Strategic Management
B Mgt 481
Fall 1999

B Mgt 481 : Jay Azriel
Overview and Course Objectives
Required Materials
Attendance Policies
Grading Policy
Class Participation
Mid-term Quizzes
Management Talks
Written Assignments
Company Case Projects
Wallstreet Journal Diary

Instructor: Ervin Starr

Office Hours: Monday 10:00am-Noon, before class, and by appointment

Phone: 442-4386


Overview and Course Objectives:

The study and understanding of business strategy is more important then ever given that businesses operate in a fast paced environment filled with both opportunity and uncertainty. According to some experts, business restructuring, downsizing, and TQM have reached their limits. Managers must find new strategies to ensure their organization's survival as well as continued profitability.

This course focuses on concepts, models, tools, and skills that are essential for strategic management. A key objective of the course is to provide a setting that facilitates the development and refinement of the knowledge and skills that are necessary for managers in today's fast moving, unpredictable, and highly competitive business environment. As a "capstone" course, a second objective is for you to incorporate the theories and materials learned in others classes into this course. The underlying purpose of this course is for you to effectively integrate strategic management theory with the practical concerns that confront managers in modern organizations. This course provides you with the opportunity to integrate the theoretical perspectives found in the texts with your vision of what type of manager you intend to become. Students need to identify their own strategy-related objectives and personal competencies that they require as managers.

The methodology to assist in achieving these objectives includes:

  1. case analyses and write-ups, presentations, and discussions;
  2. performing as a cross-functional team member;
  3. in-class and out-of-class exercises including newspaper articles and watching news relation television shows; and
  4. demonstration of knowledge of strategic management principles through written assignments and examinations.

In order for you to master the course materials you must conscientiously complete textbook assignments, stay informed of current events, regularly attend class, and actively participate in group exercises and class discussions.

Each chapter has a number of objectives. When you finish reading the chapter you should be able to discuss each of these points.

Required Materials:

Readings in the Strategy Process. Third Edition, Mintzberg & Quinn. Prentice Hall
Each group will share a copy of Wall Street Journal

The Portable Business Writer. Murdick. Houghton Mifflin

Other Sources:
Business Week, The Economist, and Fortune

Students should also watch the network evening news as well as Public Broadcast Station programs such as: The Business Report, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Wallstreet Week/Rukeyser.

Attendance Policies:

Each class session missed is the same as missing three 55 minute class sessions. While emergencies arise from time to time, missing class because of work due in another course or student activities is not an acceptable reason for missing class or late assignments. I am more understanding when approached before a class is missed or an assignment is missed. Students who miss more than one class session will lose class participation points. Students who miss three or more classes are subject to being dropped from this class and must schedule an appointment with me immediately. Please also refer to the University's policy on excused absences. An absence does not excuse you from any assignments that are due on that day or in the future. If you are absent contact a classmate to find out what you missed.

Please note that students who miss more than one class will loose points on their final grade for each additional absence.

In the U.S. business environment tardiness is not acceptable. People do lose their jobs for excessive lateness. In our class, tardiness disrupts the activity that is going on and is unfair to your classmates. Attendance will be taken sometime after the first 15 minutes of class. Students who are tardy will loose 1 point on their final grade for each tardiness. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are marked as attending class.


Although I do not expect that any of you will be dishonest, I will punish any student who is dishonest to the fullest extent that the university allows including expulsion from the University. This includes cheating on examinations and plagiarism. If you have any questions regarding what is considered cheating or plagiarism please let me know. Any suspected dishonesty on examinations will result in a retest under controlled testing conditions. Please do not cheat!

Grading Policy:

The following is the grading scale for this course. At my option I may choose to curve any class assignment, examination, or quiz. I will not curve grades downward (i.e. lower anyone's grade). Your grade is not negotiable, therefore, do not come to me at the end of the semester and ask for extra credit or a point so that you can get a higher grade.

If you feel that I have made a mistake in grading any of your course work, please make an appointment to see me and I will review the assignment or test. Reviewing your work does not guarantee a grade adjustment. If I find a mistake in grading your work I will make an adjustment.

The following is the grading scale for this course:

96-100 A   73-75 C
90-95 A-   70-72 C-
86-89 B+   66-69 D+
83-85 B   63-65 D
80-82 B-   60-62 D-
76-79 C+   59 & Below E

The following is the breakdown for your final grade:

Class Participation10%
Management Talk10%
Cases (4 worth 5% each)20%
Company Case Presentations & Write-up25%
Wallstreet Journal Diary15%

Class Participation:

The success of our class session is largely determined by your input to class discussions. You are expected to come to class prepared so that you are able to provide well thought out points, instead of "shoot from the hip" answers. Ten percent of your grade will be determined by your participation.

