Som 498 Syllabus

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SOM 498: Strategic Management

Semester:Spring 2011

Professor:Dr. Yan Ling
222 Enterprise Hall; (703) 993-1821;

Course: TR 10:30-11:45am (section 12)
TR 1:30-2:45pm (section 06)
TR 3:00-4:15pm (section 07)

Location: Robinson Hall B203 (section 12)
Innovation Hall 206 (section 06) Innovation Hall 136 (section 07)

Office Hours: M 10:15-11:45am and anytime by appointment

Instructional Material: (a) Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage, by J. Barney and W. Hesterly (b) Cases available at:

Course Website Address:

Course Description:

This course is an advanced examination of strategic management, competitive advantage, and business models. Students examine organizations from a cross-functional perspective, using all the core business functions covered in the SOM curriculum.


Students must have completed general education requirements and all core courses (i.e., SOM 301, ACCT 301, DESC 301, MGMT 301, FNAN 301, and MKTG 301)

Learning Objectives

This class integrates the specific core concepts you learned up to this point in the GMU and School of Management Curriculum.  You will examine firms and industries from an historical and current economic perspective.  Your analysis, both written and oral, will include the principles of finance, accounting, management, and marketing, with an emphasis on information technology as both the 'glue' that links the functional specialties together and as a driving force behind emerging business models. Understanding how the various functional areas fit together and determine the performance of the firm is the essence of this capstone course. You will also learn more traditional strategy concepts including: the strategy process, the role of top management, industry analysis, firm resource analysis, strategy formulation, including corporate and business level strategies, strategy implementation, innovation and growth.

Additionally, this course will refine your strategic thinking skills now, before you graduate. You will master and apply strategic management frameworks to current events and your final project. In addition to the course content, the class will help you further develop important skills: research skills, analysis, creative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, and team building. Approach to Learning

This course is designed to be centered on active learning -- discussion and application -- rather than the traditional lecture-regurgitation format. Research strongly suggests, and our teaching experiences corroborate, that active learning is more effective and more interesting than traditional lecture-based teaching methods. Successful active learning requires a major investment from both students and faculty. You will need to study the assigned readings before each class, do a fair amount of thinking and writing, and be prepared to contribute to the class discussion. You should become a partner in the learning environment, which means asking questions, sharing your reactions, giving feedback to your colleagues and instructor, and staying on top of the workload. We will invest time and energy to help you attain your goals for the course, and work with you to develop your skills and abilities (more like a coach than a traditional lecturer). This approach requires more work from all of us, but the long run benefits warrant the extra effort.  We will use a combination of lecture, discussion, and exercise during most class periods. For each topic area, we will usually discuss the strategic management frameworks prevalent in different industry environments first. Then, we will devote class time to the application of these frameworks using both current events and your selected projects as a context. 

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