DRAFT: 9/9/2012 ←

← ← ← BA 490 BUSINESS STRATEGY FALL 2012
AND POLICY

← ← ←
← ← ← ← ←

Instructor: Miriam Plavin-Masterman Instructor Office Hours: Mondays/Wednesdays 10-11:30 AM, Tuesdays/Thursdays Contact Information: e-mail: mplavinmasterman@worcester.edu

11:30-noon, and by appointment , Sullivan Room 218

Course Description Course description. This course in business policy focuses on integrative,

multifunctional approaches to the solution of organizational issues and problems. A practical perspective, rather than a merely theoretical one, is stressed via lectures and discussion of case studies. Why use a case-study approach? Three levels of learning take place: ← ← ← 1. We share the generalized insights of leading theoreticians; 2. We test the applicability and limits of these theories to specific case studies; and 3. You develop your own special combination of insights based upon empirical


← ← ←

observations and inductive reasoning (from case analyses). How are cases used in 490?

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Page 2 of 13 ... Your ability to take a cross-functional. ← ← ← ← ← Class participation 2. bringing together and applying the learning from core courses to the analysis and solution of strategic management problems. Your ability to present a position and to defend it. during the course. marketing. top management perspective in developing 3.g. ← ← This course is a capstone – and it calls on you to integrate concepts of all other prerequisite business courses. Your ability to decipher detail and to analyze information – including financial information -.e. To provide you with opportunities to apply and test concepts and tools related to dimensions of management thought (e. The course is intended to enhance the following skills: ← ← 1. Your ability to decide from among alternative courses of action and to formulate 4. not just on analysis. as well as the complexity of reaching solutions and implanting them in organizations. feasible plans for their implementation. accounting. you will have an opportunity to see a wide range of organizations in action. and to think about their specific choices and actions as if you were in charge. feasible overall strategies as well as specific problem solutions. understand what went on in a What has changed? What are the key questions about the future that need to be answered? What further information is needed to answer those questions? Major emphasis is placed on action and implementation. Each case situation: ← case features a top management team facing a specific set of issues and problems. i. • ← • • • ← What do you—as a class member—need to do? First. finance).DRAFT: 9/9/2012 • As discussion vehicles for probing the benefits and limits of certain approaches.in order to identify and to diagnose the major problems and opportunities confronting business organizations. So. • ← To help you to understand the nature of “better” answers.

DRAFT: 9/9/2012 ← You should come prepared for class discussion of cases and supplemental readings. Please do not email me at midnight and expect me to get back to you before our class meeting the next day. ← ← ← both available at the Bookstore. I do not accept late assignments. and 3) strong and convincing presentation of your findings and conclusions. that is. free of ← grammar and spelling errors and composed in 12-pt Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins and double-spacing. some supportive data. [NOTE: I generally check and respond to emails Monday-Friday during the day. stating your perception of the underlying problem. and your recommended plan(s) of action. Bear in mind how difficult it is to assess your participation if you are absent from class! Attendance will be taken.g. Please see the section on written case analyses for more detail. You will know which case will be used two weeks ahead of time. texts and casebook. with an outline or bullet point list of your case analysis. Students are expected to attend ALL class sessions ON TIME. Extenuating circumstances should be discussed in advance with the professor via e-mail. Page 3 of 13 . They will be posted on Blackboard. due during finals week. Written case analyses. I do not provide ‘make up’ assignments (again. ← ← ← ← ← ← Case study questions are intended to get you thinking about the issues in the case and to lead you through the process of analysis. lateness. occurring more than 4 times – nearly 10% of the sessions) will be reflected in your final grade.] ← ← All students are expected to participate fully in cooperative class and team activities. or leaving class or discussion early (e. 2) clarity and conciseness of your analysis. There will be two short in-class written case analyses plus a ← ← ← final longer one. All typed written assignments MUST be typed on neat 8.5’’ x 11’’ paper. Your class participation grade will be based on: ← ← 1) evidence of careful preparation of the cases and readings. Frequent absence. extenuating circumstances should be discussed in advance). Course Requirements and Assessment The course has two required texts: Business Policy and Strategy.

