NX9309 - Business Environment and Functions

What will I learn on this module?

How are business organisation organised in order to deliver on their strategic mission and prosper in an increasingly competitive globalised environment? This module is designed to develop your understanding of business practice and the key strategic concerns of senior managers. In doing, this module will provide through the exploration of the functions of a business, the foundation for your later career as a manager.

Contemporary business operations are dependent on the efficient and effective application of certain key functions, namely Strategy, Marketing, and Human Resource Management. You will explore how each contributes to organisational performance, as well as how these all are inter-related and mutually dependent. In your study of Strategy, you will explore the idea of strategic positioning and choice, which is so important for businesses in setting out their intended direction of travel. In your study of Human Resource and Management you will think about what human capital means and what are competencies. In your exploration of marketing, you will consider how businesses engage in market segmentation and promotional strategies. These activities may appear very different but in reality, these all contribute to the business as a whole.

In this module you will be assessed by the submission of Professional Report. You will be guided on how to construct the report in lectures and seminars.

How will I learn on this module?

The module involves one weekly lecture in which the core subject content and learning materials will be presented. You should organise your time to re-read lecture notes and reflect on the content, especially any new theoretical models and terms.

Northumbria University aims to provide you with an enriching learning journey through your studies and will support you in your learning through a variety of learning methodologies, including online and blended learning. All modules resources will be available online should you not be able to access campus, and the University has one of the largest collections of e-learning materials in the UK. This is an example of how the University is anticipating the future, and how you may wish to access learning materials. You will engage with tutors via email and through Blackboard’s Collaborative online video-conferencing facility. The discussion board on Blackboard will enable you to share your ideas and learn from others. Learning in an online environment can be very enjoyable and stimulating.

The Foundation Programme is designed to promote your independent research-rich skills. You will be expected to read beyond the reading list and extend your understanding through research using academic journals, text-books and electronic resources in the Library. You will also participate in paired/group-work that is aimed to develop your team-working and interpersonal skills as a future manager. The learning philosophy of the Programme is influenced by an inquiry-based independent research approach which is both enjoyable and stimulating. Whereas many students may have been told what to do at school or college, we aim to encourage you to become much more independent and control the way you learn and that fits into your own personal; preferences. We recognise that you are an adult and wish to prepare for your future, so we place great emphasis on you developing your own personal responsibility as a learner. This means that instead of relying on your tutor to tell you what to do, you engage proactively with your tutors and discuss what possible approaches are available, what resources could be used and then take control of your learning. For example, you will be required to manage your own reading and note-taking, as well as planning your schedule for study. As part of the research-rich approach (i.e. research oriented), you will be expected to apply theory to a real world context and be able to make linkages between what you have read and what you see in practice. Much of the literature on management development refers to the volatile and uncertain world we now work in, in order to prepare you for your future in management, we want you to become much more independent in learning and able to respond imaginatively to change. This is a key life-skill that we will promote here at Northumbria. You will be encouraged to undertake independent research and develop the skills associated with being a research-rich, lifelong learner. You should plan to undertake at least 10 hours independent reading and note-making each week for this module.

You should take on board the formative and summative comments from staff and identify your own action points as you progress through the Programme. We would like you to see assessment in wider terms of learning, not just a mark on a piece of paper. Assessment is important in changing our ideas and helping us move in a better direction, so take on board formative comments during seminars and reflect on those comments on your summative assignment. It is important that you see each assignment as an opportunity to build your confidence as well as knowledge.

A Teaching and Learning Plan is accessible through the Blackboard module site. Blackboard is a highly developed and useful virtual learning environment that is an important way of accessing materials as well as communication. You will be able to download lecture note, post thoughts to a discussion board and have access through announcements to the latest news. It is vitally important that you keep informed and check both the Programme and module sites several times a week.
You will also have a weekly two-hour seminar that will reinforce the concepts introduced in the preceding week’s lectures. You will learn with others in a variety of ways and that are intended to develop your inter-personal, negotiation and leadership skills

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Academic staff are drawn from a range of disciplines within the Newcastle Business School, many of whom have expertise in Leadership, Management and Business Practice. Many have extensive professional experience that they bring to your learning experience, whether this is in the way of previous teaching or management practice in a work-based environment.

Lectures provide an overview of the subject content and materials are accessible on the module site so that you can re-visit the lecture and consolidate your understanding. In addition, weekly seminars follow-on from the theme introduced in the lecture and develop ideas in greater depth through interactive group-work and discussion. Seminars are integral to your learning experience and enable you to learn with others. The nature of the examination and suggestions on how best to tackle it are provided in the dedicated seminar.

Blackboard Ultra is central to your learning journey as it is a one-stop location for resources and guidance. For example, in addition to lecture notes and guidance on the assignment, Blackboard stores a range of electronic resources and hosts a discussion board where you can share ideas with staff and students. In addition, the module Online Reading List can be reached through Blackboard.

You will also receive news from the University through Apps on your smartphone. Please ensure that you download the Apps that are advertised by the University and check what is happening across the University and how these may affect you and your studies on a regular basis.

In addition to the Module tutor and Programme Leader, help is also available through your own dedicated Personal Tutor. The role of your Personal Tutor is to support you beyond your module studies and provide guidance on how you can access support across the University when you have a problem. You should liaise with your Personal Tutor several times in each semester.

It is important that if you have any learning disability or suffer from ill-health, then you obtain the necessary permission from the University for additional support (DSSR). You should liaise with Student Support and Well-being in your first few weeks at University.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Understand the complexity and challenges involved in global business. (MLO1)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Applies theoretical concepts to business case studies. (MLO2)

• Demonstrates analytical skills in evaluating business performance. (MLO3)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Demonstrates cultural awareness in evaluating business problems (MLO4)

How will I be assessed?

For formative assessment, you will work with your peers in seminars in addressing those issues identified in the weekly Teaching and Learning Plan. You will work collaboratively with others in a range of learning activities that will involve discussion and group presentations.

For summative assessment, you will submit a 2,000 Professional report throughout Turnitin prior to the deadline. The assessment assesses all of the Module Learning Outcomes specified (i.e. MLO1; ML02; MLO3; MLO4) and is intended to test whether you have understood foundational concepts in business strategy, and how the core functions of an organisation contribute to business performance.





Module abstract

This module aims to provide an introduction to Business organisations, their internal environment that are related to operational functions and their external environment that conditions their strategic choices. As such this module will promote understanding of how organisations can be seen as an open system that is in continual interaction with its dynamic environment.

This module will introduce you to important theoretical and conceptual frameworks, such as the ideas of internal and external environments, and how each affects how businesses make decisions, the module encourages you to evaluate the suitability, appropriateness and effectiveness of different approaches to business resource decisions that managers deal with in their professional practice. Important subject content and theoretical frameworks will be introduced through the lecture programme, and their application and relevance to exploring contemporary business management will be discussed through seminar activities. So, you will start of by studying Strategy and then explore how businesses implement their strategic goals through their recruitment policy in Human Resource management and promote their products through Marketing.

Although theory informs your learning, you will also learn through case studies of contemporary business practice and explore issues relating to management practice. You will learn through a variety of ways that are aimed to develop your independent research skills as well as your ways of working with others, which are vital to your future career in Business management.

Course info

UCAS Code N765

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time followed by a further 3 years full-time study or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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