Strategic Business Planning
One of the key requirements of any senior leader is the ability to create feasible, viable and sustainable projects to drive a business/organisation forward and respond to changing market conditions. Given the fast-paced, erratic, and dramatic nature of change facing contemporary organisations, the need for effective strategic business planning as a skill for senior leaders is crucial. This module continues the learning from previous modules and is the capstone module at this stage. You will be briefed on a business issue by a client and will be tasked with creating a strategic business plan for them, at all times working with them to help improve their organisational performance. It also provides an opportunity for you to take an integrated approach to disciplines covered elsewhere on the programme while you investigate a real-life organisational problem.
The Strategic Business Planning module aims to enable you to rigorously investigate an issue of strategic relevance in an organisation or industry alien to your previous experience. EMBA students who have previously taken part in the Senior Leadership Apprenticeship may develop their Strategic Business Plan further. Whatever students choose, they are expected to focus on a strategic plan that is relevant to their client(s). For Full-Time MBA students the topic should be something of contemporary interest to the business community.
Learning Outcome 1: Critically evaluate different models and concepts to support business planning and interpret and apply these in an organisational context
Learning Outcome 2: Identify, interpret and evaluate internal and external conditions to identify business opportunities to support organisational improvement
Learning Outcome 3: Construct a convincing business plan which addresses the needs of different stakeholders.
Learning Outcome 4: Use relevant theories to create a feasible, viable and sustainable organisational improvement plan.
Learning Outcome 5: Work collaboratively with others, adhering to the specific terms of reference for the project.
Learning Outcome 6: Solve complex problems and make decisions, establish criteria and evaluate options, and communicate effectively in a written proposal.
Learning Outcome 7: Reflect on the strategic business planning process and the links to senior leader knowledge skills and behaviours.
h) Articulate a critical understanding of the contemporary issues, theories and conceptual frameworks used to explain and guide conventional strategic management and leadership activities in organisations nationally and internationally
i) Demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of strategic models that can be utilised to explore and guide effective and responsible action in dynamic global organisational environments.
j) Critically appraise the range of tools and techniques required to transform the culture and capabilities of organisations to meet the challenges of a turbulent and dynamic business environment. (K/U). (GENERAL)
k) Demonstrate the ability to make recommendations for organisational practice based on theoretical insights through a process of experiential or applied learning. (K/U)
l) Demonstrate independence in creativity, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity in both the application and synthesis of knowledge.
m) Analyse a variety of relevant data used in diverse contexts to support effective decision-making in the management and leadership discipline. (SQA)
n) Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the wider social, environmental and economic sustainability issues and their interrelationships which may be impacted by or have an impact on organisational activities. (K/U)
o) Work collaboratively in diverse teams (SQA)
p) Take personal responsibility for continuing professional development and develop the capacity to be an effective and reflective practitioner. (SQA)
As a group, you are required to produce a report of 2500 wordswhich brings together learning from across the qualification. It should rigorously investigate an issue of strategic relevance which is theoretically underpinned, and usually involves primary and literature-basedresearch. At all times you be responding to and managing the needs of your client
This is an ‘executive` summary of your paper. It should identify the purpose of the study, the research design/methodology/approach, the key findings/conclusions and any practical implications(see any academic paper in your field for examples).
This should tell the reader what they need to know before reading the substance of your paper. In particular, you should addresswhat you are doing (primary aim/objective); why you are doing it. (background/relevance/importance of your research); where you are doing it (context/organisation/market segment); and how you will pursue it (research sub-questions/objectives).
This should summarise the theoretical basis for your research. You should critically engage with around 4-6 key literature strands or themes (the conceptual domain). Critically engaging means establishing the context and structure of your chosen area and its significance; exploring the relationships between these themes as they relate to your context;synthesising current views and suggesting new perspectives and distinguishing the theory development that has been undertaken in your chosen area; and highlighting gaps in knowledge or work which still needs to be done. At the end of this literature review, you should develop a conceptual model that identifies key themes and their relationships, and how these might sensibly be structured to guide subsequent research.
This section should detail what you discovered. It should summarise your key findings (that is, the results of your analysis in tables and graphs if quantitative, and analytical themes/example quotations if qualitative) and include whatever you wish to discuss in the next section. Whether this is a description, tables or charts will depend on your method of analysis and outcomes. Retain the ‘raw data` but do not includeit here - you should make it available if requested, however.
This section should explore the implications of your discoveries, in respect of your research sub-questions/objectives, your conceptual domain (the literature review) and your conceptual model. It should summarise whatinsights have you been able to develop and provide a coherent argument that draws upon these insights - and that is critical (as necessary) to both your findings and their implications.
This should summarise what you now knowas a result of your research; the key outcomes from your discussion and the implications of these outcomes for your overall research question/objective. If relevant, adjust/elaborate on your conceptual model. Following your critical reflection, what would you advise for the future to your subject organisation and/or society at large or someone who may wish to repeat/continue the research?