The basic structure of the course is as follows:

  • Week 1: Introduction. What is Strategy?
  • Weeks 2-5: Industry Analysis: Porter’s five forces, cost leadership versus differentiation strategies, and value chain analysis.
  • Weeks 6-8: Developing internal capabilities and the resource based view.
  • Week 9-10: Game theoretic approach. We will attempt to integrate the lessons you learnt in Managerial Economics into the materials covered here.
  • Week 10: New Trends in Strategic Management -- Climate Change and the Environment
  • Week 11: Syndicate project presentations
  • Week 12: Wrap-up

Weekly Schedule

Items in the reading pack are marked with a book

Week Dates


Readings and Cases

Interesting & Fun
1 19 & 20 May

What is Strategy?
Course Overview

Lewis, “The Case Study Method of Learning”. book

Ghemawat, “Competition and Business Strategy in Historical Perspective”, HBS Press, 1997. book
A similar version is available online from BHR img

Case: Argyle Diamonds book


  • Video: The Oppenheimer Diamond Empire & Artificial Scarcity (1994) img
  • Discovery and Mining of the Argyle Deposit img
2 26 & 27 May

Industry Analysis - Porter's Five Forces

Grant, “The Determinants of Industry Profit”, in ‘Contemporary Strategy Analysis’, Blackwell, 1998, pp54-70. book

Skim: Michael E. Porter, “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy,” Harvard Business Review 1979 (pp. 32-41) book

Case: Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc (HBS 378-024) book

  • CCS website img
  • Collecting cown capsimg
3 2 & 3 June

Competitive Positioning via Cost Leadership

Ghemawat & Rivkin, “Creating Competitive Advantage”, HBS Press, 1998. book

Case: Honda A. HBS-9-384-049(1989) book

Quantitative Exercise - Learning curves (download from Learning Managment System) img

Optional Articles:

  • Bowman (2008), "Generic Strategies: A Substitute for Thinking?", Ashridge Journal (Spring). img
  • Argote & Epple (1990), article in Science on Experience Curves.
  • Wikipedia on Learning and Experience Curves. img
  • Short excerpt on Economies of Scale from Sharon Oster's book on Modern Competitive Analysis.
  • Gujarati - Basic Econometrics. Brief intro to Cobb-Douglas Production functions and returns to scale.


  • Honda adverts img img img
  • The Honda Heritage img
  • Honda CB350 img
  • Recent Honda ad (The Cog)in which 2 of only 6 existing hand-made Accords are taken apart and used img.
  • Honda Choir: original img vs spoof img
4 PT: 9 June (despite the holiday!)

FT-10 June

Competitive Positioning via Differentiation; sustainability.

Porter, M.(1996), What is Strategy? Harvard Business Review, p 61-78. book

Case: Ducati HBS-9-701-132 (2002) book

Skim: N.Kumar (2006), Strategies to Fight Low-cost Rivals, Harvard Business Review Dec 84(12):104-112 book

Optional: Saloner, Shepard and Podolny book: short extract on perceptual maps in product differentiation.

Optional: Colis and Rukstad, Can "Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?", Harvard Business Review, April 2008.

Advanced: Saloner, Shepard and Podolny book: Appendix of Chap. 7, A model of product differentiation.

Advanced: Besnahan, Stern and Trajtenberg (1997), "Market Segmentation and the Sources of Rents from Innovation: Personal Computers in the late 1980's", RAND Journal of Economics S17-S44. img


  • Ducati Power- how is Ducati positioned in this video? img
  • Ducati Legacy img
  • Don't try this at home! img
  • Ducati Financials 2001 img
  • Ducati info on Wikipedia img
5 16 & 17 June

Industry Analysis and Positioning: Putting together the ideas from weeks 1-4

Revise the materials covered in sessions 1-4

Read: Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton, "Having Trouble with your Strategy? Then Map It", Harvard Business Review, Sep-Oct 2000. book

Read: Strategy Maps: A Step-by-Step Guide, Journal of Business Strategy 2006(3), pp 12-19. book

Case: Ice Fili, HBS 9-703-516. book

Optional: Doug Dow, “An Introduction to the 5C's”, 2007(password required) img

Advanced: Misangyi et al (2006), A Multilevel Approach to Industry, Corporate and Business Unit Effects, Strategic Management Journal Vol 27, pp 571-590.


  • History of Ice Cream img
  • Ice-Fili (USA) img
6 23 & 24 June

Resource Based View - Internal Competencies and Capabilities

Read: Saloner, Shepard & Podolny, “Strategic Management”, 2001, Chapter 3, pp39-63. book

Case: Wal*Mart Stores, Inc. HBS-9-794-024. book

Skim: Anita Mcgahan (1999), "Competition, Strategy and Business Performance", California Management Review Vol 41, no 3. book

Optional: Stalk, Evans & Shulman, “Competing on Capabilities”, HBR, 1992.

Optional: Peteraf (1993), The Cornerstones of Competitive Advantage: A Resource-Based View, Strategic Management Journal Vol 14(3), pp 179-191.

Advanced: Susan Athey and Scott Stern, "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complementarity", NBER Working Paper img. See commentary on O&M img and an application to the Auto industry img.



