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Strategy and Development Modes

  • Teacher(s):   X.Castaner  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2019-2020, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • Related programmes:
    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Strategy, Organization and Leadership

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation Behaviour, Economics and Evolution

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Business Analytics

 

Objectives

This course is opened to only 36 students, due to the course team project.

The course deals with the link between strategy and development. By development we refer to the modes in which organizations expand or contract their scope, as well as engage in product innovation and geographic expansion efforts, that is, internal development, acquisitions, alliances and divestitures. More specifically, it addresses the following questions:

1- How does corporate & business strategy influence the choice of development modes (acquisitions, alliances and internal development)? Which is/are the most appropriate development mode/s for a given strategy?

a- Business strategy level: Which development mode/s should an organization choose for innovation and/or geographical expansion (including internationalization) for existing goods?

b- Corporate strategy level: How should an organization vertically dis/integrate, diversify into new industries or new territories or withdraw from them?

2- How should the different development modes be managed? What are the key success/failure factors in internal development, acquisitions (including minority investments such as in corporate venture capital), alliances and divestitures?

Pedagogical Objectives: to allow you to:

1- develop an understanding of the appropriate business, activity and geographical scope of organizations for value creation,

2- understand the criteria that should guide the choice of development mode/s (acquisitions, alliances, internal development and divestitures),

3- be aware, reflect, share and learn about how to deal with the organizational complexities of managing development modes and some best practices that have been advanced,

4- experience and reflect about working in multicultural and multidisciplinary teams to prepare a consulting project under stringent time constraints and limited data (as in real life), with both an internal and an external client, and

5- engage in true, respectful, reasoned and engaged dialogues.

Contents

TEACHING METHOD This course consists of fourteen 3-hour sessions and is primarily organized around theory and discussion of cases (of companies such as Microsoft, Fuji-Xerox, and Nestlé), and a group project. You are expected to have individually and thoroughly prepared the cases prior to each corresponding class, including reading and analyzing the appendices (see course plan below in page 5). In addition, you are expected to have done the textbook required readings assigned for each session in the course plan. I also provide optional readings (OR) for those of you who are interested in getting more in-depth exposure to a topic (see the session plan below).

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING POLICY

1) Short paper and presentation dealing with Part I of the group project described below (20 % of the final grade). To be handed in at the beginning of Session 7.

2) A 20-minutes professional presentation of Part II of the group project on Session 14, plus 5-10 min Q&A (30 % of the final grade). All group members should present.

3) One individual case memo (20 % of the final grade). It must not exceed 3 pages of text, appendices (figures and tables) not included. Start with a paragraph for the executive summary and address the following question (unless indicated otherwise): What is your evaluation of the company’s strategy and its developmental choices at the end of the case and, based on it, what are your recommendations to the Board of Directors? You should write them as if you were an internal or external consultant advising the firm’s Board of Directors.

4) Individual class participation (30 % of the final grade). The participation grade is a function of the number and quality of contributions to each session. A high overall participation grade requires several good contributions in each session.

Two non-exclusive options for bonus point:

a) Managing to bring to the final presentation a corporate rep from the firm your group studies (.5 point of final grade). Proof of effort will count for .25.

b) Summarizing a research article (maximum: .25 point of final grade). If time allows it, presenting it (maximum: .25 point of final grade). Only one option maximum per student. For those interested in doing a summary of a research article, please send an email to Prof. Castañer specifying which session/s you’re interested in to making such summary for and he’ll propose to you several options.

Summaries should contain 5-6 ppt slides, synthesizing the main research question, hypotheses, empirical design and results, with the last slide making link/s with the case of the session (and any prior cases).

All written assignments should be double-spaced and written with 12 point font.

For the retake exam (“rattrapage”), in order to be re-evaluated, the student must:

  • have attended at least 12 of the 14 classes,
  • submit an individual written case analysis (2-3 pages long) to cover the individual case analysis portion of his or her grade (50 % of re-evaluation grade), and
  • submit an individual written project report (5-10 pages long) to cover the group project portion of his or her grade (50 % of re-evaluation grade).

If the student received a passing grade on the individual portion of the grade, s/he does not need to re-submit it. The same applies to the group project portion of the grade.

Project Description: To be done in multicultural groups of maximum 6 students and of the same team size ideally. Each group needs to have at least 1 non-Swiss student (preferably non-Swiss exchange student) and 1 Swiss student. I will validate the group composition so these requirements are fulfilled. You should choose a publicly-traded firm or another kind of organization which provides public information for its strategy and development and for which a corporate representative will be ideally available to attend your final presentation and ideally to provide you more fine-grained information during the process. Thus, I recommend choosing a Swiss-based publicly traded firm (check the HEC alumni directory for access). You need to choose the company by the end of the third session at the latest. Please communicate it via email to my assistant indicating the group composition (with nationalities and program origin), company name, HQ location, reported strategy and development description and people you will target as corp rep.

