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Core modules and electives

The core modules are Digital Quotient, Economics for Managers, Entrepreneurship, Human Capital Management, Information Systems Principles, Innovation Management, Managerial Accounting, Managerial Statistics, Marketing Management, Principles of Operations, Sustainable Enterprise and Systems Methods.

Digital Quotient
This module covers digital literacy and effective information searches; information judgement – fitness for purpose; online collaboration; effective communication; intermediate proficiency in a productivity suite; ethics in the digital world; and plagiarism. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define the concept of literacy and argue why digital literacy is encapsulated within the concept of literacy in the modern business environment
  • Search effectively for information in the open domain (public search tools) as well as by using SU research (online databases)
  • Judge authenticity, bias, primacy, persuasiveness, and completeness of information and information sources for a specific purpose
  • Collaborate with others by using digital tools (public as well as institutional) to enhance learning
  • Argue the basic principles and importance of ethical behaviour in the digital world
  • Clearly distinguish between the uses of sources in compiling reports so that plagiarism is avoided
  • Communicate information persuasively to meet the needs of various audiences through the use of an appropriate medium
  • Make decisions in an increasingly digital world that takes cognisance of all the complexities and opportunities brought about by the digital transformation of organisations.
Economics for Managers This module focuses on: the meaning of economics and economic systems, economics influences on society; the meaning and challenges of globalisation and international economic integration, especially with regard to an open developing economy; the African context; the application of the principles of supply and demand in a market economy; the implications of the interaction between changes in one or more of a wide range of macro-economic forces; economic growth and development; inflation; unemployment; the balance of payments and exchange rates; the reasoning behind economic policy decisions, and the impact of such decisions on the managerial function. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate, substantiate and challenge positions taken in public and professional debate about the macroeconomic system
  • Describe how economics influences all stakeholders in society
  • Define the meaning and challenges of globalisation and international economic integration and describe their influence on the future performance of a country, organisation or manager
  • Explain the behaviour of consumers and firms in a modern economy and provide representative examples of this behaviour
  • Classify how aggregate economic activity is measured and differentiate between the measures used
  • Describe the implication of the interaction between changes in one or more of a wide range of macro-economic forces (economic growth, unemployment, inflation, exchange rates, balance of payments)
  • Outline what economic information is needed and available to make an informed decision, and to know how to integrate this information, process it and arrive at a decision
  • Combine the above to infer why economic policy decisions are made, and analyse the impact of such decisions on the managerial function.
This module covers the following: entrepreneurial activities in enhancing socio-economic growth and prosperity; start, manage and sustain entrepreneurial businesses; entrepreneurial issues at strategic and operational levels; and the importance of entrepreneurship and its underpinning dynamics. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the role of entrepreneurship in value creation and value capturing in the economy
  • Describe and create a differentiated competitive advantage within the knowledge economy and South Africa
  • Identify and develop entrepreneurial characteristics, including mind set, skills and networks
  • Gather information effectively and responsibly, and analyse, organise and critically evaluate it
  • Distinguish the critical elements in entrepreneurial start-up firms, including opportunity finding or creation, selection, the business case, business planning, funding sources and pitching, resourcing and startup
  • Apply steps required to formalise and establish an entrepreneurial business, identify and deal with obstacles
  • Examine the nature of and conditions for intrapreneurship or corporate entrepreneurship in established/mature firms
  • Recognise social innovation and entrepreneurship as alternative value creation vehicles.
Human Capital Management
This module focuses on high-performance people management, approaches to organisational structure, career development and talent management. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Identify the important role of high-performance people management practices in an organisation (including HR’s role)
  • Apply transformation and organisational change as a core management competence
  • Apply sound principles in creating organisation structures and role designs
  • Describe performance contracting, reviews and balanced feedback in creating and maintaining a culture of performance
  • Demonstrate sound talent management practices in recruiting and retaining high-talented people
  • Describe the importance of transforming to multicultural organisations
  • Interpret sound employee relations and resolving differences.
Information System Principles
This module focuses on positioning Information Systems; hardware, software, data, networks and IT architecture; people and processes; eCommerce and process design; functional IS and Enterprise Systems; IS and decision support; social and ethical issues in IS. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define the role of Information Systems (IS) in a business environment.
  • Use the systems approach to reduce the complexity of IS into different perspectives that allows a non-technology intrinsic discussion on the contribution of IS to organizational success.
  • Define the complementary role of hardware, software, data and networks in IS.
  • Position the attractiveness of a product or service for eCommerce and make recommendations on the steps required to move a product / service online.
  • Distinguish function IS from enterprise IS and contribute to building a business case for real time integrated business processes supported by technology, when appropriate.
  • Argue the contribution of various IS in providing support in the decision making process.
  • Argue the personal and social impact of IS within an organization, or society.
Innovation Management
This module focuses on innovation definition; innovation typologies; innovative environments and creativity; the innovation funnel; project management for innovation; forms of capital and value definition; business model innovation; disruptive technologies; open innovation; technology and innovation; barriers to innovation; and change management and the innovative organisation. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define innovation and the different categorisations of innovation
  • Evaluate and create the environments that lead to creative thinking
  • Define the concept of the innovation funnel and the importance of idea generation to “feed the funnel” to ensure sufficient innovative idea
  • Define the concept of open innovation and be able to evaluate whether improvement opportunities could benefit from open innovation
  • Argue the complementary role of project management in the innovation environment and use the basic principles of project management to structure the innovation process
  • Provide examples of disruptive technologies that have changed the business models or value chains in industries
  • Provide a comprehensive list of barriers to innovation in an organisation and be able to identify these barriers in a particular organisation
  • Define practical measures to address the barriers to innovation in an organisation.
Managerial Accounting
This module focuses on understanding of management accounting and financial accounting; cost concepts applied by managers in internal financial information; financial information disclosed in the financial statements (with specific focus on the cash flow statement and the management of cash flows); sustainable growth rate; and financial health. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Classify costs in terms of fundamental classifications
  • Describe and apply the absorption costing and variable costing method
  • Apply the contemporary management techniques to calculate breakeven and other measures of cost management
  • Relate different accounting transactions to the various components of financial statements
  • Interpret the cash flow statement, apply working capital management and calculate the sustainable growth rate pertaining to cash flows
  • Compute and present the financial health of a company based on financial ratio analysis.

