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STIRLING MANAGEMENT SCHOOL

Business & Marketing Division

BSMP31 – Strategic Management


Spring 2011
TEACHING STAFF

Module Dr Tom Forbes Room 3A35 Ext. 6941 t.m.forbes@stir.ac.uk


Co-ordinator

Tutors Ms Jenoah Joseph Room 3B48 Ext. 7319 j.j.joseph@stir.ac.uk


Ms Christine Taylor Room 3B56 Ext. 6943 c.m.taylor@stir.ac.uk
Dr Najib Murad najibmurad@yahoo.com
Dr Alex McKinnon Room 3A73 Ext.7597 alex.mackinnon@stir.ac.uk

Dr Forbes will normally be available to see students on Wednesdays 5-6pm and other times by
appointment.

MODULE AIMS

The module aims to:

• To test strategies in complex business environments for students to make key decisions
• To develop students general management skills, team skills and to reinforce the links between
theory and practice
• To encourage the synthesis of knowledge, understanding and skills gained from other
modules on their respective MSc/MBA Programmes

In essence the course is about developing your understanding of the issues within strategic
management by making you aware of the different tools of analysis and presenting you with the
opportunity to apply them.

MODULE OBJECTIVES

By combining a series of lectures and seminar programme with relevant and focused group and
individual assignments and end of semester examination, module participants will become versed and
practised in:

• Addressing the great complexity and variety that attends issues of strategic management within
organisations.
• Managing and analysing relevant information about organisations and their strategic issues in a
clear, sound and explicit way.
• Using strategic management concepts and approaches to produce persuasive conclusions about
real management situations and presenting them effectively.

TEACHING METHODS - LECTURES AND SEMINARS

The module will consist of a two-hour lecture each week and four seminars spread throughout the
semester. The lectures will only provide a skeletal outline of a subject. Students will be required to
supplement their learning with additional reading as designated in the lecture programme. The
module takes a problem based learning approach using a strategy simulation exercise based on a
‘live’ company.
Students will be allocated into groups of 5 at the first seminar and collectively act as the main Board
Directors of the WRSX Group, a global advertising and marketing communications company. Their
responsibility will be to make long-term, strategic decisions that will impact on the growth and
prosperity of this large, multi-national organisation. Their performance will be measured in both
financial and non-financial terms but ultimately on how their decisions impact on the share
price/market capitalisation of their organisation. To gain access to the strategy simulation students can
either buy the core text which come with a password OR register for a password via Neil McLaren in
the Business and Marketing office (3B44).

Lectures Wednesdays 15.00 – 17.00 hours Lecture Theatre A4 Cottrell Building


(weeks 1,3,5, 8-12)

Thursdays 0900-1000 – Logie Lecture Theatre (weeks 2, 4, 6 ONLY)


Friday 0900 – 1000 - Logie Lecture Theatre (weeks 2, 4, 6 ONLY)

The first lecture will be on Wednesday 16th February 2011 in Lecture Theatre A4 Cottrell

Seminars
The seminar timetable and programme is outlined at the end of this handout. Seminars will start on
week beginning Monday 21st February 2011. This is Week 2 in the University timetable. Students
should sign up for a seminar group on WebCT for this module. Each seminar class will be split into 3
groups and given a group name. These groups will be expected to work and conduct an analysis of
WRSX from information available on the simulation web site. Students must attend the first seminar
meeting as this is when groups will be formed. If for any reason you are unable to attend the first
seminar, students should inform the module co-ordinator as soon as possible. Seminars will take place
as per the module outline and are also on Web CT. However, some tutors may wish to vary this. If
this is the case tutors will notify students of other arrangements at the first seminar session. As the
seminars will be assessed it is important that, if for any reason, a student will be absent that they
inform the module co-ordinator as soon as possible.

A short exercise for students to familiarise themselves with the advertising and marketing
communications industry sector is available on Web CT and on the strategy simulation web site and
will be used at the first seminar. Students should come prepared having read the material.

The strategy simulation and associated resources can be accessed at:


http://media.pearsoncmg.com/intl/ema/mystrategylab/index.html

In Phase One Strategic Position - the task will be to analyse the current position of the
WRSX Group and the industry sectors in which it trades.

In Phase Two Strategic Choices - the task will be to review and present strategic options available
to the WRSX Group

In Phase Three Strategy in Action – in the final seminar, students will be presented with Agenda
Items that may or may not provide them with the opportunity to fulfil their strategic objectives for the
business by putting strategy into action. They will have to decide how to develop and adapt their
strategy in the face of external and internal environmental changes – such as competitor activity and
unforeseen opportunities - which emerge and transform the dynamics of their business environment.
Once the groups decisions have been made the strategy simulation will calculate the effect of any
decisions on the WRSX share price.

