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BPS 6310-MBC Strategic Management
Tuesday 1-4PM Office Hours: T uesday, 5-7PM Email: Professor Gregory G. Dess Office: SOM 4.401 Phone: 972-883-4439

Text: Dess, G.G., Lumpkin, G.T., & Taylor, M.L. 2004, Strategic Management: Creating Competitive Advantages, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin. (publication date: 1/23/2004—text only) Case and Readings Packets (Available at Off Campus Books and the UTD Bookstore) “Excellence is a habit, not an act.” Author Unknown “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” William Butler Yeats (Irish Poet) “One of the things about leadership is that you cannot be a moderate, balanced, thoughtful articulator of policy. You’ve got to be on the lunatic fringe.” Jack Welch (former CEO, GE) “This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” George Bernard Shaw Note: As a courtesy to your colleagues and to maximize the class learning environment, turn off all cell phones, do not engage in side discussions during class, and do not leave the room during class sessions. If you absolutely must leave the room, do not return until after the break period. Please do not bring a lap -top computer —unless you will use it only for this class! Class will begin on time, so please plan to get to class a few minutes early to avoid disruptions to the learning process. Always display your nameplate in front of you so that the participation/contribution evaluations can be as fair and accurate as possible. COURSE OVERVIEW The primary thrust of this course is general management. It will be different from most of the courses you have had in functional subject areas (e.g., accounting, marketing) in the MBA program because you are required to use a wide range of business knowledge and exhibit diverse skills. Therefore, it will be demanding and challenging because you must perform in topic areas where you have both strengths and weaknesses. This course has historically been referred to as "Business Policy" and its sole purpose was to help the student "integrate" the knowledge he/she had developed in other courses in the business currriculum. Business policy traditionally had little content of


its own. However, in recent years it has become increasingly apparent that general managers (including top executives) not only apply knowledge from a w ide variety of functional areas (e.g., accounting, marketing, finance), but also perform activities that require knowledge and skills not addressed in those areas. Therefore, it has become acknowledge d that there is a unique body of knowledge that is not taught in functional business courses that should be taught in a course such as this. Topics such as the nature of managerial work, strategy formulation and implementation, and organization design are examples. Also, the development/refinement of skills in oral and written communication and enhancement of conceptual/integration skills are major course objectives. COURSE OBJECTIVES The course has multiple objectives that include the following: 1. Developing a general management orientation; becoming able to analyze broad, organization-wide problems. 2. Integrating the business skills you have already developed and knowledge you have obtained. In the immediate future this should give you a better understanding of how your position(s) relate(s) to the overall performance of your organization. Also, much of this course is structured to simulate the job that many of you may have or will have in the near future – a staff executive responsible for helping to develop recommendations on the strategic issues that face your organization. 3. Developing skill in using your knowledge to solve the actual problems that are being experienced by today's organizations. 4. Improving skills in oral and written communication. 5. Developing an awareness of the literature of business policy/strategic management and how it applies to contemporary organizations. By the end of this course, you should be able to (1) analyze a particular business situation, (2) identify the significant problems, and (3) propose and justify explicit solutions that are realistic, effective, and efficient. Overall, it is extremely important to keep up with assigned readings. The course will cover a large amount of material and the instructor will bring in a wide variety of subject matter outside of the assigned chapters. Thus , it is vital to carefully read and make summary notes of the chapter materials and other materials in advance of class to get the most out of the course. As a general guideline, on average, plan to spend two hours outside of class for every hour in class. ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES You will be required to complete four activities in order to achieve the identified objectives:


