BUDV 450 Strategic Management Course Guide


Course Description

This course deals with the development and implementation of organization strategy. It focuses on the perspectives, analytical techniques, and capabilities utilized by managers to improve an organization’s probability of attaining sustainable competitive advantage and success in the long term. It is considered a capstone course, which implies that students will be asked to integrate much of what they have learned in other courses into the analytical and decision-making processes.   In this course, students will be expected to integrate knowledge and skills from courses in the business core, work effectively in teams, demonstrate leadership skill, communicate effectively, engage in the analysis of complex business situations, and make enlightened decisions based upon reasoned judgments. This is a multidisciplinary course, emphasizing the development of strategies that integrate accounting, financial, economic, marketing, and management considerations. The course will be taught by professors from a variety of disciplines, but always with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary integration.
It may help to view this course as having two broad components. First, students will be expected to understand and appreciate the processes and techniques associated with analyzing environmental, industry, and company data in order to identify significant threats, opportunities, organizational capabilities, and strategy alternatives inherent in a specific situation. Second, students will be expected to develop analytical, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills as they attempt to contribute to a group strategy planning process. In both of these components, students should fully utilize their knowledge of marketing, management, accounting, finance, statistics, management information systems, business law, economics, operations management, and other courses within the business curriculum, as well as from the liberal arts and sciences. To succeed in this course, students will have to assume an active, participative role in the learning process. In many ways, this course will attempt to mirror the type of interactive communication and analytical processes that typically occur in the business world as organizations struggle to attain the objectives of their stakeholders in an intensely competitive global environment. This course should be challenging, interesting, and relevant. It focuses specifically on the types of cross-functional problems, processes, and decisions that are faced by managers in all types of organizations.

Specific, Assessable Learning Objectives

The student will apply the strategy development process to complex organizational cases in order to show competence in the following learning objectives:
1.      Problem Solving: Think critically and creatively to solve complex organizational problems using appropriate and analytic and quantitative techniques and integrating knowledge and skills from various disciplines.
2.      Communication.Communicate orally and in writing using language appropriate to the audience.
3.      Teamwork and Leadership. Demonstrate respect, responsibility, and a focus on serving others as a leader and team member.
4.      Moral Consideration. Work toward a just, peaceable, and humane solution with thoughtful consideration of the impact on all stakeholders, the external environment, and the natural world

Course Outline

The following foundational material will be discussed during the beginning weeks of the semester. This material will be discussed in the context of a teaching case.
  • Strategic management objectives and processes.
  • Conducting external and internal situation analyses
  • Choosing among competitive strategies
  • Defining strategic issues
  • Generating and evaluating alternatives
  • Developing implementation plans
  • Developing effective written and oral strategic plan proposals
The remainder of the course will apply this material in team and individual case analyses.
  • Team case analyses (four) – large group discussions, team meetings, presentation
  • Moral frameworks and making ethical and socially responsible decisions – class discussions and one individual written analysis
  • Individual case analysis – one in-class analytical exercise and a take-home written analysis
The course will culminate in a formal oral strategic plan proposal by student teams to a board of executives.

Recommended Teaching Methodology

This is primarily a case course, supplemented by discussion of selected readings from texts and other sources. A committee of faculty teaching the course will develop the package of interdisciplinary cases and readings to be utilized each semester. Students will be expected to refer to textbooks from previous core course. The primary objective in this course is to develop and demonstrate skill in applying material from previous courses, not to learn a significant amount of new material.
Students will be organized by the professor into case analysis teams. The composition of the teams remains the same for the entire semester. The primary focus of assigned cases will vary, but all cases will be carefully selected to address important issues from each discipline, with multiple issues addressed in most cases. Students will be expected (required) to meet as a team to prepare a response for each class. Most cases will require the application of a standard set of analytical techniques. These will include situation analysis, target market analysis, financial statement analysis, capital budgeting, forecasting and the general application of appropriate management principles and concepts.
All case analyses are to be submitted in both printed and electronic format. Electronic submissions will be evaluated using plagiarism detection software. Any instances of alleged plagiarism will be referred to the course coordinator in accordance with the academic integrity section of this course guide.
The professor will be responsible for guiding case discussions and for recording fairly detailed notes regarding the quality of each student’s participation in class. The professor will also be responsible for evaluating the written analyses submitted by individual students. The professor will respond to each student with in-depth feedback regarding the quality of the report, with respect to content and presentation When evaluating students’ performance, professors will use common rubrics agreed upon by the teaching faculty, to assure consistent assessment relative to course learning objectives.
Faculty assigned to teach the capstone will meet during the summer to develop relatively standardized syllabi and agree on a common set of cases and grading rubrics. Faculty will also meet periodically throughout the semester to discuss issues and ideas based on teaching experiences.

