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Competitive Strategy

  • Enseignant(s):  
  • Titre en français: Stratégie competitive
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS:
  • Horaire: Semestre d'automne 2019-2020, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • site web du cours site web du cours
  • Formations concernées:
    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation comportement, économie et évolution

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation stratégie, organisation et leadership

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation business analytics



The focus of this course is on strategic management - the process of choosing and defining purposes and objectives, formulating a strategy and implementing it. The course aims to develop your ability to see an organization as a whole and to understand how and why the various functions of a business are interdependent and need to be coordinated. Hence, the course considers the organization in its totality - the environment in which it operates, its strategy and how this strategy builds on the firm’s internal administrative activities. The emphasis is on the kinds of problems and issues that affect the success of the entire organization. I will elaborate on the general applicability of the strategic management discipline to all types of firms, although in the end, the focus rests on profit-oriented enterprises operating in a competitive environment. Through readings, discussions and lectures, you will be exposed to a wide ranging, up-to-date synthesis of the huge literature on strategic management and to a systematic review of the prevailing views and ideas about the manager as a strategic decision-making agent. Terms and concepts will be thoroughly explored and applied on the kinds of problems and issues that determine an organization's ultimate success.


Even though I will bring up quite a bit of theory, the orientation of this course will be pragmatic and managerial. Through the use of the case method, you will be placed in simulated managerial roles where the concepts of strategy are applied in relevant management situations. General managers must apply judgment when formulating strategy and guiding its implementation, and answers that are clearly right or wrong are rare in strategic management. Nevertheless, judgment without rigorous analysis is like shooting hoops in the dark. Besides learning about advanced competitive strategy concepts, this course will give you an opportunity to develop and demonstrate a number of capabilities in dealing with cases and using the research findings to:

- size up, quickly and accurately, complex and unstructured situations by identifying the core problems and issues;

- analyze quantitative and descriptive data to identify the strategies that are appropriate to each situation, evaluate alternatives, and recommend specific courses of action the problems/issues the company is facing;

- link theory and practice, and develop a deep understanding of when and how to use the analysis tools and frameworks we will see in class;

- sharpen analytical skills acquired in functional areas


There will be recommended readings for all of the sessions. Up to you to read them or not (or also to keep them for later). However, please note that the readings associated with the session about the case that you will have to work on for the compulsory group assignment are necessary to work on this assignment.

There is also an extensive and growing literature on strategic management. Students should consult the following journals for additional or specialized materials: The Economist, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Long Range Planning, The McKinsey Quarterly. Pure academic outlets, such as the Strategic Management Journal, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Academy of Management Review, Management Science, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Venturing, also constitute valuable sources of insights although more technical in nature. Please feel free to contact me if you wish to read more on one of the topics we discuss/present in class.


THIS COURSE HAS BEEN DESIGNED AS AN ADVANCED COURSE. I WILL ASSUME THAT ALL STUDENTS IN THE CLASS HAVE ATTENDED A BASIC STRATEGY OR BUSINESS POLICY CLASS. This means that I assume you will know some of the basic Strategy frameworks, such as key methods to analyze an industry profitability (especially Porter'’s 5 Forces framework), or how a company has been able to build a competitive advantage through a unique combination of ressources and capabilities (which can be determined by using the Value Chain Analysis). The first sessions will include and review some of these key notions. It will also be a way for you to become more familiar with my way of teaching. We will also use these key notions as starting points for many of the subsequent sessions in the course, even when we explore the more advanced topics.


1ère tentative

Ecrit 4h00 heures

Winter session: written exam, 4 hours, open book, non-programmable calculator allowed - Group assignment (25%) + Final Examination (75%).

Participation bonus: A bonus of up to +0.5 points added to the final grade will be granted to students who have regularly and meaningfully contributed to the class discussion of the case studies.

All types of calculators and dictionaries allowed.


Ecrit 4h00 heures

Retake session : Written exam, 4 hours, Open book, non-programmable calculator allowed. Students who failed the exam in the Winter exam session only have to take the retake exam. Indeed, the group assignment grade and the participation bonus (if it has been granted) still count towards the calculation of the retake session's final grade.

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