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Applying strategic thinking

Businesses need clear strategies in order to survive and succeed. As a manager, you need to be able to think strategically and contribute to strategic decisions – whatever the size of your organisation. This course will provide you with tools, frameworks and ideas to help you play a more effective role in contributing to strategic thinking. It will be of benefit to anyone involved in developing an organisation’s strategic objectives and goals: senior and middle managers; high potential junior managers; entrepreneurs; and directors of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

What you will study

This course explains why a strategic approach is necessary for organisations and will enable you to play a more effective role in contributing to strategic thinking within your organisation. The course is designed so that you can work at your own pace with a variety of activities that examine strategic thinking, strategic analysis, strategic options and strategic decision making.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Undertake a strategic analysis of your own organisation
  • Identify and evaluate strategic options available to your own organisation
  • Contribute to strategic decision making
  • Assess the factors affecting implementation of strategic decisions within your own organisation.

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. The course requires no more than 30 hours to study. The online content includes activities that provide you with an opportunity to test your knowledge or apply your learning and ideas. It also contains a case study to which you can apply the tools and frameworks studied to analyse the strategy of the featured company. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. At the end of the course you send this to the learning adviser, who provides personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credit points.)

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate. You can use the certificate to document your commitment to Continuing Professional Development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the GB010 forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

For the work-based activity for this course you are invited to develop a presentation outlining a strategic issue from your workplace, analyse it using some of the frameworks and ideas from the course and devise a possible solution. You will be encouraged to involve key stakeholders and professional peers when developing the subject and content of your presentations.


Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some familiarity with the subject.

For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course. Information about the submission date is available when you register for the course.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £495.00 Register

Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa/Delta or Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

What's included

Once you register, you will receive access to the online course where you will find the content, exercises, case study, information about the work based activity and links to your learning adviser. There are no printed materials with this course, although there are some articles that you can download to print and read offline if you prefer.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. You may also be required to perform other tasks, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment. The additional software for these tasks will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.