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Business functions in context

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This course focuses on the essential organisational functions of human resources; marketing; operations management; information management; and accounting and finance. You will examine their key practices, processes and thinking, and their contributions to organisations and their operations – with an emphasis on practice-based learning. You will explore activities undertaken by functional specialists, and develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, numeracy, information literacy, and written and oral communication. By the end of the course, you’ll understand how and why distinct business functions have developed and how they are integrated; their structure and operations in different contexts; and their role in organisations’ interactions with their environments.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1015.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1015.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1015.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1015.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1705.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1015.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The course is structured into seven blocks. The first block is a general introduction, and the last provides integration and consolidation. The remaining five blocks cover the five functional areas.

Block 1 Introduction – familiarises you with the approach of the course, its values and assumptions and develops the concept of practice-based learning. It includes a brief outline of each function and an explanation of how its contribution will be developed in later blocks. A major case study from the retail sector is introduced.

Block 2 Operations Management – focuses on the role and purpose of the operations function and the impact this function can have on organisational strategy. It explores the most important design decisions within operations management and explains the challenges inherent in planning and controlling operations. The importance of taking a supply chain perspective within operations management is also emphasised, as well as the role of performance measures and quality management.

Block 3 Marketing – explores the nature of marketing and the importance of understanding the complexities of the marketplace. It looks at the marketing environment and its impact on marketers; addresses how marketers can formulate their marketing strategy to ensure their products and services satisfy customers’ needs and compete effectively.

Block 4 Accounting and Finance – is concerned with how accounting information is provided to and used by managers to make informed business decisions and exercise control. It covers financial accounting, cost and management accounting, and financial management.

Block 5 Human Resource Management (HRM) – explores how the term HRM has developed and the type of activities and issues that the HRM function is concerned with. HRM has become a key feature of any manager’s job as the responsibility for team and individual performance has been pushed down the organisation. Accordingly, this block explores the link between HRM and business strategy. It also identifies the main aspects of the employment relationship and the key activities involved in ensuring that an organisation is adequately resourced with people who can perform the tasks required of them.

Block 6 Information Management – covers all aspects of managing information within organisations. It introduces information as a key resource and explores the purpose of the information management function. The role of information in various forms of decision making is examined along with the ramifications this can have for organisational sense making and organisational power. It explores how information management systems reshape business processes and fuel organisational change.

Block 7 Conclusion - draws conclusions about the roles of functions within organisations, and the importance of their interactions. It will also assist you to complete your assessed work.

A feature of this course is that it makes use of an integrative approach in bringing out the inter-connectedness of the five business functions being examined. This will be done through case studies and online group activities which examine, reflect and contextualise the functions that may be undertaken in a whole range of situations. These situations could include your workplace; a voluntary organisation where you are an unpaid helper; your own office; the home of a client; or even in your own home.

Vocational relevance

The course will prepare you with practical skills that are in line with the Quality Assurance Agency’s benchmark statement expectations for business studies. It also aims to enhance employability as the curriculum is of benefit to students in the employment market and also relevant to many studying for their own personal development.

Entry

This course is for those who want 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, this is a Level 2 course and if you have no previous experience of studying business studies, it is strongly recommended that you first study An introduction to business studies (B120) (or its equivalent)

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Outside the UK

This course is relevant to business students in both a UK and non-UK context.

Regulations

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

If you have a disability

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. Musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

The seven blocks are delivered on the course website and include links to various essential resources including outside websites. These blocks are also provided in a print-friendly format. You will also receive five printed textbooks.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material. They will mark and comment on your written work, and you can ask them for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2013. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code B203
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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