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.

Bachelor degree qualifying for admission to the MSc Programme

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. 2011. Gaining and sustaining competitive advantage. 4th 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
Mintzberg, Henry ... [et al.]. 2003. The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases. 4th ed. Prentice Hall
Porter, Michael E. 1998. Competitive strategy: techniques for analyzing industries and competitors: with a new introduction. 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
It's learning. The use of the Internet and use of personal productivity and communications tools are seen as integral parts of this course.

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% Class Contribution.
30% Group Case Work (in the form of a mix of some of/ all of the following: hand in of case analysis, case presentations, and article presentation). Group size: minimum two students and maximum three students.
40% exam.
To get a final grade in the course, students need to complete and achieve a passing grade in all parts of the evaluation.

In this course class attendence is mandatory. Absence can result in a lower score. Specific information regarding student evaluation beyond the information given in the course description will be provided in class. This information may be relevant for requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several elements of the overall evaluation.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam elements) and one final exam code. Each exam element will be graded using points on a scale (e.g. 0-100). The elements will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades on the course site in It’s learning.

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

Examination support materials
A bilingual dictionary.
Examination support materials at written examiniations are explained under examination information in the student portal @bi. Please note use of calculator and dictionary in the section on support materials.

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.
Where this is not the case, all of the assessed components of the course must be retaken.
All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee..

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.