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Unit information: The Digital Economy in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Digital Economy
Unit code EFIM30040
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Steve Pearce
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

What systems have changed and will change the way we buy and sell goods and services digitally? How do innovative organisations use digital applications to gain competitive advantage? What business models are used in digital businesses, what are the components? This unit introduces students to the digital environment. It is designed to give students an overview and understanding of: Digital business models, revenue models, processes for implementing digital applications, risks and ethics. The unit explores innovative digital systems, online services, online content and media, mobile and social commerce, and emerging digital applications in developing countries.

This unit analyses the issues related to the management of digital businesses. It reviews existing digital business models and applications; compares digital to other, more traditional forms of commerce, describes its major opportunities, limitations, issues and risks. It also provides a more detailed knowledge of some of the more successful business and revenue models in digital based businesses. Finally, special attention will be paid to the application of these models to emerging markets and how these models enable innovation and societal benefits.

The taught content will include the following theories and emerging concepts and practical knowledge; The Digital World & Economy, Digital Strategy, Business Models and Value, Platforms, Services, Markets and Data, Block Chain and Distributed Ledgers, Internet of Things – power of networks, Digital Wearables, Management Challenges/Opportunities (International Management in a Digital World, Digitisation of transactions and interactions, Developing Counties and their digital economies, Digital Ethics, Security and Risks), Dominant designs/Future models/Dominant players, Digital Practitioner/Innovator/Implementation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  1. Apply the main concepts and theories of digital business and the digital economy
  2. Explore value propositions and propose business and revenue models for digital businesses
  3. Analyse service and business process interactions for potential for digitalisation
  4. Understand the economic and social opportunities of digitalization in mobile, social and Internet of Things contexts
  5. Evaluate existing digital business strategies, technologies and models
  6. Develop proposals and implementation plans for digital innovations in emerging economies, markets and developing countries.
  7. Develop, analyse and present an innovative digital business model.

Teaching Information

The learning process will be based upon a combination of pedagogical approaches, the use of each will be determined by what is most appropriate to achieve the session/unit learning outcomes. This unit will make use of case studies, problem solving activities, discussions (both structured and unstructured) and the evaluation of online and documentary resources. There will be an emphasis on shared knowledge, developed in dialogue and based on practice. For those less acquainted with practice issues more emphasis will be placed on research, case studies and other problem-solving activities. Some of these sessions may be hosted by guest lecturers from industry or other academic institutions.

You will be expected and directed to read from a range of sources including academic journals. You will interact and communicate within group activities enhancing practical leadership skills, including team, negotiating and influencing skills. You will work autonomously as well as interactively within group exercises.

Assessment Information

The group project will involve analysis of business models presented in the form of a poster and a group presentation. Students will work in randomly selected groups of 5-6 students within their tutorial groups to analyse a Digital Business and develop new innovative business models.

Group project (30%) and individual written assignment (70%) of 2,000 words which assess the learning outcomes mapped as follows;

Group Project: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

Individual Written Assignment: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7

Reading and References

Important note on reading and references: Textbooks and written material on this topic change rapidly, extensive use of journal articles, conference material and case studies as well as industry produced papers will supplement the basic textbooks listed here. It is expected by the time the unit runs for there to be new textbooks and material on the topic.

Chaffey, Dave. Digital Business & E-Commerce Management: Strategy Implementation & Practice. Pearson Education, 2015.

Brynjolfsson, Erik, and Andrew McAfee. The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. WW Norton & Company, 2014.

King, D., Lee, J., Liang, T. P., &Turban, D. C. (2012). Electronic commerce 2012: a managerial and social networks perspective. Pearson, Harlow.

Laudon, K. and Laudon, J. (2012), Managing Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, Pearson, Harlow.

Brynjolfsson, E. and Saunders, A. (2010). Wired for Innovation: how Information Technology is reshaping the Economy. The MIT Press, London.