I will be looking for demonstration of logical argumentation and consistency in your thought processes. Stay focused and on-topic. keeping your comments relevant and succinct 3. these basic guidelines are a good place to start: 1. I will make any needed accommodations for students who provide documentation from the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. Class Attendance – 10%-. generation of solutions. and synthesize course material 6. ← ← ← Performance evaluation Strategic issues seldom have clear-cut or singularly “right” solutions. 2. Bring up good questions about subjects that need further exploration 5. attempt to answer unpopular or difficult questions. If you have a learning disability. since they will be turned in to me at the end of the class period. apply.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 ← Those assignments done in class must be hand written. Respectfully help to clarify points that others may not have understood 4.” Although you should certainly feel free to develop your own participation style. Participation – 10% – I will be evaluating the extent to which you are prepared for class. be willing to recognize and acknowledge good counterarguments) 7.g. Grades will be based on your performance in (a) oral discussion and argument (defense) of your ideas and (b) written communication. Demonstrate your willingness to take risks (e. This means that ← my evaluation of your performance will be based upon your managerial aptitude in problem diagnosis. Consistently make valuable contributions about topics under discussion 2. Before each week's topic a set of discussion questions will be posted on Blackboard. offer creative speculations. try to make the discussion interesting and enjoyable for yourself and your classmates Page 4 of 13 . assigned as follows: ← 1. Demonstrate your ability to analyze. A former professor of mine once drafted the following list of participation “best practices.Your participation will be judged based on your steady attendance and punctuality in class. and communication of your position. Be cheerful and good-natured. Use these to prepare for the discussion portion of the class. please come and meet with me. Your overall performance will be based on points.

and c. 2 in-Class Case Reports [14 pts each] 28%. given the questions you are answering. You will know which case will be used two weeks ahead of time. You are expected to assume and carry out the responsibilities as agreed upon by your team. and reactions to theoretical arguments and debates. The expectation is that you will: a. empirical observations. One member will be responsible for the financials. policy proposals. Preparing a written case analysis is like preparing a case for class discussion. thinkpieces should not. Each thinkpiece should focus on one interesting idea or insight that the course has inspired in you. you will be able to bring in one double-sided sheet of notes on the case for use in the writeup. 2 Team presentations in-class -. Thinkpieces should be 2-3 pages in length. perform whatever analysis and evaluation is appropriate. except that they all must address the course material. 4. Questions for the cases will be posted on Blackboard and you and your team can work on the questions as soon as you would like. 2 Thinkpieces– 14% . however. Team meetings may be face-to-face or e-meetings. b. thinkpieces will prove easiest if you write them while insights are fresh in your mind. and you will be assigned to a case study team. In general. research ideas. be simple summaries of the readings. particularly if you give them some thought in advance. These short essays should be neither hard to write nor time-consuming. Do not wait until just before their due dates to see whether an idea is genuinely “novel” or “correct”. All members are responsible for answering the case study questions and relationship to the text. propose an action plan and set of recommendations addressing the issues you have identified. There are no assigned topics for these thinkpieces. Team workload will be assigned equally. except that your analysis must be more complete and put in report form. Thinkpieces may take a wide range of forms.22% These are group assignments.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 3. 5. I will give you a specific case to use in the two in-class write-ups. They should follow the general guidelines for written assignments. identify all the pertinent issues that management needs to address. including personal reflections. Questions will be provided in class for you to address. that is not the goal of these pieces. Page 5 of 13 . One member will be responsible for the assembly and formatting of the PowerPoint slides (pull it all together). and they should include a title of some kind.

given the questions you are answering.** Grading Scale A AB+ B BC+ 94-100 90-93 87-89 83-86 80-82 76-79 C CD+ D DE 72-75 69-71 66-68 62-65 59-61 58 and under Week 1: September 6th: Introduction: What is Strategy? Why study strategy? Readings: Chapter 1 Week 2: September 11th and 13th: Overview of strategic management process Case study methodology Choosing the right strategy/objective Readings: Chapter 2-The Managerial Process of Crafting Strategy JetBlue Case Week 3: September 18th and 20th Competitive Assessment Industry Attractiveness/Finances Readings: Chapter 3-Evaluating a Company’s External Environment Page 6 of 13 . the expectation is that you will: a. and c. Final case writeup .16% I will give you a specific case to use for the final case write-up two weeks ahead of time along with questions you need to address. (2) perform whatever analysis and evaluation is appropriate. b. (1) identify all the pertinent issues that management needs to address.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 6. **Note that this assignment has a 10 page typed limit. As with the in class reports. (3) propose an action plan and set of recommendations addressing the issues you have identified.

