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Lent Term 2011

Shahzad (Shaz) Ansari


Technology is a key driver of change in several increasingly inter-connected

industries. This module will seek to familiarize the students with basic concepts in
strategy and how firms seek to build their competitive advantage on technology.
We will focus in particular on the dynamics of technological evolution, and
competition in the New Economy. The module will help students understand how
firms such as Microsoft, Intel or Kodak are able to develop sustainable
competitive advantages based on their technologies, while other, equally
innovative firms fail to capitalize on their innovations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module students should develop a greater understanding of:

• Strategy in hi-tech markets.

• The dynamics of the “network economy”, and the strategies needed to
succeed in it.
• Why some technologies become widely accepted while others do not.
• How some firms are able to develop competitive advantage around their
• How are some firms able to ‘lock-in’ markets and what are the public
policy implications of this.
• Some understanding of the organizational challenges involved in
implementing strategy.


1. Strategy in the New Economy

Discussion of competitive strategy; industry analysis; resource-based view in

strategy; competitive dynamics in the face of network effects.

Prahalad, C. K. “The core competence of the E-article via
and Hamel, G. corporation.” Harvard Business Business Source
(1990) Review, 68(3): pp. 79-91 Complete

Printed article in
Mezzanine Journals

Lent Term 2011

Porter, M. (2008) “The five competitive forces that E-article via

shape strategy”. Harvard Business Business Source
Review, 86(1): pp. 78-93 Complete

Printed article in
Mezzanine Journals
Shapiro, C. and Information rules: a strategic guide to Study pack
Varian, H. R. the network economy. Boston:
(1999) Harvard Business School Press. Printed book at:
HC79.I55 S32
Ch. 9: ‘Waging a standards war’

2. Designing and implementing strategy in a growing hi-tech company

Discussion of the Acer case followed by theoretical insights.

Barlett, C. and St Acer Inc.: Taiwan’s rampaging To be distributed by
George, A. dragon. administrator
(1998) ECCH # 9-399-010

Questions to assist you in analyzing the case:

1. As Stan what action would you take on Aspire?

2. What accounts for Acer’s outstanding startup? What caused this company
to outpace scores of other Taiwanese PC companies?
3. After such a strong decade, why did Acer’s growth and profitability tumble
in the late 1980s? How do you evaluate Leonard Liu’s performance?
4. How effective has Shih been in rebuilding Acer in the early/ mid 1990s?
What do you think of his new business concept (fast food model, Uniload,
Smiling Curve etc.) and his new organization model (Client-Server, 21 in

3. Building Competitive Advantage on Technology.

Strategy in practice! Case discussion on Apple’s quandary; industry analysis;

standards wars.

Yoffie, D. and Wang, Apple Computer 2002 To be distributed by
Y. (2002) ECCH # 9-702-469 administrator

Lent Term 2011

Questions to assist you in analyzing the case:

1. When did Apple begin to lose the plot in the PC industry?

2. Evaluate the responses of various Apple CEOs to Apple’s dilemma?
3. Is iPod the solution to Apple’s problems?

Teece, D. “Capturing value from technological Study Pack
(1988) innovation: integration, strategic
partnering, and licensing decisions” E-chapter via
[In:] Guile, B. and Harvey, B. (eds.) NAP
Technology and global industry:
companies and nations in the world
economy. Washington: National
Academy Press.
Cusumano, M., “Strategic maneuvering and mass E-article via JSTOR
Mylonadis, Y. & market dynamics: the triumph of VHS
Rosenbloom, R. over Beta.” Business History Review,
(1992) 66(1): pp. 51-94
Tushman M. L. Managing strategic innovation and Study Pack
and Anderson, change: a collection of readings.
P. (eds.) (1997) Oxford: OUP. Printed book at:
HD31.T87 1997
‘Technology cycles, innovation
streams, and ambidextrous
organizations”. pp 3-23

4. Competitive dynamics in face of technological discontinuity.

Technology strategy in practice! Disruptive innovation; Surviving radical

discontinuities; Creating standards.

Gavetti, G., Kodak (A) To be distributed
Giorgi, S. and ECCH # 9-703-503 by administrator
Henderson, R.

1. What should Kodak’s strategy be?
2. What opportunities does the emerging digital market hold for Fuji/ Sony/

Lent Term 2011


Bower, J. and “Disruptive technologies: catching the E-article via

Christensen, C. next wave.” Harvard Business Review, Business Source
(1995) 73(1): pp. 43-53 Complete

Printed article in
Mezzanine Journals
Christensen, C. The innovator’s dilemma: when new Study Pack
(1997) technologies cause great firms to fail.
Boston: Harvard Business School Printed book at:
Press. HD53.C47

Markides, C. “Disruptive innovation: in need of E-article via
(2006) better theory”. Journal of Product Business Source
Innovation Management, 23(1): pp. Complete