MANAGEMT 7044NA - Strategic Management

Ngee Ann Academy - Trimester 1 - 2015

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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    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 (13-15 February 2015)
    Intensive 2 (6-8 March 2015 )

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner at
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Knowledge and Understanding

    This course is designed to give students the skills to

    · analyse strategic macro environmental issues;

    · analyse industry factors, and identify their impact on profitability and strategic positioning;

    · assess organisational performance;

    · identify strategic capabilities and gaps;

    · assess and evaluate SBU strategies; and

    · analyse and implement strategy at the single business unit level.

    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.
    Pathfinder p. xiii - xix
    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: Your own organization 
    Session 2: 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.
    Pathfinder Chapter 3, 5
    And then there were three. The Economist, 2012 (1 Sept)
    The click and the dead The Economist, 2010 (3 July)
    Things are looking up for lift makers. The Economist 2013 (16 May)
    Case: A fragile truce The Economist 2012 (9 June)

    Session 3: The industry environment – evolution and stage
    As industries evolve and change so to do the various success factors for survival and for success. While the excitement and drama of new and emerging industries captures our attention, it is the long and incremental battle in mature industries that will occupy most managers for most of their working lives.
    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)
    Zen and the art of car making, The Economist 2012 (16 June)
    Case: The Golden Arches, Pathfinder, p.91-93
    Session 4: 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 ‘arm’s 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.
    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.
    The ineluctable middlemen, The Economist 2012, (25 Aug)
    Case: Sell foam like soap The Economist 2011 (5 May)
    Session 5: 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
    Pathfinder Chapters 1, 10.
    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)
    Opening up India; The Economist, 2011 (16 April)
    Rules for fools; The Economist, 2011 (14 May)
    Case: Big tobacco firms are maintaining their poise, but quietly wheezing The Economist 2014 (14 Jan.)
    Session 6: 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
    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 7: 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.
    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.
    Brands are finding it hard to adapt to an age of scepticism, The Economist 2014(1 Feb)
    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

    Session 8: 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.
    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 2012 (9 June)
    Case: Low Cost Airlines

    Session 9: Strategy options
    The inertia of the resource commitment of an organization which we discussed in the previous session can lead to a narrow focus on the strategic opportunities that the firm might pursue. Although ‘change’ is often put forward as the antidote to stagnating profits or sales there are often undramatic courses of action that can be undertaken that can improve strategic performance.
    Pathfinder Chapter 11
    Big tobacco firms are maintaining their poise, but quietly wheezing The Economist 2014 (14 Jan.)
    Sell foam like soap The Economist 2011 (5 May)
    Word on a wing The Economist 2012 (9 June)
  • 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 Part A   (summative/formative) 35 A, B, C, D 5 March 2015
    Individual assignment Part B
    35 A, B, C, D, 5 April 2015
    Group Projects
    30 A, B, C, D In class

    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
    Individual assignment (35% + 35%)

    This is a 2 part assignment.

    Part A (35%)
    Using concept and theories from the strategic management course analyse the industry of your organization in terms of its structure, stage, industry forces and the major Macroenvironmental forces impinging on the industry.
    Indicate how you see the industry developing over the next 10 years and the impact that this will have on the players in the industry.
    Maximum 2000 words to be handed in via MyUni by midnight on Thursday 5th March 2015

    Part B (35%)
    On the basis of your analysis in Part A critically evaluate the strategy of your organization from the perspective of its goals, positioning, resources and activities. 
    Maximum 2000 words to be handed in via MyUni by midnight on Sunday 5th April 2015

    (Please note that ‘critically evaluate’ does not mean ‘criticize’) For an understanding of critical thinking/critical evaluation see


    i. The assignments are designed to demonstrate your learning and application of models and theory and the use of content as input to those models. Stand-alone descriptive content will garner few marks..

    ii. 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.
    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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