DRAFT: 9/9/2012 Whole Foods Case Team presenting: 1 Thinkpiece #1 due by September 27th Week 4: September 25th and 27th: Five forces model SWOT/group map SWOT Competition/Strategy Finances Readings: Chapter 4 . Mergers and Acquisitions HP and Compaq Case –read the (A) case for background.Supplementing the Chosen Competitive Strategy In-class case writeup #1 – October 11th Week 7: October 16th and 18th: Drivers of Change SWOT Readings: Chapter 8-Tailoring Strategy to Fit Specific Industry and Company Situations Page 7 of 13 . prepare the (B) case for discussion Team presenting: 3 Week 6: October 9th and 11th SWOT/Finances/Five forces model Readings: Chapter 7-Competing in Foreign Markets Chapter 6 -.Evaluating a Company’s Resources and Competitive Position Golf Industry Case Team presenting: 2 Case for in-class writeup #1 posted on Blackboard Week 5: October 2nd and October 4th SWOT/Five Forces Readings: Chapter 5 – The 5 Generic Competitive Strategies Alliances.

2004 Team presenting: 3 Week 12: November 27th and 29th: Readings: Readings: Chapter 13-Corporate Culture and Leadership eBay Case Team presenting: 4 Page 8 of 13 . No class Thursday November 22nd : Readings: Harley-Davidson. Ethics. and Social Responsibility Dilemma at Devil’s Den Team presenting: 2 Week 11: November 13th and 15th: Readings: Chapter 12-Managing Internal Operations In-Class Case writeup November 15th Week 11: November 20th.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 Netflix and Blockbuster Team presenting: 4 Week 8: October 23rd and 25th Nine cell industry attractiveness Finances/strategy/competitive strength Readings: Chapter 9-Diversification-Strategies for Managing a Group of Businesses Panera Bread case Team presenting: 5 Week 9: October 30th and November 1st: Readings: Chapter 11-Building an Organization Capable of Good Strategy Execution Adidas Case Team presenting: 1 Thinkpiece #2 due at the beginning of class October 30th Case for in-class writeup #2 posted on Blackboard Week 10: November 6h and 8th Readings: Chapter 10-Strategy.

DRAFT: 9/9/2012 Final Case Analysis #3 Assigned This Week: Due DECEMBER 17th Week 13: December 4th and 6th: Readings: Retail Strategies at Philadelphia International Airport: in-class December 4th Team presenting: 5 Wrap-up Page 9 of 13 .

Decide whether the firm has valuable resource strengths and competencies and. its profit margins and rates of return. Analysis and Evaluation This is usually the hardest part. logical arguments backed up with facts and figures. production. and the significant problems and issues that confront management. if so.e. Use the tools and concepts you have learned about to perform whatever analysis and evaluation is appropriate. whether it is capitalizing on them. If your analysis involves some important quantitative calculations. look at marketing. Make sure you can identify the firm's strategy (use the concepts and tools as diagnostic aids) and that you can pinpoint whatever strategy implementation issues may exist (consult the material in the text for diagnostic help). Don't just tack the exhibits on at the end and let me figure out what they mean and why they were included. avoid recounting facts and history about the company (assume I have read the case and am familiar with the organization). “the firm is facing a difficult challenge”) as a substitute for tight. The reference guide has various financial ratios and how they are calculated. State problems/issues as clearly and precisely as you can. Decide whether and why the firm's competitive position is getting stronger or weaker. • Check to see if the firm's strategy is producing satisfactory results and determine the reasons why or why not. Instead cite Page 10 of 13 . present the calculations as clearly and efficiently as possible. Use it to assist in your financial diagnosis. broad over-generalizations. bear in mind four things: a. and generic statements –(i. Similarly. b. its strategy. and its capital structure. Probe the nature and strength of the competitive forces confronting the company. You have to offer analysis and evidence to back up your conclusions. run them! Check out the firm's financial ratios.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 Written Case Analysis for Final Paper: Identification It is essential that you provide a sharply focused diagnosis of strategic issues and key problems and that you demonstrate a good grasp of the company's present situation. Do not rely on unsupported opinions. In writing your analysis and evaluation. Analysis is hard work! If there are numbers. and decide how strong the firm is financially. managerial competence. Make sure you include an overview of the company's situation. Unless it is necessary to do so for emphasis. and other factors underlying the organization's strategic successes and failures.

