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Global and Digital Business Strategy

This interactive & practical course explores key strategic business concepts such as digitalisation, globalisation, business models, strategic information management & change management as applied in the modern & fast-changing world of digital & global business, whether for the smallest businesses or international giants. It will teach you how to create & implement strategies more effectively in a networked, digital world of multiple, global & diverse stakeholders. It will also teach you how to apply strategic tools to your own careers.

You will learn about how to create, assemble & analyse strategic information, & how to use it as the basis for decisions. You will learn how to organise for change, including carrying out change readiness assessments. You will learn how strategic change involves internal & external stakeholders & the creation of new relationships with them, requiring effective stakeholder communication strategies & the importance of reputation management. You will be introduced to key functional strategy concepts to help you understand how each business function must be involved in change & how to ensure that it makes its full contribution. You will learn about the new digital business ecosystem & how it has changed, & how we think about decide & deliver strategic decisions.

This course is led and delivered by St Mary’s University and expert scholars & practitioners from the relevant fields & with industry experience using a mixture of workshops, master classes & seminars. You will acquire skills & understanding which will help you perform with greater confidence as a strategist.

The course is taught at an intermediate level.

Course Aims

The course aims to apply the principles of modern strategic decision making to managing how you and your company can survive and prosper in the world, but drawing on a wider range of ideas than in conventional strategy courses. After taking the course, students will understand the impact of new digital and global developments on what can be achieved professionally and in business, from a wide range of perspectives. Students will examine how these new developments affect business strategy in a wide range of sectors, such as transport, retailing, packaged consumer goods, industrial engineering, financial services, media, telecommunication, electronics and other sectors.

Syllabus and Course overview

This course will explain the principles of strategising in a digital and global world, updated to include the latest developments practised by leading firms in many industries, and how they use the latest developments in digital technology to research, conceptualise and deliver their strategies. The course will use as its foundation the concept of the new digital business ecosystem and new business models. It will identify the main elements of this new ecosystem, and how the different elements of the ecosystem are connected in different sectors and for organisations of different sizes. It will explore not only the commercial aspects of this new system, but also the ethical and public policy aspects. It will explain how digital businesses emerge, exploiting the features and applications of this new digital world, and how they use their skills to create successful strategies to beat their competition.

The course will feature talks by leading practitioners, from clients, digital/advertising agencies, and digital media and software firms and leading academics and conceptual thinkers in digital marketing and media.

Course content

The topics to be covered include:

