Recommended reading
Recommended literature us specified for each class in the class syllabus (below).
Class preparation
Each class will have reading (cases, articles and/or book chapters) associated with it. You are expected to prepare for each class by reading the assigned material (the study questions may help you find a perspective on the reading). Individual time required to analyze material, especially cases, varies significantly.  Some students may be unfamiliar with reading English articles, the use of cases, or discussion-based teaching.  Experience suggests that students should plan to spend at the very least three hours (more, if lacking in English language skills, business or technical experience) on analyzing case and articles and preparing for each class, and to prepare extensive notes of their analysis to guide them in their discussion.  For each class, there will be by study questions, which provide guidance in analyzing the case. It is also a good idea to form study groups with your peers, to prepare for classes and to help each other out with understanding articles and cases.

Classroom discussion
This is a course at the Master level, meaning that there is a joint responsibility between the instructor and the student for the learning reached.  Classroom discussion is the main interaction between teacher and students in this course. It is crucial both for the students' understanding and the quality of the discussion that the students are intimately familiar with the contents of the material before the lecture begins.  When the assigned material contains a case, every student will be expected to be able to give a short (3-5 minute) presentation of the case company, as well as discuss strategic and technological issues of importance, at each class.

Grades are determined as follows:
The individual written assignments are to be done in the following fashion: The maximum length for one assignment is 600 words, or two (A4) pages including illustrations (if any). The assignments are to be handed before class on the day of the assignment, in both the following ways:
The individual assignments can be written in English, Norwegian or Swedish.

Detailed seminar plan
The right to make changes at any time is most explicitly reserved. Unless linked directly or otherwise detailed, articles are available as PDF files in Blackboard.  Unlees otherwise stated, classes take place at Auditorium C3041, 3. floor in the C building.
Date/lecturer Topic & study questions Preparation
Introduction: What is strategy, how do we study it, why is it important?
1430 - 1715
Monday, January 12

Espen Andersen

Introduction, course overview, work processes, administrivia, course objectives. What difference does strategy make?

Study questions:
1. The word "strategy" is frequently applied to all kinds of things - but how do you know whether a question or a problem is really strategic.
2. Why should hard-nosed executives care about management theory?  How does Christensen and Raynor's concept of theory fit with your view of what theory is?
3. What is "pattern matching" and how do you get good at it?
4. Read the case "Battle of the browsers" on page 35-36 in Johnson and Scholes. Microsoft's strategy is very much given in Sherman's Fortune article from 1984 - how did the Internet and the 2000 court ruling change Microsoft's strategy?

Read and be prepared to discuss: 
  • Chapter 1 in Johnson and Scholes.
  • Christensen, C. M. and M. E. Raynor (2003). "Why Hard-nosed Executives Should Care about Management Theory." Harvard Business Review (September): 67-74.
  • Sherman, S. P. (1984). “Microsoft's drive to dominate software.” Fortune (January 23): 82-90.
In your spare time:
  • Solman, P. and T. Friedman (1982). Life and Death on the Corporate Battlefield. New York, Simon and Schuster.
    Fun book with lots of anecdotes about companies doing smart things to outwit their competitors.
  • Cringely, R. X. (1992). Accidental Empires: How the boys of Silicon Valley make their millions, battle foreign competition, and still can't get a date. Harmonsworth, Middlesex, England, Penguin Books.
    Gossipy, fun and thorough book on the small start and phenomenal grwoth of the personal computer industry, and the rather curious characters who did it.

