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BMGT495-Fall05.doc

  1. 1. ROBERT H. SMITH BMGT 495 Business Policies SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Fall 2005 Dr. Rhonda Reger Sections: 0301; 0401 Office: VMH 4522 Classroom: VMH 1518 Office hours: T 3:30 – 5:30 & by appt. TTH: 12:30-1:45; 2:00–3:15 p.m. 301-405-2167 rreger@rhsmith.umd.edu Required Text Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., and R. E. Hoskisson, Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization (Concepts and Cases), 6th Edition (South-Western Publishing Corporation: Minneapolis), 2005. Course Overview Implicitly or explicitly, every firm must define the scope of its business operations and, within the chosen scope, how the firm will compete against rivals. Decisions about the scope of business constitute the firm’s corporate strategy; decisions about how to compete within chosen market segments reflect the firm’s business-level strategy. This course focuses on how a firm can develop and implement effective business-level and corporate-level strategies. The course is also about top management and the total organization. As such, it is an integrative course emphasizing a “general management” or total organizational perspective as opposed to a functional viewpoint (accounting, finance, marketing, etc.). A general management perspective is necessary because the formulation and implementation of effective strategies requires an understanding of the interrelationships among the different functions of the organization and the relationships of these functions to the business environment. Course Purpose and Objectives The course is designed to help students: • Become familiar with theories, concepts and models that managers can use to develop and implement successful strategies. • Understand how to take a general management view of business strategic issues, one that integrates different functional perspectives into a perspective on what is best for the organization as a whole. • Improve their business communication skills through class discussions, written case analyses and formal presentations. Performance Evaluation: Class Contribution 20% Contributions to Class Discussion Case Write-Ups Business News Flash First Exam 20% Second Exam 25% Individual Case Report 15% Group Project and Presentation 20% 1
  2. 2. Class Contribution This is not a traditional lecture-based course. Conceptual material will be illustrated and applied to the “real world” through rigorous class discussion of business cases and examples. Your classmates and I expect you to attend and be well prepared for each class, having read the required textbook chapter and analyzed the assigned case study ahead of time. We also expect you to play an active role in class discussion. If all class members prepare for and actively participate in each class discussion, we will all learn more from each other and enjoy the course more. In addition, those that make consistent, meaningful contributions to class discussions will receive higher class contribution grades. Case Write-ups. To prepare for class discussion, every student will submit a case write up at the beginning of class for the following cases: The Collapse of Enron, Pacific Cataract & Laser Institute, Apple Computer, HP-Compaq Merger, Sesame Workshop, Sonic: America’s Drive-In, Sun Life, and Southwest Airlines. The write ups should be typed. They should not exceed one, single spaced page (12 point type) and should follow the following format: 1. Key issue(s) – 1-3 strategic issues presented in the case 2. Key analytic frameworks/approaches to the case – 1-3 analytic approaches appropriate for analyzing data in the case that address key issues 3. Key facts/data –1-3 key facts, data or exhibits that help “break” the case 4. Your preliminary recommendation – your initial thoughts on what the firm should do Business News Flash. To ensure that each student has the opportunity to lead a classroom discussion, each of you will choose a recent event in the business world to present to the class. You will have approximately 3 minutes to present the news and explain how it is related to classroom and textbook concepts. You should also prepare 2-3 PowerPoint slides to supplement your presentation to the class and be prepared to ask and answer questions to involve the class. These very short case presentations are an important component of your class participation grade. I will provide a sign-up sheet for Business News Flash presentations on the first day of class. Each of you must sign up for the date when you want to present (no more than two presentations will be scheduled for one class). I recommend you look for business stories in top business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, and Forbes because the level of analysis is usually stronger in these sources. Examinations There will be two multiple-choice exams designed to cover text readings, cases, and class discussions and lectures. Please note that absence from an exam will result in a zero score, except for documented emergencies. Individual Case Report Each student will be required to prepare an individual analysis of the UPS-FedEx case of up to five pages (double spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point font) with potentially additional pages of exhibits. These papers should be prepared individually, although prior discussion with classmates is acceptable. Detailed guidelines for case analysis will be presented to you subsequently. This assignment is due at the beginning of class on October 20. Group Project and Presentation The class will be broken up into groups of three – five students. Each group will complete an eight to 15 page term paper (double-spaced, standard format, plus exhibits if desired). Group 2