Seminar Days, Times and Location

Monday 0900-1100 - 2B44 (Tutor CT)


Mondays 1100-1300 – 2B45 (Tutor AM)
Mondays 1400-1600 – 2B85 (Tutor AM)
Mondays 1600-1800 – 2A9 (Tutor CT)

Tuesdays 1400-1600 – 2B44 (Tutor NM)

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Wednesdays 1100-1300 – 2X4 (Tutor TF)
Wednesdays 1300-1500 – 2B87 (Tutor TF)

Thursday 1100 – 1300 3Y2 (Tutor JJ)


Thursdays 1200-1400 – 2B42 (Tutor NM)
Thursdays 1600-1800 – 2B84 (Tutor NM)

Fridays 1100-1300 – 2X4 (Tutor AM)


Fridays 1300-1500 – 2X6 (Tutor AM)
Fridays 1500-1700 – 2B45 (Tutor AM)
 
 
EXPECTATIONS

The focus of the module is to give you an insight into the nature of strategic management within
organisations. For the module to work well, and for you to benefit from it, preparation for each seminar
is compulsory. This will include reading the appropriate chapters in the core text, the lecture notes
and material on the WRSX Group from the strategy simulation web site. During the course of the
module, students will evaluate different strategies in a complex global business environment and make
decisions that will have significant long-term impact on their simulated business. They will also
develop general management skills, team skills and the ability to link management theory with practice
in strategic management.

In each seminar, the group will be asked to make a presentation/discussion of the strategic
position of WRSX, potential strategic choices and finally a number of strategic decisions. A
series of areas that students should concentrate on for each seminar will be available from the
strategy simulation web site and can be used to assist and provide focus for students with their group
work. The actual seminar itself will be a plenary session bringing together student’s work in relation to
their organisation to reinforce learning.

ASSESSMENT

This module has four assessment components:

Team performance in seminars (15%) - Marks will be given for concise analysis, using the techniques
taught on the module and available in textbooks to produce effective and persuasive conclusions, and
participation by all the team. The level of depth of thinking on the case of all the team members will be
ascertained by each participant’s ability to answer questions.

Peer Group Assessment (5%) Peer group assessment involves each individual being allocated a finite
number of marks to award to other group members, but not to themselves. The awards by group
members will be done by secret ballot within a specified time period following completion of the
assignment presentations. This is compulsory and no group assessment grades will be released until
such times as all peer assessments are complete.

Individual Reflective Learning Review Report (30%) - This is an individual assignment. It should be a
concise report of what you have learned about how strategic decisions are arrived at within
organisations often based on very little information. The word limit for the Individual Reflective
Learning Review Report is 1,000 words and will be strictly enforced. The word count should be
indicated on the front page of the assignment. Completed Individual Reflective Learning Review
Reports should be submitted via the essay box outside Room 3B44 no later than 1600 hours on
Tuesday 19th April 2011. Students should complete the assignment cover sheet attached to the
module outline.

Extensions to coursework will only be given for genuine personal or medical reasons. Unauthorised
late submission will be penalised by a loss of 3 marks per day overdue. It is anticipated that
assignments will be marked and returned approximately two weeks after the submission date.

The overall progress requirements for your Degree Programme, including regulations relating to
repeat or deferred examinations, are set out in the handbook issued to you on entry to the programme.

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Work which is submitted for assessment must be your own work. All students should note that
the University has a formal policy on plagiarism which can be found at
http://www.quality.stir.ac.uk/ac-policy/assessment.php.

Citing References

For assignments students are advised to reference all sources used. A guide to citing references can
be found at: http://www.is.stir.ac.uk/research/citing/index.php

THE STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT EXAMINATION (50%)

The examination will be based on a specific case study, which will be provided two weeks before the
exam. The examination date will be confirmed towards the end of the module. A copy of the Spring
2010 examination paper is provided at the end of this outline. Candidates will be asked to answer two
questions from a choice of four. Students will be expected to conduct a strategic analysis of the case
study using course content and material from the strategy simulation.

CORE TEXTS

Main Texts

The core text for the module is:

Johnson, G, Scholes, K, Whittington, R (2009), Fundamentals of Strategy. Prentice Hall, ISBN:


978-0-273-71310-4.

