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PTMBA2022 - Strategies for Dynamic Market Environments

This course focuses on the evolution of industries and how it affects the strategy of specific firms in those industries. The traditional view on the creation and maintenance of competitive advantage is that competition drives companies to outperform rivals and capture greater shares of existing market space. In overcrowded industries, differentiating brands becomes increasingly harder. Staying ahead in dynamic competition necessitates innovative thrust, the development of a unique set of skills to deliver value for customers in the present and in the future and, last but not least, the ability to critically review the current business model at all times to discover new market spaces. Successful strategic management requires managers to anticipate change and proactively influence the market environment.Therefore, it is key to understand the drivers of industrial change and how core activities, assets and relationships with customers and suppliers are changing. Instead of optimizing the status quo (a given business model), firm strategy (that is, its plan to satisfy customers and, as a consequence, be profitable) needs to be aligned continously and consistently with the industry{\uc1\u8217*}s change trajectory {\uc1\u8211*}or eventual disruption.
Kurs ID
MBA MGMT641
Art des Kurses
PT MBA LV
Wochenstunden
2,0
ECTS
2,0
Semester
FS 2022
Vortragssprache
Englisch
Vortragende/r
Prof. Enrique Kramer
Bitte beachten Sie, dass AustauschstudentInnen im BSc-Programm der WHU eine höhere Anzahl an Credits erwerben als hier aufgeführt. Für weitere Informationen wenden Sie sich bitte direkt an das [International Relations Office].
This course focuses on the evolution of industries and how it affects the strategy of specific firms in those industries. The traditional view on the creation and maintenance of competitive advantage is that competition drives companies to outperform rivals and capture greater shares of existing market space. In overcrowded industries, differentiating brands becomes increasingly harder. Staying ahead in dynamic competition necessitates innovative thrust, the development of a unique set of skills to deliver value for customers in the present and in the future and, last but not least, the ability to critically review the current business model at all times to discover new market spaces. Successful strategic management requires managers to anticipate change and proactively influence the market environment.Therefore, it is key to understand the drivers of industrial change and how core activities, assets and relationships with customers and suppliers are changing. Instead of optimizing the status quo (a given business model), firm strategy (that is, its plan to satisfy customers and, as a consequence, be profitable) needs to be aligned continously and consistently with the industry’s change trajectory –or eventual disruption.

The main emphasis of the course will be on understanding the workings of different industries and of specific companies within those industries –in the end, we work for, will work for, or will create, companies and make decisions for them. We will also discuss business models, the concept of business model innovation, and the concept of disruption.

Date Time
Sunday, 16.01.2022 09:15 - 16:45
Saturday, 22.01.2022 09:15 - 16:45
Sunday, 23.01.2022 09:15 - 16:45
  1. Discipline-specific knowledge and competence. You will obtain knowledge and hands-on practice of how to use several tools to create competitive advantage, understand industry structure and evolution. Some of the tools to be tackled are industry analysis, cost and differentiation advantages, McGahan’s industry evolution framework, Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas, and Clayton Christensen’s framework on disruption.
  2. Management specific skills. You will develop skills in using the aforementioned tools to recognise an industry’s configuration and evolution. You will also develop skills in deriving specific action recommendations for specific competitive, managerial and entrepreneurial situations. And last, but not least, you will hone your skill of question formulation and question answering.
  3. Global business environment. Cases and examples used in the course cover several industries. We will tackle the airline, apparel, beef-substitute, microinsurance, and drone industries. Some of them are in more turmoil than others, but all of them a very dynamic!
  4. Listening and communicating skills. Since a case discussion is a participant-centered process, it is essential that you prepare well for each session and contribute positively during plenary discussions. You will develop and/or exercise your listening, communicating, question formulation/answering and leadership skills.
  5. Critical thinking and problem solving skills. Cases present multifaceted, complex situations for which there are no “best” questions, answers and solutions. Logical, but at the same time out-of-the-box, inquisitive and creative thinking is a skill that you will enhance throughout the course.
  6. Managerial and entrepreneurial practice. For every case, you will adopt the position of the decision-maker, as well as that of any stakeholders relevant to the situation under analysis. You will strive to understand each stakeholder’s point of view and reach an action-oriented decision in the position of the case protagonist, taking into account the interests of all parties involved.

The course, in analyzing industry structure and evolution, business model innovation, and disruption, offers participants an excellent environment to exercise their curiosity and judgment about the opportunities and threats for entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial initiatives in several industries.

