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IB145-15 CORE: Foundations, Skills and Debates

Warwick Business School
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Juan Lopez-Cotarelo
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The module aims to embed the new School CORE values, as well as complement the proposed UG programme Vision & Mission, which identifies personal and professional skills development as key for 21st century work. These skills, which include complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, have been clearly identified as highly relevant by external stakeholders, including employers (e.g. see 2016 Davos report on Future of Work, page 29: and the 2014 UK Commission for Employment and Skills report: 34/er84-the-future-of-work-evidence-report.pdf). They are also expected by other key stakeholders like QAA, which notes in its benchmarks that “graduates should be able to demonstrate a range of cognitive and intellectual skills together with competencies specific to business and management. Graduates should also be able to demonstrate relevant personal and interpersonal skills” (3.9, p. 8).
As such, this new module works alongside other modules making up the proposed 15 CATS 'CORE spine' to ensure those skills are being addressed and developed over all three/four years of students' degrees, in line with existing learning outcomes for each course. These include creativity, presentation and team work (and so build on existing 'Core Practice' first year module), but also negotiation, complex problem solving, argumentation, and debate. The module also exposes students to some of the different disciplines that study management and business, demonstrating how these different disciplines will understand and engage in different ways with a particular topic. For this purpose a particular current business-relevant topic will be selected and examined from different disciplinary perspectives that will allow students to begin to explore the complexities of the topic, especially highlighting ethical and sustainability issues. For example, the role of digital technology in business will be explored from different disciplinary perspectives, in particular focusing on how such technologies can have both positive and sometimes unintended negative impacts financially but also on people and the environment. In this way, fundamental issues of the role of business in society will be explored.
The evidence for such an approach is clear. In particular, there is agreement in the literature that skills development needs to be delivered by subject matter/disciplinary experts (i.e. not by an Academic Writing programme or central skills development team/Careers Plus, who are not from a Business School and/or academic background). In part, this is what is meant by 'embededness' in the literature, not simply that skills are taught within a tight disciplinary domain (i.e. an existing module, such as MOS), but that they feature as an integral part of the curriculum. This is why CORE Foundations, Skills and Debates clearly features appropriate interdisciplinary academic content as well. Finally, the proposed module also addresses the key point of transferability (Billing, 2007). In particular, this suggests that the more we can develop a common language and some 'cues' around skills, the better. If students have 'skills' signposted in lectures and seminars across a range of modules then they are more likely to be able to develop and transfer the skill to a new domain.

Module web page

Module aims

The module's aims are as follows:

  • To ensure students are appropriately taught and supported in developing key academic and professional skills from the start of their first year, to ensure meaningful subsequent skills progression, in line with QAA and course learning outcomes;
  • To familiarise students with key skills, such as teamwork, presentation, creativity and complex problem solving, analysis, research, critical thinking and debate, and allow them to put these to practice in supported learning environment, to ensure learning is embedded;
  • To introduce students immediately to the culture of academy and higher education, including appreciation of multiple theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, historical development of ideas, assumptions and limitations inherent in different views, and tools for making sense of complex ideas;
  • To familiarise students with an appreciation of the inter-disciplinary nature of management and business studies by exploring the same business/ management issue from different disciplinary perspectives.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Appreciate and understand major theoretical foundations of the fields of business and management, which address foundational disciplinary questions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analytically examine a question, conduct research to validate and construct an argument, and apply critical thinking.
Indicative reading list

Academic references:
Cunliffe, A. A very short, fairy interesting and reasonably cheap book about management.
Kiron, D., Kruschwitz, N., Haanaes, K., von Streng Velken, I. (2012). Sustainability nears a tipping point. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53, 2, 69-74.
Westerman, G., Bonnet, D., and McAfee, A. (2019). The nine elements of digital transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60, 2, 8-13.
Leclercq-Vandelannoittle, A. (2017). An ethical perspective on emerging forms of ubiquitous IT-based control. Journal of Business Ethics, 142, 1, 139-154.
Butler, H.A., Pentoney, C. and Bong, M.P. (2017). ‘Predicting real-world outcomes: Critical thinking ability is a better predictor of life decisions than intelligence’, Thinking Skills and Creativity, 25: 38-46.
Cottrell, S. Critical thinking skills: Developing effective analysis and argument. Palgrave Study Skills.
Eales-Reynolds et al. (2013) Critical thinking Skills for Education Students. Surrey: Trotman.
Heinrichs, J. (2017) Thank you for Arguing: What Cicero, Shakespeare and The Simpsons can Teach us About the Art of Persuasion. London: Penguin, Random House.
Weston, A, (2009) Rulebook for Arguments. Indianapolis: Hackett.

Subject specific skills

Successfully manage working in teams, which involves self-reflection, ability to negotiate with others, and constructively deal with conflict.

Transferable skills

Demonstrate an ability to work with colleagues in a multicultural and diverse setting.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Other activity 10 hours (7%)
Private study 47 hours (31%)
Assessment 74 hours (49%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Private Study.

Other activity description



No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Participation 10% 9 hours

Participation in activities on a weekly basis via my.wbs

Individual Assignment 50% 36 hours
Group Presentation 30% 22 hours

Group Presentation - video submission.

Individual Essay 10% 7 hours
Assessment group R
Weighting Study time
Individual Assignment 30%
Individual Assignment 70%
Feedback on assessment

Informal/formative feedback in seminars, written formative feedback for practice debates. Summative written feedback following assessed group debate, formative feedback for individual analytical essay.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UIBA-N20B BSc in Management
  • Year 1 of UIBA-N400 Undergraduate Accounting and Finance
  • Year 2 of UIBA-N403 Undergraduate Accounting and Finance (with Foundation Year)
  • Year 1 of UIBA-N20F Undergraduate International Management
  • UIBA-N20E Undergraduate Management (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N20E Management (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N23N Management with Accounting (with Foundation Year and Placement Year)
    • Year 2 of N23M Management with Accounting (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N23E Management with Digital Business (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N23F Management with Entrepreneurship (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N23D Management with Finance (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N254 Management with Marketing (with Foundation Year)
    • Year 2 of N23P Management with Strategy and Organisation (with Foundation Year)