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CORPORATE STRATEGY (CY)

Syllabus

Module Description
As the initial academic component of the MBA program this module will help your
transition into the academic world again. Academic study is different to what we
are used to doing in say our work life. Assignments are different to reports;
writing up a case study is different to a work or a home project. There are the
formal requirements, which you have already been exposed to. You will learn the
strength of external validity.

Then there are the thinking differences. Academic pursuits should lead us to
think more conceptually and formally. Some resist this. However, when you are
able to combine conceptual thinking and knowledge of theory with application to
the world around you, you will become a stronger and more confident manager
and leader. You will stand out.

Therefore, Week 0 is a quick introduction to some of these differences. Weeks 1


through 8 will draw these things out further in the context of a graded module –
Corporate Strategy.

The module will help students to discover their strengths and weakness as a
manager/leader by applying the knowledge you have learnt to actual business
situations. But more specifically this is done using a ‘strategic thinking filter’. Your
decision-making thought processes would be documented through the module
activities so these processes can be refined to apply sound business and
management strategy in a variety of situations.

Rather than considering a particular business function, e.g. accounting, finance,


information systems or marketing, you will have to stand on the mountain and
look over the business and the environment in which it operates, the internal,
external, controllable and uncontrollable forces that effect how well your business
will do.

The module will use case studies, as well as drawing from the student’s work
experiences to reinforce the learning concepts.
Module Aim
The primary goal of this module is to equip students to think strategically and to
understand some key elements of strategic management.

Module in Relation to the MBA Program


The module is a core module for the MBA program. It is also the first academic
module. It provides a framework for academic and strategic thinking. The module
is designed so that previous knowledge of other modules is not required.
Textbook
Thompson Jr., A. A., Strickland III, A. J., Gamble, J. E., Crafting and Executing
Strategy – The Quest for Competitive Advantage, Concepts and Cases,
McGraw-Hill Irwin, 16th edition, 2008. ISBN 978-0-07-128590-2 (International
Edition)

Other References:
Other supplemental reading material will be provided by the instructor during the
course of the module. These will include lecture notes and additional reading
sources.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the Corporate Strategy module students will be able to:

1) Identify key elements of strategic management.


2) Analyze an organization and identify the strategic strengths and weaknesses
of the organization.
3) Think strategically and coherently express that thinking.
4) Understand the essential long term nature of corporate strategy
5) Develop operational procedures to implement strategy
6) Recognize that corporate strategy has to address all the functional business
areas.
7) Demonstrate awareness at the need for global nature of strategy.
8) Take into account the corporate culture when developing strategy.

Learning Strategies
Learning strategies emphasize class discussions and individual analysis and
synthesis thought discussion papers, application assignments and case studies.
Reflective learning will be utilized through weekly integration papers.

Module Work:
In the weekly Seminars, students are required to submit work as noted below:

Discussion Questions
• For Week 0 – two individual discussion questions
• For Weeks 1,3 and 6 - two individual Discussion Question answers
• For Weeks 2,4,5,7 and 8 – one individual Discussion Question answer.
Application Assignments and Written Case Studies.
• For Weeks 2,5 and 7 - One individual Application Assignment answer
• For Weeks 4 and 8 – One Written Case Study answer

Integration Papers
• This is a weekly assignment, which will be due on the last day of
each week, Wednesday, Day Seven. Look at the entire week and
prepare a paper, which synthesizes the activities of the week. Do
not just “re-hash” the week or the book!
• While this paper need not be of great length (750 words), it must
demonstrate analysis of the week’s events to conclude how these
affected you personally and professionally. Instead of just a
summary of all that was read and discussed, it should be a
conversation about what it meant to you. Specifically tell us (if
applicable) those aspects of the class which were new to you,
concepts used by you at work, theories which made no sense or
with which you disagree, and anything you found that was not new
or of no use for you. Also include how your participation enhanced
or detracted from your learning.

Participation
• The “Participation” grade has two elements, attendance and
contribution:

- Making a substantial posting to a discussion thread on a minimum of


3 days in the week, not including initial DQ responses evidences
attendance. “Substantial” postings will normally be in the order of 2 – 3
paragraphs and 6 – 10 postings per week, not including the initial DQ
response, or those responses required by other assignments (the IP,
project etc).

- Contribution is evidenced by value of the postings to the learning of the


class

Instructors will evaluate your participation based on both of these criteria


(attendance and contribution). Note that, for minimum passing grade,
participation posts must be balanced during the week and not posted
primarily in the last day or two of the seminar. Your initial DQ response
must be posted by Saturday, unless advised otherwise by your instructor.
Your instructor may excuse you from participation for one week (only) of a
module if advanced notification and a legitimate reason are given.

You may receive a warning if you flood the classroom with responses. As
the emphasis in the discussions is on quality rather than quantity, you may
be asked to make your responses more focused and to the point. Flooding
the classroom with messages is inconsiderate behavior and creates more
work for all involved. You can always send compliments, questions, and
comments to the private mailboxes of your fellow students.

