MANAGEMT 7044NA - Strategic Management

Ngee Ann Academy - Trimester 1 - 2014

Strategic management is concerned with the long-term direction, scope and performance of an organization. As such it draws on other disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, economics, organisational behaviour) already covered in the MBA. Whether the overall 'strategy' of an organization emerges from the interplay of functional departments or is a 'grand plan' devised by one group, its implementation takes place at the functional/process level where goals, plans and actions need to align with other departments as part of a coherent orientation. Hence all managers need to understand how their roles and functions are part of the overall strategy of the organization.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MANAGEMT 7044NA
    Course Strategic Management
    Coordinating Unit Business School
    Term Trimester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Ngee Ann Academy
    Units 3
    Prerequisites MANAGEMT 7086NA, MANAGEMT 7103NA, MANAGEMT 7100NA & MANAGEMT 7104NA
    Corequisites MANAGEMT 7087NA
    Course Description Strategic management is concerned with the long-term direction, scope and performance of an organization. As such it draws on other disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, economics, organisational behaviour) already covered in the MBA. Whether the overall 'strategy' of an organization emerges from the interplay of functional departments or is a 'grand plan' devised by one group, its implementation takes place at the functional/process level where goals, plans and actions need to align with other departments as part of a coherent orientation. Hence all managers need to understand how their roles and functions are part of the overall strategy of the organization.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Chris Smith

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Intensive 1 (24th - 26th January 2014)
    Intensive 2 (21st - 23rd February 2014)

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner at
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of the course will be able to:

    Analyse complex organizational environments, cases and issues by reference to and application of relevant theories, concepts and models i.e.
    1. Diagnose environmental and industrial forces that drive and constrain strategic options for businesses.
    2. Specify the key elements of strategic advantage for individual organizations against the demands of their industries.
    3. Analyse strategic positioning strategies of firms and evaluate them against the necessary competencies and resources of the organization.
    4. Develop alternative strategies contingent on the demands of the organization and its industry context.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. A, B, C,D
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. A, C
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. D
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. D
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. A, C
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    The text for this course is

    Angwin, D, Cummings, S. & Smith, C (2011) Strategy Pathfinder, Core concepts and live cases (2nd Ed.) London: Wiley

    Recommended Resources

    Besanko, D., Dranove, D., Shanley, M. & Schaefer, S. (2013) Economics of Strategy (6th ed.) NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    De Wit, B. & Meyer, R. (2005) Strategy Synthesis. London: Thompson Learning

    Ghemawat, P. (2010) Strategy and the Business Landscape. (3rd Ed.) NJ: Prentice Hall

    Grant, R. (2013) Contemporary Strategy Analysis (8th ed.) NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Whittington, R (2001) What is Strategy and Does it Matter? (2nd ed.) London: Thompson Learning.
    Online Learning
    No specific online learning facilities are part of the course other than the usual communication and sharing of information/papers via MyUni. Please ensure that your MyUni email address is one through which you can be contacted.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The sessions will comprise input from the lecturer and group/individual work based on case studies, videos and supplied topics.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This is a standard ‘3 Unit’ MBA course which requires about 156 hours of student effort. These 156 hours includes the time spent in class and undertaking assessment as well as the reading and assignment preparation you must undertake outside of the class hours.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Session 1: ‘Strategy’ – meanings, manifestations and analysis

    In this session we examine the meanings and manifestation of strategy and strategy analysis at various levels.
    Reading: Pathfinder p. xiii - xix
     Heywood, S., Spungin, J. & Turnbull, D. (2007) Cracking the complexity code. McKinsey Quarterly, 2: 85-95.
     Pina e Cunha, M. & Vieira da Cunha, J. (2006). Towards a complexity theory of strategy, Management Decision, 44(7): 839 – 850.
     Porter, M. E. (1996) ‘What is strategy?’ Harvard Business Review, November-December: 61-78.
     Smith, C. (2005) The Origins of the word strategy
    Case:       The Iranian Hostage Crisis

