BA2070 Strategic Management

Topics covered

1. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Appreciate which are the largest and richest national economies.

  • Consider the means by which to define and measure national economic success.

  • Understand that the cause of national economic success is to be discovered at the level of industries and firms.

  • To introduce the works of major authors on comparative business.

  • To comprehend the importance and usefulness of comparative methods as a form of analysis.

2. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Appreciate the academic tradition of comparative analysis in the social sciences.

  • Understand the use of comparative methods as a means of acquiring deep understanding and validation of ideas and theories.

  • Learn the steps by which comparative analysis is conducted.

  • Evaluate the advantages and pitfalls of comparative analysis.

  • Comprehend how comparative methods might be used in an analysis of national business systems.

3. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Comprehend the concept of modern economic growth and its importance.

  • Understand the long-term growth rates of leading national economies and their impact on living standards.

  • Learn which nations have achieved modern economic growth and when they did so.

  • Evaluate the range of measurable characteristics that are associated with modern economic growth.

  • Appreciate the relationship between economic growth rates and national institutions and business systems

4. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Understand the differences in the size of national economies and the concentration of output.

  • Appreciate the concentration of trade between leading economies.

  • Comprehend the connection between the concentration of output, trade and living standards.

  • Evaluate the relationship between global output patterns, trade, living standards, productivity, specialisation and the national and regional clustering of economic activity.

  • Consider the relationship between the global economic map and the nature of national institutions and business systems.

5. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Understand the principles of industrial clustering and their relationship to concepts of national competitive advantage.

  • Consider the contribution of locational perspectives to economic theory.

  • Examine examples of industrial location.

  • Evaluate the international versus the locational causes of national competitive advantage.

6. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Compare the key characteristics of national economic institutions and national business systems.

  • Consider ideas of national competitive development as described by Porter.

  • Evaluate alternative and substitute pathways to economic development that allow for the important variations in patterns of institutions and systems.

  • Comprehend the links between economic development, the origins of national institutions, the nature of national business systems, and long-term economic performance.

7. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider fully the theory of late development and its implications.

  • Evaluate the work and thinking of Alexander Gershenkron.

  • Re-assess the application and advantages of comparative analysis.

  • Establish the links between late development theory, the emergence of leading national economies, the nature of national economic institutions and the nature of national business systems.

  • Understand the limits of late development theory in explaining economic change in mature economies.

8. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Understand the importance of the modern corporation in leading economies and the role oligopolistic competition.

  • Learn the organisational principles of managerial enterprise and the work of Alfred Chandler.

  • Consider the theory of strategy and structure.

  • Evaluate the extent to which variations in the management of large corporations have lead to differences in national economic success.

  • Compare the theories of Porter and Chandler

  • Assess the applicability of Chandler’s views on the integrated managerial enterprise to modern economies.

9. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider the links between managerial enterprise and the transnational corporation as a business form.

  • Understand the nature of economic internationalisation.

  • Evaluate patterns of inwards and outwards foreign direct investment (FDI) as indications of national competitiveness.

  • Assess the extent to which TNCs and leading international industries reveal national competitiveness.

  • Compare the domestic and international origins of competitive advantage.

10. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Understand the role of government in economic management, and the contribution of the state to national competitiveness.

  • Evaluate the economic, political and social rationale for state activity.

  • Consider the range and options of state economic policy.

  • Compare the role of government in leading national economies.

  • Reflect on the capabilities of the nation state in a world economy that is increasingly internationalised and interdependent.

11. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider the causal relationship between national culture, national institutions, national business systems and economic performance.

  • Understand the main theories and writings on culture, entrepreneurship and economic growth.

  • Look in further detail at ‘institutionalist’ views on the determination of business systems.

  • Investigate historical arguments on the Protestant ethic and contemporary debates on the economic impact of Confucianism and Asian values.

  • Evaluate the direct relationship between specific business practices and national culture.

  • Assess critically the value of national culture as a concept and as an explanation of economic growth.

12. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Assess the importance of human resources, training and skills to national economic success.

  • Consider the contribution of the literature on human resources to comparative analysis.

  • Review international variations on the strategic importance of human resources at the level of the firm.

  • Evaluate cultural, adaptive and institutional interpretations of human resource management at the level of the firm.

  • Re-consider the application of comparative methods in the comprehension of major business functions.

13. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Outline the empirical patterns of similarity and difference between human resource management as practised in major economies.

  • Analyse recent trends in the development of human resource management.

  • Consider the influence of the state, employers and employees in shaping national human resource management: the state, employers and employees.

  • Evaluate the emergence of human resources as a key organisational capability at the level of the firm.

  • Reflect on the relationship between human resources as a major business function and national economic success.

14. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider the relationship between scientific invention, commercial innovation, business strategy and national economic success.

  • Review major theories and insights on the importance of technological innovation to corporate and national economic success.

  • Compare the relative importance of R&D within large firms, technology clusters and national innovation systems.

  • Evaluate the role of technological innovation in the US, Japanese, German, British and Chinese economies.

  • Weigh the corporate and statistical evidence on the operation and impact of technological innovation.

15. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider the relationship between production and operations management and national economic success.

  • Evaluate the relevance of concepts such as ‘Fordism’ and ‘Toyotaism’.

  • Outline trends in national and international production and operations management.

  • Examine the application of production and operations management in the automotive and other leading industries.

  • Explore the concept of ‘best practice’ versus the implications of national, institutional and strategic context.

  • Assess differences in production and operations management between companies and industries within the same national context in relation to differences between nations.

16. This topic aims to enable you to:

  • Consider the relationship between finance systems, company size, ownership, governance, strategic objectives, managerial decision making, and corporate and national performance.

  • Understand how differences in national finance systems evolved and the long-term impact of variations in national finance systems.

  • Analyse the shareholder systems of the Anglo–American economies.

  • Comprehend the similarities and differences of the stakeholder systems in Germany and Japan .

  • Evaluate sources of business finance systems in China and the relevance and nature of the governance debate.

  • Analyse the extent of global convergence in the characteristics of finance systems and corporate governance

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

One important outcome is to uncover the essential determinants of economic performance and its links with the success of individual firms, whole industries and national economies.

Anyone who is interested in understanding the global forces shaping their lives requires a frame of mind that is rooted in an internationally comparative perspective. In other words, anyone who seeks to comprehend determinant economic forces and business practice - those factors that underpin standards of living and the quality of life - has to engage in a complex, intellectual process. During the course, you must begin to understand the importance of this insight, and utilise it in your assignments and activities.

You will, therefore, have to acquire the ability to think comparatively between nations, industries, firms, and functions. In dealing with a topic, you must assimilate a wide range of relevant empirical information, and apply it through the use of theories and concepts.


This module is assessed by a three hour unseen written examination.

Essential reading

  • Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy 6th Ed. (Dicken)