BUSINESS STRATEGY AND POLICY
Scott Dawson Duane McDougall
Office Hours: by appointment Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 503-725-3757 Phone: 503-860-5744
Course Catalog Description and Prerequisites: An integrative, capstone study of strategy
formulation and implementation in international and domestic business enterprises. Case
analysis and other appropriate methodologies are used to develop the skills and judgment
necessary to provide overall direction to the organization. Special emphasis will be placed on
how to successfully match competitive strategy with effective implementation policies.
Prerequisites BA 551, 552
Course Learning Objectives:
1. Integrate functional business disciplines in the development of strategy and
2. Apply the tools and concepts necessary to understand the business environment
3. Articulate strategy and its fit to a given business environment
4. Develop strategy with a global perspective
5. Understand the relationship between implementation and strategy
6. Develop policies for effective implementation of strategy
Required Texts and Materials:
1. "Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos", Brown and Eisenhardt
2. "Built to Last", Collins and Porras
3. Readings Packet available from Clean Copy
“The Innovator's Dilemma", Clayton Christensen
“Good to Great”, Jim Collins
“Will and Vision”, Tellis and Golder
1. Case Write-ups (4) 40%
2. Midterm 15%
3. Take Home Case Final 15%
4. Participation 30%
Course participants are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty. Academic
honesty is a requirement for passing this course.
Participation: This course relies on guest speakers, supporting material, cases and a short
exercise to achieve the learning objectives. Your contribution through participation will be key to
the quality of the learning experience for the entire class.
With regard to cases, you should be prepared when you enter class to fully present your
analysis and work together as a group in order to reach the best possible courses of action.
Think of yourself as part of a management team that is coming together to reach actionable
decisions. The quality of conclusions we reach will be a function of the passion and preparation
you bring to the discussion. Case participation is graded on the extent to which you provide
insightful questions and analysis. I would strongly encourage you to form study teams for
analyzing the cases.
Participation will also enhance what we learn from the guest speakers. Each speaker has been
asked to prepare about 20 minutes of prepared remarks and then rely on questions to fill the
After each class session, I will make one of the following assessments about your participation:
"+" means you asked questions and provided analysis that turned the direction of the
conversation in unanticipated and fruitful directions.
"check (√)" means you were prepared for class as evidenced by your ability to fill in
facts and argue for a course of action.
"-" means that you never said anything or were obviously not prepared when called on.
"a" means that you were absent without providing me with an excuse. This is the worst
"ex" means excused absence. You can have several of these before they will affect
your participation grade.
Requirements for Written Work: Effective writing is inextricably linked to the overall impact of
your analysis and recommendations for a case. All written assignments should be well-
organized and free of grammatical mistakes.
Case Write-ups: For any four of the six cases in the class, write a brief in which you specify the
actions to be taken and a brief summary of the rationale that you employed to reach these
recommendations. The length of these briefs is limited to four double-spaced pages of text,
plus as many supporting exhibits as you need. Reaching the exact same conclusion as other
members of your study team is fine, but I expect you to write your own paper. Exhibits should
be referenced in the text where they have the most significant implications for your analysis.
The midterm will cover all readings for the course, and will not include any case or speaker
specific material. It will consist of a number of essay questions for which you will need a blue
Take Home Case Final
The final will be a take home case that you will have 24 hours to complete and will be similar to
other cases completed during the term. You can pick up the case any time from 8:00 on
December 2 through 5:00 on December 5. You may reference any course materials in
completing the case, but you must not talk to anyone about it until after 5:00 on December 6
(perhaps over a few pitchers). We will discuss the case during the regularly scheduled final
time on December 10.
SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS/TOPICAL OUTLINE
Week Date Assignment Discussion Guest Speaker
1 October 1 Course Overview Scott/Duane
October 3 "Built to Last", Chapters 1-6 Scott/Duane
Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 1-2
2 October 8 "Built to Last", Chapters 7-11 Scott
Richardson Sheffield Case
October 10 Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 3 Scott Dudely Slater, CEO and
“What is Strategy?” (Duane out) President, integra
3 October 15 Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 4 Scott Curt Roberts, VP
“Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive (Duane out) Strategic Planning, Nike
October 17 Hewlett-Packard: Flight of the Kittyhawk Scott
Case (Duane out)
4 October 22 Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 5-6 (Duane out) Steven McGeady,
“Minister w/out Portfolio”
October 24 Digital Equipment: The Internet Co. (A) Scott
5 October 29 Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 7-8 Scott/Duane Bill Swindells, former
“Strategy Under Uncertainty” President, CEO,
“Innovation’s New Math” Chairman of the Board,
October 31 Georgia-Pacific: Corporate Strategy Case Duane
6 November 5 Brown and Eisenhardt, Chapter 9 Scott/Duane
November 7 Midterm
7 November Scott Ken Thrasher, CEO,
November Amgen, Inc. Duane
8 November R.R. Donnelley & Sons Scott
21 (Duane out)
November No Class Thanksgiving
9 December Take Home Case Final
10 December Take Home Final Exam Discussion Scott/Duane
The following questions are offered to help guide your analysis of the cases. However, they do not necessarily
cover all of the points needing your attention and should not be relied on to structure your case write-up.
