Essay on Corporate Strategy Syllabus BSS 2014

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Course Outline
MGT 2021 – Sections 4 and 8
Corporate Strategy
Fall 2014
Course Meets: Monday RSM LL 1060 at 4:15-6:15pm (section 4) and 6:30-8:30pm (section 8)
Office Hours:

Brian S. Silverman, Office #7013
By appointment

Course Scope and Mission
In Corporate Strategy, we extend the analysis of business-level strategy to the corporate or multi-business level. We address questions such as: What is corporate strategy and why is the research on corporate strategy performance described as “sobering?” What are the main decision criteria for guiding diversification strategies? With respect to firm size, how big is too big? Why are “economies of scope” considered fundamental to corporate strategy analysis? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the multidivisional form? With reference to a firm’s flagship product line, what decision criteria can be used for deciding which complement and substitute products are best produced within the boundaries of the firm and which are best provided by the market? Why might markets that are subject to increasing returns be likely to exhibit “extreme competition” and what are the implications for corporate strategy?
How might multi-business-unit firms exploit particular demand-side features, such as network effects and positive feedback? How might small single-business-unit firms exploit the scope of large multi-businessunit firms for their own advantage? Under what conditions might firms be able to exploit the well-known
“innovator’s dilemma” to advance their corporate strategy? To what extent are clever strategic actions congruent with overall welfare for humankind? We will explore such questions through the lens of economic theory with occasional reference to sociological and psychological insights, apply the concepts in the context of case analyses, and discuss implications for corporate strategy.
Required Readings
Some of the required readings are provided on the course portal; the others are available for purchase from Ivey Publishing here: TBD very soon. If you have technical difficulties, then please contact Ivey directly:, or 519-661-3208. This is copyrighted material. Please do not distribute or post.
There is no required text for this course.
Evaluation and Grades

Each student shall be evaluated on the basis of how well he or she has command of the course materials. Grades will be based on the following:
Team case/critique presentation:
Team preparation of questions:
Class contribution:
Final exam:


Each team will present either a case analysis or a case critique. Both assignment types are described below. Case Analysis
Case analyses should develop an internally consistent set of strategy recommendations, with the focus of the report and presentation being on the analysis used to generate the recommendations. Cases will be graded on the thoroughness of analysis (real data-driven analyses are preferred; make assumptions where necessary), clarity of presentation, and insightfulness of answers to questions posed during Q&A.
Teams will submit a 5-page case analysis in PDF format via email to me by 8:00am on the date indicated in the assignment schedule below. (Page limitations do not take into account appendices, which may include tables, figures, calculations, etc.) I will post this report on the course website. In addition, teams will prepare and distribute hard copies of their slide deck (3 slides per page, double-sided) to class participants and me just prior to the start of class on the day of their presentation. Also, each team will load their own slide deck onto the classroom computer at least 5 minutes prior to the start of class so that they are ready to begin immediately when the session commences. Presentations will be 15 minutes, followed by a 15-minute critique. The, the Presentation Team will take 3 minutes to respond to the critique.