Description
DESCRIPTION: General Management involves the coordination and integration of the efforts within the different functional areas of an organization for dealing with an uncertain future. This comprises formulating a strategy for each individual business of the firm, formulating a corporate strategy and implementing these strategies. In this course we will focus on the formulation of a competitive strategy for a business of a firm. Competitive Strategy formulation involves understanding the business you are in, determining how to positioning your strategic unit within this business environment, and developing the capabilities to compete in this environment. Therefore, Competitive Strategy at the same time coordinates and integrates the individual functional strategies such as manufacturing, marketing and sales, finance, of each business. Corporate Strategy, i.e. the strategy involved in combining different businesses, and, Strategy Implementation, i.e. the practical steps to translate strategy into reality are also covered in the strategic management course.
Type Subject
Tercer - Obligatoria
Semester
Second
Course
4
Credits
3.00
Previous Knowledge
Objectives

OBJECTIVES:

The objectives of the course are the following:

- Develop students´ ability to think strategically about a given company, its business situation, how it can gain sustainable competitive advantage, and how its strategy can be implemented and executed successfully
- Build students´ skills in conducting both strategic analysis in a variety of industries and competitive situations
- Integrate knowledge gained in other courses, and show how the various pieces of the business puzzle fit together
- Highlight the growing importance of entrepreneurial thinking and explain how it fits with the strategic management process
- Enhance students´ ability to effectively communicate the results of their analyses and to provide appropriate recommendations based on their finding

Contents

AGENDA FOR THE SESSIONS: Below you can find a tentative schedule, subject to change if needed.
Date Content
Week 1 Topic: Introduction to strategy
Week 2 Topic: Goals, values and performance
Week 3 Topic: Analyzing the industry environment
Case: Cola Wars
Week 4 Topic: Analyzing resources and capabilities
Week 5 Topic: The nature and sources of competitive advantage, sustainable competitive advantage
Topic: Cost advantage
Week 6 Topic: Differentiation advantage
Case: Ducati
Week 7 Topic: Competitive dynamics
Case: Cat food
Week 8 Corporate strategy
Topic: Diversification strategy, achieving synergies
Case: Disney
Week 9 Topic: Mergers and acquisitions
Week 10 Topic: Strategic alliances
Case: Sony-Ericsson
Week 11 Topic: Vertical integration
Week 12 Topic: Strategy implementation
Case: BCPC Internet strategy team
Week 13 Managing strategic change and strategic leadershio
Week 14 Presentations
Week 15 Course review and presentations

Methodology

Methodology:

The course is oriented towards individual and group learning. We will use:

- Case Discussion. The case method is being used in business schools to enhance the learning process in managerial training. The cases have been chosen for its relationship to the core issues on the International business course. The students are expected to prepare deeply and participate actively in class discussions. However, read and prepare is not enough, students are required to contribute with interventions in group and plenary sessions. Finally, as a reminder, the learning process under the case method requires active participation and deep discussion.
- Conceptual class discussions. The objective is to present and discuss collectively the conceptual frameworks and tools that build the core of the course. I will facilitate the process of discussion and will remark the key concepts and lessons. However, each student is responsible for formulating his/her own synthesis building upon the conceptual readings, class attendance, class participation and class discussion. For a proper follow up of the course the students must read and prepare the assigned readings before classes. The content of the course is structured in sequence, being each session a base for the next one. Accordingly, it is very important that students prepare each session and attend classes.

Evaluation

EVALUATION
Your final grade consists of five parts:
- Class Participation: 10%
- 1 Individual assignment: 15%
- 2 group projects: 20% each, total 40%
- Final Exam: 35%
Individual and group assignment hand in dates will be discussed and failure to respect them will result in a percentage deduction. This course requires students to hand in a hard copy of working during the session indicated. The assignments will assess course outcomes; analytical abilities, understanding of theory and management functions and their application to practical cases. Appropriate language style (scholarly) and formatting will also be taken into consideration.
Group final project
Students are expected to work on a final project. For this project students should select a multi-business company of their choice. Preference should be given to a multi-business company for which students feel they can collect sufficient public information within the available time.
Teams of 4 students should be formed. Every team needs to decide the company they analyze by the 3nd week of class (e-mail to hugoz@salleurl.edu).
1st part of the project (20%): Competitive strategy of the multi-business firm
Submission deadline: 31st march
Page limit: 10 pages+ maximum 10 page references, tables etc.
Formatting: 1.5-spaced, font 12
On this part of the project, you will do an analysis of the competitive strategy of the multi-business company with the following contents:
1) Introduction: Give a brief introduction of the history of the company, what it is doing, its owners etc.
2) Identify key businesses: List its businesses and identify 1 major business that you are going to analyze. Reason and justify why you chose this business but not others (market shares, revenue figure comparisons, historically important core business, etc). Make sure you have current information and try to keep the analysis recent.
3) Try to analyze the general environment for the firm in its most important market. Economic, demographic, cultural trends etc.
4) Do an industry analysis (five forces) for the business in the most important market for the firm.
5) Analyze the key resources, competences of the firm (Resource based view) (Strengths and weaknesses)
6) Discuss the firm´s competitive strategy.
7) Finally, if you spot any problems with the firm´s competitive strategy you can propose an action plan and give some recommendations.

2nd part of the project (20%): Corporate strategy of the multi-business firm
Submission deadline: Last week of the course
Page limit: 10 pages+ maximum 10 page references, tables etc.
Formatting: 1.5-spaced, font 12

The 2nd part of the project on this multi-business company should cover the following questions about the corporate strategy of this company:
1) Is this multi-business company able to create corporate value? If yes, describe how it creates value. If no, explain why.
2) Are there any synergies or linkages among different businesses?
3) What challenges do you see for this multi-business company?
4) Evaluate performance of each major business in the recent years, and use this information if you would like the company to reconfigure its businesses. Take into account your decisions´ impact on current and future synergies.
5) Recommend a plan of action for the company on the basis of your analysis.

For the final presentation of your projects, each team will be assigned date/time (to be announced)

Evaluation Criteria

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to have achieved the objectives set up for this course and have developed the competencies listed above.

- Coursework policy.
Coursework consists of:
In class exercises
in class activities
Assignments
Readings
Presentations
Formatting for the assignments & exercises:
Times New Roman
1.5-spaced
Font 12
Justified
Margins: Top 2,5 cm; Bottom 2,5 cm; Left 3 cm; Right 3 cm.
Reference system
- Retake Exam
It consists of a written exam, most you can get is 6, even though you score higher than this.
- Revision Date
Once the semester is over and final grades posted, there will be a time slot of a day devoted to revision.

Basic Bibliography

Readings:

In addition to the cases we will be discussing in class, I will provide you with a number of readings from time to time. Additional readings or assignments will be handed out in class. You may also be requested to search for particular readings in the library databases.

Course textbook:

Grant, Robert: Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Concepts, Techniques, Applications, Blackwell, 5th Ed. 2005

Additional Material

Other recommended Textbooks:

Ghemawat, Pankaj: Strategy and Competitive Landscape, Prentice Hall, 2005
Porter, Michael: Competitive Strategy, The Free Press, 1980.