1. Contribute to in-class discussions of chapters, readings, outside lecture material and cases by exhibiting (a) an understanding and articulate analysis of the information presented and (b) skills in the prerequisite course areas required for registration. An important portion of the total effort in this course will be directed toward the preparation of readings and cases for class discussion. The case discussions are very important because they require both an understanding and application of strategic management concepts. Questions are included in the class syllabus to guide preparation. Participation/contribution is obviously an important determinant of your final course grade. And, typically there is a rather large distribution of participation/contribution grades. Thus, you should look upon, in essence, each class session as an “oral examination” and be well prepared and engaged in all class discussions and activities. In addition, the instructor can award up to five bonus points for excellent participation/contribution and there will be adjustments to this grade for attendance/absence and promptness/tardiness. If you absolutely must miss class at least let me know in advance—as a professional courtesy. No “no shows”. And, please, don’t “cut out” at “halftime”. 2. Complete the Wall Street Journal Assignment. There will be four or five person groups in the class. Due: October 18 . 3. Complete a "GROUP CASE ANALYSIS" Assignment. There will be four or five person groups (or one or two three or five person groups if the case is not divisible by three) in the class. Due: November 22. 4. Complete a Final Examination. It will consist of fifty multiple choice questions (on the DLT text) and four out of five essay questions (“everything is fair game”). I will provide the paper. Examples of essay test questions will be distributed in class. OVERVIEW OF THE TWO GROUP ASSIGNMENTS There will be two group assignments. Please make a copy of all written assignments for yourself. I will keep the original in my files. ALL GROUPS WILL PREPARE WRITTEN BOTH WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS IN ADDITION, EACH GROUP WILL PRESENT EITHER ASSIGNMENT #1 OR ASSIGNMENT #2 ORALLY TO CLASS. WE WILL HAVE AN EQUAL NUMBER OF GROUPS PRESENTING EACH ASSIGNMENT. All assignments are due at class on the due date. There will be a ten-percent penalty from the total possible assignment grade for all late assignments. No exceptions, please. Plan accordingly. Please staple each assignment in the upper left corner-no covers, please. Assignment 1: Wall Street Journal Assignment (Groups of 4 or 5) The purpose of this assignment is to analyze critically a recent article (dated within four months from the assignment due date) from the Wall Street Journal (or Financial Times) selected by the student. The assignment is to be done in groups of four or five. "Base articles" will be approved on a "first come/first served" basis. There will be only


two groups permitted to use the same basic article. Approvals for base articles are to be obtained before September 27 and the assignment is due October 18. An illustrative list of issues that the WSJ may foc us on are given below. Internal Growth Concentration Market Development Product Development Innovation/Internal Development/Corporate Entrepreneurship Joint Ventures/Strategic Alliances ExternalAcquisition Growth Horizontal Integration Vertical Integration Concentric Diversification Conglomerate Diversification Disinvestment Retrenchment, Operating Efficiency Turnaround, product/Marketing Refocus Divestiture, Liquidation Management Development Labor Relations Internationalization Marketing (or emphasis on another functional areas) Corporate Culture , Reorganization, Restructure Strategy Implementation Organization Structure Importance of Industry Context on Organizational performance You should address issues such as the following (may differ with regard to topic areas): 1. What is the rationale (or lack thereof) for the action/decision? 2. Is the action/decision consistent with the organization's overall strategy? 3. What do you think will be the implications of the action/decision i.e., how should the action/decision improve or detract from the organization's performance? To address the above issues, the student should use a minimum of seven (7) outside sources of information from the “business press”. Suggested references include Annual Reports, 10K Forms, Business Week, Wall Str eet Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and Moody's Industrial Manual. Do not rely too much on the same references --select a variety. You are also required to integrate (not merely cite) into your analysis a minimum of 5 references from the following sources: Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Sloan Management Review , and Academy of Management Executive. Please do not deviate from this list of references—the idea is provide you some exposure to the lead ing practitioner journals that also typically have a strong theoretical/empirical basis and address key strategic management concepts. Use a good mix of these references, i.e., don’t have all five references from Harvard Business Review. The written assignments should be approximately ten double-spaced (12 CPI) pages, (excluding references and Exhibits). Ensure that the paper has an Executive Summary and that it is divided into sections and subsections in a logical manner.