    Session 2: Goals: Competitive advantage

    The goal of competitive advantage lies implicitly at the heart of all models of business strategy and is explicitly identified as the core issue by most ‘classical’ authors. In this session we explore some of the key concepts, practices and empirical findings pertaining to advantage
    Reading: Pathfinder Chapter 5
     Frank, R. J., George, J.P. & Narasimhan, l. (2004) When your competitor delivers more   for less, The McKinsey Quarterly, 1:48-59
     Huyett, W. I. and Viguerie, S. P. (2005). Extreme competition, The McKinsey Quarterly, 1: 47-57.
     Pretty Profitable Parrots. The Economist 2012 (12 May)
     Ryans, A. (2010). When companies underestimate low-cost rivals. McKinsey Quarterly, June, 1-5.
    Case:      The US textile industry

    Session 3: Positioning

    Based on their choice of pathway to competitive advantage managers then have a variety of options of how they will compete with rivals and which segment of the market they will compete for. In this session we examine some theories and frameworks that help analyse those choices.
    Reading: Pathfinder Chapter 5
     Auguste, B. G., Harmon, E. P. and Pandit, V. (2006). The right service strategies for product companies. The McKinsey Quarterly, 1:41-51.
     Fighting for the next billion shoppers, The Economist 2012 (30 June)
     Janmohamed, S. Z. (2010) Designing a game-changing Islamic brand, in the Muslim    Council of Britain’s publication ‘‘Nurturing the Future in Islamic Finance and Thought  Leadership’
     VW conquers the world. The Economist, 2012 (7 July)
    Case:       Designing an Islamic Cola (Three Islamic Colas)
    Session 4: Resources and Practice

    Although first discussed in the late 1950’s the resource-based-view (RBV) of the firm did not feature strongly in the publications and language of strategy until the late 1980s. The RBV emphasises the differences (heterogeneity) between firms and the competitive advantage that accrues to valuable, durable, difficult to imitate/substitute resources and capabilities.
    Reading: Pathfinder Chapters 5, 6
     Powell, T. C., Lovallo, D. & Fox, C. R. (2011) Behavioral strategy, Strategic Management Journal, 32: 1369-1386.
     Ulrich, D. & Smallwood, N (2004) Capitalizing on capabilities. Harvard Business Review, June: 119-127
     Word on a wing The Economist June 9th 2012
    Case:       Low Cost Airlines

    Session 5: The industry environment –structure

    Industries become fixed over the medium term into a particular structure that drives and is derived from the interactions of the firms in the industry.
    Reading:  Pathfinder Chapter 3, 5
      A fragile truce The Economist 2012
      And then there were three. The Economist, 2012 (1 Sept)
      The click and the dead The Economist, July 3rd 2010: 70.
      Things are looking up for lift makers. The Economist May 16th 2013
    Session 6: The industry environment – evolution and stage

    As industries evolve and change so to do the various success factors for survival and for success.
    Reading:  Pathfinder Chapter 3, 5
      Intoxication, The Economist, 2012, (July 14)
      Jiang, B., Koller, T. M. & Williams, Z. D. (2009) Mapping decline and recovery across  sectors, The McKinsey Quarterly, winter: 21-25.
      Printers sink, The Economist, 2012 (25 Aug)
      McGahan, A. M. (2004). How industries change, Harvard Business Review, October, 86-94.
      Zen and the art of car making, The Economist 2012 (16 June)
    Case:        The Golden Arches, Pathfinder, p.91-93

    Session 7: The industry environment - forces

    The five forces model emphasises the deterministic influence of the industry on an individual firm’s strategic actions and its relative performance. This approach assumes an ‘arms length’ relationship between suppliers, customers and competitors as they ‘compete’ for value and scarce resources. Complementors also influence the level of value in an industry and the prices and strategies of these firms need to be accounted for as well as the traditional buyers, suppliers and rivals.
    Reading:  Pathfinder Chapter 3
      Merchant, M. (2012) Why Porter’s model no longer matters Harvard Business Review blog
      Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy, Harvard Business Review, January: 78-93.
      Power is money, Pathfinder, p. 84-88
      The ineluctable middlemen, The Economist 2012, (25 Aug)