I may give a pop quiz if I feel that the class is unprepared or when attendance is low. I also may provide the class with an opportunity to earn extra credit.

Mid-term Quizzes:

The two mid-term quizzes will cover materials from the first two thirds of the semester. Questions will be derived to test your knowledge and ability to apply the text materials. More information will be provided as the examination date approaches.

If you know you will be absent on the day that a quiz is scheduled, please contact me as soon as possible, so arrangements can be made. Make-up examinations will be given only in case of a documented emergency, e.g., your hospitalization or death of an immediate family member.

Management Talks:

Hiring employees with excellent communication skills is critical to all organizations. Recruiters cite poor communication skill as the biggest weakness of new graduates. Both the management talks and written assignments are designed to help you improve your communication skills as well as to get you to think about important managerial issues. Management talks are designed to provide you with the opportunity to practice talking to a group. The themes selected for these talks are topics that managers often find that they must talk about to their employees. Management talks are two-minute speeches on an assigned topic, such as commending for a job well done. The class following your speech, you will write a one page reflection essay (instructions for management talks will be in a separate handout.)

Written Assignments:

Any assignments that are to be turned in must be type written. This includes the case write-ups. The written assignments are designed to help you further develop your analyzing skills as well as your writing skills. Each paper will be graded on both content and grammar. The margins must be one inch all around and the type-face must be 12 pt. Each paper must have a title page containing: the assignment title (e.g. Compaq Case) centered in the middle of the paper in bold; your name and the date in the lower right hand side of the cover sheet. Please make sure that your paper is stapled before you get to class. Please make sure you keep a copy in case something happens to my copy.

These assignments are due during the class period designated in the syllabus. Late assignments will lose one letter grade per day, unless a circumstance occurs per the University attendance policy. If you know you will miss the class session, make arrangements to turn in the assignment prior to the class.


Three cases will be packaged with the text. Please do not bring xerox copies of these cases to class as it is unethical to copy these materials. An additional case will be given to you in advance of its due date. The four case assignments are designed to provide an opportunity to utilize the theory you have learned in this and other courses you have taken. You are expected to hand in a comprehensive case write-up that is well thought through. Failure to do so will result in case points being deducted. You are asked to refer to your case write-ups, not your text, during our case discussions.

Company Case Project (Team Project):

You will be responsible for analyzing a company in any industry. For this assignment you will be assigned to a team with other class members. There will be a final write up due on December 6th and a 20 minute class presentation on either December 6th or 13th. More details will be provided to you.

Wallstreet Journal Diary:

It is important for managers to be abreast of new developments in business. Each student will select fifteen relevant articles that have captured their interest. Each article will be pasted on a separate page with the date and page number of the journal at the top of the page. Along with the clippings should be a brief summary which includes the importance of the story, its impact on the business world or individual organization, and insights gained from the article. Articles should represent a variety of weeks throughout the semester. This assignment is due the last class (December 13th).


Date Assignment Due
9/13 Introduction Wallstreet Journal Video
9/20 No Class  
9/27 The Strategy Concept Readings: 1-1 & 1-2
Case: Compaq Computer
Management Talk 1
10/4 The Strategist Readings: 2-1, 2-2, & 2-3
Management Talk 2
10/11 Formulating Strategy
Strategy Formation
Readings: 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3
Case: Celestial Seasons
Management Talk 3
10/18 Strategy Analysis Readings: 4-1, 4-2, 4-3
Management Talk 4 & 5
10/25 Quiz One
(Chapters 1-5)
2 Hour Quiz
Management Talk 6 & 7
11/1 Dealing with Structure & Systems Readings: 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, & 6-4
Beer Game
Management Talk 8
11/8 Dealing with Culture & Power Readings: 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, & 7-5
Ethics Challenge
Management Talk 9 & 10
11/15 Managerial Styles Readings: 8-1, 8-2, & 8-3
Case: Kiwi Airlines
Management Talk 11
11/22 The Entrepreneurial Context
The Innovation Context
Readings: 9-1, 9-2, 9-3, 12-1, & 12-2
Cold Harbor Case
Management Talk 12
11/29 Quiz Two
(Chapters 6-9, 12)
Quiz Two Hours
Readings: 15-1, 15-2, 15-3
12/6 Presentations Company Papers Due
12/13 Presentations Wallstreet Journal Diary

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Page last updated October 5, 1999 by Rose Marie Havranek.