  3. 3. projects should be either an in-depth case report on a company not otherwise covered in class or a structural analysis of a major industry or market segment. In either case, the papers must apply multiple concepts from the course to help better explain the strategies, actions and performance of a given company, group of companies, or industry. Each group must identify its project topic by September 20 with a preliminary outline due by November 1. Final papers are due on December 8. In addition, each group must lead a 15-minute in-class presentation that provides an overview of the key insights and lessons learned from its project, followed by a 10- minute question-and-answer session. These final presentations will be assigned randomly across the final three class sessions. Further guidance on project topic selection, project analysis, and project presentation will be provided throughout the semester. It is expected that all group members will contribute equally to the group project and presentation, and that all members will receive the same grade. Peer evaluations may be administered at the conclusion of the course, however, and if there is consistent evidence of some team members contributing either substantially more or less to the group project, then individual grades will be adjusted accordingly. Anyone who makes no contribution to his or her group project will receive a failing grade for this project. Academic Integrity Assignments and presentations must be your own work, in your own words. Using outside materials is generally acceptable as long as you clearly identify the source. The key point is to make clear which ideas and text were developed by you or your group members, and which came from others. False or fabricated information is unacceptable. The integrity of your reports and presentations should meet the highest standards, whether as a student, consultant, or manager. Singular and isolated lapses of ethics, integrity, or professionalism have had devastating consequences on careers. Students are encouraged to discuss cases, exchange ideas, collaborate and cooperate with others in the class where appropriate. New ideas often arise from such interactions. While collaboration and brainstorming are thus encouraged, you need to always keep clear what value you have added, separate from the ideas of others. Academic dishonesty, as defined by university policy, will not be tolerated in any form. Activities that constitute academic dishonesty in this course include: (1) copying text passages verbatim or paraphrasing those passages in your paper without referencing the original source (including from the Internet); (2) consulting those who have already taken BMGT 495 about cases or assignments before they are due; and (3) working with others on individual assignments; working with non-team members on team assignments. You are not allowed to share written or electronic notes, outlines or "key points" in anticipation of completing written assignments. Papers that are judged to be substantially similar in content will be submitted to University procedures. Academic dishonesty cheapens the value of your degree and undermines the quality of your education. The University's Code of Academic Integrity is designed to ensure that the principles of academic honesty and integrity are upheld. All students are expected to adhere to this Code. The Smith School does not tolerate academic dishonesty. All acts of academic dishonesty will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this code. Please visit the following website for more information on the University's Code of Academic Integrity: http://www.inform.umd.edu/CampusInfo/Departments/JPO/AcInteg/code_acinteg2a.htm l Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: The University has a legal obligation to provide appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities. In order to ascertain what accommodations may need to be provided, I ask that students with disabilities inform me of their needs within two weeks of the start of the semester. 3
  4. 4. Absences and Late Papers Attendance at all class sessions is expected. Absences, late arrivals, and early departures necessarily limit your class contribution - and hence may influence your grade. If you must be absent on a day when an assignment is due, please email the assignment to me before the start of class (rreger@rhsmith.umd.edu). I encourage you to finish papers well before the deadlines because late papers will only be accepted in dire (and documented) emergencies. 4
  5. 5. CLASS SCHEDULE Session Topic Assignment 09/01 Course Introduction Preparing an Effective Case Analysis C-i – C-xvi 09/06 Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness Chapter 1 09/08 The External Environment: Opportunities, Threats, Chapter 2 Industry Competition and Competitor Analysis 09/13 Case 1: The Collapse of Enron C-130 - C-138 09/15 The Internal Environment: Resources, Capabilities, and Chapter 3 Core Competencies 09/20 Case 2: Pacific Cataract & Laser Institute C-298 - C-307 Each group must identify the topic of its collective project and post it on Blackboard 09/22 Business-Level Strategy Chapter 4 09/27 Competitive Rivalry and Competitive Dynamics Chapter 5 09/29 Case 3: Apple Computer C-11 - C-22 10/04 Continue Discussion of Chapters 1-5 10/06 Exam Review 10/11 1st Exam, Covering Chapters 1-5 10/13 Corporate-Level Strategy Chapter 6 10/20 Case 4: UPS vs. FedEx C-449 – C-463 INDIVIDUAL REPORTS DUE 10/25 Acquisition and Restructuring Strategies Chapter 7 Case 5: The HP-Compaq Merger C-201 – C216 10/27 International Strategy Chapter 8 11/01 Case 6: Sesame Workshop C-352-C-364 Group project outline due; post on Blackboard 11/03 Cooperative Strategy Chapter 9 Case 7: Sonic: America’s Drive-In C-365 – C-378 11/08 Corporate Governance Chapter 10 Organizational Structure and Controls Chapter 11 11/10 Case 8: Sun Life C-393-C- 415 11/15 Strategic Leadership & Entrepreneurship Chapters 12 & 13 11/17 Case 9: Southwest Airlines C 416 – C 429 11/22 Course Review and Group Project Work Day 11/24 Thanksgiving Holiday 11/29 Group Project Presentations 12//01 Group Project Presentations 12/06 Group Project Presentations 12/08 Final Review & Course Evaluations Group Project Papers Due 12/13 SECOND EXAM covering chapters 6 - 13 5
