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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV1641U  Strategy Execution

English Title
Strategy Execution

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Spring, Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Nicolai Pogrebnyakov - Department of International Economics and Management (INT)
Administration: Birgit Dahlgren - bgd.int@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 18-02-2014
Learning objectives
To be awarded the highest grade (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:
  • Present argumentation that supports a given action-oriented conclusion based on an analysis of a given case.
  • Evaluate and identify strengths and weaknesses of pursuing a specific course of action in a given situation.
  • Account for concepts and frameworks discussed in class.
  • Formulate and persuasively discuss a position on the case situation.
Individual sit-in case analysis:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Limited aids, see the list below and the exam plan/guidelines for further information:
  • Allowed calculators
  • Allowed dictionaries
  • Books and compendia brought by the examinee
  • Notes brought by the examinee
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Course content and structure

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 recipient of an Excellence in Teaching award from the FUHU Foundation.
Expected literature

The final syllabus may contain an updated list of readings and cases.

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)


Olson, E. M., Slater, S. F. and Hult, G. T. M. (2005). “The importance of structure and process to strategy implementation.” Business Horizons, 48(1), 47—54.

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.

Malone, T. W. (1987). "Modeling coordination in organizations and markets." Management Science, 33(10), 1317—1332.

Week 5. Handling dissent: managing resistance to change
Dent, E. B. and Goldberg, S. G. (1999). “Challenging 'resistance to change'.” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 35(1), 25—41.

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)

Tallman, S. and Fladmoe-Lindquist, K. (2002). “Internationalization, globalization and capability-based strategy.” California Management Review, 45(1), 116—135.

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
Last updated on 18-02-2014