The project consists in analyzing the appropriateness of the organization’s current and announced future development as a function of its strategy, and making recommendations about them so the organization could generate greater value. The execution of the project is divided in two parts.

Part I consists in describing and analyzing the organization’s strategy and development mode choices in the recent relevant period (about three last years, but it depends on each organization and the level and aspect of strategy you are focusing on).

The specific questions to address in Part II are:

(1) whether the organization needs to change its strategy, whether at the corporate or business level, and how

(2) whether the organization needs to change its development modes, whether at the corporate or business level, and how

I will provide you with specific guidelines for both Parts I and II. You need to submit a hard-copy of Part I at the time of your first presentation. The paper should describe the corporation’s activities, the analysis (assumptions and choices made) and arrive at a conclusion, providing all the data used for the analysis in appendices. The paper should not exceed 10 pages of text (12 point font, double-spaced), which do not include a one-paragraph executive summary, graphs, figures, tables, appendices, and references. The content of the final presentation will be evaluated on the basis of whether:

a) it covers the 2 questions mentioned above whenever it is appropriate,

b) it is based on a sound research and understanding of the organization’s current and announced future strategy, resources, businesses and respective environments, and development modes and their performance,

c) your arguments are logical (i.e. reasoned), based on data, and use the concepts and tools discussed in class,

d) it incorporates the feedback given for the first presentation and report, and a reflection on the organization, working and effectiveness of the team.

Attendance, respect and punctuality are expected. Only medical absences are justified, otherwise a zero will be assigned for each missed session. Plagiarism (using other ideas or words without acknowledging it) will be seriously reprimanded. It will entail at the very least a failing grade for the course.

As you know, the HEC official grading scale is the following (http://www.hec.unil.ch/documents/mobilite/Echelle%20ECTS%20ENGLISH%20NEW.pdf ):

References

the course textbook is the second edition of David Collis and Cynthia Montgomery’s Corporate Strategy (2005), published by Irwin/McGraw-Hill. There are 6 copies of the textbook in the HEC library, 4 of which are on reserve. If you’re interested in any of my working papers in the OR, please send me an email.

Pre-requisites

This course assumes some prior knowledge on corporate and business strategy, such as an introduction course to strategy (like the first semester Master course).

This course is also opened to PhD students (please see grading).

Evaluation

First attempt

Exam:
Without exam (cf. terms)  
Evaluation:

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING POLICY

1) Short paper and presentation dealing with Part I of the group project described below (20 % of the final grade). To be handed in at the beginning of Session 7.

2) A 20-minutes professional presentation of Part II of the group project on Session 14, plus 5-10 min Q&A (30 % of the final grade). All group members should present.

3) One individual case memo (20 % of the final grade). It must not exceed 3 pages of text, appendices (figures and tables) not included. Start with a paragraph for the executive summary and address the following question (unless indicated otherwise): What is your evaluation of the company’s strategy and its developmental choices at the end of the case and, based on it, what are your recommendations to the Board of Directors? You should write them as if you were an internal or external consultant advising the firm’s Board of Directors.

4) Individual class participation (30 % of the final grade). The participation grade is a function of the number and quality of contributions to each session. A high overall participation grade requires several good contributions in each session.

Two non-exclusive options for bonus point:

a) Managing to bring to the final presentation a corporate rep from the firm your group studies (.5 point of final grade). Proof of effort will count for .25.

b) Summarizing a research article (maximum: .25 point of final grade). If time allows it, presenting it (maximum: .25 point of final grade). Only one option maximum per student. For those interested in doing a summary of a research article, please send an email to Prof. Castañer specifying which session/s you’re interested in to making such summary for and he’ll propose to you several options.

Summaries should contain 5-6 ppt slides, synthesizing the main research question, hypotheses, empirical design and results, with the last slide making link/s with the case of the session (and any prior cases).

All written assignments should be double-spaced and written with 12 point font.

Doctoral students taking this course have to write in addition to the other requirements a research proposal related to a course topic of about 12-15 pages including a literature review concluding with gap identification, theory development (at least 1 hypothesis) and a basic research design to test it. It can be related to the group project. They will have 1 month to submit it after the end of the course.

Retake

Exam:
Written 2h00 hours
Documentation:
Not allowed
Calculator:
Not allowed
Evaluation:

For the retake exam (“rattrapage”), in order to be re-evaluated, the student must:

  • have attended at least 12 of the 14 classes,
  • submit an individual written case analysis (2-3 pages long) to cover the individual case analysis portion of his or her grade (50 % of re-evaluation grade), and
  • submit an individual written project report (5-10 pages long) to cover the group project portion of his or her grade (50 % of re-evaluation grade).

If the student received a passing grade on the individual portion of the grade, s/he does not need to re-submit it. The same applies to the group project portion of the grade.



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