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COURSE NAME: "Strategic Management"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Silvia Pulino
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: Senior Standing and completion of all other Business core courses
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This capstone course focuses on the roles and skills of the General Manager and on diagnosing and finding realistic solutions to complex strategic and organizational problems. Business situations will be analyzed from the point of view of the General Manager to identify the particular tasks related to his/her unique role, which calls for leadership, integration across the functional areas, organizational development, strategy formulation and implementation. Prerequisites: Completion of all Core Business Courses. In particular, case discussion will require a good understanding of Finance (performance evaluation, forecasting, budgeting), Marketing principles, Organizational structure and Management.
The course builds on previous course work by providing an opportunity to integrate various functional areas and by providing a total business perspective.
Foundation Concepts. Understanding Industry Structure. Creating Competitive Advantage. Dynamic Competition. The Corporate Dimension – Growth by Acquisition, International Strategy, Strategic Alliances, Corporate Governance. Entrepreneurial Strategy. Vision, Mission and Leadership.

Students who complete the course successfully should be able to:

 1. Analyze the key competitive forces of an industry

 2. Assess the overall attractiveness of an industry from the perspective of both the existing participants and potential new entrants

 3. Identify key areas that require a strategic response

 4. Assess the skills and capabilities of a firm, including the qualities of its leadership

 5. Evaluate a company’s strategic health

 6. Formulate a sustainable generic strategy

 In addition, the course introduces or reinforces many transferable skills, including:

 -          Oral presentation

 -          Team work

 -          Project management

 -          Business writing

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Crafting and Executing StrategyThompson, Peteraf, Gamble, StricklandMcGraw-Hill Education International Edition978-1-259-92199-5  
Course PackMiscellaneousHarvard Business School Publishingn/a Students will purchase and download a set of articles and cases from HBSP publishing.

Class participationThe class participation grade will reflect preparation, attendance and quality and frequency of participation. Class preparation will require students to read all the assigned material and to explore the guiding questions provided in Moodle. Class participation will help students understand the material better and build confidence in public speaking. In each class, I will ask a student to make a brief presentation of the material s/he prepared, but all students are encouraged to participate in almost every class at least once and if possible more than once, actively engaging in the debate. The instructor may also indicate university open lectures that are relevant to the course; students are expected to attend such lectures (unless there is a scheduling clash with another course) as part of their class participation activities. Participation to these activities will enhance the class participation grade. Assignments and deadlines will be posted on Moodle. Students are required to sign up and keep up to date with all Moodle postings for the course. 10%
Group Project (paper)Students will organize themselves into groups and conduct an in-depth analysis of a real company, providing a description of the company’s strategy and achievements and an assessment of how suitable the current strategy is to meet future challenges. Students are required to submit a written paper (15-20 pages plus Bibliography and Attachments) and to make a brief (15 minutes) presentation of their findings. Specific Guidelines for the report will be provided on Moodle.30%
Group Project (Presentation)Students will present their work in lieu of a final exam. Presentations will be graded on the basis of style, delivery, research, content and visual aids. While the grade for the presentation is individual, it will inevitably be enhanced by strong team work in the preparation of the report and the presentation visuals. Specific Guidelines for the presentation will be posted on Moodle.20%
Term paperStudents will submit a term paper (7-10 pages plus Bibliography and Attachments) that will test their understanding and mastery of industry analysis. Guidelines for the Term Paper will be provided on Moodle.35%
Elevator Pitch Competition An Elevator Pitch is a quick way of putting across the fundamental elements of a project, a business idea, a social cause or even one's professional qualifications and capturing the other person's attention to prompt him/her to action. The JCU Elevator Pitch Competition is intended as a vehicle to encourage students to develop this specific skill and test it in a competitive environment. ALL students are expected to participate. A panel of three JCU professors will evaluate and judge the pitches. The pitches will be evaluated on the basis of: • Substance: clarity and persuasiveness of the argument presented • Delivery: attention to tone, volume, pronunciation and pace • Non-verbal communication, including attire and background • Timing: pitches will be cut off after 60 seconds 5%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Students are expected to come to class and to arrive on time.

Absences: students are allowed up to 3 absences during the semester.

Tardiness: students arriving more than 5 minutes late for class will be marked as absence (though they may stay and follow the lesson).

Persistent absence or tardiness usually precludes satisfactory performance in the course, and will result in a lower class participation grade. In any case, students are responsible for all material covered by the syllabus and/or discussed in class, whether or not they are actually present.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


 NOTE: This table is merely indicative. The definitive schedule is the one on MOODLE.


Topic / Learning Objectives



What is strategy and why is it important?

  • Understand how to navigate this course.

  • Understand what is meant by a “company’s strategy” and by “sustainable competitive advantage”.

