GRA 2411 Strategic Management


GRA 2411 Strategic Management

Responsible for the course
Erik Aadland, Bente Løwendahl

Department of Strategy and Logistics

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

Course Overview

Strategy is the art and science of making choices. Strategy is concerned with the means by which actors achieve their objectives. The field of strategic management has substantially affected corporate behavior. Concepts such as competitive advantage, capabilities, resources, tacit knowledge, and positioning are not merely used frequently in organizations but are also employed in decision making with the aim of attaining organizational goals in contemporary business.

The understanding of the antecedents and consequences of competition and competitiveness is pivotal for the strategic management of organizations. Management thought is continuously evolving encompassing ideas such as sustainable competitive positions, economies of scale and scope, core competences, dynamic capabilities, and networks. In recent years management thought has focused on unrelentingly pursuing courses of action and speed. John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, even proposes that the race will be won not be those who are big but by those who are fast. Furthermore, the growing economic interdependence among countries and organizations challenges our understanding of positioning and competitive advantage.

This course is concerned with the overall strategic management of organizations. It takes a top management as oppose to functional management perspective. We will particularly examine the frameworks and concepts employed by mangers when they make decisions which govern the scope, direction and competitive positioning of organizations, and when they make sense of environmental and organizational complexities.

Learning outcome
After undertaking this course you will:
Be able to employ tools to analyze situations and think strategically;
Be acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of top management as opposed to functional management;
Be able to demonstrate an awareness of the key challenges facing managers in the implementation and execution of strategy;
Be aware of the major debates and multiple perspectives that currently prevail in the field of strategy.


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 spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading
Thompson, Arthur A. ... [et al.]. 2012. Crafting and executing strategy : the quest for competitive advantage: concepts and cases. European ed. McGraw Hill/Irwin

During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination.

Recommended reading
Barney, Jay B. 2014. Gaining and sustaining competitive advantage. 4th ed. Pearson new international ed. Pearson
Grant, Robert M. 2013. Contemporary strategy analysis: text and cases. 8th ed. Wiley. NB: The cases are included in this edition of the book
Johnson, Gerry ... [et al.]. 2014. Exploring strategy. 10th ed. Pearson Education. Tidligere utg. med tittel: Exploring corporate strategy
Lampel, Joseph ... [et al.]. 2014. The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases. 5th ed. Pearson Education
Porter, Michael E. 1998. Competitive strategy : techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. Free Press

Course outline
Topic overview
Overview of the strategy field
Strategic frameworks and theory
Strategic analysis (external and internal)
Value configurations
Competition under demand side increasing returns conditions
Competitive strategies
Strategy implementation

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
Lectures, discussions and guest lecturers. A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

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 that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

Your course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
30% Individual in-class contributions to class discussions.
30% Take home examination/Group Case: 48 hour take home case analysis and report performed in groups of 3 students.
40% Individual 3-hour written exam.

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Class participation 30% Individual
Take home examination 30% Group of max 3 students
Written examination 3 hours 40% Individual

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi.

Examination code(s)
GRA 24114 continuous assessment counts for the final grade (100 %) in the course

Examination support materials
Bilingual dictionary
Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honor Code
Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and represent values that are encouraged and promoted by the honor code system. This is a most significant university tradition. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the ideals of the honor code system, to which the faculty are also deeply committed.

Any violation of the honor code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for cheating. These issues are a serious matter to everyone associated with the programs at BI and are at the heart of the honor code and academic integrity. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honor code, please ask.