Note: Oral presentations should be 15-20 minutes in length with approximately a 10-15 minute discussion period. Assignment 2: INDUSTRY AND COMPANY ANALYSIS (oral and written assignment) Select a publicly listed company and primary industry in which it competes. The following two sectio ns, "Industry Analysis" and "Company Analysis" contains suggested topics. You should address and analyze what issues are most important for your organization and industry. However, each analysis must include a five forces analysis, value chain analysis, and financial analysis (as a minimum, a ratio analysis). Each part of this assignment (Industry and Company) should be approximately 12-15 double-spaced pages each--excluding tables, charts, figures, etc. which are considered an important part of the assignments. Also, include a list of references for each section. Key: analyze and synthesize and minimize description and restatement of facts. Note: Only a maximum of two groups may analyze or given industry and only one group may analyze a given company. INDUSTRY ANALYSIS The industry analysis includes two interrelated parts. The first part provides a broad overview of the industry, its boundaries, and its evolution over time, with particular emphasis on the key dimensions that have shaped its condition in the last ten years. It establishes who the participants in the industry are, the nature of the markets, key strategic issues for the industry, growth rates, profitability, market shares, the products, financial trends, takeovers, the uncertainties in the environment, the distribution channels, etc. The second part of the report analyzes the current state of the industry in terms of the "five forces" framework proposed by Porter. In addition, the key points to be developed are the nature of competition, vario us segments in the industry, the general environmental trends that affect the industry, diversification efforts by participants and probably likely scenarios for the future. To summarize, the industry analysis includes issues such as the following: 1. DEFINITION OF THE TASK ENVIRONMENT • The boundaries of the industry • The competitors, their market shares, and segments they focus on • The products • Other elements of the task environment • The value-add chain and how individual firms vary 2. KEY ST RATEGIC FACTORS IN THE INDUSTRY • What are the ways to compete? • Historically, which of these have been most successful? • What distinctive competencies are required in the industry? 3. KEY GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS • Demographics • Technology • Political, social, and economic trends


• Internalization 4. STRATEGIC GROUPS WITHIN THE INDUSTRY • Describe bases for clustering • Identify "strategic groups" • Name key firms or SBUs in each strategic group • Indicate direction of movement 5. KEY ISSUES & FUTURE SCENARIOS • Key opportunities (in terms of products, vacant market niches, etc.) • Key threats (in terms of new entrants, product life cycle, product obsolescence, substitute products, etc.) • Key issues/choices facing the members of the industry COMPANY ANALYSIS The company analysis, in keeping with the pattern that we followed for industry analysis, consists of two interrelated parts. The first part should provide a broad overview of the firm, its evolution over time with particular emphasis on it strengths and weaknesses, its financial performance, its product lines, its distinctive competencies, its structure, its culture, and key executive who have shaped the company's policies in the last ten years. The second part of the analysis identifies the current strategy at corporate, business, and functional levels, labels these strategies, and identifies any changes in strategy in the 10-year period. Further, the report analyzes the company's performance in the light of the strategy followed and your own evaluation of the current strategy. The report concludes with the key issues that the company is currently facing. The insights developed from the industry analysis should be of particular help in identifying the key issues/choices that the company is faced with, recommended actions, and implementation considerations. To summarize, the company analysis includes issues such as the following: 1. DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRM • Product lines • The scope of the firm (geographic, target customers, technologies, etc.) • The size of the firm (sales, assets, personnel, etc.) • The firm's distinctive competencies • Key strategic managers • The company's culture and philosophy 2. STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES • In various functions (finance, marketing, production, R&D, etc.) • In organization • At various levels (top, middle & lower) • Incorporation of value chain concepts 3. OPPORTUNITIES & THREATS (Summarize) • See 3 and 5 under INDUSTRY ANALYSIS. 4. CURRENT STRATEGY • At corporate, business, and functional levels


• •

Their descriptions and label Sources of competitive advantage(s) and sustainability

5. ISSUES FACING THE FIRM l Match of strengths and weaknesses with opportunities and threats l Product market choices l Resource generation/allocation issues l Personnel issues (including managerial succession) l Stakeholder related issues 6. RECOMMENDED ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION CONSIDERATIONS Criteria to consider: l Goal consistency l Strategic relevance l Organizational capability l Political feasibility Each group is to provide a 15-20 minute presentation plus two discussion questions. All group members must participate in the presentation. (The groups will also lead a 10-15 minute discussion period.) Rather than attempt to "cover" the entire paper -focus on the most "interesting," "insightful," and "rigorous" aspects . The oral presentation will count 20% of the assignment grade.