All materials –readings and cases– are provided as downloads on Moodle. However, you are more than welcome to look for additional material elsewhere –the Internet or WHU’s intranet library. You are encouraged to read as much materials as possible BEFORE coming to the sessions –mainly in the week before the start of the course and in the workweek between January 11 and 15–, but also in the evening of Saturday January 16.We will be stressing the practicalapplication of the tools/frameworks we will be dealing with rather than the frameworks themselves. You will get most out of the course by posing questions, and going through the thought process with your student colleagues –a unique and unrepeatable opportunity to definitely take advantage of– rather than by going very deeply over the theoretical material.
There will be four basic learning activities:

  • Reading and evaluating the proposed materials –you may eventually look for more on the Internet or at WHU’s intranet library.
  • Analysis of the cases.
  • Participation in the plenary sessions.
  • Analysis and preparation of the take-home exam, which will also be base on a case.

We will apply the conceptual frameworks more or less freely to specific industries and companies as presented in the case studies. As stated above, the emphasis will be on the practical application of the tools, so this is where you should put most of your effort; besides, this will enhance your learning!

This course makes use of case studies. I wish to give some detail about how we are going to approach them.

  • During preparation, I expect you to understand the situation presented in the case (maybe “constellation” is a more descriptive way of conveying what I expect). You will do this by yourself or in the context of a small team –as you prefer– through the generation of pertinent questions and reasonable answers that lead to reasonable courses of action. This is what I call “analysis” (see below). It is critical that your come to class well prepared to present your questions and answers as well as willing to listen and elaborate on the questions and answers expressed by other students.
  • In the plenary sessions, I will kick-off the discussion by asking participants to present some of their questions and analysis, and then we will continue the discussion which I will moderate essentially through questions.

The critical tool to perform your analysis is the generation of insightful questions and plausible answers. In this process, you should use the concepts presented in the readings or any other framework you deem adequate. Therefore, reading of the material is strongly encouraged, but the course will not focus on the frameworks per se but rather in making good use of them to generate relevant questions that may lead to good understanding of the situations encountered and the generation of good plans of action.

Please bear in mind that there are neither “optimal” questions nor “unique” correct answers. There are good questions, and then there are poor questions. The difference between them is that the first ones are usually open (cannot be answered by “yes” or “no”), go beyond the obvious, and try to understand the relationship between different elements of a situation, thus obtaining a deeper insight of that situation.

I expect you to dedicate about 1½ hours on average to read each of the four conceptual frameworks covered in the course (competitive forces, industrial evolution, disruption and business model canvas) and some 2½-3 hours to prepare each of the five cases we will be dealing with during the course. That adds up to 18 to 21 hours of preparation time; additionally, you will be attending classes for 18 hours, and then I expect you to devote some 12 hours to prepare your take-home exam. In total, the dedication I expect is 48-51hours.

Grading and exam

  • Individual Class Participation (50% of total grade). The objective of giving a relevant weight to your participation in the class discussion is to get you engaged in it and learn in the process. You should not fear being penalized if you say something that is not very bright. We all do this from time to time! But you should not do it too often though… So, take active part in the plenary sessions!

What will be valued most is that through your questions, answers, and interventions you show a positive attitude towards advancing the discussion in a substantial way, within the learning objectives of the course.

Your contributions will be positively evaluated if they:


Are relevant – Do your questions, answers, and comments speak directly to the issues, principles and concepts being addressed? Do they reflect your reading and thinking about the case’s issues, principles and concepts? Are they related to other participants’ contributions and reflect active listening of their questions, answers, and comments? Are they precise and focused?


Allow making progress – Do your questions, answers, and comments allow the discussion to move forward? Do they elaborate on the issues, principles and concepts under discussion? Do they take the discussion to new pastures?

Are based on facts – Do your questions, answers, and comments use specific facts of the case, as well as the issues, principles and concepts used in the course? Do they reflect your personal experiences related to these aspects?

Are logical – Is your reasoning coherent and logical? Does it reflect an adequate use of the issues, principles and concepts on which the course is based?

Are original – Do your questions, answers, and comments go beyond the obvious? Do they allow the generation of some insights into the situation under analysis? Do they open up new perspectives on the subject at hand?

Students who persistently attempt to dominate the discussion, discourage or intimidate other participants, or otherwise diminish the value of the class, will be warned and, if persisting in their behaviour, will be penalised in their grading.

  • Final Written Exam (50% of total grade). The take-home exam will consist of two questions within the scope of a case: one I will pose, and another one you will formulate yourself. Regarding the latter, it should cover a relevant aspect of the situation described in the case; you will then answer it, and propose a course of action to address the issue you are discussing. Each of your answers cannot exceed two pages (more details in the exam itself). The exam case will be available on Moodle, so you will be able to prepare adequately. I will provide more information on this during class.
48-51
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