MGT 445 Business Policy Course Syllabus Fall ‘05
Professor: Dr. William R. Nance, Jr.
Telephone: (Office) 731-661-5505
Electronic Mail: email@example.com
Office: Blasingame Academic Complex, BAC-6
Office Hours: By appointment
Harrison, J. & St. John, C. (2002). Foundations in Strategic Management, 3rd. ed. Cincinnati, OH. South-Western.
Porter, M. (1980; 1998). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York.
The Free Press. ISBN: 0-02-925360-8 (1980) 0-68-484148-7 (1998)
Strategic Management is the capstone experience for students in the McAfee School of Business Administration at
Union University. The course requires students to integrate knowledge from prior coursework in functional business
areas to analyze current business strategies and performance and to develop and plan implementable future strategies
The development of strategic management courses that pull together knowledge of the various functions of business
(e.g., accounting, finance, marketing, operations management, etc.) in a manner consistent with a general
management (as opposed to functional area) view of the firm dates only to the late 1950's and early 1960's. At that
time, there was serious concern in both industry and the academy that schools of business were not producing
competent, imaginative, flexible graduates capable of successfully leading firms in a rapidly-changing business
environment (Does this sound familiar?). A major study funded by the Ford Foundation concluded, among other
things, that business schools should use strategy courses - built around the analysis of actual business cases - to
integrate functional area knowledge gained in other courses and provide students with a more realistic view of the
nature of general management (Gordon and Howell, 1959). Many universities quickly adopted the idea, and today
nearly all first-rate schools (including the McAfee School here at Union) have seen the wisdom of this
recommendation and done the same.
This course will make extensive use of the case study method using actual business situations. Student teams will
ultimately be required to develop a major project for presentation to the class. The project will require a detailed
analysis of a particular firm and its industry, and will provide an "action plan" for future strategic success. More
information on the major team project is provided below, and additional information on the project will also be
provided during class.
Our primary goals for this course are:
1. To provide students with an integrative, general management view of the organization involving the
analysis of organizational goals, resources, structure, etc., and the relationship of these attributes to the
organization's industry and general environments.
2. To provide students with knowledge of strategic management concepts, tools, and techniques and to apply
these to analysis and strategy formulation using actual business cases.
3. To provide students with the experience of working as a member of a team to identify business
opportunities, solve business problems, and craft implementable strategic plans.
4. To develop critical thinking and analytical skills in the development of business solutions to problems and
opportunities under conditions of considerable ambiguity (i.e., the "real world").
Attendance/Tardiness: You are doubtless aware by this point in your academic career of the strong
correlation that exists between class attendance and course performance. Students whose attendance does
not equal at least 80 percent of the scheduled class sessions may receive a failing grade for this course.
Likewise, it is important that you arrive on time for each class session. While I would rather you came in
late than not at all, excessive tardiness will be noted and may be used in determining your attendance
Peer Evaluation: This course has been developed with an emphasis on coordinated, cooperative work that
is intended to mimic the nature of strategy development, planning, and implementation in business
organizations. Your teammates will evaluate the quality of work and level of effort you provide on all
team-based assignments. I will adjust final individual grades using these evaluations. Full information on
the peer evaluation process and my use of the resulting information will be provided during class.
I expect routine problems to be handled without my direct involvement. Serious issues, however, should be
brought to my attention quickly. Please let me know if you are having difficulty meeting the expectations
of your teammates or if your team is having trouble with “coat-tailing” by one or more team members. I
need to know of these problems sooner rather than later if I am to provide any assistance in resolving such
Case Presentation 150
Written Case Analysis 500
Lost in the Numbers 100
Concepts Exam 250
Total Points Available: 1000
This syllabus is subject to change as necessary. Revisions will be made by announcement during class or in
writing. Cheating (including plagiarism) will result in a failing grade for the course and will be reported to
the office of the Provost as described in the Student Handbook.
An ability to communicate well in written English is important for managers and leaders in organizations of
all kinds. Poorly written assignments containing grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and other linguistic
faux pas create a negative impression in the mind of the recipient, and there is evidence that a person's
communication skills often lay the foundation – for good or ill – for that person's progress within an
organization. For this reason, spelling and grammar will be noticed in assessment of performance in this
Tentative Course Schedule
Meeting Topics Readings Assignments
Overview of course. Harrison & St.
Discussion of course John Ch. 1 & 2.
requirements and policies. Porter Intro & Ch.
Strategic management 1.
defined. The systems theory
view of the organization. The
rational planning and
resource-based models of
strategy. The general
The industry environment. Harrison & St.
Porter's 5-Forces Model. John Ch. 2.
2 Strategic Groups. PorterCh. 7 &
Appx. A & B.
The Resource Based View Harrison & St. Lost in the
3 (RBV) - Wrap-up 5-Forces (as John Ch. 3. numbers
required) Porter Ch. 2.
The internal environment. Harrison & St.
Agency issues. John Ch. 4 &
Organizational culture. Appx. 1. Porter
Business-unit level strategies. Concepts
5 Generic strategies. Exam
Corporate-level strategies. Harrison & St.
Intergration & diversification. John Ch. 5.
BCG matrix. GE screen. Porter Ch. 14 &
Implementation & execution. Harrison & St.
Functional areas. John Ch. 6 & 7.
7 Organizational struture.
Control & restructuring.
Team Case Presentations Written Case
Some notes on the readings and written assignments:
1. Note that I have not assigned all of Porter's (1980; 1998) Competitive Strategy as required reading for this
course. This is due largely to my own assessment of the amount of reading and out-of-class team work
required, and not because I believe the unassigned material is less important. If you have time to read (or even
just to "skim through") the unassigned chapters in Porter (1980), then I strongly urge that you do so. In
particular, one or more of the chapters dealing with specific industry environments and the strategies
appropriate to them (i.e., chapters 9 through 13) might be very helpful to you and your study group in
completing your team case analysis.
2. The Harrison & St. John (2002) material is very "lean." I must ask you to do two things because of this. First,
it is important that you read this material prior to the class during which it will be covered. Second, it is
important that you think through the implications "between the lines" in this material, perhaps by asking
yourself how the topic addressed in the text actually "looks" to you "in the real world." Using a very lean
textbook such as this is a risk (because of the lack of lengthy, repetitive discussions of concepts and the
relatively small number of examples) but you are all within a short time of earning a degree, and I am relying on
you to make thoughtful use of this material prior to each class meeting.