MBA 694-2 Fall 2007


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MBA 694-2 Fall 2007

  1. 1. The University of Montana School of Business Administration COMPETITIVE STRATEGY (MBA 694-2/60) Syllabus Fall 2007 INSTRUCTOR Prof. Klaus Uhlenbruck, Ph.D. e-mail: Phone: (406) 243-6523 Office hours: T&W, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Office: GBB 329 or by appointment COURSE DESCRIPTION This class takes the view of the general manager of an organization. The general manager sets the objectives of the firm together with its stakeholders, and formulates and implements strategies to build and exploit firm strengths and take advantage of opportunities. Associated decisions are made based on strategic analysis of the firm and its environment, on which we will focus. Elements of the environment are the competition, customers, economic, political and sociological conditions, global and domestic markets, etc. Firm resources are technological or managerial know-how, employees, capital, etc. We will learn the appropriate tools based on readings, group analysis of real businesses, discussion, and lecture. OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE 1. Understand basic questions and concepts of strategic management. 2. Learn theory and tools of strategic analysis and how to apply them. 3. Recognize the value, challenges and problems of the tools of strategic analysis. 4. Appreciate the challenges general managers face in implementing strategic change. 5. Review basic theories that help us understand strategic behavior of organizations. 6. Come to terms with the complexity of business reality and the ill-defined problems of competitive strategy. TEXTBOOK Hoskisson, Hitt, Ireland & Harrison, 2008. Competing for Advantage. 2nd Edition. Thomson/ South-Western. ARTICLES AND CASES (required readings unless noted otherwise; articles available on Blackboard, case available from UM bookstore) ♦ Drucker, 1999. Managing Oneself. HBR, March/April 1999 (HBS No. 99204) (optional) ♦ Hamel & Prahalad, 1989. Strategic Intent. HBR, May/June (HBS No. 89038) ♦ Kotter, 1995. Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. HBR, March/April (HBS No. 95204) ♦ Kotter, 1990. What Leaders Really Do. HBR, May/June (HBS No. 90309). (optional) ♦ Nohria, Joyce & Roberson, 2003. What Really Works. HBR, July (HBS No. R0307C) (optional) ♦ Porter, 1996. What is Strategy? HBR, Nov/Dec (HBS No. 96608) ♦ Prahalad & Hamel, 1990. The Core Competence of the Corporation. HBR, May/June (HBS No. 90311)
  2. 2.  Learning by the Case Method (HBS No. 9-736-241)  Arizona Public Service Company and the Electric Utility Industry (South-Western) ADDITIONAL REFERENCES • Barney, 2002, Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, Prentice Hall • De Kluyver & Pearce, 2006, Strategy: A View from the Top, Prentice Hall • Ghemawat, 2000, Strategy and the Business Landscape, Prentice Hall • Hamel & Prahalad, 1994, Competing for the Future, Harvard Business Press • Kaplan & Norton, 2001, The Strategy-Focused Organization, Harvard • Porter, 1980, Competitive Strategy, Free Press • Porter, 1985, Competitive Advantage, Free Press • Robert, 2004, The Modern Firm, Oxford University Press. • Walker, 2007, Modern Competitive Strategy, McGraw Hill Irwin REQUIREMENTS/GRADING weight (%) 1. Group Presentations 25 2. Written Group Report 25 3. Peer Evaluation 10 4. Reflective Essay (individual) 30 5. Individual Class Participation/Contribution 10 1. Group Presentations Groups of approx. 5 students (3 – 4 in section 60) pick a company for which to perform strategic analysis. For each class period, starting with the third week of classes, the teams should be ready to show their findings regarding the analysis tools discussed that day as explained in the assigned textbook chapter. More specifically, for the class periods on external environment, perform an analysis of the general environment of your firm and a five-forces industry analysis; on internal analysis identify and evaluate resources, capabilities, core competences and sustainable competitive advantage (if any) of your chosen company; on business-level strategy, identify and examine your firm’s generic strategy, if it is appropriate given firm and industry conditions, and make suggestions for improvement on implementing the firm’s strategy. By the second week of classes groups should let me know the names of the team members and the firm of their choice. You cannot select a firm that any team member ever worked for or is currently working for. Make sure plenty of information is available on the firm and its industry via the internet, library, etc. Pick a firm that you believe faces strategic challenges and/or where you think its products and strategy can be improved. The goal of this exercise is for all to gain a deep understanding of the application, benefits and weaknesses of strategic analysis tools. Class discussion following the presentations will focus on the tools and concepts, not the firms. Feel free to think critically of these tools of strategic analysis. The presentations are graded with input from your audience based on the form in Appendix A. Your grade will be an average of the grades for each individual presentation. Plan your presentation to last about 15 minutes. 2. Written Group Report 2