GRADING The three activities in which you will be participating will be combined to determine your final course grade. Their respective weights are as follows: 1. Class Participation/Contribution 15% 2. Assignment 1 (written assignment due: October 18)* 15% 3. Case Analysis (written assignment due: November 22)* 35% 4. Final Examination (November 29) 30% Total: 100% Note: You are required to bring written notes for your analysis of the cases that are assigned. If I collect your written analyses (the HBS cases, NOT minicases) it will count 5% of the course grade. That is, if I collect 2 written case preparations , your grade will be on the basis of 110 points. There will be NO make-ups. If you must miss class, hand it in to me before class (or via email before class). The written analyses are to be individual assignments. If you do have a “SOM approved” reason for missing the class, you have the option of earning up to five points by completing another “WSJ Article Critique” Assignment (per syllabus instructions for Assignment #1) individually and handing it in with your final examination (or before that date). Note: Students may also earn a maximum of 5 bonus points for superb participation and contribution. Final Grades will be determined as follows: 90-100:A; 80-89.9:B; 70-79.9:C; <70:F


*Peer Evaluations (to be completed at the end of the final class meeting) All group members—which will be self-selected--are expected to do their fair share of work on the assignments. Fortunately, in about 85 to 90 percent of the groups -based on my experience in the United States-this is the case. Unfortunately, that leaves (historically) approximately 10-15 percent of the groups in which inequities occur. Since I do not know which groups have such a problem, I will use peer evaluations for all groups. For such a system to work, everyone must be honest and fair. First, if a group member(s) is making only a nominal contribution and/or is overly difficult to work with, the other groups member(s) may expel them/her/him from the groups and this individual must complete the assignment individually within two weeks of the due date. Second, all groups will multiply the number of people in their group by 100 points and assign the total points among the members. All members must receive between 80 and 120 (per evaluator) points. Each member's individual grade on the assignment will be determined by multiplying the group grade on the assignment by their total peer points (including their own rating) divided by 100 times the number of people in their groups. The instructor reserves the right to assign students to a group—or form another group—to even out group sizes, if necessary. EXAMPLE: Group Grade = 80/100, four students Student A - total peer ratings = 440 Individual Grade = 80 X 1.1 = 88 Student B - total peer ratings = 360 Individual Grade = 80 X.9 = 72 Students C and D - total peer ratings = 400 Individual Grade = 80 X 1.0 = 80 The instructor maintains the right to disregard self -ratings that are substantially higher than peer ratings. Everybody pull their fair share and let's minimize hard feelings and surprises!! Do not "award additional points" for promises of "increased output on the next assignment"; please look at each assignment individually. If you wish, you may change groups for the second assignment during the term. HOWEVER, since most groups work out satisfactorily, you may have relatively few options if your group doesn't work out.

SCHOLASTIC DISHONESTY The university has policies and discipline procedures regarding scholastic dishonesty. Detailed information is available at Students are expected to maintain a high level of responsibility with respect to academic dishonesty. Students who violate university rules are subject to discip linary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the university. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the integrity of the university, these policies will be strictly enforced.


WEEK 1 2

DATE August 23 August 30

ACTIVITY/ASSIGNMENT COURSE OVERVIEW/EXPECTATIONS/OBJECTIVES KEY CONCEPTS AND EXTERNAL ANALYSIS Chapters 1 and 2 (Dess/Lumpkin/Taylor-DLT) Reading : Hamel, G. & Prahalad. 1996. Competing in the new economy: Managing out of bounds. Strategic Management Journal, 17:237-242. Video: Gary Hamel, "Creating the Future" (50 minutes) Minicase l. Greyhound (Minicase #1) Questions: Why do you think the Greyhound strategy failed? What mistakes were made? How could they have been avoided?



