GRA 6829 Strategies for Industrial Competitiveness

GRA 6829 Strategies for Industrial Competitiveness

Course code: 
GRA 6829
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Pengfei Wang
Course name in Norwegian: 
Strategies for Industrial Competitiveness
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Strategy
2023 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The course explores the determinants of industrial competitiveness and successful economic development viewed from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective. While sound macroeconomic policies and stable legal and political institutions create the potential for industrial competitiveness, wealth is actually created at the microeconomic and firm levels. The sophistication and productivity of firms, the vitality of industrial clusters, and the quality of the business environment are the ultimate determinants of the productivity and innovation capacity of nations, regions and industries.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The main learning objectives are:

  • To make students understand how the competitiveness of firms is embedded in the external context of an industry and industrial clusters.
  • To enable students to use the diamond framework of Michael Porter's "On Competition" to assess and influence the potential of industries and economic regions.
  • To enable students to perform a strategic analysis of an industry, an industrial cluster or a region and drawing policy implications from the analysis.

Hence, the students should have a broad view on value creation in societies, understanding the role of knowledge and innovation, and they should be able to identify areas where collaboration among specific institutions is crucial to gain welfare effects.

Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Identification of the fundamental factors that affect cluster, region and country competitiveness
  • Presentation of complex strategic analyses and solutions in a clear and concise manner, both in writing and orally
  • Development of strategies for obtaining and retaining competitiveness in industrial clusters
General Competence
  • Critical reflection on understanding what makes a cluster competitive on a regional, country and global scale
  • An appreciation of the complexity and importance of policies and strategic choices for the success of industrial clusters
Course content

In this graduate course we will present the diamond model, the emerald model and the development of industrial clusters in advanced, emerging and developing economies. The model is extended to include current research on knowledge based competitiveness. The course will draw on recently completed research from the large national research project "A knowledge-based Norway".

Strategies at both firm level, cluster level, regional and national levels will be discussed, integrating variables at the business, industry and societal levels. The course is targeting graduate students of business and strategy, but the course is also relevant for other specializations. The empirical approach is global, and the students are asked to analyse industries on all continents.

The course is offered in cooperation with Professor Michael E. Porter, Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School, and his highly successful, second year Harvard MBA course, Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC). The Harvard MOC Network now consists of more than 100 universities in 70 different countries.

BI students taking GRA 6829 will have free electronic access to lectures and case discussions at Harvard, and extensive net based data resources at Harvard Business School are available for project work. This also includes free downloading of the HBS cases used in the course.

1. Firms and Industries

Introduction to Competitiveness
The Drivers of Competitiveness
Industrial Contexts
Industry Competition, Strategy and Locations
Competing Across Borders
Globalization and Internationalization of Firms

2. The Microeconomic Business Environment

The Diamond Model: Advanced Economies
The Diamond Model: Transitional Economies
The Diamond Model: Developing Economies
Developing Cluster Charts
The Emerald Model: Knowledge-based Policies

3. Industrial Cluster Development

Clusters and Competitiveness
Natural Resource Based Clusters
Knowledge Based Cluster
Emerging, Mature and Declining Clusters
Transformations of Clusters
The Global Knowledge Hub Model
Institutions for Collaboration
Mechanisms for Cluster Upgrading
Innovation and entrepeneurship
Entrepreneurship Scale-up strategies

4. Economic Strategy for Industries, Regions and Nations

National Economic Strategies
Role of Government
Incentives and Regulation
Regional Economic Strategies
Stagnation, Transformation, Entrepreneurship accelerations
Economic Strategies: Emerging and Developing Economies
Asian Competitiveness, the Role of China, India and ASEAN
Increasing Role of Emerging Economies
Threats of disintegrations and deglobalization

Teaching and learning activities

The course is structured as a combination of short lectures and extensive case discussions, as well as selected high level guest lectures. The Harvard Business School (HBS) format of the course requires that the students should prepare extensively for case discussions in class. It is simply impossible to come to class unprepared for the topic to be discussed. 

Cases are taught using the HBS case approach where all students are expected to participate actively in case discussions on an individual basis. We also use the Kellogg case approach which implies that study groups prepare structured case presentations in advance. 

Class sessions may be audio- and videotaped, and the class output can be shared with other universities in the Harvard Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) network. 

The students are required to undertake a group project analysing the competitiveness and cluster development of a specific industry or region. The empirical settings for these group projects are provided by the large national research project: “A knowledge-based Norway” (, but students are free to choose cluster industries in any country. Students also have an excellent chance to write their MSc theses within the framework of the course.  

The best student project is entered into the Harvard MOC project competition. In 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016 BI MSc students have won prizes in this cluster project competition. The winning paper and the video taped project presentation by Joachim Espen and Marius Nordkvelde on Oslo Cancer Cluster (2008) and by Morten Finslo, Rune Steihaug and Javad Mushtaq on Oslo Maritime Finance Cluster (2011) are available as a quality benchmark on itslearning. 

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group (2 - 3)
2 Month(s)
Group project based on hand-in of written report and presentation material.
Exam code: 
GRA 68291
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Portfolio assessment
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.