  3. 3. This report summarizes your presentations and should include a SWOT analysis of your firm. The emphasis should be on an evaluation of your firm’s current business level strategy relative to the outcome of your external and internal analysis. Also, make recommendations how the firm can improve upon its current strategy and how improvements should be implemented. Remember that strategy development builds on data and their analysis rather than gut feeling. The report is limited to a maximum of 10 pages of text plus exhibits. 3. Group Project Peer Evaluation The ability to work with others is very important. Success requires synergy and effective cooperation. Equal input is expected from each group member; use your management skills to ensure this. Of course, I am open to discuss group problems. Each group member will have the opportunity to rate the contributions of the other members. This peer evaluation for the consulting project will concentrate on evaluating whether each member of the group did their fair share of the work conscientiously. The associated form is in Appendix B. The peer evaluation will affect your grade as the group grades for the report and the presentations are multiplied with your peer evaluation to come to your project peer evaluation grade. For example, assume that the average of your team's report and presentations is 90 points and assume that your second peer evaluation is 85%. Your project peer evaluation grade is 90 * 85% = 76.5. 4. Reflective Essay For this essay I ask you to critically reflect on the value of the various concepts and tools we discussed in this class. Think of strengths, weaknesses, costs and benefits of each tool. Rather than lists I will look for how much you have “struggled” with the concepts. 5. Class Participation and Contribution Your class participation is a critical element of this class. Students learn from each other and for themselves by openly stating their insights. Active participation is also good practice as passive behavior finds little reward in the business world. While I realize that active participation may not overlap with everyone’s learning style, it is a good habit to have. Effective oral communication is critical to every manager and business professional (as is respect for others). Excellent participation consists of relevant, well-stated opinions that build logically upon readings, peer comments, materials discussed, etc. Feel free to challenge your peers or your instructor. Contributions are not just talking in class, however; they include attentive listening to others, active participation in in-class group projects, asking questions, office visits, bringing relevant articles to our attention, etc. Being on time for class and regular attendance are expected. Everybody must have read the assigned material. As is the case with real world work environments, you are judged not by what you know but by what you contribute. If you feel you were not able, for whatever reason, to provide your contribution during class, please send me your comments in an email for partial credit. However, I always prefer an in-class contribution so that everyone gains from your insights. 3
  4. 4. GENERAL COURSE POLICY 1. Written Assignments For each written assignment, writing style, the use of headlines, etc. are taken into consideration for grading. Submissions must be formatted for standard paper (8.5” x 11”), have one inch margin all around, 12-pt. font size, and be double-spaced. 2. Academic Honesty Plagiarism, cheating, or any form of dishonesty will at a minimum result in a zero points grade for the assignment. Please use footnotes extensively to document your sources of information in your written papers! All students must practice academic honesty. Academic misconduct is subject to an academic penalty by the course instructor and/or disciplinary sanction by the University. All students need to be familiar with the Student Conduct Code. The Code is available for review online at 3. Scale for Grading 930 - 1000 = A 770 - 799 = C+ 900 - 929 = A- 730 - 769 = C 870 - 899 = B+ 700 - 729 = C- 830 - 869 = B 600 - 699 = D 800 - 829 = B- Below 600 = F 4. Class Notes You can find copies of my overheads, this syllabus etc. on the UM Blackboard site for this class. Feel free to download what you need and bring to class to make it easier for you to take notes. 