Name of the Course: - Strategy for Competitive Advantage Instructor

Name of the Course: - Strategy for Competitive Advantage
Instructor: Saroj Kumar Pani, IIM Bangalore
Course Objective: This course is being designed to enable students appreciate discrete
dimensions of strategy and associated complexity of business functions. The course
largely deals with business firms and seeks to discuss strategic issues (both in firm level
and industry level) which business firms/ mangers face in real world. However one
should be aware that r eality is far more complex. Therefore, simulating real life chaos in
classroom by using case analysis method - which seeks to develop analytical and decision
making skills - is the preferred pedagogical tool for this course . As a pre-requisite to case
analysis, students need to have a fair understanding of strategic management literature. It
is also the objective of the course to analyse real life problems from theoretical angle to
understand it better and thus facilitating better decision making.
Requirement: This course requires active involvement of participating students.
Therefore relevant discussion on the subject backed by prior preparation is expected from
students. Each session has at least one reading (one scholarly/practitioners paper) and one
case. Students are required to read session reading (s) and the case before coming to class.
Students are advised to form four or five groups (minimum two students in each group)
and should have independently analyzed the case before coming to class. The analysis
and arguments should be supported by either theoretical reasoning or /and data
analysis/evidence. The cases selected broadly cover American, Asian and European
context. In all the sessions, additional reading is suggested. Though these readings are not
compulsory, they definitely help you to understand the perspectives/ case better
In addition to the above requirement , any student (pre -identified) should be able to tell a
true story of one business firm ( preferably Italian) that reflects any aspect of the readings/
theory covered. Students are required to provide reference (press articles / journal article /
media report etc) to the story, if asked.
Student must have a hardcopy (paper copy) of the assigned case while attending the
session. They may wa nt to have the session reading s for ready reference. All essential
readings and cases will be provided by the coordinating authority of your school before
the commencement of course (either as soft copy or hard copy). All studen ts are
requested to collect the material before course starts.
Reference Book: “Gaining and sustaining competitive advantage ” Jay B. Barney, 2nd Ed,
Pearson Education, 2006 (At least Chapters 1 to 5 : As substitute, any other text book on
strategic management will do . Please refer the comparative chapters as in Barney )
Prior Essential Reading (Before going through readings of Session 1)
1. Corporate Strategy: A Manger’s guide
2. Cases in strategic management – A guide to case analysis .
3. Market oriented strategic planning
All students attending the course are required to go through t hese three small documents
before going through session readings and case s. It will be admirable if they go through
the above mentioned book or its substitute.
Session Plan:
Session 1: Complexities of strategy
Case: Robin Hood
Essential Reading: How Strategists Really Think : Tapping the power of Analogy,
Gavetti and Rivkin, HBR, 2005
Additional Reading (Optional): The Origin of Strategy , Henderson B D, HBR, 1989
Session 2: Competitive advantage and structural dynamics
Case: Cola Wars Continue: Coke and Pepsi in 2006
Essential Reading: Note on Structural analysis o f Industries, Porter M.E. 1975
Additional Reading (Optional): What is Strategy? Porter M.E. 1996
Session 3: Competitive advantage through lens of RBV
Case: Bharat Forge Limited: Forging Leadership
Essential Reading: Competing on Resources, Collis & Montgomery, HBR 2008
Additional Readings (Optional): (1) Internationalization, Globalization and Capability Based Strategy, Tallman and Fladmoe -Lindquist, California Management Review, Fall
(2) Strategic resources : Traits, configuration and paths to sustainable competitive
advantage, Black J A, Boal K B, Strategic Management Journal,1994
Session 4: Creating competitive advantage through share d means- From toehold to
Case: Indian Software Industries
Essential Readings: (1) Strategy as ecology, Roy Levien, Marco Iansiti, HBR , 2004
(2) Quick Take: Indian IT providers must reinve nt their innovation strategy to sustain
global leadership, Navi Radjou, Feb 2007
Strategy for competitive advantage/ Saro j K Pani/Nov 2008
Additional Reading (Optional): Competitive strategy in emerging economies; Chapter 10
“Competitive Strategy”, Michel Porter, The Free Press, 1980
Session 5: Managing strategic and organizational challenges
(In host country)
Case: Silvio Napoli at Schindler India (A)
Essential Reading: The Myth of Generic Manager . New personal competencies for new
management roles, Bartlett and Ghosal, California Management Review, 40(1):92 -116,
Fall 1997
Assignment: A short note (maximum two pages) on your expectation from a n Italian
company that is sending you to India as country manager. You can choose your company
Session 6: Managing corporate responsibility: Creating shareholders’ and societal
Case: ITC Ltd: Citizen First
Essential Readings: (1) Strategy and Society: The link between competitive advantage
and corporate social responsibility, Porter and Kramer, HBR, 2006
(2) Finding Your Next Core Business, Zook, HBR2007
Additional Reading (Optional): Corporate Strategy: the Quest for Parenting Advantage,
Goold, Campbell & Alexander, HBR 1995
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