The Strategic Environment
1430 - 1715
Monday, January 19

Bjørn T. Hammer

Key to this lecture is learning to understand the strategic environment in which the organization is operating, and how it influences what you can do.
Study questions:
1. Factors in the PESTEL analysis are (often) easy to identify, but how is it possible for managers to pinpoint the important ones, and how these will affect their firm.
2. In the air transport market the low cost, or “no-frills”, airlines have gained an increasing part of the market. Can this development best be explained by macro-level factors or as a consequence of the competitive environment? What about other industries such as TCE (technology, communication and entertainment), what is happening here, and what are the driving forces?
3. Where on the life cycle is the air transport industry, and how (if possible) would you define strategic groups and market segment for this industry?
Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Chapter 3 in Johnson & Scholes.
  • The Norwegian air transport market will be used through this lecture as example and basis for discussion. It could be an advantage to make a search on either Atekst or Factiva for relevant newspaper articles to get an update on this industry.
Further reading:
  • Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York, Free Press.  This is the classic text on competitive analysis, and introduced the "five forces" framework as well as the three generic strategies of (low cost, unique features, or niche).  Surprisingly few people have read this book, though many have cited it....
Understanding strategy development
1430 - 1715
day, January 26

Espen Andersen

In this session, we will look at the Johnson and Scholes' three lenses of strategy (strategy as design, as experience and as ideas) and how strategy is developed.  This chapter is a challenge: The literature summaried is vast and the concepts complicated. Reading the Honda case (last pages of chapter) first, then the chapter itself, may help, as well as the Christensen article.

Study questions:
1. What circumstances encourage seeing strategy as design, experience or idea?
2.  What type of strategy perspective do you think dominates in  these companies: Norsk Hydro, P4,
SAS, Schibsted Media, Telenor, Trolltech?
3. Was Honda's success a consequence of strategy as design, as experience, or as idea?
Read and be prepared to discuss:
  • Chapter 2 in Johnson & Scholes.
Further reading:
  • Christensen, C. M., M. Raynor, et al. (2001). "Skate to Where the Money Will Be." Harvard Business Review (November): 73-81.
  • Pascale, Richard T. (1984) "Perspectives on strategy: The real story behind Honda's success", California Management Review 26(3):  47-72.  Read the full paper.  It is good.
Strategic Capability
1430 - 1715
day, Febuary 2

Strategic capabilities are what an organization needs to stay alive and compete - but if can be difficult to understand both what strategic capability is in general and for individual organizations.

Study questions:
1. What is the role of managers in a value chain?  What do they do?
2. How can you use computers to make a value chain more efficient?
3. How can you use computers to make an organization better at creating and disseminating knowledge? What is hard about doing this?
4. Find out what you can about the Dell Computer Corporation.  This company sells computers that are built to order, letting the customers specify what they want.  What are Dell's core competencies? What are examples of skills and competencies that Dell does not need? Why is Dell's way of building computers a competitive advantage? Which customers do they serve? (This one is hard:) What can break Dell's business model and turn their current competitive advantages into liabilities?  (Hint: Do a SWOT analysis.)
  • Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 4 in Johnson & Scholes
    • Porter, M. E., & Millar, V. E. (1985). How information gives you competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review(July-August), 149-160.  (Original article about the Value Chain model of a corporation).
    Further reading:
    • Read about the Amazon case in the text book, and look at their web site. Do a SWOT analysis for Amazon - what do you find?
    Strategic capability (continued)
    1430 - 1715
    Monday, February 9

    Espen Andersen
    In this session we will continue the discussion about strategic capability. We will discuss a case (to be handed in as the first individual assignment), then see where the discussion takes us from there.

    Individual assignment 1, to be handed in before class (that means before 1430!!!!), see details in text on individual assignments:
    Read the case about Catatech, and write a memo to Marisa Rivera, answering the following questions:
    1. How much of a threat to Catatech are new companies such as e-Herramientas?
    2. What should Marisa do?
    (Use your best judgment and the literature done so far in the course for analysis of this case).

    Study questions:
    1. Read the page on Solectron (p. 163) in the text book.  Answer the questions posed.
    2. Many companies are currently outsourcing much of their production facilites to other countries where costs are lower.  Why are they doing that, and what risks do they incur when doing it?
    3. Read my article on buying furniture.  What should the Norwegian furniture company do to regain its competitive advantage?
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 4 in Johnson & Scholes
    • Porter, M. E., & Millar, V. E. (1985). How information gives you competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review(July-August), 149-160.  (Original article about the Value Chain model of a corporation).
    Further reading for the specially interested:
    Expectations and purposes
    1430 - 1715
    day, February 16

    Espen Andersen

    Organizations are formed for a purpose - but just what that purpose is can be a matter of contention between various stakeholders in the company.  We will explore some of the conflicts that can come up, and what governance mechanisms we set up to resolve them.

