University of the West of Scotland

Module Descriptor

Session: 2019/20

Last modified: 14/08/2019 10:19:40

Title of Module: Strategic Management in Construction

Code: ENGG11046 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Ashwini  Konanahalli

Summary of Module

The module consists of two parts. Firstly, it focuses on strategic management of Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) organisations to provide an in-depth appreciation of the project based nature of the industry. Examining the background theory of strategic management, this module aims to introduce concepts crucial to understanding how AEC organisations create and sustain competitive advantage in a continuously changing environment. Hence, it focuses on key theories around strategy, resource-based view, competitive strategies, dynamic capability, core competencies, corporate social responsibility (CSR), entrepreneurship and how AEC organisations capitalise on their know-how, knowledge, innovation and technology to sustain competitive advantage. The second part i.e. international construction creates awareness of the challenges, opportunities and risks associated with national and global economy. It covers topical issues such as, reasons for globalization, entry strategies to foreign market, organisation of multinational enterprise, cross border mergers and acquisitions, international joint ventures, ethical responsibility, child labour, corruption, health and safety and cross-cultural negotiations.

The Graduate Attributes relevant to this module are given below.

  • Academic: Critical thinker, Analytical, Inquiring, Knowledgeable, Problem-solver, Autonomous, Innovative.

  • Personal: Culturally aware, Emotionally Intelligent, Effective communicator, Influential, Motivated, Imaginative

  • Professional: Research-minded, Socially Responsible, Ambitious, Transformational.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully Online
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance Learning (D/L) (ie.Virtual Campus): (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Hamilton:D/L Virtual Campus:Other:
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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

At the end of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Develop an in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of various theories and concepts of strategic management applicable to Architectural, Engineering and Construction environments/markets.

L2. Apply strategic management concepts and approaches to products, services, organizations etc. to understand issues associated with survival, competition and performance in dynamic environments.

L3. Provide in-depth analysis of complex strategic issues in domestic and international contexts.

L4. Understand the importance of globalization and how it affects the conduct of cross border business operations in AEC sector.

L5. Critical awareness of construction practices in key geographical locations around the world.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

- An overall knowledge and understanding of strategic management and globalization issues associated with project based construction industry.
- Critical understanding of various strategic management and globalization theories applied to construction sector.
- Extensive and detailed knowledge of key contemporary issues (innovation, competiveness, improving performance/profitability, impact of disruptive technology) driving the domestic and international construction industry.
- In-depth understanding of research process and application of a range of research techniques.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

- Gain expertise in using a range of the professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials.
- Demonstrate creativity in combining knowledge from construction and business disciplines.
- Apply research and advanced skills to the development of real life projects.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

- Define specific knowledge gaps within the domestic and international construction market.
- Conceptually develop original and creative ideas to address the industry specific issues.
- Contribute towards advancing knowledge and practices within the construction industry.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

- Communicate and collaborate effectively with relevant stakeholders.
- Demonstrate skills necessary to undertake effective communication, presentations, leading and sustaining debates, and incorporating feed back into proposals.
- Use a range of ICT applications to support undertakings.
Collect data from a number of sources and use appropriate methods to manipulate and analyse the data.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

- Work effectively with others in group tasks.
- Show the ability to successfully lead and complete tasks/projects, whilst motivating and directing others to ensure effective contribution from all team members.
- Identify resources needed to undertake tasks, schedule and manage them appropriately.
- Demonstrate overall competence and the ability to behave with integrity, in an ethical and professional manner in all the activities.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Learning and Teaching
The module has been designed to include a range of learning and teaching strategies. These have been selected to ensure that students are encouraged to question current practice, be innovative and achieve deeper learning and reflective thinking. The teaching strategies used for this module include lectures, seminars, guest lectures and flexible learning. This module is 100% Coursework based. Group work is used to encourage students to learn from their different experience and backgrounds. Feedback is then provided to students on both the coursework produced.

Through class-room based formal lectures, students will learn about the theory and practical aspects of Strategic Management and Global Construction Practice. Students are expected and encouraged to undertake independent reading both to supplement and consolidate what is being taught and to broaden their individual and collective knowledge and understanding of the subject. Coursework assessments have been set up to encourage students apply these theories to real life projects/products/services.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
CategoriesStudent Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content DeliveryScheduled30
Asynchronous Class ActivityIndependent20
Independent StudyIndependent150
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Langford, D., & Male, S. (2008) “Strategic management in construction” 2nd Ed., UK: Blackwell.

Howes, R., & Tah, J. (2003) “Strategic management applied to International construction” UK: Thomas Telford

McCabe, S (2010) “Corporate Strategy in Construction” UK:Wiley-Blackwell.

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., Lampel, J., (2009) “Strategy Safari: Your complete guide through wilds of Strategic Management”. 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall

Barney, J.B. (1986). Organizational culture: Can it be a source of sustained competitive advantage? Academy of Management Review, Vol. 11(3) pp. 656-665.

Green, S. D., Larsen, G. D. and Kao, C.C. (2008) “Competitive strategy revisited: contested concepts and dynamic capabilities”. Construction Management and Economics, 26 (1). pp. 63-78.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)
Attendance Requirements

Course Reference Numbers (CRNs) (if known)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Hamilton:D/L Virtual Campus:Other:

Not Known






Trimester(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Trimester 1


Trimester 2check markTrimester 3


For Internal Use Only

Programme BoardEngineering
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCivil Engineering and Quality Management
ModeratorStuart Tennant
External ExaminerL Supramaniam
Accreditation Details
Changes/Version Number


Minor typing errors corrected.
Minor Changes to Module learning outcomes.
Module Title Changed.
Version 2.0
Added approx. word limits to assessments.

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids at end of document)
Coursework – Business Competition 50%
The aim of the coursework is to enable students to effectively think and put into practice, theories taught in the strategic management and other modules, into real life practice of new business venture or enterprise. The key issues to be analysed include; nature of business, analysis of competitors, start-up strategies for the business, five-year plan of the business, overall economic performance and competitive advantage.
Coursework on International Construction 50% (Individual Assignment)
Students pick a topic of their choice and investigate it in an international context. It could include; construction practice in different countries, cross-cultural issues influencing AEC businesses, future of construction in developing countries etc. The students are expected to undertake a qualitative study where they would carry out an in-depth literature review followed by an interview, which is analysed using any qualitative software. A critical discussion/ debate is then presented comparing the outcome of the qualitative methodology with literature review.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each main assessment category) can be found at the end of this descriptor which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Assessment Category 1
Assessment CategoryAssessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
AssignmentDissertation/ Project report/ Thesischeck markcheck markcheck mark  37.50
PracticalPresentationcheck markcheck markcheck mark  12.50

Assessment Category 2
Assessment CategoryAssessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
AssignmentDissertation/ Project report/ Thesis   check markcheck mark500
Combined Total For All Assignment Categories100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The programme leaders have considered how the programme meets the requirements of potential students from minority groups, including students from ethnic minorities, disabled students, students of different ages and students from under-represented groups. Students with special needs (including additional learning needs) would be assessed/accommodated and any identified barriers to particular groups of students discussed with the Enabling Support Unit and reasonable adjustments would be made for classes and site visits.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)