Strategic Management

School: School of Government
Institute of Local Government Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Full time: weekly 2 hour seminars, Part time: 2 x 2 full day seminars

This module is concerned with understanding the theory and practice of strategic management and particularly focuses on the context and experience of inter and intra organisational relationships and organisational change.

The module reviews different ways of looking at organisations working together and at diagnosing organisational problems.The dissolution of organisational boundaries and the rise of partnership and multi-agency working provide the essential context for the module. As well as exploring the role and nature of strategic management from the point of view of strategic collaboration, the module considers the practical aspects of partnership working and inter-organisational networking.

Finally the module draws on case-studies to bring together and illustrate some of the key lessons and challenges from experience in collaborative organisational working.

Our overarching aims for the module are to provide course participants with an enhanced awareness of the role of collaborative strategy in public management and governance and an understanding of the range of techniques available for devising, evaluation and implementing collaborative strategies.

The module aims to blend theory and practice through introducing a range of concepts and frameworks for understanding collaborative strategic management in the public domain and exploring these concepts in the light of practical case studies and the context of the course participants? own organisations and their partnerships.

Teaching and learning approach

There will be five days of class sessions, with a break in the middle. Lectures will be used to introduce the core concepts and to provide a commentary on the main readings.

Unit 1

  • Introduction Aims and overview of the module
  • What is strategy?
  • Analysis of external environment
  • Group exercise on analysis of external environment
  • Strategic analysis of internal environment of organisations
  • Group exercise: Using unique resources for competition or collaboration?
  • Theories of partnership: collaborative strategy as bridge from internal to external strengths
  • Group exercise: Identifying core competences for collaborative advantage and competitive advantage

Unit 2

  • Strategic options
  • Group exercise: Selecting a strategic option for a partnership (case study)
  • Designing and running a Service Delivery Partnership (case study)
  • Group exercise on partnership working: identifying and overcoming barriers to partnership working
  • Embedding stakeholder engagement – from informing to co-producing
  • Group exercise: people, partnerships and prioritisation
  • Trust and partnership working
  • Evaluating collaborative and partnership strategies
  • Group exercise: criteria and evaluation framework for successful partnership working
  • A vision for collaborative strategy in 2020
  • Summary, critique and revision

Learning outcomes

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Critical appreciation of the background to and development of collaborative partnership working in the public sector.
  • Critical understanding of the main theoretical perspectives from which collaborative strategy in the public domain can be analysed
  • Critical appreciation of the range of theoretical perspectives on network governance and interagency partnerships, what they can contribute to an understanding of collaborative strategy in practice, and the strengths and limits to this particular organisational form of working.
  • Critical appreciation of the impacts on policy and implementation of different collaborative partnership experiences and the reasons why partnerships might succeed or fail in different contexts
  • Critical understanding of the challenges involved in building and sustaining effective organisational partnerships and the factors accounting for success in this regard
  • Awareness of gaps and weaknesses in current knowledge in relation to collaborative strategic management
  • Critical understanding of emerging issues in collaborative strategic management


The module will be assessed through the completion of two written assignment:

  • 2 x 3,000 word assignments (each 50%)

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.