Managerial Statistics
This module focuses on data description; probability; probability and sampling distributions; estimation; tests of hypotheses; correlation; regression; and contingency tables. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Describe data using basic statistic descriptors
  • Recognise and apply probability distributions
  • Be able to describe the concept of sampling distributions.
  • Develop point estimates and construct confidence intervals
  • Test statistical hypotheses
  • Analyse relationships between variables measured on both the qualitative and quantitative scales
  • Build and interpret statistical decision models.
Marketing Management
This module focuses on the role of marketing in society and its impact on both consumers and organisations; consumerism and customer centricity and the relationship to all parts of the business; marketing’s central role in the organisation; principles of marketing; the marketing concept and process; consumer behaviour and the concept of value; directional strategies (STP), including segmentation, target market selection and positioning; branding; marketing strategy, including the traditional and expanded marketing mix; implementation and control; and the formulation of a marketing plan. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the marketing concept and processes
  • Evaluate the marketing environment of an organisation
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and select market segments
  • Develop the ability to use critical thinking skills to make tactical marketing decisions
  • Relate marketing perspectives and decisions to ethical standards
  • Critically review and analyse information to make marketing decisions
  • Apply marketing knowledge and skills to develop a marketing plan
  • Analyse the role of marketing in modern-day organisations
  • Evaluate the marketing function’s accountability for decisions and actions.
Principles of Operations
This module focuses on value chains and core and supporting functions; generic operations performance objectives and trade-offs; business processes as an alternate view to value creation; continuous improvement and process re-engineering; the product-process matrix; product design and customer order decoupling point; operations quality and the optimum level of quality; inventory costs; and operations improvements techniques (TOC / Lean / 6sigma). After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Construct and analyse a value chain for an organisation
  • Place the operations function in the correct context when viewing the organisation from a value chain perspective
  • Measure and prioritise the generic operations performance objectives and argue the trade-off between these when striving for operations improvement
  • Develop knowledge of the business process perspective and argue how this alternative view of an organisation’s value creation processes can be used to improve operational performance
  • Position an organisation on the product-process matrix and define key operations decisions associated with the process characteristics
  • Define the principle of quality for any transformation process and apply the concept of an optimum level of quality to process design
  • Define the different costs associated with inventory and assign these costs in a practical example, and use specific policies to improve inventory related costs and risks
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of how the concept of QFD can be applied to transform customer requirements into process characteristics.
Sustainable Enterprise
This module covers the following: The sustainable development imperative for organisations; sustainability principles and issues in organisational operations, especially in relation to the environmental and social implications thereof; value and importance of accountability systems and reporting mechanisms as expressions of good governance in support of long-term sustainable business development. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the systemic interrelationship between an organisation and the environmental, social and economic conditions in its operational context
  • Analyse the most relevant concepts that inform the meaning of sustainable development in application to an organisational context
  • Critically review and analyse the importance of social legitimacy and stakeholder engagement for the development of a sustainable organisation
  • Evaluate the position of an organisation in terms of its exposure to environmental and social risks and opportunities and demonstrate the ability to apply appropriate models for engagement with it
  • Apply the principles, processes and practices of intra-organisational collaboration and integration for sustainable development and examine the effectiveness thereof in organisational settings
  • Evaluate the importance of accountability systems and reporting mechanisms to monitor organisational performance for sustainable development and assess and critique examples thereof in organisational contexts.
Systems Methods
This module focuses on systems philosophy and complexity; social systems methodology; defining problems and designing solutions; systemic organizational development; and systems dynamics. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the need for an integrative worldview given the complexity inherent in society at large and business in particular
  • Develop a critical understanding of the systems thinking philosophy
  • Apply social systems methodology to analyse and understand business and management related issues
  • Develop the ability to use systems thinking to integrate different business and management fields into an integrated whole – understanding the links between subjects such as strategic management, financial management, marketing management, etc.
  • Apply systems thinking to define problems and design solutions
  • Critically review and analyse systems thinking to foster and facilitate organisational development initiatives
  • Apply systems dynamics (causal loop diagrams) to develop an understanding of the dynamics underlying systemic problems.

