Strategy and the Competitive Environment

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MSc in Management

Strategy and the Competitive Environment

Course Convenor: David Logan

Lecturers: David Logan and Dr Ioannis Thanos

Background

Successful organisational performance depends on a successful organisational strategy. Having a successful strategy requires the organisation’s management to appropriately interpret and respond to external competitive forces and inter-organisational dynamics on a national and international scale. It also needs the organisation’s management to manage internal organisational resources and capabilities so as to meet the demands of customers, suppliers and other agents (often referred to as stakeholders) with whom their organisation interacts and on whom it depends.

The way in which strategy is developed may vary considerably between organisations from a relatively formal, planned process through to a more informal, emergent process. The scope of strategy and strategic management is broad, and is interrelated with many other aspects of management such that it affects, and is affected by, operational, marketing and financial strategies. In addition there are many other challenges that relate to the size of the organisation, its history, and the sector(s) within which it operates. A key challenge in a large, multi-divisional organisation for example, is to successfully steer the corporate headquarters without losing sight of the needs and relationships between different business units that may be operating in very different markets. A public sector organisation on the other hand, may find its greatest challenge is in maintaining a coherent strategy when Political/Governmental directions change regularly and the policy context becomes characterised by many competing performance indicators and often decreasing availability of resources.

Whilst this course cannot provide in-depth insight into all types of organisations and in all sectors, it will provide a sense of the dimensions of strategic management and the types of challenges associated with creating and implementing a competitive strategy. In examining these issues, we will draw mainly on one core textbook (Johnson et al, 2011) but as you will see from the remainder of this course guide, we have suggested other readings from textbooks and from journal articles. These readings are indicative of the sort of material you might want to consult. In preparing your assignment, we would encourage you to look for other material.

Course Aim

The aim of this course is to examine ideas and theories about strategy, and to show how these relate to the management role within organisations. The course also aims to enable students to develop an understanding of strategy analysis and implementation.

Learning Outcomes

There are a number of learning outcomes for the course. They do not carry equal emphasis within the course, but all will be addressed to some extent. The learning outcomes are represented below in the left hand column and are the outcomes that should be demonstrated through the assignment and/or the examination. The right hand column indicates where these outcomes are addressed within the taught element of the course.

Broadly speaking, the course outcomes can be categorised into those relating to strategic analysis, and those related to strategy implementation. Although students cannot be expected to demonstrate abilities in implementing strategy, an understanding of the implementation process is expected.

|Intended Learning Outcomes |Means of addressing the learning outcome | |Strategic Analysis | |Identify the ways in which an organisation’s competitive advantage |Section 1 will address the core issue of how to create sustainable | |can be established...
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