Management modules

Introduction to Management & Marketing is a broad-ranging module which is intended to provide a foundation in the most significant issues in management and marketing theory and practice, as well as to prepare you for related modules in subsequent years of your degree course. Because theoretical explanations of what managers and marketeers do, what they say they do and what they actually do in real organisations on a day-to-day basis may differ, we will also draw out some of the connections and disjunctures between management theory and management practice. Our teaching also emphasises the ethics of marketing and managing, how to balance the bottom line of the business with the organisation's wider responsibilities to society and other stakeholders.

The module is divided into three main areas:

* Part One - Managing People in Organisations: in the introductory part of the module we will explore aspects of the individual and organisations. We take a close-up focus on individuals and the management of individuals engaging with issues such as teams, groups, leading, coaching, mentoring and cultures at work.

* Part Two – Introducing Marketing: the third element of the module will provide an introduction to the discipline of marketing, exploring some of the major concepts and techniques of marketing. As well as examining practical aspects of marketing we introduce a critical understanding, beginning to consider the role of issues such as ethics and social responsibility in marketing.

* Part Three – Managing Organisational Practices, Structures and Processes: the lectures on Organisational Structures and Processes will provide an historical understanding of the development of management processes. It will tackle concepts such as the 'one best way to manage', some persistent and often problematic features of our organisations and introducing contemporary issues such as including globalisation and new organisational forms. Managing Organisational Practices: in the second part of the module we open up our perspective to consider the context in which individuals work. As such this part of the module will look at the practices involved in organising work, exploring broader themes including power and politics, knowledge and learning, corporate social responsibility and ethics.

The module will also contain, at appropriate points, revision lectures and classes. These are designed to review the key learning aims of the module and prepare students for formal assessment of their learning.

This module builds on the first year module BE400 to develop and deepen several of the themes introduced there. The intention is to dig deeper into the concepts of management, work and organisation in order to understand something of their provenance, evolution, context of use, and relevance today, as well as the fundamental social dynamics underpinning them. This module also explores the interplay of management theory and practices of organisation. Theory (ie, what we think something is or how we think something works) and practice (ie, how we do things and what we do when we do them) are not separate endeavours but, as we shall see, theory has very practical, concrete effects on how we organize and operate and what we think we are doing when we organize and operate.
The focus is on understanding the social, historical, economic, and cultural context within which practices of organizing, and organisational theory, emerge. What we do now is always in some kind of relation with how we thought and did things in the past. Therefore, beginning to understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of organizing today we need to have a sense of what came before. The module considers a number broad – and overlapping – topics in the field of organisational behaviour and explores these with reference to both their historical origins and their contemporary relevance. Here the focus is on the social and cultural dynamics and power relations and that produce organisation. ‘Organisation’ here has three meanings, organisation as an entity, a thing (an organisation); organisation as an activity, a practice (organizing) and organisation as an idea (organisation theory). All these three meanings have a direct impact on how we organize and manage in our daily lives and work.
Whilst a clear description of organisational realities is important, to really understand management, work and organisation, it is necessary to move beyond description, first to analyse and then to critically evaluate. Analysis means moving beyond description to understand the social processes and dynamics that give rise to particular phenomena. Without such an understanding, practical managerial action is impossible.
All analysis requires some theory, even if it is implicit and ‘common sense’. Not all theories are equal, which is why we also need some critical evaluation. On the one hand we expect you to develop your abilities to evaluate and critique the theories and practices we are studying on the module. As a first step, this means evaluating the evidence for specific claims and understandings: what have empirical studies of organisation discovered and what evidence do they use to support their claims? A second step is also required: what are the underlying theoretical assumptions and are these consistent, both internally and externally with what else we know about organisations. A final critical move we will be working on in this module draws upon the Greek origins of the word ‘critique’, from kritos or ‘judge’. By the end of this module you should be able to articulate a judgement on specific management and organisational practices, evaluating them in terms of power relations and their effects on various stakeholders and particularly employees. This is an essential skill set for all managers, who are often in a privileged and influential positions when it comes to making changes to the way we organise.
Module Aims
• Provide an understanding of organisational behaviour as a complex and contested terrain.
• Provide an appreciation of the organisational behaviour and enable students to identify and explore its contributions.
• Develop students’ appreciation of the challenges in managing people the development of management thinking over time, the ways in which broader social change affects organisations and their management and what the future needs of organisations might be and what demands they put on those who manage them.
• Through class discussion, reading, participation and assessment develop students’ abilities to engage in critical argumentation.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
The module introduces students to a historical and critical understanding of people’s behaviour in workplaces.
Students successfully completing this module should be able to:
• Demonstrate a social scientific understanding of organisational behaviour, drawing on theories, themes, concepts and practices from a range of relevant disciplines (including psychology, sociology and cultural studies) and organisational settings.
• Explain and evaluate classical and contemporary organisational theories, concepts and practices.
• Apply social scientific concepts to explain and evaluate current issues in the management and experience of work organisations.
• Reflect upon their learning about organisational behaviour in the context of their own experiences in organisations and secondary accounts of organisational behaviour.
Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)
In addition to providing you with an education, at Essex Business School we aim to help you become highly employable. In this module we use an embedded employability approach where the module content, structure and the module assessment are designed to contribute towards your employability.
Your time and your degree at the University of Essex will enable you to develop understanding of and skills in
*Written Communication
*Oral Communication
*Research Skills
*Critical Thinking
*Digital and Technical Fluency
*Innovation and Curiosity
*Data and Analytics
*Personal Brand
As a student at the Essex Business School and of management and organisation studies, you will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of and skills in
*Commercial Awareness
In this module we will not aim to cover all these areas, but we will at least touch upon quite a few. Managers are, or should be, first and foremost skilled ab able communicators – management is by and large made of communication of various kinds with various kinds of interlocutors. Your understanding and skills in Written Communication, Oral Communication, Research Skills, Critical Thinking, Teamwork-Collaboration and Innovation and Curiosity will develop through the two assignments. The assignments produce a Learning Portfolio, and the process of producing it will take you through all of those elements. First you will review just one scholarly article to develop your writing and research skills. Then you will work together in a team, innovate and be curious as well as practice your written and oral communication skills to produce a poster. And finally, you will to unleash your critical thinking and research skills when you engage with the research essay as the last part of the Learning Portfolio. The module content (through lectures, seminars, readings and your own independent study) will help you develop your Commercial Awareness together with critical thinking. In the seminars you will be using and developing your Oral Communication and Critical Thinking skills and they will also provide a venue for Innovation and Curiosity and Teamwork-Collaboration. Designing and presenting your Poster will give you a change to develop your Personal Brand.

