Management 377 - Competitive Strategy
Instructor: Brad Shrader, Ph.D., MBA
University Professor – Ralph and Jean Eucher Faculty Fellow in Business Ethics
Office Hours: by appointment
3185 Gerdin Business Building Office Phone - 294-3050
http://www.bus.iastate.edu/cshrader/ Dept. Phone – 294-8116
Econ. 101, junior classification, management major.
Required Cases and Readings:
1. Harley-Davison: Preparing for the Next Century, by Nolan and Kotha, Harvard
Business School case, 2007, #9-906-410.
2. The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy, by Michael Porter, Harvard
Business Review article, 2008, reprint # R0801 E.
3. Cola Wars Continue: Coke and Pepsi in 2006, by Yoffie and Slind, Harvard
Business School case, revision date 4/6/2009, #9-706-447.
4. The Core Competency of the Corporation, by Prahalad and Hamel, HBR
article, 2001, reprint #90311.
5. GE’s Talent Machine: The Making of a CEO, by Bartlett and McLean, HBS
case, 2006, #9-304-049.
6. ValuJet Airlines, by Dana, Kellogg School of Management case, Northwestern
University, 2004, #KEL043.
7. eReading: Amazon’s Kindle, by Anand, Olson, and Trispas, HBS case,
December 2009, #9-709-486.
8. In the Company of Spies: When Competitive Intelligence Gathering Becomes
Industrial Espionage, by Crane, Business Horizons, Kelley School of Business,
Indiana University, 2005, #BH134.
9. Managing for Creativity, by Florida and Goodnight, Harvard Business Review
article, July 1, 2005, Reprint #R0507L
10. Zara: Fast Fashion, by Ghemawat and Nueno, Harvard Business School
case, 2006, #9-703-497.
11. How GE is Disrupting Itself, by Immelt and Govindarajan, HBR article,
October 2009, #R0910D.
12. Aiming for an Evolutionary Advantage: Google: Management Innovation in
Action, by Hamel and Breen, Harvard Business School Press, excerpted from the
Future of Management, 10/09/2007, #2515BC.
The major objective of this course is to examine the most current thinking in the
area of competitive strategy and how that thinking translates into organizational
practice. We will examine how companies develop competitive strategy and how
they achieve comparative advantages in industries. Topics we will cover include:
industry analysis, generic strategies, hyper-competition, core competencies,
competitive intelligence, ethics and competition, and competing against time.
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of
a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please
contact the Student Disability Resource Office at 294-7220 in room 1076,
Student Services Building to coordinate reasonable accommodations for
students with documented disabilities.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
Across the College of Business, it is our goal to strengthen student
communication skills and enhance your critical thinking skills by creating
opportunities for you to practice communication skills throughout your academic
careers. Representatives in our Communications Center are available to support
your written, oral, and visual communication assignments this semester. These
Communications Consultants may be available to: 1) review basic grammar, 2)
provide feedback on paper organization and flow, 3) give suggestions on
document design, including written documents and slide presentations, and 4)
other services as needed. The relevant contact information is shown below.
Communications Center Consultant
Office: 2140 Gerdin Business Building
Phone: (515) 294-9693
Exam #1 - 20 points
Exam #2 - 20 points
Exam #3 – 20 points
Final - 20 points
Quizzes – 20 points
Attendance – expected of all students
Participation in class discussion/case discussions – 20 points
How final grade is determined:
Examination (best 3 of 4) = 60 points
Participation = 20 points
Quizzes = 20 points
Total – 100 points
There will be four exams during the semester. Reviews will be undertaken prior
to each exam and the dates are listed on the course outline – so plan in advance.
The exams are weighted equally. The goal of the exam requirement is to
examine student understanding of content material covered in class and in the
Exams will be graded on how well the questions are answered using course
material; and how well case problem is analyzed, related to course material, and
on how well solutions are presented. Exams will be graded and reported the
following class period.
Exams will be comprised of essay, elimination/multiple choice, and short answer
Descriptive statistics for each exam will also be reported. Students are
encouraged to check their exam scores and overall grade standing in the course
with me anytime during the semester.
I will take your top three exam scores toward final grade. This means you
can take all four exams and I will count your best three toward the final grade. It
also means that if you need to miss an exam – for a family emergency, work,
illness, interview, or other unforeseen contingency- you will need to take
the other three exams. Therefore, there will be no make up exams. No
The major evaluation criteria used in grading exams will the accurate,
comprehensive and appropriate application of course material to the relevant
question. Also considered will be the diction, sophistication, consistency,
legibility, and clarity of responses. Please bring a blank blue book (exam book)
to class on exam day. I will retain all exam blue books. Students wishing to
appeal an exam score must do so in writing. Students missing an exam will
be required to complete the other three scheduled exams as noted above.
