 200 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • 2-hour written examination (50%)
  • Individual assignment (50%)