Course unit details:
||Alliance Manchester Business School
|Available as a free choice unit?
Managerial cognition and competitive advantage
Sensing, shaping and selling opportunities and threats
Strategic persistence and cognitive inertia
Top management teams and the composition of executive groups
Strategic decision making 1: Rational and behavioural perspectives
Strategic decision making 2: Cognition and emotion in strategic choice
Guest lecture: Behavioural strategy in action
Managing strategic change 1: Winning hearts and minds
Managing strategic change 2: Escaping the identity trap
Lecture slides, workshop resources/exercises and supplementary materials (cases, videos, links to relevant additional readings) to be posted in Blackboard. Interactive facilities (e.g. online discussions, message boards) support the coursework assignment.
Students must be registered on BSc Mgmt/Mgmt (Specialism), IM, IMABS or ITMB.
Behavioural strategy is a new approach to business strategy that uses insights from the behavioural sciences to understand and improve the strategic management of organizations. In this course, students use this approach to look at some interesting questions. Why do executives frequently make such poor judgments (e.g. BP, Enron, Lehman Brothers, Royal Bank of Scotland)? Do managers act 'rationally', and does it matter? Why are strategic decisions so difficult, and how can organizations make better ones? How are successful firms like Intel able to reinvent themselves constantly while others (e.g. Nokia, Blockbuster, HMV) fail to change with the times?
The course is designed for students interested in the human forces behind the success (and failure) of business organizations. As such, it is suitable for those interested in understanding the 'real' challenges of strategic leadership or those aiming for careers in general management or consulting.
- To provide an appreciation of the major behavioural (i.e. cognitive, emotional, social, cultural, political) challenges associated with the strategic management process
- To analyse the behavioural microfoundations of organizational strategic adaptability, from opportunity recognition to effective strategic decision making and managing strategic change
- To introduce students to a range of concepts, tools, techniques and processes designed to understand and enhance strategic thinking and behaviour, with a view to improving the strategic flexibility of organizations
On completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Explain how behavioural theories and concepts can be applied to understand and potentially improve the strategic management process
- Analyse the major behavioural challenges associated with sensing and shaping opportunities and threats, making effective strategic decisions and managing strategic change processes
- Critically evaluate the various tools and techniques available for overcoming cognitive and emotional barriers to effective strategic change
- Assess behavioural factors when designing structures and processes that influence the dynamic capabilities of organizations
Teaching and learning methods
The course uses a mix of traditional lectures and interactive workshop sessions.The workshops involve various practical exercises run by the course lecturer. The course also includes a guest speaker from industry discussing behavioural strategy 'in action'. Students analyze contemporary business cases and real world examples of strategic management.
Lecture hours: 12 (12 x 1 hour)
Private study: 76 (reading and self study plus preparation for lectures, workshops and assessments)
Total study hours: 100
Informal Contact Methods
100% coursework, including an individual case study report analysing behavioural strategy in action in a firm/industry of your choice.
Methods of Feedback to Students
- Informal advice and discussion during lectures and workshops
- Online exercises and quizzes delivered through the Blackboard course space
- In-class quizzes using clicker voting technology
- Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum
- Written and/or verbal comments on assessed coursework, including detailed individual comments on electronic submissions
- Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding assessment performance
Ariely, D. 2009. Predictably irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions. New York: Harper.
Eisenhardt, K. M. 1999. Strategy as strategic decision making. Sloan Management Review, 40(3): 65-72.
Finkelstein, S., Hambrick, D. C., & Cannella, A. A. 2009. Strategic leadership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gavetti, G., & Rivkin, J. W. 2005. How strategists really think: Tapping the power of analogy. Harvard Business Review, 83(4): 54-63.
Hambrick, D. C., & Mason, P. A. 1984. Upper Echelons - the Organization as a Reflection of Its Top Managers. Academy of Management Review, 9(2): 193-206.
Hodgkinson, G. P., & Healey, M. P. 2011. Psychological foundations of dynamic capabilities: Reflexion and reflection in strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 32 (13): 1500-1516.
Kahneman, D. 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. London: Allen Lane.
Kets de Vries, M. F. R. 1984. The neurotic organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Lovallo D, Sibony O. 2010. The case for behavioral strategy. McKinsey Quarterly. March: 30-43.
Loewenstein, G. 1996. Out of control: Visceral influences on behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 65(3): 272-292.
March, J. G. 1994. A Primer on decision making: How decisions happen. New York: Free Press.
Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., & Lampel, J. 2009. Strategy safari. London: Prentice Hall.
Rumelt, R. 2011. Good strategy, bad strategy: The difference and why it matters. London: Profile Books.
Thaler, R. H. & Sunstein, C. R. 2008. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. Yale University Press.
Teece, D. J. 2007. Explicating dynamic capabilities: The nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28: 1319-1350.
|Scheduled activity hours
|Independent study hours
Dependent courses: None
Programme Restrictions: BSc Management and Management (Specialisms), BSc International Management and BSc International Management with American Business Studies.
For Academic Year 2018/19
Updated: May 2018
Approved by: March UG Committee
Return to course details