Other texts that can be utilised include:

Johnson, G, Scholes, K, Exploring Corporate Strategy (any edition), Financial Times/Prentice Hall

Lynch R, Corporate Strategy (any edition) Financial Times/Prentice Hall

Thompson, J. & Martin, F, Strategic Management, (any edition)’ Thomson Learning

Other Texts

Mintzberg, Henry. & Quinn, James Brian, (1996), The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases. 3rd
ed. Prentice-Hall International

Bob de Wit & Ron Meyer (1998), Strategy: Process, Content, Context, An International Perspective 2nd
ed., International Thomson Press ISBN 1861521391

Additional Reading

The following books are suggested for giving both a general and a more specialist analysis/discussion.
Again, a limited number are available in the library.

Asch, D. & Bowman, C. (Eds) (1989) Readings in Strategic Management, Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-
51793

Ambrosini, V. (1998) Exploring Techniques of Analysis and Evaluation in Strategic Management


Prentice Hall Europe, ISBN: 0-13-570680-7

Campbell, A. & Sommers, Luchs, K. (1997) Core Competency-Based Strategy, International


Thomson Press, ISBN: 0-415-13688-1

You are also advised to consult the large number of journals devoted to the broad areas of
management, and strategic management in particular (Journal of Management Studies, British Journal
of Management, Strategic Management Journal, Long Range Planning, Harvard Business Review,
California Management Review etc), as well as the quality business press. This is where more recent
and contemporary strategy research is published and debated.
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LECTURE PROGRAMME

Lecture 1 & 2 Introduction to course, expectations, assessment, seminars and


(16th February) strategy simulation exercise.
Lecture 3 & 4 The nature & origins of strategy & development of strategic
(23rd February) management cont’d. Readings: Core Text, Ch 1
Lecture 4 & 5 The role of analysis in strategic management: external and internal
(2nd March) analysis. Readings: Core text, Ch 2 & 3
Lecture 5 & 6 Strategic choice: Corporate and Business Level Strategies
(9th March) Readings: Core text, Chs 6 and 7

Lecture 7 & 8 Strategic purpose, the role of stakeholders and culture


(16th March)
Readings: Core text, Chs 4 and 5

Lecture 9 & 10 Strategy & structure


(23rd March) Readings: Core text, Ch 10

28th March – 1st April Mid-Semester Break - No Lectures or Seminars


Lecture 13 & 14 International Strategy
(6th April)
Lecture 15 & 16 Strategy Methods and Evaluation
(13th April) Readings: Core text, Ch 9
Lecture 17 & 18 Course review, exam preparation & discussions.
(20th April) Exam case study: questions & answers.

SEMINAR PROGRAMME

Week 1 (Week beginning 14th February) No seminars


Week 2 (Week beginning 21st February) Seminar protocol and group formation
th
Week 3 (Week beginning 28 February) No seminars

Week 4 (Week beginning 7th March) No seminars


th
Week 5 (Week beginning 14 March) Phase 1 WRSX presentations: strategic position:
understanding the strategic position – environment
and capability
Week 6 (Week beginning 21st March) No seminars
th st
28 March – 1 April Mid-Semester No seminars
Break
Week 8 (Week beginning 4th April) Phase 2 WRSX presentations: strategic choice
th
Week 9 (Week beginning 11 April) No seminars
Week 10 (Week beginning 18th April) No seminars

Phase 3 WRSX presentations: Board meeting


Week 11 (Week beginning 25th April)* strategic recommendations

*Note due to the University holiday on Friday 29th April, the seminars due to take place on
Friday 29th have been moved forward to Friday 6th May.

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Copy of 2010 exam paper (case study to be placed on WebCT)

Please answer TWO questions.


Case study: Vodafone: Rethinking the International Strategy

1. Under Chief Executive Chris Gent, Vodaphone had a goal of becoming the
worlds leading mobile communications company based upon an acquisitions
strategy. Using examples from the case study discuss the advantages and
disadvantages of Vodaphone following a strategy based on acquisitions.

2. The companies that Vodaphone acquired had to operate within a matrix


structure. What is it about a matrix structure that allows Vodaphone the ability
to control and coordinate its business portfolio while at the same time providing
the flexibility for its businesses to react to local market conditions?

3. In competing for market share Vodaphone followed a strategy of differentiation


based on value adding content, network quality and customer care. Compare
and contrast cost leadership and differentiation strategies and argue whether
you think differentiation was a suitable strategy for Vodaphone to follow.

4. Like many international companies, Vodaphone is still learning to strike


the right balance between a local Vs global strategy. Evaluate the main
arguments associated with a local Vs global strategy and suggest ways in
which Vodaphone could benefit from adopting both a local and global
strategy.

5. Strong competitive and regulatory pressures in the mature markets of North


America and Western Europe encouraged Vodaphone to shift its focus to the
growing markets of Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Outline the key attributes
associated with a mature market and suggest possible strategies that
Vodaphone could adopt to compete successfully in a mature market.

END OF EXAMINATION PAPER