Semester 3 Part 2

While this post is pretty late by usual standards it is absolutely necessary that I write up the remainder of Semester 3 and the conclusion to my initial thoughts on the differences I experienced.

I maintain the opinion that the topics were very good and worked seamlessly together but personally I struggled a lot with the assessments; not because they were hard but because I got bored of the solitary working and the way in which the lessons seemed too easy. I’m not adverse to a bit of humility and despite averaging 70 across the first year my marks for these came out at 45, 50 and 58….yes I was disappointed but in hindsight it’s no more than I deserved.

Nonetheless the marks spread on these modules were very high 35% got 70+ on Strategic Advantage, 27% got 70+ on Management of Change and 36% got 70+ on Strategy & Practice. So it is possible, just don’t get complacent, uninterested and possibly arrogant like I did!

Strategic Advantage

The remainder of this module consisted of the following:

Lesson 6 – Co-opetitive strategy
Lesson 7 – The role of luck in strategy
Lesson 8 – Strategic change and adaptation in a network economy
Lesson 9 – Behavioural strategy
Lesson 10 – Business ethics

On great piece of structure that was provided that I obviously missed was this…Strategic Advantage_Levels of Analysis_v1. Out of the three modules this semester, SA has the highest level of research requirement and that isn’t a great deal when looking at only one company on the basis all of the models and theories are provided in the lessons.

On my resit module there are some additional elements such as Chaos, Feedback Loops, Blue Ocean Strategy and Diversification. This demonstrates the effort the lecturers put in to vary the content and provide relevant up to date learning content.

The individual assessment for SA was as follows:

“Produce a case study of a strategic situation of significance to the organisation and define the business issues it is facing. Provide an analysis and the strategic direction the organisation should take”

I’m sure you will agree this isn’t a hard assessment, but don’t make the same mistake I did.

Overall Strategic Advantage is well presented, Chengwei and Harminder are good tutors and provide great support where you need it.

Management of Change

The overall content of management of change was one of my favourites so far, the remaining lessons were as follows:

Lesson 6 –  Psychological contract and resistance to change
Lesson 7 – Strategies for communicating change
Lesson 8 – Leadership and Linking vision and change
Lesson 9 – The role of middle management
Lesson 10 – Analysis of the case

So…..after a relatively successful application of the course material to the mid-module TMA, I found this assessment the hardest of them all. There seemed to be little research and more of a reflective feel.

In hindsight this could have been because I don’t tend to stay within a job more than about 2 years and the majority of the time change within the organisations I have worked in has been a bad experience due to the inadequacies of management and leadership, which perhaps made it hard to step out of the situation and appraise it properly.

The question set was as follows:

“Consider one or more examples of organisational change that you have experienced at first hand. Critically appraise each of the examples you have chosen, please draw on some ideas or frameworks from the literature on change management to support your analysis.
From this series of reflections, draw out a number of guidelines that you yourself can use when you are next leading or affected by a change at work.”

I don’t think it’s particularly hard if you’ve had or been part of a great change experience but mine were perhaps too narrow and negative to make this assessment a high scoring mark for me, that said a good academic would be able to apply the correct theories and apply them to achieve a higher mark.

Overall I would recommend this module, the actual content is great and has helped me a lot in my more recent role where change is paramount and needs to be treated carefully.

Strategy & Practice

Still my favourite module of them all this semester despite only just scraping 50! S&P provides a great insight and a dynamic view of how strategy is used in practice. The remainder of the lessons in the module are as follows:

Lesson 6 – The post-acquisition process
Lesson 7 – Making decisions
Lesson 8 – Corporate governance and decision making
Lesson 9 – Conventional and unconventional approaches to strategy
Lesson 10 – Participant observation

The assessment gave a lot of variety this time around, with the option to chose 1 of 5 questions. I chose the following:

“Have you observed an “emergent strategy” in your own organisation or other organisations? How has it emerged? Has it become a “realised strategy”? Why or why not?”

The theories of Mintzberg’s emerging and realised strategies fitted very well with the dynamics of a great company I was working for at the time and how the adaptation to market and competitive changes meant that in fact every strategy was never quite realised as it always evolved into something new.

I realise why people love start-ups so much and the exciting rise of creativity they give birth too. Unfortunately I do miss that position but onwards an upwards to the next challenge!

Overall a highly recommended module with some real thought provoking elements that will undoubtedly get you thinking about how and who sets strategy in your organisation.


All in all guys and girls, it’s a great semester and all of my cohort from the 1st year got at least one 70+ mark. Of course I believe I was good enough to better than I did but I guess a swift kick up the arse in time for the final few modules and my dissertation isn’t a bad thing.

All the best
Joe