This policy is created to be fair to all students.
Unannounced quizzes will comprise 20% of the final grade. Quizzes will focus
on the main idea of reading and case assignments for the day. There will be five
or six quizzes offered during the semester. Each will be worth 5 points or 5%.
The top four quizzes will be counted toward the final grade. Students are
encouraged to attend sessions so that they take at least four quizzes. The goal
of the quizzes is to keep everyone current on reading and case assignments.
Participation/case discussions and presentations:
Each individual will be graded on general class participation, which means
contribution made to class discussion. In-class case discussions are designed to
help students apply the concepts from the readings and lectures. During the
course of the semester each student will be called upon to discuss cases in
class. Discussions are to be professional and informative. The instructor will
keep a journal of daily class proceedings. Participation is a major outcome of
this course. A simple rubric for participation is as follows:
20 points - Participation with high interest and enthusiasm during all class
sessions in all discussions. Consistent substantive contributions. High
degree of volunteerism. Attended all sessions, arrived on time
15 points – Engaged in most discussions and presentations. Responded
with high quality comments and contributions. Attended sessions, arrived
10 points – Engaged in most of discussions and responded with good
input when prompted. And/or arrived late for sessions.
5 points – Attended and listened but responded infrequently with
substantive contributions. And/or arrived late for sessions.
0 points –No comments but attended, listened and did not disrupt class.
And/or arrived late for sessions.
0/Negative points – sleeps, disrupts, misses class. Arrived late.
Participation hint: Bring your name tent everyday and display it proudly.
Students completing this course should be able to do the following:
analyze the attractiveness of industries
identify external opportunities and threats
identify internal strengths and weaknesses
identify and describe the firm’s competitive positioning strategy
identify and describe the firm’s core competencies
develop a competitive intelligence plan
identify and describe the phenomena of Judo Strategy
identify and describe the phenomena of Hyper-competition
understand the ‘innovator’s dilemma
understand the benefits of competing against time
analyze competitive strategy cases on the items above
conduct a competitive analysis of a firm
Identify competitive early warnings
How to Study for this course:
Studying for Management 377 is straightforward. You need to read and come
prepared to discuss what you’ve read every day. The instructor will provide
many notes on the website, and individual note taking is strongly encouraged.
Students are encouraged to ask questions in class about course concepts and
cases. We will closely follow the course outline—every class day is important.
94-100% = A 80-82% = B- 67-69% = D+
90-93% = A- 77-79% = C+ 63-66% = D
87-89% = B+ 73-76% = C 60-62% = D-
83-86% = B 70-72% = C- < 60% = F
Assignment and Lecture Schedule:
Date Topic Case/reading
8/23 Class introduction and organization Read course outline
8/25 Competitive strategy introduction - General discussion
Battle of Trafalgar
8/30 Introduction to SWOT Analysis Harley-Davidson
and case discussion
9/1 Porter’s 5 Forces The 5 Forces that Shape
9/6 University holiday – no class
9/8 Porter’s 5 Forces The 5 Forces that Shape
9/13 Industry Analysis-case discussion Cola Wars Continue
9/15 Types of strategy – generic strategy
9/20 Case discussion - differentiation Harley-Davidson
9/22 Discussion – cost leadership
9/27 Advantage of Nations / Review
9/29 Exam on SWOT, industry analysis/generic strategy, advantage of
10/4 Core competencies The Core Competence of
10/6 Case discussion GE’s Talent Machine
10/11 Judo Strategy – Formula 409
10/13 Judo strategy ValuJet Airlines
10/18 Hyper-competition – Stent Wars
10/20 No class – Eller case competition
10/25 Case discussion Amazon’s Kindle
10/27 Exam on core competencies, hyper-competition and judo strategy
11/1 Competitive Intelligence/Early Warning In the Company of Spies
11/3 Competitive Early warning systems/ Competitive advantage
11/8 Competitive advantage through people Managing for Creativity
11/10 Competitive advantage through people/ Competing against time
11/15 Competing against time Zara: Fast Fashion
11/17 Exam on competitive intelligence, people, and time
11/22 Thanksgiving Break
11/24 Thanksgiving Break
11/29 Innovator’s Dilemma
12/1 Innovator’s Dilemma How GE is Disrupting Itself
12/6 Game Theory as a competitive strategy, Blue Ocean Strategy
12/8 Sustainability as competitive strategy Aiming for an Evolutionary
12/12-17 Final exam
Fri. Dec. 17 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Final will cover game theory, Blue Ocean, Innovator’s Dilemma, sustainability,
and will include material from entire course