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2013/2014  KAN-CM_C22  Managing Strategy Implementation in the Modern Corporation

English Title
Managing Strategy Implementation in the Modern Corporation

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period First Quarter
Class A: Tuesday 08.00-11.30, week 36-42
Tuesday 08.00-12.25, week 43
Class B: Tuesday 13.30-17.00, week 36-38,41,42
Tuesday 14.25-17.55, week 39,40
Tuesday 13.30-17.55, week 43
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Marcus Møller Larsen - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG)
Administrativ kontakt: Anders Pico - smg@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 16-12-2013
Learning objectives
To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:
  • The student should be able to account for relevant theories that explain strategy implementation in the modern corporation.
  • The student should be able to discuss the strength and weakness in those theories.
  • The student should be able to apply the correct theory in answering empirical questions around the analysis and assessment of a company’s strategy implementation.
  • The student should be able to present argumentation that supports a given action oriented conclusion based on an analysis of a given case.
  • The student should be able to reflect on the consequences of applying different theories on a given issue.
Individual project exam/home assignment.:
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period October
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
At the end of the teaching term, the students are required to hand in an individual take-home project exam (maximum 15 pages). There will be no oral examination. The project shall be company centered and have a focus around the analysis and assessment of a company’s strategy implementation. The students are not entitled to supervision during the exam period. Access to library sources and to individual computer is required. The exam will be evaluated in accordance with the learning objectives of the course.
Course content and structure

This course deals with strategic and operational challenges strategy implementations in modern corporations. Strategy implementation refers to the implementation of strategic decisions such as actions to be taken, resources to be devoted, or precedents set. For example, a firm that decides to internationalize its operations needs to gear its organization for the many cultural and logistic challenges that international operations require. A firm that decides to change product markets needs to ensure that its employees acknowledge and adapt the new strategic directions. Often, however, firms experience a number of challenges when implementing strategic decisions. For example, organizational inertia may prevent the firm changing strategic direction. Employees may lack the motivation to enter new product markets. Firms may realize that the actual costs of implementation significantly exceed the anticipated costs. As a result, too many firms are unable to successfully implement the strategies that are intended to ensure future growth.
In contrast to other courses focusing on strategic planning, this course centers on the actual implementation of strategies that are already taken. This will be done by providing the relevant theoretical and empirical background of the core components of modern strategy implementation, such as strategic decision-making,  organizational evolution and change, ‘Management by Objectives’, the role of middle-management, teams and of leaders, and knowledge assets. Thus, by analyzing core component of the effective strategy implementation in a contemporary understanding of the modern corporation, the course aims at providing students with a theoretical and practical understanding of strategy implementation. 

Teaching methods
The course is based on both research-driven and case-based teaching. The eight sessions emphasize the interplay between a theoretical and practical understanding of strategy implementation in modern corporations. On the one side, theories and concepts enhancing our understanding of strategy implementation are presented, scrutinized and discussed. This is done based on the selected chapters of the textbook (see below) and a series of articles from leading academic journals such the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science. As much as possible, the lecturing focuses on a dialogue-based approach. To optimize this, students are expected to prepare the readings in advance, to answer questions in class, and to participate actively in discussions.

On the other side, the course draws extensively on empirical cases and illustrations of how firms implement strategies in real-life contexts. Specifically, representative teaching cases illustrating different aspects of strategy implementation are listed for most sessions.
To gain the most benefit from class sessions, students should be prepared to take active part in class discussions by preparing the case studies. We may incorporate small group exercises as interactive components of class sessions to discuss applications of theoretical approaches and perspectives introduced in the readings. Selective groups may also be asked to present their findings / case answers to the class. In these exercises, students may incorporate examples from the readings as well as confront issues the assignments have failed to address. In general, it is important to create an interactive atmosphere in the class which leads to a more effective understanding and assimilation of the course material.
Further Information

This course bridges components of strategic management, organisational behaviour and international business in addressing a crucial, but often neglected, topic in the teaching of strategy and management that of strategy implementation.

Expected literature

Course textbook

  • Flood, P., Dromgoole, T., Carroll, S. and Gorman, L (2000) Managing Strategy Implementation, Blackwell Business, Oxford, UK

Journal articles (indicative list)

  • Beer M, Eisenstat RA. 2000. The silent killers of strategy implementation and learning. Sloan Management Review,Summer: 29-40.
  • Dean JW, Sharfman MP. 1996. Does decision process matter? A study of strategic decision-making effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal39(2):368-396.
  • Denison D, Hart S, Kahn J. 1996. From chimneys to cross functional teams: developing and validating a diagnostic model. Academy of Management Journal39(4): 1005-1023.
  • Eisenhardt KM, Zbaracki MJ. 1992. Strategic decision making. Strategic Management Journal13: 17-37.
  • Guth WD, Macmillan IC. 1986. Strategy implementation versus middle management self-interest. Strategic Management Journal7(4): 313-327.
  • Larsen MM, Manning S, Pedersen T. 2012. Uncovering the Hidden Costs of Offshoring: The Interplay of Complexity, Design Orientation and Experience. Strategic Management Journal (forthcoming).
  • Noble CH. 1999. The eclectic roots of strategy implementation research, Journal of Business Research45(2): 119-134.
  • Nonaka I. 1991. The Knowledge-Creating Company. Harvard Business Review69(6): 96-104.
  • Roth K, Morrison AJ. 1992. Implementing Global Strategy: Characteristics of global subsidiary mandates. Journal of International Business Studies23(4): 715-735.
  • Simon HA. 1993. Strategy and organizational evolution. Strategic Management Journal14: 131-142. 
Last updated on 16-12-2013