  • Learn the five most basic approaches for setting a company apart from rivals.


  • Describe a company’s business model, customer value proposition and profit formula

  • Apply the three tests of a winning strategy.



Vision, Mission, Objectives and Strategy

  • Understand the strategy-making, strategy-executing process.

  • Crafting an effective vision statement

  • Learn the importance of setting both strategic and financial objectives

  • Understand why strategic initiatives at various organizational levels must be tightly coordinated

  • Identify what a company must do to achieve operating excellence and to execute its strategy proficiently

  • Understand the role and responsibility of the board of directors


Vision, Mission, Objectives and Strategy (continued)

  • Understand why strategic initiatives at various organizational levels must be tightly coordinated

  • Identify what a company must do to achieve operating excellence and to execute its strategy proficiently

  • Understand the role and responsibility of the board of directors



Evaluating a Company’s External Environment

  • Recognize the factors in a company’s broad macro-environment that may have strategic significance.

  • Use analytical tools to diagnose the competitive conditions in a company’s industry


Evaluating a Company’s External Environment (continued)

  • Map market positions of key groups of industry rivals.

  • Determine whether an industry’s outlook presents a company with sufficiently attractive opportunities for growth and profitability.


Evaluating a Company’s Resources, Capabilities and Competitiveness

  • Assess how well a company’s strategy is working (financial statement analysis).

  • Understand the importance of a company’s resources and capabilities in gaining competitive advantage (VRIN analysis).


Evaluating a Company’s Resources, Capabilities and Competitiveness (continued)

  • Evaluate a company’s strengths and weaknesses in light of market opportunities and external threats (SWOT analysis).


Evaluating a Company’s Resources, Capabilities and Competitiveness (continued)

  • Recognize how a company’s value chain activities can affect the company’s cost structure and customer value proposition (Value Chain analysis).

  • Analyze a company’s competitive situation to make critical decisions about the next strategic moves.


Class 10 SPEAKER


Evaluating a Company’s Resources, Capabilities and Competitiveness (continued)

  • Evaluating the competitive strength of main players in the automotive industry



The 5 Generic Competitive Strategies

  • Connect the five generic strategies to the kinds of competitive conditions in which they work best.

  • Understand how best to compete using each of the generic strategies.


Strengthening a Company’s Competitive Position: Strategic Moves, Timing and Scope of Operations

  • Choose between offensive or defensive strategic moves.

  • Understand the strategic benefits and risks of expanding a company’s horizontal scope through mergers and acquisition.

  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of extending the company’s scope of operations via vertical integration.

  • Recognize the conditions that favor farming out certain value chain activities to outside parties.

  • Understand the benefits of strategic alliances as a substitute for mergers and acquisitions or vertical integration.


Strategies for Competing in International Markets

  • Identify the primary reasons companies choose to compete in international markets.

  • Understand how and why differing market conditions across countries influence a company’s strategy choices in international markets.

  • Learn the five major strategic options for entering foreign markets.

  • Apply the three main strategic approaches for competing internationally.

  • Identify the unique characteristics of competing in developing-country markets.


Case 1 - Crafting Strategy in Single-Business Companies


Corporate Strategy: Diversification and the Multibusiness Company

  • Understand when and how business diversification can enhance shareholder value

  • Identify how related diversification strategies can produce cross-business strategic fit capable of delivering competitive advantage

  • Assess the merits and risks of unrelated diversification strategies

  • Use analytic tools for evaluating a company’s diversification strategy

  • Learn the four main corporate strategy options a diversified company can employ for solidifying its strategy and improving company performance




Case 2 - Crafting Strategy in Diversified Companies


Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Sustainability and Strategy

  • Understand what drives unethical business strategies and behaviour.

  • Describe the costs of business ethics failure.

  • Learn the concepts of corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability, as well as the trade-offs with economic responsibilities to shareholders.



People, Capabilities and Structure

  • Learn what managers must do to execute strategy successfully.

  • Understand why hiring, training, and retaining the right people are key to strategy execution.

  • Recognize that good strategy execution requires continuously building and upgrading an organization’s resources and capabilities.

  • Identify the issues to consider in establishing a strategy-supportive organizational structure.

  • Appreciate the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized decision making in implementing the chosen strategy.


Executing Strategy - In-class Exercise


Corporate Culture and Leadership: Keys to Good Strategy Execution

  • Describe the key features of a company’s corporate culture.

  • Understand the connection between a company’s culture and strategy execution.

  • Define the types of actions management can take to change a problem corporate culture.

  • Recognize what constitutes effective managerial leadership in achieving superior strategy execution.


Case 3 - Polaroid


Case 4 - Fuji Film