To assist you in assessing your own contribution, ask yourself if your


postings:
- contribute original views?
- build creatively on the views of others?
- show intelligent critique of theory or practice?
- add an international or cultural aspect to the class?
- show originality in the application of theory?
- clarify the theory being studied?
- encourage the effective contribution of other members of the class?

- DUE DAYS
• Your work is due on the following days.
ƒ For the weeks where there are two DQs
• DQ1 is due on Saturday (Day 3)
• DQ2 is due on Monday (Day 5)
ƒ For the weeks where there is one DQ and an Application
Assignment (AA)
• DQ is due on Saturday (Day 3)
• AA is due on Monday (Day 5)
ƒ For the weeks where there is one DQ and a Case Study
• DQ is due on Saturday (Day 3)
• Case Study is due on Monday (Day 5)
• The IP is due on Wednesday (Day 7)

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR MORE DETAILS AND INFORMATION


THAT IS STANDARD TO ALL MODULES!

http://www.uol.ohecampus.com/handbook/hb/docs/general_overview_mba.html

The above link will provide you more detail regarding the following:
1. Reading the lectures and material.
2. Responding to discussion questions
3. Participating with other students’ submissions
4. Attendance
5. Access to the library
6. Academic Integrity
7. Assessment
8. A summary of a typical week of online learning
Syllabus
Week 0

Topics:
• Academic thinking
• The Manager
• The company in our world

Workload: Two discussion questions, one Integration Paper and required


participation.

Reading and Viewing:


• Read the Harvard Business Review (HBR) paper What Great Managers Do,
provided
• Read the following:
1. How to Analyze a Case
2. How to discuss a Case
3. How to Avoid Getting Lost in the Numbers.

Week 1

Topics:
• The Strategic Management Process: An Overview,
• Establishing Company Direction

Workload: Two discussion questions, one Integration Paper and required


Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 1 – What is Strategy and Why is it Important?
Chapter 2 – The Managerial Process of Crafting and Executing Strategy

Week 2

Topics
• Industry and Competitive Analysis
• Evaluating Company Resources and Competitive Capabilities.

Workload: One discussion question, one Application Assignment, one


Integration Paper and required Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 3 – Evaluating a Company’s External Environment
Chapter 4 – Analyzing a Company’s Resources and Competitive Position

Week 3
Topics
• Strategy and Competitive Advantage

Workload: Two discussion questions, one Integration Paper and required


Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 5 – The Five Generic Competitive Strategies: Which One to Employ?

Week 4

Topics
Other Strategy Choices.
Strategy for competing in foreign markets.

Workload: One discussion question, one Written Case Analysis, one Integration
Paper and required Participation.

Reading:
Chapter 6 – Supplementing the Chosen Competitive Strategy: Other Important
Strategies.
Chapter 7 – Competing in Foreign Markets

Week 5

Topics
• Tailoring Strategy to Fit Specific Industry and Company Situations.
• Strategy and Competitive Advantage in Diversified Companies.

Workload: One discussion question, one Application Assignment, one


Integration Paper and required Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 8 – Tailoring Strategy to Fit Specific Industry and Company Situations
Chapter 9 – Diversification: Strategies for Managing a Group of Businesses

Week 6

Topics
• Strategy and Ethics..
Workload: Two discussion questions, one Integration Paper and required
Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 10 – Strategy, Ethics, and Social Responsibility

Week 7
Topics
• Building Resource Strength and Organization Capabilities
• Managing the Internal Organization to Promote Better Strategy Execution.

Workload: One discussion questions, one application assignment, one


Integration Paper and required Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 11 – Building an Organization Capable of Good Strategy

Chapter 12 – Managing Internal Operations: Actions That Promote Better


Strategy Execution

Week 8

Topics
• Corporate Culture and Leadership – Keys to Effective Strategy Execution

Workload: One discussion question, one Written Case Analysis, one Integration
Paper and required Participation.
Reading:
Chapter 13 – Corporate Culture and Leadership: Keys to Good Strategy
Execution
CY -- Grading Chart
Wk Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Component Weight
0 Grade
Discussion - 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 20%
6-Point Scale
Question 1 Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale
Discussion - 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 15%
Question 2 Scale - Scale
- - Scale - - 6-Point Scale

Participati - 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 15%
6-Point Scale
on Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale
Application - 20%
4-Point 4-Point 4-Point
Assignme - Scale - - Scale - Scale - 6-Point Scale
nt
Case - - 6-Point 7.5%
Analysis 1 - - Scale - - - - 6-Point Scale

Case - - 6-Point 7.5%


Analysis 2 - - - - - - Scale
6-Point Scale

Integration - 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 4-Point 15%
6-Point Scale
Paper Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale Scale
Final - - - - - - - - - 100%
Grade for 6-Point Scale
module

Further information and clarifications, which form an integral part of this syllabus,
discussing the principles and practices of online learning is found in the Students’
handbook http://www.uol.ohecampus.com/handbook/hb/ in Appendix 2: MBA
Curriculum under “General Information for All Modules”.
The section on the grading scheme is also found in the Students’ Handbook in
the “Grading of Modules” > “MBA module grading” section.
The electronic library resources are accessible through web pages
http://www.liv.ac.uk/library/ohecampus/mba/mbahome.html

End of Syllabus
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copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B.V.