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Developing strategy to manage uncertainty

This course explores the role of strategising to build resilience to the challenges that many individuals and organisations face today. There will be a focus on who strategists are and what they do in conjunction with how they create strategy and what types of strategic thinking they use. It will demonstrate how thinking and acting strategically can be used to help your organisation survive and thrive, even when unprecedented and unforeseen change threatens their very existence.

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

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

The twenty-first century has brought about new macro-trends. We have seen an unprecedented growth in new information technologies and an increase in the number and scope of profound global events putting people’s lives at risk across the world. How can we cope with these challenges? This is a critical question, and we need to ask it at individual, organisational and institutional levels.

The course emphasises strategy creation. You'll learn what a strategy is, who can be a strategist and how you can develop a strategic mindset, which is needed not only to adapt to the new conditions in our lives but also to make sense and, most importantly, to avail ourselves of emerging opportunities.

Unit 1: Understanding the meaning of strategy 
This unit focuses on the first of three strategy-creation questions addressed through the course: What is a strategy? You'll learn about strategic management from different perspectives as we address this question.


Unit 2: Who a strategist is – expanding to new contexts 
This unit introduces the second key course question: What does it mean to be a strategist? It outlines a wider view of strategist roles, one that stems from the changing nature of strategic management. Today, strategising is essentially about expanding to new contexts, reaching new levels, and dismantling organisational boundaries.


Unit 3: Who a strategist is – a practical application 
In this unit, we continue to discuss how a strategist helps organisations to become more resilient by expanding to new contexts. Our focus is on a practical application of the ideas suggested in the previous unit.


Unit 4: Who a strategist is – reaching new levels 
This unit continues to explore the question of who a strategist is. You'll learn how strategists help organisations to develop resilience by reaching new levels.


Unit 5: Who a strategist is – dismantling barriers 
This unit revisits the question of who a strategist is. You'll learn how strategists develop an organisation’s resilience to external shocks by dismantling traditional organisational boundaries. These could be as (un)natural disasters, economic recessions, and health crises.


Unit 6: How a strategist thinks – linear and systems thinking 
This unit explores the third key course question: How does a strategist think? You'll learn about thinking styles underlying a strategic mindset.


Unit 7: How a strategist thinks – the role of metacognition 
This unit continues to explore the question of how a strategist thinks. This time, you'll consider metacognition – the process of thinking about thinking – which a strategist develops to lead strategy creation work. 


Unit 8: Reflection and integration 
In the concluding unit we invite you to reflect on strategy creation work by completing three short quizzes. As you work through this unit, we advise you to revisit the key themes of the course.

You will learn

By completing this course you will learn to: 

  • explain what a strategy is and what strategists do
  • contribute to the contexts, levels and boundaries of strategic decisions
  • discuss the contexts, levels and boundaries of strategic decisions
  • identify components of an organisation’s market and non-market environments
  • distinguish between two styles of strategic thinking and enable strategic thinking in your organisation’s and/or your professional life. 

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you directly. Other support is available via the course forum, dedicated website and computing helpdesk.

Practice-based assignment

There is a practice-based assignment (PBA) which you complete at the end of the course to demonstrate how you have applied, or are intending to apply, the theories and models you have learnt. Once completed and successfully passed you will receive a digital badge and a course completion certificate which you can download as a record of your learning.


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

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic requirements. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

Course length

The course will require around 20 hours to complete.

You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jul 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £250.00

Registration closes 31/07/2024


Ways to pay

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

Sponsorship – If this course 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.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

You’ll have access to a course website, which includes:

  • a unit-by-unit study planner
  • course-specific learning materials and exercises
  • study support
  • practice-based assignment.

Computing requirements

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 Ventura or higher.

Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

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.

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.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying BGXC004 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.