1. What are the sources of Richardson Sheffield's long-run success? How have they achieved success in
a depressed economic region?
2. Given the challenges facing Richardson at the end of the case, what must Upton and Bridge do to
maintain the success of the firm?
3. What is your evaluation of Bryan Upton's capacity to lead Richardson Sheffield?
Hewlett-Packard: Flight of the Kittyhawk:
1. What would you rate as the strengths and weaknesses of the way Hewlett-Packard structured and
supported the Kittyhawk development team?
2. What do you think of the way the team set out to find a market for the Kittyhawk? What correct turns
and what wrong turns did they make?
3. What do you think are the root causes of the failure of the Kittyhawk program? How could have HP
avoided its fate?
1. How does the Internet help Digital transform and reengineer itself?
2. What are the commercial Internet opportunities for Digital?
3. What are the barriers Digital faces in exploring the Internet?
4. Should Digital go into the Internet business?
No questions available.
1. What are Amgen's key success factors? What are some of the critical contingencies that the firm has
to plan for?
2. What role does the strategic planning process play at Amgen? How useful is it?
3. What changes, if any, would you recommend to make this process more effective?
R.R. Donnelley: Digital Division:
1. How do the critical success factors for Donnelley's traditional printing businesses compare with those
for on-demand digital printing?
2. What are some of the critical challenges faced by the Digital Division at each stage of its development?
3. What is your assessment of the organization's managerial structure?
4. What is your evaluation of the reengineered Technology Development Process?
5. How should Schetter and Schneider convince the Books Group to bring its work to the Digital Division?
SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING CASES
1. Know your audience. I have a bias for wanting to see a particular style and approach that differs from
the preferences of other people.
2. Understand the case from all points of view, but particularly from the protagonist's perspective. Argue
for your recommendations with passion and don't waffle. Take the perspective of a consultant who has
been brought in to analyze the situation and provide recommendations. Give me your best analysis
and recommendations regardless of whether they would be politically saleable to the company.
However, this is not to imply that you shouldn't point out that a particular strategy or action wouldn't be
difficult to implement. I believe that strategy and implementation are interdependent.
3. Realize that issues you face in a case seldom have one best solution. You need to go out of your way
to make the reasoning behind your recommendations apparent to the reader.
4. Don't state a bunch of facts or data with no conclusions (this drives me particularly batty since I've read
the case too), and don't state a conclusion without making it clear what data and assumptions you are
using to reach that conclusion. For example, a SWOT analysis is often valuable when analyzing a
case, but doesn't do anything for the reader if you refer to an exhibit without stating key conclusions or
implications from the analysis. Equally bad is telling me what should be done without telling me why.
How would I know you've used sound reasoning? Consider using the ladder of inference as a tool:
If you come to a conclusion or a belief that some course of action is called for in a case, walk me/us up
the ladder by being explicit about what data and assumptions lead you to recommend that course of
5. Don't avoid the numbers, particularly with regard to estimating demand and profit/loss. Sometimes
decent data is available, while other times it's not.
6. Use tools like SWOT analyses, product-market matrices, comparisons of positive versus negative
courses of action, and target market descriptions.
7. Definitely look for applications of concepts and theory from our readings in the cases. I didn't select the
books so we could do some interesting reading and have a stimulating discussion about theories.
Doing these cases is very much about developing theories in use so that you can apply those theories
in your work settings in the future. Without applying the concepts and theories in these cases, you
won't be able to use them when it could count the most.
8. Spend the extra 5-10% effort to polish your writing. Why give the reader the opportunity to make
general negative inferences about your analysis from sloppy writing? Worse yet is such poor sentence
construction and grammar that the reader doesn't understand the meaning you're attempting to convey
and gives up out of frustration.
9. You have limited space for these cases. Make your introduction very short, use subheadings, and get
to the point.
10. Don't bother to conduct any outside research on the companies in the cases. I am interested in the
quality of recommendations we can derive from only the snapshot presented in the case.
1. What challenges did John Fahey face in early 1992? What is your evaluation of the steps he took?
What has been accomplished and what remains to be done as of January 1993?
2. What challenges does Candice Carpenter face as President of the video and television division? How
should she proceed?
3. What challenges does John Hall face as President of the books division? What is your evaluation of his
proposed plan of action?
4. What should Fahey do about True Crime?
5. What distinctive general management skills are required to succeed in a creative business?
1. Put yourself in Ron Bernal's position. Would you commit to shipping Challenge by the end of March?
Why or why not?
2. How would you characterize SGI's development process, strategy, and culture?
3. Is the approach SGI follows sustainable? Why, or why not?
1. What is your assessment of Wildfire's product-market strategy?
2. What is your evaluation of the staffing at Wildfire?
3. What is your assessment of the structure at Wildfire? Would you make any changes? Why or why