  6. 6. APPENDIX A: ANALYZING CASES AND PREPARING FOR CLASS DISCUSSIONS Each case typically focuses on a defining moment in a firm’s history. The case contains all the information about the firm and industry you will need to perform an analysis of the situation and develop specific recommendations. While it is tempting to try and figure out “what happened,” and the Internet makes this continually easier, this is typically a waste of time and a distraction from the development of your own strategic thinking. Cases are necessarily a simplification of the real situation, and at times actual courses of action are taken for reasons not apparent from the case or are impacted by subsequent events. Also, at times people make poor decisions. It is expected that you will work purely from the data in the case and not be blinded by what transpired after the close of the case. Your learning from the cases will derive both from your preparation and from your participation in the class discussion. It is important that outside information not be introduced prematurely in a class discussion, as it could undermine the learning experience for some students. If you are particularly familiar with a firm or industry and would like to comment on the case from that perspective, please let me know prior to class. I find that a student’s experience can provide valuable insight in further understanding a case, but that this information must be introduced at an appropriate point in the discussion to maximize the learning of all individuals in the class. In preparing for class, it is recommended that you read each case at least three times. The first reading should be a quick skimming of the text of the case. It should give you a feeling for what the case is about and the types of data contained in the case. Your second reading should focus on better understanding the business and the situation, and should involve careful analysis of the case exhibits. As you work through the second reading, you should begin to develop some fairly clear perspectives on your analysis and recommendations for the case. By your third reading you should have a good idea about the fundamentals of the case. Now you will be searching for additional specific confirmatory or contradictory information. You will need to get at the root causes of problems and gather data from the case that will allow you to make specific, actionable recommendations. Each week you will be assigned conceptual readings that provide frameworks, tools and ideas that will help you understand, analyze and communicate the case issues. However, these readings certainly will not provide “perfect insight” into the case issues. Thus when reading and analyzing the assigned cases, you should be prepared to draw on ideas and frameworks from any source, and should not confine yourself to just one idea. You are encouraged to draw upon other sources of information with which you are familiar: books, material from other courses, articles, research reports, your employer’s processes and models, and your personal experience. In addition, you are encouraged to discuss the cases with your classmates, especially those in your work groups. Your classmates’ experiences and perspectives will undoubtedly be useful to you as you analyze the case and prepare for our class discussion. Keep in mind, however, that your written case analyses must represent your own work in your own words (or your group’s work in the group’s words. In a typical class case discussion, one or more students will be asked to start the class by answering a specific question or series of questions posed by the instructor. Anyone who has thoroughly prepared the case should be able to handle this lead-off assignment. The discussion will then be opened up to the rest of the class. Each person is expected to be prepared to share his or her views on the case. Since individuals whose hands are not raised may be called upon at any time, you should let the instructor know prior to the start of class if you are not prepared to participate in that session’s case discussion. While analyses and recommendations are important elements of case discussions, so, too, are probing questions. If someone says something that you do not understand, raise your hand and question that person directly. The purpose of a case discussion is not to come up with the “correct” answer (there rarely is such a thing), but to learn from each other the best way to analyze situations. When someone in the class makes a recommendation that you do not agree with, try to understand why they have come to that conclusion, rather than merely attacking the “correctness” of their conclusions. The objective of using the case method will have been attained if individuals have a well-formulated position regarding what they would do AND understand why other individuals would undertake a different course of action. 6

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