Recommended Student Assessment Measures

To facilitate the consistent assessment of student performance, teaching faculty will jointly develop standardized formats that directly relate to the learning objectives of the course. Formats will be developed for assessing written case analyses, oral presentations, and peer evaluations. The following assessment measures will be used. 
  1. Written case reports. Students will be assigned to a team for purposes of case preparation and discussion throughout the semester. Each team will be required to submit three written case reports. In each written case report, students will be required to make a specific recommendation concerning one or more aspects of organization strategy. The recommendations must be based on the team’s thorough, critical analysis of case data and an evaluation of reasonable alternatives. Students must explain the rationale that supports their recommendations. Each written report must be submitted in professional business format, prepared using a word processing software package with appropriate charts, graphs, and appendices. Each report would normally be six to eight pages single spaced, plus appendices. Each report will be evaluated separately for content and mechanics, and problem solving effectiveness and moral consideration, and using the appropriate common rubrics.
2.      Oral case reports. Each team will be assigned responsibility for making one formal in-class oral report of a case analysis, and a second formal oral report to a board of executives as a final examination. Each member of the team will receive an individual grade for their presentation quality (content and delivery) and a common team grade for problem solving effectiveness and moral consideration using the appropriate common rubrics. No written report is required for the presenting team.
  1. Executive summaries. Each student will be required to write an executive summary for three cases. The executive summary should be one page in length; single spaced; and should completely describe the strategy proposal. The summary must adequately describe the general strategy (broad/focused, cost, quality, or value), strategic issues, recommendations, implementation resources, ethical concerns or impact on bottom line. The last paragraph must explain why the proposal is a “winning strategy” (situation fit, sustainable competitive advantage, improved performance). The summary should include critical quantity, schedule and financial data. This includes key facts, assumptions and results of analyses. Each executive summary will be evaluated for content and mechanics using the written communications common rubric.
  2. Peer Evaluations. Peer evaluation will be a component of the final grade. Peer evaluations will be conducted for each report, oral case presentation and final presentation.
  3. Individual readiness and class participation.  An ongoing assessment will be made of each student’s readiness and contribution to class discussions. Consideration will be given to the quality of the readiness assignments turned in at the start of each class as well as the quality of comments, questions, non-verbal feedback, and demonstrated listening skills.
Each student is expected to be an active participant in case discussions and to offer meaningful analysis and convincing arguments in support of your arguments. Students earn their grade by contributing their assessment and judgments to the discussion. Coming to class and listening to the discussion of assigned cases is necessary to earn participation credit, but is not sufficient. Students should make a conscientious effort to be sufficiently prepared to make intelligent, timely comments regarding the managerial issues raised in the cases. 
6.      Individual assessment of problem solving and moral consideration. This course has been assigned the responsibility to assess student mastery for the School of Business problem solving and moral consideration learning goals. Students will analyze a moral consideration mini-case and make recommendations in a written assignment. Students will also complete a multi-part individual case analysis where they will show proficiency in problem solving using the strategy development process.
The following grading summary is intended as a guideline. Point totals and percentages may vary if additional evaluation components are utilized or if the individual weighting of components is changed.


Statement of Expectations

All students taking this course must have completed all of the required courses in the School of Business pre-core and core curriculum. Fundamental concepts and techniques will not be re-taught in this upper level capstone course.
The material that will be covered in this course is important. The knowledge and skills associated with this course can significantly impact individual careers and the competitiveness of organizations. Developing the skills to make enlightened business decisions based on reasoned judgments and to participate in a group decision-making process is not easy. Most of the learning that takes place in this course will occur when students are working on the material outside of class … when the student is reading, thinking critically, analyzing and applying concepts and techniques learned in previous courses to real business situations (case studies). The amount of learning and skill development that takes place will be directly proportional to the amount of time and effort that is put forth in preparing for classes. The cases are opportunities to apply material from previous core courses and new material from this course, and to further develop communication and teamwork skills. Like any athletic or artistic endeavor, most of the knowledge acquisition and skill development will take place when students are practicing, not performing.
The workload in this course will be heavy. Time requirements are significant:
  • Each case must be analyzed by the individual and discussed among team members. Each student must be prepared to contribute to case discussions every class.
  • Each of the case analyses will require at least 6-8 hours of preparation.
  • The final team case analysis, report, and presentation will take considerable time at the end of the semester.
Students should be advised that an average weekly workload for this course would consist of three hours in class plus a minimum of eight hours of studying and assignment preparation.

Academic Integrity

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. Any student found violating this trust undermines the educational process and is subject to significant disciplinary action. 
The concept of academic integrity lies at the very heart of any college. This is particularly true of Siena with its strong Franciscan tradition and its dedication to fostering sound moral growth. In such an environment, academic dishonesty cannot be tolerated. Students who commit such acts expose themselves to punishments as severe as dishonorable dismissal from the college. Academic dishonesty can take different forms, including, but not limited to, cheating (dishonesty in a test situation), plagiarism (dishonesty in the presentation of materials in a paper or report), and computer abuse. In any situation in which a student is unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty, it is the student's responsibility to raise the question with his or her instructor. It is also the student's responsibility to be familiar with the student guidelines on academic honesty, "Academic Integrity and the Siena Student." Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College's policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.
Although it is presumed that students adhere to all academic integrity guidelines, specific measures have been instituted to assure compliance. First, in addition to a hard copy, an electronic version (computer disk) of all reports and case analyses is required. All electronic copies will be maintained in a central location and screened for plagiarism. Further, whenever calculations are required on exams, calculators will be permitted. However, if your calculator is programmable, the memory will be cleared prior to starting the exam. Sharing of calculators is not permitted.
Students suspected of violating academic integrity will be referred to the course coordinator and the Academic Integrity Committee for final determination.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

Students must have attained the learning objectives of all required pre-core and core courses in the School of Business curriculum. They must be prepared to engage in qualitative and quantitative analysis, using concepts and techniques from multiple prerequisite courses. They must be capable of presenting the results of analysis in both oral and written format, demonstrating communication skills appropriate for senior-level students in the School of Business. Students should be able to function productively in a team, demonstrating leadership capabilities when appropriate. Students must be able to utilize computer software to prepare professional looking documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Institutional Mechanism for Providing Feedback for Continuous Quality Improvement
Individual professors teaching this course will evaluate each student based on course specific knowledge, capability, and communication skill. Performance assessments will be summarized and reported to the Dean or a designate, with separate assessments for relevant performance categories. Performance assessments from multiple sections and professors will be compiled into a single comparative report. This report will be utilized for overall evaluation of the capstone course and for control purposes. Any deficiencies in attaining learning outcomes will be addressed and appropriate changes designed to improve the probability of attaining these objectives.