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2012/2013  KAN-CM_J41  Strategy Execution

English Title
Strategy Execution

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Spring, Third Quarter
Changes in course schedule may occur
Monday 12.35-14.15, week 6
Thursday 10.45-14.15, week 6-12
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Nicolai Pogrebnyakov - Department of International Economics and Management
Administration: Birgit Dahlgren - bgd.int@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 07-11-2012
Learning objectives
  • To develop an understanding of the processes, actors and constraints involved in strategy execution. The goal is first to bring attention to these issues and then to identify specific mechanisms of dealing with these issues to successfully execute strategy.
  • To develop an appreciation of organizational realities and the need to “know your organization” as a major component of achieving strategic goals.
  • To understand the context of strategy execution. It is often necessary to look beyond the organization and consider the need to deal with competitors and partners, often in a global environment.
  • To instill a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and frameworks discussed in class, the ability to skillfully apply them to a case situation as well as the ability to formulate and persuasively discuss a position on the case situation.
Take-home case analysis.
Individual project exam/home assignment.:
Type of test Home Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner No second examiner
Exam period May/June
Aids Open Book, Written and Electronic Aid is permitted
Duration 48 Hours
Course content

This course focuses on various issues in strategy execution, or implementation. It systematically reviews challenges arising in the process of executing strategy and approaches to resolving these challenges. Strategy execution in collaboration with other organizations and at the global level is also discussed. While much of the course takes place in the business settings, the body of knowledge it provides easily applies to other settings, including government and non-profit organizations.

The course aims to close the gap between the formulation of strategy, for which a generous number of frameworks exists, and achieving results envisioned by strategic planning. Sound strategic plans often underperform in practice thanks to the lack of consideration put into the execution process. This course brings students’ attention to this process by putting them in the position of a manager who deals with the various dimensions of the strategy execution process.

The course is targeted at students whose future career may involve implementing decisions at the organizational, interorganizational and team levels. It will also be useful for those with a general interest in strategy-related issues.

The course’s development of personal competences:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:
•    Demonstrate an understanding of issues involved in successful strategy execution, taking into account processes, actors and constraints involved.
•    Suggest a plan for executing a given strategy based on the factors discussed in the class.
•    Articulate and persuasively explain and defend a position on dealing with multiple issues involved in strategy execution.
•    Demonstrate an appreciation of the impact of the interorganizational and global context on strategy execution. 

Teaching methods
This course is taught in Harvard-style case method, which involves energetic class discussion and interaction. Case discussions are complemented by brief lectures that summarize and provide additional insights on the class topic. The bulk of student knowledge will develop through in-class case discussions. Thus preparation and class participation are essential if you want to do well in the course.

The instructor is a recepient of the 2011 Excellence in Teaching award from the FUHU Foundation.
Expected literature

Week 1. The business of strategy execution. Corporate vs. business strategy

No case assignment.


Nohria, N., Joyce, W. and Roberson, B. (2003). “What really works.” Harvard Business Review, 81(7), 42—52.

Week 2. Getting specific: translating strategy into goals and metrics


Chemical Bank: Implementing the Balanced Scorecard (HBS case 195-210)


Kaplan , R. S. and Norton, D. P. (1996). “Using the balanced scorecard as a strategic management system.” Harvard Business Review, 74(1), 75—85.

Griswold, H. M. and Prenovitz, S. C. (1993). “How to translate strategy into operational results.” Business Forum, 18(3), 5—9.

Week 3. Finding fit: aligning strategy with organizational structure and culture


Comcast New England: A Journey of Organizational Transformation (HBS case 908-405)


Kaplan, R. S. and Norton, D. P. (2006). “How to implement a new strategy without disrupting your organization.” Harvard Business Review, 84(3), 100—109

Week 4. Putting everyone on the same page: coordination and information sharing within the organization

McKinsey & Co.: Managing Knowledge and Learning (HBS case 396-357)


Neilson, G. L., Martin, K. L. and Powers, E. (2008). “The secrets to successful strategy execution.” Harvard Business Review, 86(6), 60—70.

Evans, P. and Wolf, B. (2005). “Collaboration rules.” Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 96—104

Week 5. Handling dissent: managing resistance to change
Ford, J. D. and Ford, L. W. (2009). “Decoding resistance to change.” Harvard Business Review, 87(4), 99—103.

Week 6. Leading the way: the role of leadership, influence and organizational politics in implementation


GE's Growth Strategy: The Immelt Initiative (HBS case 306-087)


Bower, J. L. and Gilbert, C. G. (2007). “How managers’ everyday decisions create or destroy your company's strategy.” Harvard Business Review, 85(2), 72—79

Pfeffer, J. (1994). “Location in the communication network.” In Managing with Power, Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press, 111—125.
Krackhardt, D. and Hanson, J. R. (1993). “Informal networks: the company behind the chart.” Harvard Business Review, July/August, 104—111.

Week 7. Going international: strategy execution by a multinational firm


Apple's iPhone: Calling Europe or Europe Calling (IESE case IES192)

Friedman, T. L. (2005). “It’s a flat world, after all.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/03DOMINANCE.html?pagewanted=all&position

Friedman, T. L. (2005). “Why the world is flat.” Wired, 13.05. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/friedman_pr.html

Ghemawat, P. (2005). “Regional strategies for global leadership.” Harvard Business Review, 83(12), 98—108.

Week 8. Reaching beyond the organization: coordination and information sharing with other firms


HP-Cisco Alliance (A) (HBS case 403-120)

Narayanan, V. G. and Raman, A. (2004). “Aligning incentives in supply chains.” Harvard Business Review, 82(11), 94—102

This syllabus may change before the course to reflect updates in the literature.
Last updated on 07-11-2012