  • Strategic decisions – what are they and how they are made
  • Range of decisions – operations, projects, programmes, strategies, business models, missions, and their interrelation
  • The vision – mission – objectives – strategy – policies – tactics hierarchy – does it work in practice
  • Overall business models, revenue and cost models
  • How the different elements of strategic decision-making process are inter-related
  • Impact of digitalisation – products and services, digital goods, online marketplaces and intermediaries
  • Rationality, intuition, political behaviour and honesty in strategic decision-making, including awareness of the process
  • Setting SMART objectives and realistic strategies
  • The external environment of strategy
  • Global and local economic and social change – cycles and trends, economic development
  • Industry, sector, sub-sector and product life cycles and maturity – impact of innovation
  • Market structures and barriers to entry and exit
  • Disruptive factors – technologies, trade agreements (and their abandonment), conflict
  • National and international politics, taxation and regulations; international agreements, superpowers and their influence
  • The environment
  • Civil society, corruption and honesty
  • Digitalisation, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things
  • The internal environment of strategy
  • Culture, organisational structure and style
  • Skills and human resource assets
  • Systems and data
  • Responsibility, liability and accountability
  • Where internal and external environments meet
  • Partnerships, ecosystems and co-opetition
  • Supply chains and distribution systems, partnership relationship management
  • Information platforms
  • Network effects
  • The ethics of strategy – the internal and external stakeholders, corporate social responsibility
  • Transaction costs
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Who are we strategising for
  • SME
  • National and global businesses
  • Public sector bodies
  • Charities
  • Yourself
  • Your personal life strategy
  • Your skills, your brand and your proposition the world
  • Communicating yourself to the world
  • You as a manager of strategy or as a strategic consultant
  • Strategic information management
  • Identifying information requirements for strategic decisions
  • Analysing strategic information – techniques of analysis – SWOT, TOWS, PESTEL, Porters 5 forces, product life cycle
  • Value chain analysis, ecosystem analysis
  • Competitive information and analysis
  • Financial ratio analysis that underlies strategic decisions, RoI, cash flow
  • Communicating strategic information – storytelling, visualisation, powerful use of language and graphics
  • Forecasting and risk analysis, predictive analytics
  • Big data
  • The skills and ethics of a strategist
  • Analysis and decision-making – creation of options, quantifying and evaluating options
  • Emotional intelligence (building trust and communication) and its importance in decision-making and implementation
  • Negotiation
  • Managing strategic change – overcoming resistance, motivating teams
  • Leadership styles – transformational etc.
  • Ethics and honesty
  • The problems of the strategist and how to overcome them
  • Information management and mismanagement – denial, lying, ignorance, intuition
  • Risk and uncertainty
  • Motivation and control
  • Learning from failure, and the problems of overconfidence, denial etc.
  • Benchmarking – relevance and practicality
  • The key elements of strategy
  • Core competences and changing it
  • Target markets
  • Products, services and propositions, value creation, prices and user costs
  • Innovation and competitive advantage
  • Operational approach – efficiency, customisation etc
  • Digitalisation of the business
  • Insourcing and outsourcing
  • Implementation
  • Governance
  • Impact of platforms and ecosystems
  • Change management
  • Scale of change - business unit to corporation turnaround, defining the scale of change, the causes of change, environmental turbulence, planned and emergent strategies, life-cycle and change, when to change, difficulties and messes, hard and soft complexity
  • Organisational structure and change - the meaning of organisational structure, the dimensions of structure, the bureaucratic model, mechanistic and organic models of structure, organisational structure and change, HRM challenges, how structural effectiveness is supported by digital approaches
  • Organisational culture and change - the nature of culture, recognising organisational culture, organisational cultural typologies, the cultural web, the sources of organisational culture, “strong” cultures, national cultures
  • Conceptual framework for change -drawing structure, culture and strategy together, a role for strategic HRM
  • Change readiness assessment – what it is and how to carry it out, digital and real readiness
  • Politics of change and resistance - organisational politics, power in organisations, resistance to change, skills, strategies and tools for overcoming resistance
  • Management competencies and change - management roles and competencies and leadership, approaches to leadership, leadership in times of change, why change programmes fail
  • Strategies for managing change - hard systems (systems intervention strategy) and soft systems (organisational development)
  • Special aspects of digitalisation change programmes – skills, learning, speed of change, use of specialist suppliers
  • Future challenges - the multiple paths of change, some general trends, the virtual organisation, learning organisations
  • Functional strategies – what they are and their main components
  • Intellectual capital and content management
  • Purchasing – partnerships, strategic supplier relationship management, integrating systems with suppliers, quality
  • Finance – profit and loss management, cash and assets, sources of finance, value management, partnerships to develop, ownership and control and the agency problem
  • Operations – productivity, capital/labour intensity, automation, digitalisation, quality, business process redesign
  • Marketing – understanding markets and segments, buyer behaviour, customer base and relationships, product and brand strategy, brand equity, customer loyalty, customer experience, customer service and satisfaction, intermediation and disintermediation, social commerce, digital conversion modelling and planning
  • HR – human capital, core team, outsourcing, partnerships, organisational structure and job design, learning and development, motivation, leadership development
  • Information systems – key elements (transaction processing, data management), the value chain of information, executive and decision support systems, knowledge management systems to support strategic decisions and their implementation, systems to retain process and other knowledge, expert systems and artificial intelligence
  • Decision-making frameworks
  • Ansoff, BCG, GE, SOSTAC, Value Chain
  • Difficulty/benefit analysis
  • Suitability – feasibility – acceptability analysis
  • Making strategy happen
  • Projects and programmes
  • Strategic control
  • Case studies
  • Sectors – telecommunications, retailing, airlines, leisure, consumer financial services (banking and insurance), public transport, public administration, personal services, charities

Learning outcomes

The main learning outcome of this course is that you will become familiar with and develop the ability to confidently strategise and manage in the new digital, globalised world. You will:

  • Understand the application of modern strategic analysis and decision-making techniques in a wide range of business and professional situations
  • Understand how business and professional objectives can be achieved using modern strategic analysis, decision-making and implementation techniques
  • how new business models evolve and how they require adoption of new strategic techniques
  • Apply their learning to development of their professional careers and to advancing organisational performance

Course structure

For this course, there will be an average of about 4 hours of teaching per day, or overall 35-45 hours, consisting of lectures, group exercises and presentations based on concepts and case studies and applications to contemporary strategic situations presented by leading academics and strategic practitioners. You will also be given time each day for independent study.

Course assessment

You will be required to post two blogs per week detailing your learning and how you expect to apply it. In the third week, you will be required to produce a report detailing the application of your learning to a chosen organisation, industry or problem. The blogs and report detailed above will be assessed for quality, to provide the basis for your transcript from Warwick Summer School.

Course Reading list

  • Johnson G et al (2014), Exploring Strategy, Text and Cases (10th edition) Pearson
  • Chaffey, D (2015) Digital Business and E-Commerce Management: strategy, implementation and practice (6th edition)
  • Laudon, K and J (2018) Managing the Digital Firm. (15th edition) Pearson
  • Senior. B. and Fleming, J. 2001 (5th edition), Organisational Change, Pearson

Students will be provided with additional material during the programme.

Entry Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open to students studying any discipline at University level. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds, including students who are currently studying another subject but who want to broaden their knowledge in another discipline. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

Please note the details of the course content may be subject to change