    Study questions:
    1. What is the purpose of a hospital according to the patients, the doctors, the owners or the authorities?  If hospitals were not regulated, how would they be different?
    2. What is the purpose of the Post Office according to the personal customers, the business customers, the authorities? Who are the stakeholders (apart from those mentioned) and what are their expectations? How are conflicts over the purpose of the Post Office resolved?
    3. What is the purpose of the a major business school according to the students, the faculty, the administration and the authorities?  How are conflicts over the purpose resolved?
    4. A viewpoint among some management and economics scholars is that for private companies, maximizing profits for the shareholders will lead to the best result for all involved.  Why is that so, and do you agree?
    5. "Ethics can be good business?"  Do you agree?
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 5 in Johnson & Scholes
    Further reading (for the especially interested):
    In your spare time:
    • Lewis, M. (1989). Liar's Poker. London, Hodder & Stoughton. Funny and insightful about the creation of the bond market in the US - securitization of mortgages, etc. Wild account of what happens when financial incentives run amok and organizational culture starts feeding on itself.  The author was a bond salesman for Solomon himself.
    Expectations and  purposes/Corporate-level Strategy

    1430 - 1715
    day, Febuary 23

    Espen Andersen

    In this session, we will continue the discussion from session 6, and explore the concept of the multidivisional company and the role of the corporate parent.

    Study questions:
    1. Visit Orkla's home page and read about their strategy, as described in their 2002 annual report. How does the corporate center in Orkla add value?
    2. What value does Richard Branson add for Virgin? How does he do it?
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 6 in Johnson & Scholes
    • Reread this article from session 1:
      Christensen, C. M. and M. E. Raynor (2003). "Why Hard-nosed Executives Should Care about Management Theory." Harvard Business Review (September): 67-74.
    For the specially interested:
    • Drucker, P. F. (1994). "The Theory of the Business." Harvard Business Review (September-October): 95-104. A excellently written argument for a historical and "business-idea" view of the world and corporate purpose.
    • A good book about the role of the corporate center is Goold, M., A. Campbell, et al. (1994). Corporate Level Strategy, Wiley.  An article summarizing the main issues in the book is Campbell, A., M. Goold, et al. (1995). "The Value of the Parent Company." California Management Review 38(1): 79-97.
    In your spare time:
    • Branson, R. (1998). Losing my virginity. London, Virgin. Richard Branson's autobiography - a fun romp through English business and pop culture with a person who definitely has made his mark on it. Makes you understand how little and how much it can take to succeed.
    Business-Level Strategy
    1430 - 1715
    day, March 1

    Espen Andersen

    Business-level strategy is at the core of the field of strategic management: How shall the individual business achieve and sustain competitive advantage?

    Individual assignment 2, to be handed in before class (that means before 1430!!!!), see details in text on individual assignments:
    In the market for inkjet printers, a few companies (
    HP, Lexmark, Canon and Epson are the largest) dominate. The market is different from many others in that the printers are sold at cost - practically given away - and all the profits are taken on the printer cartridges.  However, the four printer-producing companies face competition from providers of reconditioned and off-brand inkjet cartridges.  How can the printer companies protect their revenue stream using technology,  legislation, alliances, pricing or other mechanisms?

    Study questions:
    1. Think back to the small furniture company that has to compete with IKEA - what options are open to them if they want to do
     a) a low-cost strategy,
     b) a differentiation strategy, or
     c) a niche strategy
    2. What is a sustainable competitive advantage and how can it be secured?
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 7 in Johnson & Scholes.
    • Anything you can find on the inkjet cartridge market.
    Further reading (for the especially interested).
    • Chapter 8 in Johnson & Scholes for some tools of analysis.
    In your spare time:
    • If you have spare time by now, I really must have done something wrong....