This module builds upon the basic understanding of management, and in particular it provides an insight into the management of operations. Operations Management is concerned with how organisations produce goods and/or services. Since the production of goods and/or services is the reason why organisations exist, it is clear that the effective and efficient management of operations is a central concern for all managers, regardless of the size or sector location of their organisation. Managers should be able to create and maintain the necessary conditions for productive work, often in a climate of resource constraints and increasingly in a global context. The Operations Management module aims to engage the students in a critical evaluation of the various models of operations management and an analysis of the range of processes, skills and competencies required for the successful management of operations.


1. To provide an understanding of the theory and practice of Operations Management.

2. To develop reasoning skills applicable to innovation, technological and operational problems and opportunities.

3. Through class discussion and participation, to develop the students’ critical reading skills and enable them to present a clear case analysis with reference to academic theory.


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

1. Understand the theory and practice of Operations & Supply Chain Management.

2. Develop, through discussion and debate, reasoning skills applicable to a range of Operations & Supply Chain Management issues in organisation.

3. Critically analyse both academic theories and dominant managerial practices of Operations & Supply Chain Management.

This module builds upon a basic understanding of management, and in particular of environmental influences on the way in which organizations function and are managed. It provides a more advanced understanding of the international context which helps to shape the strategies and operations of organizations, and explores some of the current issues and challenges facing organizations within the international business environment. In particular, the module focuses on international political economy, covering the major economic systems in the world, and tracing the historical evolution of the global order. It also explores the implications of globalisation for the various functional dimensions of the organization.

Module Aims

1. To provide an understanding of the international business environment.

2. Through discussion and debate, to develop reasoning skills applicable to the analysis of the international business environment and the current issues and challenges facing organizations operating within it.

Module Outcomes

1. After completing this module students will be able to understand the historical evolution of the international business environment.

2. After completing this module students will be able to understand the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological dimensions that shape the international business environment.

3. After completing this module students will be able to understand a range of contemporary issues and challenges facing organizations operating within the international business environment.

This 10 week Module builds upon students basic understanding of general management to explore the particularities of the cultural industries An increasingly important sector of the econom, the cultural industries are distinctive both in terms of their political economy and their organizational forms, management systems and labour processes This module offers a high level analysis of the cultural industries by starting from a consideration of what is distinctive about culture as an economic product and proceeds to consider what this distinctiveness means for the structure of the industries how new technologies, globalization and intellectual property rights legislation have shaped their development and what this means for work and management within these industries Throughout the module students will be encouraged to engage actively in their own learning by contributing to teaching through assessed group presentations

The Module does not offer a prescriptive set of guidelines for managing in the cultural industries but provides students with the conceptual tools and the historical knowledge to critically analyse and situate this sector for themselves Through the group research and presentation, the module also facilitates the development of important transferable skills such as time management project planning research critical thinking and analysis groupwork and presentation skills

The module has been designed to:
1. Provide a theoretical and empirical understanding of the cultural industries: what they are; what is distinctive about them; their historical development; and their location within advanced capitalist political economy.

2. Provide both theoretical and empirical analysis of work and management within the cultural industries, and how these are being shaped by broad influences like technological change, globalisation, legislation and policy, marketization and organizational restructuring.

3. Through class discussion, participation and group work, develop the students' analytical and critical reasoning skills, and enable them to present a clear case analysis with reference to academic theory and empirical evidence.