    Session 8: The macroenvironment and industry forces

    The profitability of firms is influenced by factors other than its immediate competitor/market interactions. Macroeconomic changes (e.g. interest rates, exchange rates), political moves (e.g. legislation for greater safety in cars, blocking takeovers), social changes (e.g. the ageing of the world) and technological innovation (e.g. the Internet) all have significant impacts (negative and positive) on profits. In some industries the non-market strategy of the firm/industry is more important than its competitive moves. A particular development that is having a major influence on how companies act and communicate their actions is the strong move towards ‘corporate sustainability’ as a model for capitalism in the 21st century
    Reading:  Pathfinder Chapters 1, 10.
      A continent goes shopping The Economist
      Bonini, S. M., Mendonca, L. T. and Oppenhiem, J. M. (2006). When social issues become strategic, The McKinsey Quarterly, 2 pp 20-31.
      Tackling Socio-political Issues in Hard Times. (2009). The McKinsey Quarterly, pp 2-7.
      China’s population The Economist, 2011 (7 May)
      McDonald’s: McAttacked. Pathfinder, p. 317-319.
      Marcos: Codes and Conduct. Pathfinder, P. 323-324.
      Nike: Local actions, global effects? Pathfinder, p.27-30
      Opening up India; The Economist, 2011 (16 April)
      Rules for fools; The Economist, 2011 (14 May)
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment item Percentage of Total Mark Relevant learning objective(s) Due or scheduled date
    Individual Assignment (summative/formative) 50 A, B, C, D 25th Nov. 2012
    Group Projects
    20 A, B, C, D In class
     Final Exam
    30 A, B, C As per timetable

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Statutory obligations in Singapore are such that attendance in person is a compulsory condition of passing a course. Our specific requirements are that students must attend at least 80% of class sessions to be graded for that course. For these purposes each intensive weekend is defined as comprising 5 sessions with 1 on Friday evening and 2 on each of Saturday and Sunday. Each course in total comprises 10 sessions; Students must attend a minimum of 8 sessions to be eligible to be given a grade for the course. Students failing to meet these requirements will be automatically graded 0% Fail (F) on their transcripts.

    Grade minimum

    To gain a pass for this course, a student must achieve at least 50% overall with a minimum of 45% for the overall individual components. Students not achieving this requirement will have a fail (F) recorded as their final grade
    The individual component is the weighted average of the assignment and the exam grades.
    Assessment Detail
    Class participation (10%)
    This is a broad concept that captures your engagement with the learning in the class and in particular during your work in groups. Other inputs such as attendance, mobile phone monitoring, interaction with the lecturer etc. are also taken into account.

    Individual assignment (60%)

    This is a written report/essay on the following topic.
    Using concept and theories from the strategic management course explain the ‘strategy’ of your organization in terms of goals, positioning and resources and critically evaluate the linkages between these three parameters. (This will attract 80% of the marks)
    On the basis of this critical analysis what specific changes would you suggest? (20% of the marks)

    (For an understanding of critical thinking/critical evaluation see )

    1. The assignment is designed to demonstrate your learning and application of models of positioning, resources/capabilities and competitive advantage and as such limited credit will be given for the use of models and theories outside of this arena.
    2. The assignment must be based on your current organization or else no marks will be given. Exceptions to this will only be granted in extreme circumstances and must be applied for and granted in writing (email) and a copy of the permission must be submitted with the assignment.
    3. The assignment will be graded against the criteria on the provided marking rubric. You are advised to keep the criteria in mind as you plan and write your work.
    A report (maximum 3000 words) to be submitted via MyUni by 5.00pm 23rd February

    Individual examination (30%)
    This will comprise a 3-hour open book examination on the date in your timetable. It will be based on questions around a case and examples will be given and worked through in class.
    The individual assignment, with the appropriate coversheet and declaration is to be submitted via MyUni by the deadline date. Please submit your assignment in ‘Word’ format and not pdf.
    Students are expected to submit their work by the due date to maintain a fair and equitable system. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits. A late assignment (without prior arrangement) may be penalised by a 5% mark reduction for each day that it is late.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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