    Organizing for success
    1430 - 1715
    Monday, March 8

    Espen Andersen

    In this session, we will focus on organizational structure, and how organizing a company can influence its strategy and how strategic management is done.

    Study questions:
    1. What are the advantages of organizing along region, product line, or main market?
    2. Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble are organized along product lines, with product innovation, quality management and brand enhancement being core capabilities.  Why are these companies organized that way and what are the pros and cons of that organization.
    3. What kind of internal organization would you expect to see in a chain company? a shop? a network?
    4. What influence does globalization have on organizational structure and strategic management?
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    Further reading for the especially interested
    • Simons, R. L. (1995). Levers of Control. Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press. Excellent book on control systems and how leaders create strategy through selecting one control system and making it active.
    In your spare time:
    • Peter, L. J. and R. Hull (1969). The Peter Principle. New York, W. Morrow. A cynical and rather fun view on life in large organizations and the unexpected sides of hierarchy.  Here is an attempt at generalization.
    Enabling success
    1430 - 1715
    Friday, March 15

    Espen Andersen

    In this session, we will primarily look at the role of two of the support activities of organizations - managing people through the HR function and managing information technology throught he IT function.

    Study questions:
    1. Can information technology use create competitive advantage?  If so, why and how?
    2. Can HR practices and people management create competitive advantage?  If so, why and how?

    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 10 in Johnson & Scholes
    • Malone, T. W. and J. F. Rockart (1991). "Computers, Networks and the Corporation." Scientific American (September): 128-136.
    Further reading for the specially interested:
    • Lots of books here, a very good one on how to manage IT in a corporation is Weill, P. and M. Broadbent (1998). Leveraging the New Infrastructure. Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press.
    Managing strategic change
    1115 - 1400
    Friday, March 19

    In this session, we will focus on a case of corporate streategic renewal, namely the experience of Glamox, a small Norwegian industrial company, from 1998 to 2001.

    Study questions:
    What is a SPOC?  What are the responsibilities of the SPOC?  What technologies and information do you need to run a SPOC?
    What are the differences between the “standard” way of producing lamp fixtures, and the new, componentized process in terms of
    a) lot size
    b) reset time
    c) product design
    d) management
    e) long-term market position?
    3) How does Glamox go to market (market, sell, and deliver its products) for the EPL and GMO divisions?  Who has market power and why?  What can Glamox do about it?
    4) What is Glamox' strategic position and outlook at the end of the case, and what strategic options does Christian Thommessen have?
    5) What would you have done differently from Christian Thommessen?

    Is Glamox a typical Norwegian industrial company?  In what respects is it different from others?  Similar?

    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • Chapter 11 in Johnson & Scholes
    • The Glamox case.
    Further reading for the specially interested:
    • Kotter, J. P. (1995). “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” Harvard Business Review (March-April): 59-67.
    • Hammer, M. (1990). "Reengineering Work: Don't Automate, Obliterate." Harvard Business Review (July-August): 104-112.

    In your spare time:
    • Gerstner, L. (2002). Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround. New York, HarperBusiness.
    12 Network externalities and network industries
    1430 - 1715
    day, March 22
    Espen Andersen
    In this final session, we will look at technology in a Value Network, exemplified by the case of the Nordic Mobile Telecommunications industry.
    Read and be prepared to discuss:
    • The Concours Group (2001): Doing business in a mobile world, Re.Sults report
    • Andersen, E. and Ø. Fjeldstad (2003): Understanding inter-firm relations in mediation industries with special reference to the Nordic Mobile Communication Industry, Industrial Marketing Management
    Further reading for the specially interested:
    • Shapiro, C. and H. R. Varian (1999). Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press. Excellent book on information economy (sale of information goods) and network effects.  If you want to understand the "new economy" without all the buzzwords, this is the book for you.

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