Technical articles and topic explainers
A library of articles and bite-sized videos to help you improve your understanding of areas you find more difficult or develop a broader insight into the subject.
In the current business environment, characterised by change and new and sometimes unpredictable challenges, it is important that leaders have the capability to act responsibly, to deliver a business which meets those challenges without causing detriment to their stakeholders or the world in which they exist.
Culture and configuration
This article focuses on two areas of the Strategic Business Leader syllabus on preparing and evaluating a cultural web of an organisation, and the importance of organisational structure and configuration.
Ethical decision making
This article looks at two of the main decision-making frameworks.
Topic explainer video: Cultural web
In this video, expert tutor Steve Willis tackles the 'Cultural web' model (YouTube).
Environmental and sustainability issues
Organisations have a difficult balancing act to fulfil. They have a duty to act in the best interests of their stakeholders, not simply to earn returns for shareholders, but they also have a duty towards other stakeholders.
All about stakeholders – part 1
Part 1 introduces the idea of stakeholders and stakeholding, and an explanation of the different ways in which stakeholders are categorised.
All about stakeholders – part 2
Part 2 then goes on to focus on stakeholders and stakeholding by looking at a number of different stakeholder groups
Corporate governance from the inside out
This article explains that effective corporate governance has both internal and external drivers. Although directors and managers of companies may have little influence over the external regulatory framework, they can and must play their part in ensuring effective internal governance and compliance from deep within their own organisations
Diversifying the board – a step towards better governance
Introduces the concept of board diversity and how it may benefit the organisation, followed by a discussion on the possible costs of board diversity. It concludes with a comment on the current regulatory initiatives of board diversity. (Also available as a podcast)
Independence as a concept in corporate governance
We explore the theory of independence and discuss why it is vital in many contexts relating to corporate governance and professional behaviour.
Public sector governance
This topic is covered in the Strategic Business Leader syllabus. The purpose of this article is to introduce this topic and give some pointers as to what the important themes are in terms of teaching and learning. (Also available as a podcast)
The integrated report framework
In 2013, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) released the first version of its framework for integrated reporting. The framework established principles and concepts that govern the overall content of an integrated report. (Also available as a podcast)
Growing in partnership
In the modern business environment simply standing still is not enough, all businesses need to grow and develop simply to sustain their competitive position. More ambitious organisations recognise that success and prosperity is derived from strategic plans that take risks to capture market share and gain sustainable advantage over competition.
Market segmentation: a strategic analysis and positioning tool
This article focuses on the nature and importance of market and customer segmentation, an aspect of strategic analysis which is covered within section C of the Strategic Business Leader syllabus.
The strategic planning process – part 1
The strategic planning process – part 2
These articles focus on applying your knowledge of management and strategy to a scenario situation. Part 1 considers the complexities of strategic planning and how they can be broken down into three main areas. Part 2 adopts a similar simplification approach to the issues of strategic choice and strategic implementation.
Four lines of defence and assurance mapping
This article discusses how assurance mapping can link with the four lines of defence to show clearly what is being done to manage risks and the assurance given by the controls and reviews undertaken.
COSO's enterprise risk management
This article examines the guidance published by the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations (COSO).
Strategic and operational risks
Examining the risks in terms of their potential impact and probability of occurrence
Technology and data analytics (E)
Applications of new technology – part 1
Applications of new technology – part 2
Applications of new technology – part 3
The use of cloud, mobile and smart technology has increased dramatically in recent years and applications can be seen in all aspects of life. Part 1 looks at some key applications of these technologies in our homes and in the travel industry, part 2 focuses on the retail and banking sectors and part 3 considers cloud computing. All three parts explore the benefits these technologies offer and the disadvantages they pose.
A world of intelligent agents
The SBL syllabus considers artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. This article looks at how developments in these areas are being utilised and considers the ethical issues associated with artificial intelligence.
Principles and application of e-marketing in SBL
The article begins with an overview of how the characteristics of e-marketing differ from traditional marketing, and then focuses on the practical application of e-marketing in the context of an SBL exam-style question.
Cyber security and the strategic business leader
The SBL syllabus includes discussion, assessment and evaluation of the security of IT systems. This article explains why these skills are crucial for those seeking to become effective strategic business leaders and demonstrates how they can be applied in practice.
Getting connected to the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connections. The number of objects and devices being IoT-enabled by connected sensors, processors and transmitters has greatly increased.
Applying big data and data analytics in Strategic Business Leader
The article provides an overview of big data and what it is and its characteristics. It then explains data analytics and what types of analytics can be of most use to business leaders. The article will also look at some examples of how using big data and data analytics can improve business performance, focusing on aspects such as being sceptical about the use of data and, most importantly, how important it is to use data ethically, responsibly and securely to minimise reputational and financial risk
This article discusses business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce and benefits for business, as well as the social and employment costs involved.
Organisational control and audit (F)
Internal audit – the control of controls – can feature as a key part of the corporate governance framework of an organisation and can be viewed as a high level control in response to risk or by considering the detailed work required of internal audit.
Environmental auditing is increasingly being employed by organisations to increase investor confidence and respond to other stakeholder demands.
Finance in planning and decision-making (G)
Financial analysis in Strategic Business Leader (SBL)
This article explains the approach you should take if you are asked in SBL to analyse the financial performance and position of an organisation. You will need to focus on calculations relating to factors that are strategically and operationally important for the organisation.
Assessing organisation performance
Assessing organisation performance requires good interpretation and a good understanding of what the information means in the context of the question.
Topic explainer video: Suitability, Acceptability & Feasibility (SAF)
In this video, expert tutor Steve Willis tackles the 'Suitability, Acceptability & Feasibility (SAF) model' (YouTube).
Enabling success and change management (H)
Project documentation, roles, and responsibilities
This article looks at the documents that are usually prepared as part of project initiation (a business case and a project initiation document), and the roles and responsibilities of key personnel involved in the project process.
The Baldrige performance excellence model
The Baldrige model for world class organisations is featured in the SBL syllabus. This article discusses how it might be examined.
Planning for success – successful project management
This article considers projects, their planning and management, and looks back to a past SBL exam question to help illustrate how a project can be planned effectively.
Blockchain: a revolution in the making
Blockchain is a term that many people have heard about, but very few still fully understand.
This article looks at what exactly cryptocurrencies are, the potential impact of this disruptive technology, and their application as a source of short and long-term finance.
Both Strategic Business Leader and Advanced Performance Management exams require candidates to be able to establish key performance indicators and critical success factors.
Topic explainer video: Harmon Process Model
In this video, expert tutor Steve Willis tackles the 'Harmon Process Model' (YouTube).