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2021/2022  KAN-CCMVV4069U  Global Strategy: Managing risks and seizing opportunities in a turbulent world

English Title
Global Strategy: Managing risks and seizing opportunities in a turbulent world

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Bent Petersen - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
  • Peter Ørberg Jensen - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Strategy
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-02-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Upon completion of the course, and against the backdrop of the course literature in its entirety, the student should be able to:
  • To present theories and frameworks related to uncertainty
  • Present and discuss strategic opportunities and risks related to firm specific planning, design, organization and management of international operations in a turbulent business environment
  • Apply relevant theoretical frameworks and concepts to firm cases/examples of firms in order to, for example: - Perform ex-ante identification and assessment of risk and opportunities - Perform ex-post analysis of firms’ international strategies and operations - Model the trade-off between agility and cost efficiency
  • Assess the relevance of theories and concepts related to global strategy in a turbulent business environment
Global Strategy: Managing risks and seizing opportunities in a turbulent world:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of 2 students max. 5 pages
Groups of 3-4 students max. 10 pages

You are allowed to work in groups of 2-4 students. The number of pages that
students need to write is dependent on the number of students in the group.

Groups of two students can write a maximum of 5 pages, whereas groups of 3-4 students can hand in maximum 10 pages – title page, contents, and reference list excluded, but including figures and tables.

Students who wish to have an individual exam may write a term paper in the course. Please see the cand.merc. rules for term papers for more information.

Please note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator who will help you find a group.
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
1) If a student is absent from the oral exam but has been part of the synopsis she/he does not have to submit a new synopsis, but MUST submit the same synopsis AGAIN for the re-exam.
2) If an individual student fails the oral exam she/he does not have to submit a new synopsis, but MUST submit the same synopsis AGAIN for the re-exam.
3) If a whole group fails they must submit a revised synopsis for the re-exam.
Description of the exam procedure

The exam is an oral exam based on a written synopsis. The synopsis should fulfil the following criteria: be about a firm that operates internationally; identify the risk/opportunity, assess the risk/opportunity, discuss how to mitigate the risks or to thrive on the upside potential.


Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

In recent years, climate changes, geopolitical instability, cyberattacks, disruptive technologies, and - not least - the COVID-19 pandemic have made the global business environment considerably more turbulent and unpredictable. In which ways are international firms responding to this increased turbulence and uncertainty? The course outlines different strategic options for risk mitigation available to firms that operate globally or contemplate to do so.


Placing the student in the seat of the manager, the course revolves around the basic questions of how managers can mitigate risk and how they can seize the opportunities associated with turbulence and uncertainty. The answering of these questions confronts the student/manager with several managerial trade-offs, such as those between incurring risk preclusion- and risk remediation-related expenses, or between cost efficiency and imitability of location flexibility - tradeoffs that have to be balanced and possibly changed.


Course structure: The course is introduced with a definition and account of the key construct ‘uncertainty’. Three learning modules, each dealing with a distinct risk management strategy, follow the introduction: (i) “The safeguarding strategy” in which the firm aims for containment of risk; (ii) “The agility strategy” where the firm creates options for managing risk; and (iii) “The embracing strategy” in which the firm is thriving from risk. A final session summarizes the course takeaways and evaluates the learning outcome of the course.

Description of the teaching methods
This course consists of 11 course sessions of 3 X 45 minutes in each session. In the course sessions there is an emphasis on open discussions and we will use a mixture of theory and cases.

In several of the course sessions, there will be a discussion about a business case. Case discussions depend upon the active participation of the students. The student must get involved and take a great deal of—in fact, the primary—responsibility for his or her learning. To facilitate the active engagement of each participant, the instructors will form case discussion groups in the beginning of the course. The group is the main forum for preparation and discussion of the case questions. Each group will be randomly formed which should mirror the diversity in the class. In the introduction session, we will explain what we expect from the groups and how they will function.

In addition to the nine course sessions, there are two workshops, which focus on writing the synopsis. In the first workshop, the focus will be on presenting ideas and receiving feedback from your peers. The second workshop is allocated to student presentations of draft case synopses. Groups of students are asked to give a short case analysis, applying the concepts and theories discussed in the course so far.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students get the opportunity to practice the case synopsis in class. They will receive feedback from both the teachers and their peers. The students are encouraged to choose their own case in order to bridge the theoretical course content with the students' business domain interests.
Student workload
Preparation time (readings, etc.): 163 hours
Attending lectures 33 hours
Exam, including writing synopsis 10 hours
Expected literature

Course readings are listed according to the sequence of course sessions:

  • