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Making a difference: the management initiative

This module enables you to utilise and apply the learning gained on your MBA journey, to ‘make a difference’ in your workplace. You will work on a project-like initiative which will require you to engage with the theory you have learned and to collect evidence to support your thinking. Through this you will explore the extent to which theory can be applied in practice by applying academic ideas to your work-based issue. You will also have an opportunity to reflect how your MBA study has changed you as a manager/practitioner.

Vocational relevance

The module recognises the strong emphasis placed by students and their employers on the value of the effective practical application of module-based learning. B839 has, therefore, been designed to meet these requirements, particularly in relation to you developing and demonstrating a capability for critical and self-directed learning and a capability to apply masters-level learning integrative to real-world problems and opportunities.

It is anticipated that the content of this module, especially the requirement to undertake and report on an evidence-based initiative will make a significant contribution to a submission for accreditation by a professional body or to a portfolio for assessment. Some of your B839 work could be also used in the evidence required for a level 5 NVQ (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) although we are not currently planning to provide a VQ Pathways Guide).


B839 is a compulsory module in our:

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This 30-credit module is the final compulsory, personal and professional development component of your MBA. The high-level learning aims of the module include: to enable you to demonstrate the skills to make a real difference to organisational performance as a manager/leader; to continue to build on and demonstrate a capability for critical and self-directed learning; and to develop and demonstrate the capability to apply other masters-level theoretical and practical learning integratively to the problems and opportunities in your own management practice.

The teaching, learning and assessment is organised explicitly on developmental lines, with a clear focus on the processes of implementation in management. The first phase of the module is a critical reflection of your own experience, practice and context and learning from your MBA to date. In the second phase you will write a formal proposal for your management initiative and then in the third phase you will be responsible, for a largely self-directed and independently-managed programme of work and study, based on a specific initiative in your own organisation/context that you will identify and progress up to and beyond the design of an implementation plan. You will be provided with guidance on how to choose, plan and undertake your initiative. Resources will be available for you to draw on in order to work through the different phases and dimensions of your initiative. There are specific requirements on the use of theory from a range of areas in the course of your initiative, along with a requirement to submit appropriate evidence to support your work and your learning. You will be directed to the sorts of resources you will need to identify and access for yourself as part of the initiative. You will be given clear guidance on how to draw up, for assessment purposes, a proposal and plan for your initiative and a report on its progress and outcomes.

There is a compulsory residential school, which will provide additional support and inputs, alongside the individual and group support you receive from your tutor, web-based resources, online and face-to-face tuition and collaboration. Throughout the module you will be expected to monitor your own learning and development; reflection on what you have learnt from the module will be an important part of the later assessment activities.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you work through the study programme and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You can contact your tutor by telephone, mail or via your tutor group forum on the B839 website.

We will offer a blended approach to tuition which will be both online and face-to-face and you are strongly encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where face-to-face day schools are held depends on the distribution of students taking each module. The B839 website enables you to have online interaction with your tutor and other students.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Given that much of B839 is self-directed, the assignments are the key milestones around which you organise your work on the module. The assessment timetable will support a degree of flexibility on your part, enabling you to make some adjustment to your workload to suit your own study pattern, and the specific demands of your own initiative. This may involve doing the majority of the work in the earlier or later stages of the module. You will be required in the first two assignments to set out your plans for organising your time across the whole module.

Residential School

This module includes a compulsory residential school.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
Embedded residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in November 2015. We expect it to be available twice a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Entry requirements

This is a compulsory module of Stage 2 of the Master of Business Administration (F61) and will be the final module that you study. Please see Master of Business Administration (F61) for full details of the entry requirements for this qualification. The module requires 300 hours of study over 12 months.

You must have studied the Stage 2 compulsory modules Financial strategy (B831) and The dynamics of strategy (B835) and an optional Stage 2 elective before taking this module. If you have any doubt about the best time to start B839, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
07 Nov 2015 Oct 2016 £2734.00

Registration closes 23/10/15 (places subject to availability)

07 May 2016 Apr 2017 £2734.00

Registration closes 22/04/16 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2020.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Residential school

This module contains one or more compulsory residential schools. You will be responsible for the cost of travel to the venue. If you are unable to attend the residential school, an online alternative is available.

Ways to pay

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

Online study units and other web-based materials, including the B839 website, the study guide, online discussion forums. In addition, you have podcasts, interviews, extensive electronic journal articles and access to the full electronic resources of the OU library.

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. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it 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

Elements of this module are delivered online and include the use of real-time online discussions and an interactive whiteboard space; consequently time spent using a computer and the internet will be extensive. If you use assistive technology or have a hearing or speech impairment and have concerns about accessing this type of virtual environment and materials you can visit the system provider's website for information and contact the Open University to discuss it further before registering.

Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.