You need to choose three of the following electives: Futures Studies, Manager as Coach, Project Management and Risk Management.

Futures Studies
This elective covers the principles and key concepts of futures studies; causal layered analysis; trend and megatrend analysis; the use of scenarios; and the nexus between futures studies and strategic management. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish between good and bad work in futures studies
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the key concepts of futures studies to business and societal issues
  • Apply causal layered analysis to reveal the scope and nature of futures-related problems and issues
  • Use trend and megatrend analysis to measure the future
  • Use scenarios to scope the future
  • Position futures studies in the field of strategic management
  • Apply futures studies to effect change and transformation.

Manager as Coach
This elective covers the following: management coaching; coaching models; role of coaching in an enterprise; coaching skills, ethical guidelines for coaching; coaching practices; coaching culture and maturity; coaching flexibility and tailoring; coaching observation; and the role of reflection in coaching. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define what coaching is and how it is similar and different from other help-professions
  • Describe some basic models of coaching, appropriate to the role of Manager as Coach
  • Apply the fundamental coaching skills, ethical guidelines and models to their coaching practice (in and out of class)
  • Learn to position coaching as a management and leadership tool in their unit/department or organisation
  • Distinguish good coaching practices from those which have the potential to do harm to their clients
  • Analyse their organisational or departmental culture and learn how to use coaching to align a team’s thinking around a preferred culture and management approach or style
  • Observe fellow-learners applying their coaching skills and models, and provide constructive feedback
  • Use a reflective journey to support the transfer of learning to the workplace.

Project Management
This elective covers the following: the project management philosophy; project management techniques; projects’ objectives and strategic intent; project business case; project initiation; project scoping; project statement of work; risk management; project progress reporting; project communication; project success and project management success; project health; project closure. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define the generic project management philosophy
  • Describe project management techniques and principles
  • Position a project’s objectives relative to the organisation’s strategy
  • Initiate a project by creating an appropriate business case
  • Apply the project scoping technique to determine and document the project statement of work
  • Identify, list and categorise project risks and define appropriate management actions
  • Measure and present project progress by using appropriate project communication techniques
  • Distinguish between project success and project management success
  • Compare a project’s performance with the stated baseline to present the project health to stakeholders
  • Define project closure actions and challenges.

Note: The Project Management elective has a weighting of 16 credits, which is equal to two of the other electives. Students who choose this elective only need to select one other elective.

Risk Management
This elective covers the following: Enterprise and project risk; risk categorisation; origins of risk; risk management process; issue log; risk register; risk ranking; risk and the availability of information; risk mitigation; roles and responsibilities for risk mitigation; risk mitigation and cost; residual risk; and risk management maturity. After completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Define the concept of risk for both projects and operations
  • Categorise the different risks faced by organisations and describe the origins of risk
  • Present the risk management process and list the artefacts produced by the process
  • Rank risks by means of the impact and the likelihood of occurrence
  • Present, and argue, the correlation between risk and the availability of information
  • Categorise risk mitigation and describe the actions associated with mitigation options
  • Define mitigation actions and allocate roles for risk mitigation
  • Assess the success of risk mitigation
  • Argue, and present, the correlation between risk mitigation and the cost of mitigation.
  • Construct a business case to accept residual business risk
  • Analyse risk management practices in an organisation to define risk management maturity.
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