Module Outcomes
By the end of the module the students should be able to:

1. Understand the political economic context of the cultural industries and the implications this has for organizational structure, management, and the labour process within these industries.

2. Understand and explain the significance of changes in media technology, globalisation, legislation, policy, markets, and organizational structure for the cultural industries.

3. Critically analyse and synthesise academic theories and organizational practices in the cultural industries.


The business world is increasingly global, complex and fast changing. While some organisations are consistently successful over a long period of time, many fail and are forgotten forever. Since capital, labour and management are increasingly mobile, in theory it should become consecutively easier to imitate the strategies of winning companies and dissipate their profits. In practice, however, only a few firms become long-term leaders. Why?

While there appears to be clear link between successful industry performance and superior strategy there is little agreement on what a strategy really is or how to develop a good one.
This module introduces students to the concepts and tools of business strategy making. It encourages a critical appreciation of how firms make sense of their business environment and how they position themselves in their market. It also critically examines the process for making strategic choices and how firms turn strategy into action.

Module aims
- To provide an overview of the different approaches to strategy, and bring you in contact with the corresponding literature.
- To enable you to connect these approaches to business situations.
- To train you in strategic thinking, and in analysing and making sense of the complexities of the business world around you.
- To enable you to critically analyse strategy from a political, cultural and ideological perspective and work with approaches to strategy, whether in the future you will have to make strategy yourself or whether strategy will be imposed upon you by organisations or superiors.

Module outcomes
- Recognise and understand the principles and practices involved in business strategy making
- Link a specific case to general theoretical issues and approaches.
- Make sense of a business situation, analyse it using relevant models and develop a strategy
- Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the different tools and techniques used in strategy making

Traditionally the management of organisational structure has been a search for an effective and appropriate structure for particular organisations or groups of organisations. This search has focused on developing 'an ideal' structure for a specific set of environmental factors. However, over the last twenty years or so it has been recognised that organisational structures are far from the simple arrangement of resources that early research portrayed. Thus this module begins by taking an historical overview of the development of organisational structures before moving on to explore the issue of boundaries, their development and role in organisations and organisational structure. Developing these understandings, and recognising the spatial turn taken in many of the social sciences, the module goes on to further explore the issues of organisation structure through a spatially informed understanding


To provide knowledge and critical understanding of theories pertaining to organisational structure, boundaries and space;

To develop the reasoning skills and ability needed to apply theories pertaining to organisational structure, boundaries and space in a problem solving capacity.


After completing this module the student will be expected to be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of:

Theories and practice pertaining to organisational structure;

Theories and practice pertaining to organisational boundaries;

Theories and practice pertaining to organisational space;

The reasoning skills and ability needed to apply theories pertaining to organisational structure, boundaries and space in a problem solving capacity.
Module Description

This module covers the core elements of marketing management, building on the fundamental marketing and broader business concepts taught during the first year, in particular BE400 Introduction to Management and Marketing. The module explores in depth the extended marketing mix (product, place, price, promotion, physical environment, process, and people), the segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP) process, and fundamental branding principles. The module aims to help students develop marketing knowledge and skills that are important for future modules as well as the workplace.

Weekly one-hour lectures present important theoretical concepts, which students are then asked to put into practice by playing a marketing simulation that takes them through the key stages of marketing planning. Students play this simulation as groups over an eight-week period, competing against each other for market share and profit, with seminars designed to facilitate group work.

The module is assessed via two individually-prepared coursework assignments that ask students to explain and reflect on the decisions that they made as a group in the marketing simulation. Thus, while group work is not assessed directly, it forms a crucial component of this module and its assessment.

Module Aims

1.    Students will develop an understanding of the core components of marketing management by developing a marketing plan.

2.    Students will develop an understanding of the role and importance of market research in developing marketing strategies by conducting their own research and analysing their findings.

3.    Students will learn how to identify and evaluate market segments through an exploration of the Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP) process.

4.    Students will learn branding principles in order to develop a brand personality that effectively positions their brand vis-à-vis a potential consumer segment.

5.    Students will learn about the Extended Marketing Mix and develop a communications plan that succeeds in communicating their brand to a chosen consumer segment.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

1.    Understand the role of marketing management in helping products and services succeed in competitive environments.

2.    Understand the key elements of marketing planning.

3.    Understand the Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP) process.

4.    Understand the role of branding in positioning products and services.

5.    Understand the importance of managing the Extended Marketing Mix and Marketing Communications effectively in order to target specific consumer segments.

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

1.    Important marketing skills as you play through a marketing simulation.

2.    Research skills as you conduct research for your marketing strategy.

3.    Skills related to innovativeness and curiosity as you turn your research findings into a marketing plan.

4.    Teamwork skills as you play through the marketing simulation as group.

5.    Skills related to creativity as you create an advert to promote your product.

6.    Critical thinking skills as you work to solve the problems facing your company.

7.    Reflection skills as you reflect on your decisions in the simulation.