Effective strategic management in business and the public sector

This module will provide you with the necessary tools to become an effective strategic decision-maker. You'll learn about the analysis of the organisational environment, decision-making processes and implementation of preferred choices. The study materials include a blend of profit, not-for-profit and public sector cases and examples relevant to and set in international contexts. This will allow you to assess the nuances of strategic management across different organisational and geographical settings. Last but not least, the module will support the development of soft skills, which you'll require both to progress in the qualification and succeed in the workplace.

Vocational relevance

The module is designed for professionals from a wide range of contexts and backgrounds who need to actively to engage with the challenges of contemporary management, develop their management skills and knowledge of management frameworks, theories and tools and use these appropriately in order to make a real difference in their own practice.


B873 is a compulsory module in our:​

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


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
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

This module aims for you to develop a deep understanding of effective strategic management in business and public services. The different examples presented across the units as well as activities that we have designed, will enhance your learning through application to real-world situations. In addition, two course-long case studies in video form featuring IKEA and the European Training Foundation will help you consolidate your understanding of how strategy works in practice.

Unit 1: Introduction to strategy
This provides an overview of concepts such as strategy, vision, mission, stakeholder management and non-market strategy. Additionally, you'll be introduced to the concept of purpose and the different types of business and public organisations that exist so that you can understand their aims and ways of measuring their performance (financial and non-financial). The unit also includes a session explaining the pressures on managers to integrate additional social and environmental issues into their organisational strategies.

Unit 2: Strategic analysis
This will teach you how to conduct external and internal strategic analyses, both in businesses and the public sectors. You'll explore concepts such as five forces, strategic groups, value chains as well as organisational capabilities. Building on Unit 1, you'll also learn how to analyse financial and non-financial indicators of organisational performance.

Unit 3: Strategic decision-making
This introduces you to how different organisations develop strategic options and choose between them, both at headquarters and unit level. You'll also learn the role that managers play in making these decisions. The unit places a special emphasis on the internationalisation of firms, which constitutes a key decision in the current business world. Consistent with prior units, it also explores the peculiarities of decision-making in the context of public services.

Unit 4: Strategy in action
This focuses on the implementation of strategic choices, devoting special attention to organisational structure and culture and the barriers that may unfold during this phase. You'll also learn about the importance and practice of change management. The unit addresses innovation in its broadest sense, including technological innovation, process innovation and management innovation, and its links to organisational strategies. There will also be a discussion about cutting-edge organisational structures and practices such as holacracy and the Rendanheyi model.

The module comprises 19 study weeks, and you will be required to study for 14-15 hours per week for six months.

Satisfactory participation in the compulsory residential school is required. It is an opportunity to get a holistic view of the module, interact with other managers and tutors, and work in small groups. There will also be a session to engage you in developing soft skills. The residential school is offered in face-to-face and online options. In the intensive face-to-face and online school you should expect to spend 6 to 8 hours a day on tasks and activities, while if you opt for the less intensive online version you should expect to spend about 90 minutes a day on tasks and activities.

Please note that the schools usually take place in study weeks 15-18. That means if you start this module in November, the school is likely to be in February to early March. If you start in May, the school will be August to early September. (Dates are subject to change).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your learning will take place within a tutor-facilitated group of approximately 20 students. Your tutor is responsible for providing individual tuition, professional advice and support, mentoring, assessment and regular feedback on your performance throughout the module. You will learn by working with your group and individually online in structured activities supported by a wide range of resources, including a specially designed Reader and a world-class online library. Activities generally require online participation over two to six-week periods and contribute to your reflective practice and your assessment.

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.

Tutor-marked assignments are scheduled at regular intervals (approximately every six weeks) throughout the module and are based on your work during the relevant block. Extensive guidance is given on all assignments submitted.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)

Future availability

Effective strategic management in business and the public sector starts twice a year, in May and November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2024 and May 2025. We expect it to start for the last time in May 2027.


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

This is a compulsory module in our MBA and Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration programmes. It can only be studied after successfully completing the first two modules Managing in a changing world (B870) and Creating and sustaining value (B872).

This is also an optional module in our MSc and Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice programmes. To study either of these, you should normally hold a UK bachelors degree, or equivalent.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.


Start End England fee Register
02 Nov 2024 Apr 2025 £3360.00

Registration closes 10/10/24 (places subject to availability)

03 May 2025 Oct 2025 £3360.00

Registration closes 17/04/25 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2027.

Future availability

Effective strategic management in business and the public sector starts twice a year, in May and November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2024 and May 2025. We expect it to start for the last time in May 2027.

Additional costs

Study costs

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

Residential school

This module has a residential school. There’s no additional cost for this, but you must pay for your travel.

Ways to pay for this module

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, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

As well as the individual tuition provision, you'll have access to regular opportunities for engagement with other students, university library access, an extensive variety of specially written resources presented in different media (print and online) and designed exclusively for this module, audio-visual material, published articles, case studies and a set of interactive tools to help you develop your management thinking abilities.

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.

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.

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, so 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.

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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