BAEcon Economics and Data Analytics / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Case Studies In Digital Transformation

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN32051
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course aims for students to analyse examples of the digital transformation of business and society and develop a critical perspective.  Klaus Schwab (2015)  argues that we are entering a fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production, the second used electric power to create mass production. The third used electronics and information technology to automate production and fourth industrial Revolution is building on the third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. He writes: “the inexorable shift from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies - the Fourth Industrial Revolution is forcing companies to re-examine the way they do business”.  The course will explore some of these developments and the role of information systems in the process in the public and private sector. 

This course considers several of the digital transformations that have arisen in contemporary organisations (public, private and civic sector) as a result of the introduction and use of information systems.  Specifically, the course focuses on four themes: sharing economy, cloud computing; social media for expression of dissent and sourcing of business services. All these themes have been central to contemporary study of information systems. One case for each theme will be presented and discussed in detail to familiarise you with these developments and to explore the challenges that the introduction of information systems may pose. Finally the cases consider the scope for management or government policy action. You are required to produce two written reports in the form of an academic paper each of which will answer a set question based on our discussion as well as your own independent research.


This course aims for students to develop a critical perspective on some key areas of contemporary information systems use. It requires students to appreciate the importance of viewing human activity in organisations as being context bound. Thus there is an emphasis on consideration of the local, emergent and the contingent and on understanding how attitudes have been shaped by particular historical, political and /or cultural circumstances. This is achieved by drawing on in depth case studies from international contexts. Students are encouraged to apply various theoretical perspectives to the 'real world' so as to understand the potential and limitations of management action.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course successful students will be able to: 
- Describe and explain the terminology and role of information systems (IS) and the risks inherent in developing large IS in organisations. 
- Critically analyse IS case studies and the social and organisational consequences using appropriate theoretical concepts. 
- Access relevant academic literature using the Internet and appropriate databases. 
- Present evidence and appropriate theoretical concepts forming the basis of critical analysis, argument and commentary in a form appropriate to the intended audience. 
- Interpret, structure and present ideas effectively orally, visually, and in writing correctly citing, acknowledging and referencing sources. 
- Manage time and work to deadlines.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods 
Lecture hours: 12 hours
Tutorial hours: 8 hours
Private Study: 80 hours
Total study hours: 100 hours split between lectures, classes, self study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.

Informal Contact Methods
1. Office Hours
2. Dealing with student questions before and after lectures and tutorials

Assessment methods

Group Coursework (35% )

Individual Coursework (50%)

Group Presentation (15%)

Feedback methods

- Informal advice and discussion during a lecture and tutorials.

- Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

- Written and/or verbal comments on assessed coursework.

- Written and/or verbal comments following the group presentation.

Recommended reading

None. All material is provided

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 12
Tutorials 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Brian Nicholson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course: 12 weeks
Pre-requisites: None
Co-requisites: None
Dependent courses: None
Programme Restrictions: There are no programme restrictions for this course providing the pre-requisites listed below are met and students are permitted to take this course as part of their programme structure. Option for BA Econ.

BMAN30202 is available to study abroad and exchange students admitted through the University of Manchester International Programmes Office.

For Academic Year 2023/24

Updated: March 2023

Approved by: March UG Committee

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