Shaping business opportunities
This module provides you with a broad grounding in business and management practice and study. You will explore how organisations work by looking at their internal functions (operations, finance and marketing). You'll also learn about the external environment and how the economic and political context helps shape how businesses respond to global challenges. Using a blend of text, audio, video and interactive online activities, you’ll develop vital skills for study and for work in business, public or voluntary sector organisations. Particular attention is paid to developing your critical thinking skills. You will also be introduced to mind mapping as a technique to help you express your ideas and creativity.
What you will study
This module is divided into five sections. These comprise an introduction and conclusion (both emphasising skills development), and three substantive blocks, each with a crucial theme that integrates the internal functions and external environment.
This introduces the rationale for the module and covers skills development around critical thinking, a skills audit, and mind mapping. We believe that developing your critical thinking skills fosters intellectual self-improvement, leads to a more creative mind-set, and allows you to become a better team player. You'll also be introduced to mind mapping as a potential technique to help you express ideas and creativity.
Block 1: Big ideas in organisations
No matter the sector, innovation is a key feature of the contemporary business context. This block explores why new products and services are imperative to contemporary business practice and why investing in their development is crucial to business growth and profitability. This block will provide you with a broader understanding of how innovation infuses the current business world and how internal business functions integrate to facilitate this.
Block 2: Competing in a global context
This block examines the significance of context for organisational innovation and the implications of globalisation for internal business functions. The block will then explore the consequences of the global versus local dynamic for a range of functional areas as well as point out the need for organisations and those who work for them to adapt these internationalising trends to local situations and contexts.
Block 3: Building long-term success
This block introduces you to the concept of fostering long-term value creation. Whilst Block 2 focused primarily on issues of geography and context, just as essential for successful organisational innovation is the impact of time. In essence, how can an innovative idea be effective in the long term as well as the short term? Key themes recurring throughout this block focus on ‘nurturing long-term value creation’, ‘understanding the sustainability of innovations’, ‘adapting to incremental and radical change’.
This final block draws together the diverse themes from the preceding blocks and encourages you to reflect on what you have learned. In particular, it will make connections between the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have developed in different parts of the module and help you to reflect on how you can harness these for your personal and professional development, as well as prepare you for the end-of-module assessment (EMA).
This module is for anyone who wants a general overview of business studies – to learn more about the world of business and how it operates. It makes as few assumptions as possible about what you already know about business or about your experience of formal academic study. However, as this is an OU level 2 module and if you have no previous experience of studying business, it is strongly recommended that you first study An introduction to business and management (B100).
You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- module materials
- audio and video content
- assessment guide
- online tutorials and forums
- library resources, including ejournal articles and referencing guides.
You’ll also be provided with three printed Readers, each covering one block of study, which are an edited collection of longer readings and a printed Module Study Guide.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.