  • Wal*mart- High Cost of Low Price img
  • Wikipedia: Wal-mart img
  • Google Finance: Wal-mart img
  • Wal-mart Investor Information img
7 30 June,
1 July

Knowledge as a Strategic Capability

Read: Gans and Stern (2003), "The Product Market and the 'Market for Ideas': Commercialization Strategies for Technology Entrepreneurs", Research Policy 32(2) book img

Case: David Weston and Kwanghui Lim, Blackberry, IPRIA/WIPO Case 2008. book

Skim: Zilin He, Kwanghui Lim and Pohkam Wong (2006), "Entry and Competitive Dynamics in the Mobile Telecommunications Market", Research Policy, 20th Anniversary Special Issue of "Profiting from Innovation" by David Teece. Earlier version (IPRIA) img

Optional: IP Australia: intro to patents, trademarks, designsimg


BlackBerry vs NTP

  • BlackBerry Parodyimg
  • Crackberry img
  • ieee articleimg
  • CNN article img

Intellectual Property

  • Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (
  • WIPO img
8 7 & 8 July

Acquiring New Capabilities

Read: Rahul Kapoor and Kwanghui Lim (2007), "The Impact of Acquisitions on the Innovation Performance of Inventors at Semiconductor Companies", Academy of Management Journal book img

Case: HP and Compaq Combined: In Search of Scale and Scope. Stanford Case SM-130 book

Skim: Hsu-Lim paper on knowledge bridging. img

Optional: Coyne, K.P. (1997), Is Your Core Competence A Mirage? McKinsey Quarterly, pp 40-56. book

Optional: Mckinsey Quarterly, Interview with Richard Rumelt (requires free registration)img


HP & Compaq

  • Carly Interviewed on TVimg
  • Worth the wait? img
  • Fortune interview with Carly img
  • Fiorini and the Frog img
  • HP-Compaq post-merger img
  • HP-Compaq 5 yrs on img
  • knowledge@wharton on the merger img


  • Someone amazing. When you lack some resources, innovate to develop new capabilities! img


9 14 & 15 July

Game Theoretic Approach

Read: for a great introduction or a quick revision, visit Joshua's website on Game Theory and Strategic Thinking. book img

Read: Brandenburger and Nalebuff, "The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy", Harvard Business Review (July-Aug 1995). book

Review: the book Co-opetition by Nalebuff & Brandenburger (1996), which you read in Managerial Economics.

Case: Google, Inc. HBS-9-806-105(2006). book

Skim: Google's Innovation Machine, HBR April 2008


  • Erhun & Keskinochak (2003), Game Theory in Business Applications, Stanford Working Paper, pp 1-35 only. img
  • img
  • Boeing/Airbus Example by Nicholas Economides img
  • Ramon Casadesus-Masanell: interesting examples (Wintel, itunes vs filesharing, microsoft vs opensource) img


  • Erhun & Keskinochak, Pages 35 onwards.
  • Ming-jer Chen, Kuo-Hsien Su and Wenpin Tsai (2007), "Competitive Tension: The Awareness-Motivation-Capability Perspective", Acad of Mgt Journal.


Game Theory and Strategy:

  • Joshua's Blog img
  • War Games And Business Strategy ( img
  • Bob Gibbons (MIT): img
  • Intro by Dixit and Nalebuff img
  • MIT- McAdams (15.040) img

Google Case:

  • Larry Page's Keynote address at CES 2006 img
  • Google Inside Look Video img and Factory Tour img
  • Life at Google - The Microsoftie Perspective img
  • Two Giants but they aren't twins (NYtimes) img
  • Search Engine Strategy- interview with Avinash Kaushik (Google Analytics ) img
  • Google Data Centers img
  • Google Adsense Optimization img
10 (CHANGED) 21 & 22 July

New Challenges in Strategic Management

--This was earlier scheduled for week 11

Each year I pick a current topic that is affecting strategic management. This year, we will discuss strategy in relation to sustainability in a world of global climate change and other environmental challenges.
Organized in conjunction with Nigel Hembrow and the folks at MBS Net Impact, as well as Toyota Australia

Case: Toyota Prius.

Read: Jones, Charles A. and David L. Levy (2007) "North American Business Strategies Towards Climate Change", European Management Journal.

Skim: Garnaut Report, Chapter 1 (the executive summary) img

Skim:The Contradictions That Drive Toyota's Success, HBR, June 2008


  • Levy, David L. and Sandra Rothenberg (2002) "Heterogeneity and change in environmental strategy: technological and political responses to climate change in the automobile industry. img
  • Griffiths, Haigh and Rassias, A Framework for Understanding Institutional Governance Systems and Climate Change: The Case of Australia. European Management Journal 2007.
  • Kolk, Ans and David L. Levy (October 2001) "Winds of Change: Corporate Strategy, Climate Change and Oil Multinationals", European Management Journal, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 501-509.img
  • Hybrid Car Blog img
  • The Economist on Climate Change, 2008: img and alternative fuels img
  • Biofuels img
Syndicate-based Case writeup due Saturday 26th July at 5pm (I've postponed the deadline, giving you an extra week).
11 (CHANGED) 28 & 29 July

Syndicate Assignment Presentations and Discussion

-- This was earlier scheduled for week 10

Presentation of Syndicate Assignments: Borders Group 2008.

Deadline to submit your entry for the Best Strategy Application Contest: 29th July 2008.
12 4 & 5 Aug

Summary and Review, Implementation.

Read: Hamel & Prahalad, “Strategic Intent”, HBR, 1989. book

Revisit: Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton, "Having Trouble with your Strategy? Then Map It", Harvard Business Review, Sep-Oct 2000. book

Read: Mintzberg, “Crafting Strategy”, HBR, 1996. book

Revisit: Ice-Fili case and Honda(B)

In-class: A step by step guide to creating a better strategy for your organization.

Q&A on topics covered this semester

  • Steve Jobs discusses the path dependent nature of his becoming a CEO img
  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon img
  • Bill Greene, Accenture CEO img
  • Akamai: From Theory to Practice img

Exam Week: 11th - 16th August.