Sept. 6

INTERNAL ANALYSIS Chapter 3 (DLT) Readings: Collis, D. & Montgomery, C. 1995. Competing on Resources: Strategy in the 1990s. Harvard Business Review, 73(4): 70-83 Case: Crown Cork and Seal in 1989 # 9-793-035 (25 pages) Issues for Analysis: 1. What are the most significant factors affecting competition in the metal container industry? 2. What strategy does Crown Cork have for competing in this industry? 3. What advantages, if any, does a firm the size of Crown Cork have over American Can and Continental Can? How do you explain the comparison show n in Exhibit 3 in the case? 4. What recommendations would you make to management? INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL: THE KEY TO VALUE CREATION Chapter 4 (DLT) Finalize groups for Assignment # 1 and determine what groups will give oral presentations for each of the two assignments. Reading : Barber, F. & Strack, R. 2005. The surprising economics of a “people business”. Harvard Business Review, 83(6):80-91. Minicase: PSS WorldMedical, Inc. (Minicase #2) Question: What are the key benefits of the investments in technology that PSS WorldMedical has made? Experiential Exercise: Atkinson Company Video: Carol Bartz, CEO Autodesk, Inc. (57 min.)




Sept. 20



Sept. 27


Oct. 4

BUSINESS AND CORPORATE LEVEL STRATEGIES Chapters 5 (DLT) Readings: Porter, M.E. 1996. What is strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6): 61-78. Kim, W. & Mauborgne, R. 2004. Blue Ocean Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82(10):76-84. Case: Matching Dell # 9-799-158 (22 pages) Issues for Analysis: 1. How and why did the personal computer industry come to have such low average profitability? 2. Why has Dell been so successful? 3. How big was Dell's competitive advantage before competitors started efforts at matching Dell? Calculate Dell's advantage over Compaq in serving the corporate customer. 4. How effective have competitors been in responding to the challenge posed by Dell's advantage? How big is Dell's remaining advantage? CORPORATE-LEVEL STRATEGY AND ELECTRONIC/DIGITAL BUSINESS STRATEGY Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 (pp.257-264; 270-280) Video or Guest Speaker Reading: Rifkin, G. & Kurtzman, J. 2002. Is Your E-Business Plan Radical Enough? MIT Sloan Management Review , 43(3):91-95.


Oct. 11

INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY Chapter 7 (DLT) Readings: Gupta, A. & Govindarajan, N. 2001. Converting global presence to global competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 15(2): 45-56. Case: Silvio Napoli at Schindler India (A) #9-303-086 Questions: TBA Wall Street Journal Assignment presentations (Written Assignments Due) Note: There may be some additional WSJ presentations on November 1 depending upon class size. Role Play Exercise: Plastico, Inc. Video: Pfeffer, “Managing with Power” (approx. 50 min.) STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION: CONTROL AND STRUCTURE Chapters 9 & 10 (DLT) Reading: Pfeffer, J. & Wong, C.T. 2002. The end of business schools? Less than meets the eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(1):78-95. Minicases: Bausch & Lomb (#3) and ADP, Inc. (#4)


Oct. 18

10 ` 11

Oct. 25 Nov. 1


Questions: What are some of the key contrasts between these two companies? How do the cases relate to the material in Chapter 9? What are the managerial implications? Case: Automation Consulting Services # 9-190-053 (11 pages) Issues for Analysis : 1. How should the ACS founders deal with the problems they have identified? Be as specific as possible in making recommendations for each of the four offices. 12 Nov. 8 STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION: LEADERSHIP Chapter 11 (DLT) Reading: Birkinshaw, J. & Gibson, C. 2004. Build ambidexterity into your organization. MIT Sloan Management Review, 45(4):47-55. Minicases: AMT International Industries, Inc. (Minicase #5) Question: What are the key leadership implications of this case? Pepsi-Cola Company (Minicase #6) Question: What are the key elements of Craig Wetherup's transformation? Would it work in other organizations? Levi Strauss & Company’s (LSC) Global Sourcing Guidelines (Minicase #7) Question: What should LSC do? Ho will LCS’s decision affect w various stakeholders? CORPORATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND NEW VENTURE CREATION Chapter 12 Final Exam Review Final Case—Presentations (written assignments DUE) Final Examination (50 multiple choice questions and four out of five essay questions)


Nov. 15


Nov. 22


Nov. 29