5. Feedback I am happy to provide feedback at any time, via personal visits or email. In return, I would appreciate any informal feedback (beyond the course evaluations). I have taught strategic management in various programs, but I am always trying out some new things. I am confident most of them will succeed, but equally confident that some will not. I count on you to share your opinions with me. 6. Email As of 1 July 2007 and due to security issues, email communication between students and faculty may only use official UM email accounts. Accordingly, students must use their GrizMail accounts ( or Email from non-UM accounts may be flagged as spam and deleted without further response. 4
  5. 5. COURSE OUTLINE (MBA 694-2: T, R 11:10-12:30, GBB L09; 694-60: R 18:10-21:00, GBB 104) Date Topics Reading Assignment Due Dates/Notes Aug. 28 •Introductions •Syllabus •Strategic Management Process •Chapter 1 (HHIH) •HBR: “What is Strategy” •HBR: “Managing Oneself” (optional) Aug. 30 Case: "Arizona Public Services Arizona Public Services (The 694-60 Company" case section will do Study questions: the T & R topics jointly - Evaluate APS’ industry conditions. and prepare - What are APS’ strengths and assignments for weaknesses? both.) - What does CEO DeMichelle do to change APS? - What else does APS need to do? Sep. 4 • Strategic Leadership • Chapter 2 • HBR: “Leading Change” • HBR: “What Leaders Really Do” (optional) • HBR: “What Really Works” (optional) Sep. 6 • Strategic Intent • HBR: "Strategic Intent" Sep. 11 • External Environmental Analysis • Chapter 3 Group Presentations Sep. 13 • External Environmental Analysis Group (cont.) Presentations Sep. 18 • Internal Environmental Analysis • Chapter 4 Group Presentations Sep. 20 • Internal Environmental Analysis • HBR: "The Core Group (cont.) Competence of the Presentations • SWOT Analysis Corporation" Sep. 25 • Business Level Strategy • Chapter 5 Group Presentations Sep. 27 • Business Level Strategy (cont.) Group Presentations The written group report and the individual reflective essay are due on October 1 and 5, respectively. 5
  6. 6. APPENDIX A EVALUATION OF GROUP PRESENTATIONS Topic: __________________________________________________________________ Group Members: ____________________________________________________________ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ The Present at io n is wo rt h 100 points, all oc at ed as follo ws : ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ 1. Anal ys is and ideas we re presented in an interesti ng manner (e.g., audio visual aids were used effectively to support/highlight main points; props were used effectively, etc.). Po ints : ___ Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Unacceptable (20-18) (17-16) (15-14) (13-12) (11 or less) 2. The present atio n was well or ga ni ze d and delive red in a professi on a l manner (e.g., the group met the time requirements; the presentation appeared as an integrated whole; presenters made frequent eye contact with the audience, exhibited enthusiasm for the topic, did not read their presentation or stumble for words, handled questions concisely and knowledgeably). Po ints : ___ Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Unacceptable (20-18) (17-16) (15-14) (13-12) (11 or less) 3. The present atio n contr ib ut ed to ou r understa nd in g of businesses and their envi ro nmen ts by provid ing sound strat eg ic an al ys is and insight (e.g., all and only relevant information was provided, various forms of evidence were used, techniques of strategic analysis were applied properly). Po ints (multipl y by two) : ___ Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Unacceptable (20-18) (17-16) (15-14) (13-12) (11 or less) 4. Cr itic al thinkin g was evident (the analysis, conclusions, and suggestions showed logically consistent thinking and were characterized by judging and synthesizing). Po ints : ___ Excellent Good Satisfactory Poor Unacceptable (20-18) (17-16) (15-14) (13-12) (11 or less) Point Tota l : ______ Comments: 6
  7. 7. APPENDIX B GROUP PROJECT PEER EVALUATION (Please use this form to evaluate your peers in your joint group work.) Course Name:_MBA 665_________________ Section:___________ Your name:___________________________________________ Instructions: Please rate your fellow team members on the listed questions below on a scale of 0-10 with 10 meaning excellent (A). Use integers only. Member names, Quality Attendance Carried fair Met Overall Total excluding yours of work at team share of dead- value to (multiply meetings team work lines team each value at (20%) (20%) (20%) (20%) (20%) left by 2) 1. 2. 3. 4. 7