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PTMBA 2020 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.
Course code
MBA MGMT641 SI, MBA MGMT641
Course type
PT MBA Lecture
Weekly Hours
2,0
ECTS
2,0
Term
FS 2020
Language
Englisch
Lecturers
Prof. Enrique Kramer
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the 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 is on understanding the workings of different industries and of specific companies within those industries. We also discuss business models, the concept of business model innovation, and the concept of disruption.

The course covers the following topics in a very practical, hands-on fashion through the discussion of case studies (the more relevant conceptual frameworks appear in brackets):

  • Principles of competitive advantage: Cost advantage and differentiation (Michel Porter’s five-forces model, generic strategies, and industry value chain)
  • Competitive strategy in evolving market environments (Anita McGahan’s industrial evolution)
  • Disruption: What it is and how it feels from the vantage point of the practicing manager/entrepreneur (Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation)
  • The Business Model Canvas as a tool to understand innovation and disruption (Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas)
Date Time
Sunday, 19.01.2020 09:15 - 16:45
Saturday, 25.01.2020 09:15 - 16:45
Sunday, 26.01.2020 09:15 - 16:45
Sunday, 09.02.2020 23:50 - 23:55
  1. Discipline-specific knowledge and competence. Participants will obtain knowledge of several tools to create competitive advantage, understand industry structure and evolution. Some of the tools to be tackled are value chain 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. Participants will develop skills in using the aforementioned tools to recognise an industry’s configuration and evolution. They will also develop skills in deriving specific action recommendations for specific competitive, managerial and entrepreneurial situations. And last, but not least, participants will hone their skill of question formulation and question answering.
  3. Global business environment. Cases and examples used in the course cover global and local industries.
  4. Teamwork and responsible leadership. A substantial part of class preparation consists of group analysis and discussion of case studies. In order to be effective and efficient at this process, participants grouped in teams shall contribute with their strengths and make room for the strengths of their colleagues. For this, participants will develop and/or exercise their 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 participants will enhance throughout the course.
  6. Managerial and entrepreneurial practice. For every case, participants will adopt the position of the decision-maker, as well as that of any stakeholders relevant to the situation under analysis. They 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.

Michael E. Porter, Competitive Advantage, 1985. Selected passages of chapters 2, 3 and 4.Anita M. McGahan, How Industries Change, 2004. HBR article.Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, Business Model Generation, 2009. Chapter 1.Joseph L. Bower & Clayton M. Christensen Disrupting Technologies – Catching the Wave, 1995, HBR article.
Case discussion and some lecturettes at some junctures.
Final Written Exam (50% of total grade). The exam consists of two questions within the scope of the case proposed for the exam (which is made available during the course so participants will be able to prepare adequately): one posed by the instructor, and another one formulated by the participant. Regarding the latter, it should cover a relevant aspect of the situation described in the case. The answer to the question has to propose a course of action to address the issue under discussion.
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