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Strategic Management (Competitive Strategy) *

Name of module: Strategic Management (Competitive Strategy) *

Exam number: 3360

Semester/Trimester: Semester

Form of the module (i.e. obligatory, elective course): Wahlpflicht

Frequency of module offer: Summer semester 2009

Prerequisites: Principles of Finance. Principles of Marketing. Organizational Design. "Orientierungsphase" should be completed.

Applicability of module for other modules and study programmes:
Serviceveranstaltung für Studierende der Kultur- bzw. Rechtswissenschaften

Person responsible for module: Prof. Dr. Wojciech Nasierowski

Name of the professor: Prof. Dr. Wojciech Nasierowski

Language of teaching: englisch

ECTS-Credits (based on the workload): 5

Workload and its composition (self-study, contact time):
Kontaktzeit (Vorlesung, Übung, Seminar etc.): 37,5 Std.; Selbststudium: 112,5 Std.

Contact hours (per week in semester): 3

Methods and duration of examination:
It is possible to earn a course requirement (Prüfungsschein or Eigenleistungsschein). Provided that you successfully complete the written exam and make a project work.

Emphasis of the grade for the final grade: Eins

Aim of the module (expected learning outcomes and competencies to be acquired):
There are six overarching objectives of the course to enable you to learn about strategic management and to demonstrate the learning for evaluation:
1. To learn the fundamentals of strategic management using the case method.
2. To understand the fundamental principles of and relationships among business functions such as: finance, human resources, marketing, and operations.
3. To understand the relationships of business to individuals, other organizations, government and society.
4. To analyze complex, unstructured qualitative and quantitative problems, using appropriate tools.
5. To comprehend and critically evaluate information presented in written and numeric form.
6. To express ideas clearly, logically and persuasively in oral and written communication.
The course is designed to help you develop skills and judgment for your business career. The intent is to sharpen your ability to think critically and logically, and to help you learn to diagnose situations from a strategic point of view.
By learning concepts and techniques applicable to the formulation and implementation of strategic plans and applying them in a strategic audit of a company you will integrate knowledge of the various functional areas in the management field. Reference will be made to issues that are current in the news as they provide an opportunity to see how the concepts apply in the "real world." You will also sharpen your strategic management skills by examining an existing company and context within which operates. In this way, this course enables you to see how a firm's production, marketing, R&D, HR, and financial operations interact, and to observe the impact of key decisions on business performance within a competitive market.

Contents of the module:
Strategic management concerns itself with the question of how firms can achieve competitive advantage that results in superior business performance. The two major schools of thought in strategic management, the positioning school and the resource based view, provide the major perspectives and tools that are treated in this course and will be of use to any manager dealing with the same question.
The objective of the course is to increase the understanding of how organizations function and what it takes to manage such entities. Working on assignments, studying text-book, preparing report will give you the opportunity to improve creative and critical thinking, understanding and applying quantitative and qualitative models and tools for the analysis of business problems. You will be able to apply these skills to make professional assessments of practical business problems and to link data, knowledge, and insight in making quality appraisals on a timely basis. The course is also intended to improve your interpersonal capabilities. You will work professionally and constructively in teams, to demonstrate leadership abilities, integrating knowledge and concepts from different subject domains. This element will somewhat expose you to better understanding of sensitivity to business context, specifically to the ethical and legal dimensions of modern organizations (you will be actors in this venture). Finally, there is the possibility to improve communication skills, through written report, oral presentations, and stakeholder role playing, which have a professional structure, content, and delivery, and be able to observe patterns needed when developing capability to effectively participate in discussions.
Although the course highlights that the strategy formation process may be deliberate or emergent, treatment of the subject matter is primarily based on a deliberate or ‘planned’ approach to strategy as it provides for a more rational setting to discuss the various concepts. The strategy process and course are hence divided into analysis, formulation, and implementation, even though in real life the process will not always follow this sequence.
Strategic analysis centers on evaluating firm performance, and understanding the firm, interorganizational, market, and international context that may impact this performance. This evaluation is facilitated through the use of various strategic management tools. Opportunities and threats in the external environment are determined with tools such as the ETOP model, the five forces model, and a competitive analysis. Strengths and weaknesses of the firm are determined through use of the value chain, as well as the framework to verify whether capabilities represent core competencies.
Strategy formulation is treated by treating the mission and vision statement, and discussing generic strategies at the business, corporate, network, and international levels of organizations. At the business level Porter’s strategies of low cost and differentiation either for the broad or a niche market are treated. At the corporate level we discuss strategic and financial diversification. At the network level we discuss issues of resource dependency and outsourcing. At the international level we treat multi-domestic, global, and transnational strategies. The interrelation between strategy and structure constitutes a major focus of the course.
Strategy implementation has generally received less attention in strategic management courses, but is, of course, crucial for effective execution of intended strategy. The roll-out of strategic plans through the use of goals, objectives, targets, measures, initiatives, programs, and budgets is treated by discussing the balanced scorecard and its most recent derivative, strategy maps.
This entire process of analysis, formulation, and implementation involves issues of decision-making, ethics, and social responsibility, which receive specific attention in the course. In order to arrive at solutions the strategy process integrates knowledge from various functional areas, which is why it forms the capstone course. This is where everything should fall into place and students should feel ready to tackle business problems.

Teaching and learning methods:
The course incorporates several teaching approaches: text, cases, and lectures. You are expected to have read chapters relevant to the topic for a session before coming to class. You are also expected to know their content during tests and in order to prepare the group report. You are expected to come to class prepared by having:
- read the assigned readings and thought about them. Readings (chapters for a particular session) from the textbook are listed in the section ‘Course Schedule’ (“G”) of the course outline. You may also read relevant chapters from other books about Business Policy/Strategic Management and;
- read the case, make notes on the case with your own ideas and suggestions for analysis, and complete any assignments on this case.
Please note that class discussion will be boring, slow, and aimless unless you think over the issues presented in the case before class. The nature of the case method demonstrates that there is usually no single, best solution; hence, nobody has the monopoly for being right. To create a friendly atmosphere during the classes, only comments and reactions showing respect for any speaker are permitted. Please do not be surprised that I will, quite often, take a different stance than yours, even if it seems obvious that you are right. Any student may be requested to comment on particular issue from the case and defend her/his stance. Since information in the case material is usually an individual’s interpretation of facts, it is unlikely to find a single ‘best’ recommendation to the presented problems. Moreover, cases are often prepared for class discussion only, and not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Therefore, methodological aspects of arriving at proper solutions will be emphasised.

Literature (compulsory reading, recommended literature):
Will be announced at the beginning of the course.