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Competitive Strategy

  • Enseignant(s):  
  • Titre en français: Stratégie competitive
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS:
  • Horaire: Semestre d'automne 2021-2022, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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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 business 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 companies. Through readings, discussions, exercises, and lectures, you will be exposed to a wide ranging, up-to-date synthesis of the 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 course is practice-oriented. Through the use of the case study method you will be placed in simulated managerial roles where the concepts of strategy are applied in relevant management situations. There will also be online exercises and activities that will provide you with the opportunity to learn valuable concepts and develop the analytical and judgment skills needed. 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 strategic management 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 qualitative and quantitative 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 readings for all of the sessions. Some of them will be needed to solve the case study and/or for some of the activities/exercises. I will let you know which are compulsory and which are optional.

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 strategic management frameworks, such as key methods to analyze an industry structure and profitability (especially Porter'’s 5 Forces framework), or how a company's set of ressources and capabilities, which can be identified through a value chain analysis, determine its ability to survive and be successful. We will review these frameworks and issues during the course, but if you are not already familiar with these frameworks and concepts you will have to make sure to catch up, so that we can all comfortably move to more advanced topics as the course progresses.


1ère tentative

Ecrit 2h00 heures

Winter session: written exam, 2 hours, open book - Group assignment (25%) + Final Examination (75%).

All types of calculators and dictionaries allowed.


Ecrit 2h00 heures

Retake session : Written exam, 2 hours, open book. Students who failed the exam in the Winter exam session only have to take the retake exam (the group assignment grade still counts towards the calculation of the retake session's final grade).

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