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2019/2020  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
Start time of the course 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, Governance and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organisation
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 11-02-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: 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
Course prerequisites
enrollment in full master degree master
Strategy Execution:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
* if the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
*Har en studerende ikke bestået den ordinære eksamen, skal fagansvarlig bestemme om den studerende skal indlevere et revideret produkt eller et nyt produkt.
Description of the exam procedure

For the exam, students will be provided with a case similar to the ones discussed during the course

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

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. 


Description of the teaching methods
This course is taught in Harvard-style case method, which involves energetic class discussion and interaction.

In addition to case discussions, video lectures from the online course "Strategy Implementation" will be used: https:/​​/​​www.coursera.org/​​learn/​​strategy-implementation and complemented by occasional in-class lectures.

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.
Feedback during the teaching period
In in-class case discussions, which take up the bulk of the course, feedback is provided continuously during the case analysis, partly by the instructor and partly by peers with the instructor facilitating peer-to-peer discussion. The course also includes a mock exam where feedback is provided both by peers and the instructor.
Student workload
class teaching 33 hours
preparation for class and preparation for exam 170 hours
Expected literature
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 Review81(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 Review74(1), 75—85. 

Griswold, H. M. and Prenovitz, S. C. (1993). “How to translate strategy into operational results.” Business Forum18(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 Horizons48(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 Review86(6), 60—70.

Malone, T. W. (1987). "Modeling coordination in organizations and markets." Management Science33(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 Science35(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 Review85(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 Review45(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 11-02-2019