Also try not to exaggerate or overdramatize." and "I believe" . and prevailing market and environmental constraints. Use them in your report. State how your recommendations will solve the problems you identified. your recommendations for actions should offer a reasonable prospect of success. on the one hand. bet-the-company recommendations should be made with caution. Your set of recommendations should address all of the problems/issues you identified and analyzed. • In proposing an action plan. Do not use phrases such as "I think. on the other hand. casually suggesting courses of action that might be taken when you do not have to bear the responsibility for any of the consequences. The importance of learning to develop good judgment in a managerial situation is Page 11 of 13 . • State your recommendations in enough detail to be meaningful. remember there is a lot of difference between. Recommendations The final section of the written case analysis should consist of a set of definite recommendations and a plan of action. this greatly weakens your suggestions of what to do. Demonstrate that you have command of the strategic concepts and analytical tools to which you have been exposed. also check to see if your recommendations are workable in terms of acceptance by the people involved. Offer a definite agenda for action. Your interpretation of the evidence should be reasonable and objective. High-risk. A good rule to follow in making your recommendations is: Avoid recommending anything you would NOT be willing to do if you were in management's shoes." or “the data illustrates”. being responsible for a decision that may be costly if it turns out to be wrong and. If the recommendations come as a surprise or do not follow logically from the analysis. c. and refer me to any exhibits for more details. instead use "My analysis shows. state exactly how you think this should be done. d. highlight the conclusions to be drawn from the exhibits. the organization's ability to implement them. Try not to hedge or weasel on the actions you believe should be taken. Be sure the company is financially able to carry out what you recommend.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 some of the key numbers. Obviously. Avoid such unhelpful statements as "the organization should do more planning" or "the company should be more aggressive in marketing its product”. Be wary of preparing a one-sided argument that omits all aspects not favorable to your conclusions." "I feel.

the quality of the judgments about what the information means and which actions need to be taken does vary from person to person. show a 5 year and/or a 10 year performance chart. **Email address: share your email with your committee members. The Use of PowerPoint & Format For In-Class Case Study Presentations (with thanks to Gus Luparelli) 1. Class hand-outs: All cases have class handouts. Who did PPT? Who pulled PPT together? 3.this takes tight logic. Relationship to text slide: Very Important !! Make sure that you make the connection between the case and chapter/chapters in the text." p. The Marquee slide: The name of the case study with names of presenters in speaking order. Use of the Business Administration copier is restricted for professor’s use. 3 to 8 slides. Utilize the sales and income figures presented in the text. (Gragg. would I buy the stock? Why? Why not”? 3 to 5 slides. the industry. Please plan ahead !! 9. Stock Prices/performance slides: If publicly traded. They will be in 6-up PPT format per page. Make sure you review and understand financial ratios. 10). Answer the question: “Based on this presentation. 8. the situation. The Committee slide: What did the committee do/responsibilities? i. About the company. 6. Who did what questions? Who did the financial analysis? ii.DRAFT: 9/9/2012 indicated by the fact that. No last minute copying. the problem. Case study questions: There are 10 to 16 questions (or more) for each case with multiple sub-questions. It is imperative that Page 12 of 13 . Great ideas amount to little unless others can be convinced of their merit -. even though the same information and operating data may be available to every manager or executive in an organization. One per student. 2. Overview of the case study slides: What is the case about? Tell us about it. 7. the presentation of convincing evidence. ANSWER ALL OF THEM !! 5. INCLUDE A LOGO ON ALL SLIDES. 5 to 15 slides 4. • It goes without saying that your report should be well organized and well written. "Because Wisdom Can't Be Told. Financials slides: Very Important !! Each case should have a financial presentation based on the data in the case. There can be 1 to 3 slides per question. and persuasively written arguments.

or a dark background with light lettering (font).DRAFT: 9/9/2012 you meet regularly to discuss your case and to formulate strategy and presentation format.six lines. Creativity and appropriate graphics recommended. Limit graphics to meaningful supportive icons. 8. The use of a company’s logo is mandatory. Use dark lettering (font) with a light background. **Observe the PPT “rules of 6”. 10. Page 13 of 13 . 7.

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