The basic structure of the course is as follows:

  • Week 1: Introduction. What is Strategy?
  • Weeks 2-4: Industry Analysis: Porter’s five forces, cost leadership versus differentiation strategies, and value chain analysis.
  • Weeks 5-8: Developing internal capabilities and the resource based view.
  • Week 9: Game theoretic approach. We will revisit what you learnt in Managerial Economics from a CEO perspective.
  • Weeks 10-12 are about putting it all together
    • Week 10: New Trends in Strategic Management
    • Week 11: Syndicate project presentations
    • Week 12: Postmortem of syndicate projects and discussion of previous exams. Wrap-up

Weekly Schedule

Week Dates


Readings and Cases

Optional &Fun
1 25 & 26 May

What is Strategy?
Course Overview

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

Ghemawat, “Competition and Business Strategy in Historical Perspective”, HBS Press, 1997. arrow

Case: Argyle Diamonds


  • Video: The Oppenheimer Diamond Empire & Artificial Scarcity (1994) img
  • Discovery and Mining of the Argyle Deposit img
2 1 & 2 June

Industry Analysis - Porter's Five Forces

Grant, “Industry Analysis: The Fundamentals”, Chapter 3 in ‘Contemporary Strategy Analysis’, 6th Edition.arrowarrow

Ghemawat & Rivkin, “Creating Competitive Advantage”, HBS 9-798-062.arrowarrow

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

  • Video interview with Michael Porterimg
  • CCS website img
3 8 & 9 June

Competitive Positioning via Cost Leadership

Besanko, et al., Strategic Positioning for Competitive Advantage, Chapter 11 in Economics of Strategy, 4th Edition. Only pages 343 – 378.arrowarrow

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

Quantitative Exercise - Learning curves (download from LMS) img

  • Argote & Epple (1990), article in Science on Experience Curves.




  • Honda adverts img img 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

Optional Articles:

  • Wikipedia on Learning and Experience Curves. img
  • Economies of Scale: see Sharon Oster's book on Modern Competitive Analysis.
4 15 -16 June

Competitive Positioning via Differentiation

Revisit the Besanko reading arrowarrow

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

Case: Ducati: In Pursuit of Magic (A). IESE Case 168 by Mitchell & Cassiman





  • Ducati Legacy img
  • Don't try this at home! img
  • Ducati Financials 2001 img
  • Ducati info on Wikipedia img

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

Syndicate Project handed out on Friday 19th June.
5 22-23 June

Resource Based View - Internal Competencies and Capabilities


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

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

Stalk, Evans and Shulman, Competing on Capabilities: The New Rules of Corporate Strategy, Harvard Business Review (1992).

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


  • Wal*mart- High Cost of Low Price img
  • Wikipedia: Wal-mart img
  • Google Finance: Wal-mart img
  • Wal-mart Investor Information img

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

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

6 29 & 30 June

Dynamic capabilities and Sustainability

Helfat, et al., 2007. Dynamic Capabilities, Chapter 4arrow

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

Kim and Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy: HBR, Oct 2004 Article and Chapter 2 of their book.arrowarrow

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

Optional: McGahan, 1999. Competition, Strategy and Business Performance. California Management Review.

Case: Now Everybody can Fly: AirAsia, IESE Case IES123.

  • Optional: Doug Dow, “An Introduction to the 5C's”. These are powerpoint slides, not an article.
7 6 & 7 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)img arrowarrow

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




BlackBerry vs NTP

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

Intellectual Property

  • IP Australia: intro to patents, trademarks, designsimg
  • Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (
  • WIPO img

He, Lim and 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

8 13 & 14 July

Acquiring and Integrating 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 img arrowarrow

Case: Skype 2010

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



  • TBD


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


9 20 & 21 July

Game Theoretic Approach

Read: Joshua Gans, Game Theory Chapter 5. img arrowarrow

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

Case: Google, Inc. HBS-9-910-036(2009).

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

Game Theory and Strategy:

  • Core Economics img
  • War Games And Business Strategy ( img
  • Bob Gibbons (MIT): img
  • Intro by Dixit and Nalebuff img


10 27 & 28 July

New Challenges in Strategic Management

Each year I pick a current topic that is affecting strategic management. This year we look at climate change

Guest Speakers:

  • Ross Wyatt, General Manager, Netbalance Foundation, and
  • Andy Jones, MBS Alumni and Director of Group Sustainability at Amcor Ltd

Videos are available on the Course Materials page.

Read: Green to Gold, selected pages arrow

Case: Maria Yee: Making Green Furniture in China, Stanford SI-110 (2009)


  • Garnaut Report, particularly the Introduction plus chapters 6 and 11.img
  • Jones & Levy (2007), North American Business Strategies towards Climate Change. img
  • Pew case studies and surveys on climate change strategy. img
  • Videos of Ross Wyatt and Andy Jones img
Syndicate-based Case writeup due on FRIDAY 30th July at 5pm.
11 3 & 4 Aug

Syndicate Assignment Discussion

Presentation and discussion of Syndicate Assignments.

  • Each syndicate will discuss the report written by another syndicate.

Optional to help you get started with your syndicate assignment:

  • Chapter 1 from The McKinsey Mind.
  • Good summary of The McKinsey Way (not the same book):
Deadline to submit your entry for the Best Strategy Application Contest.
12 10 & 11 Aug

Syndicate assignment postmortem

Summary and Review, Implementation.

Summary/review and approach towards exams

  • Past exam questions are on the LMS

In-class: How to "do" strategy.

  • Collis + Rukstad, Can you say what your Strategy Is, HBR, April 2008
  • Hamel & Prahalad, “Strategic Intent”, HBR, 1989.arrow
  • Mintzberg, “Crafting Strategy”, HBR, 1996.arrow

Voting for the contest entries

Q&A on topics covered this semester; discussion of the syndicate assignment

  • 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: 2pm on 16 August.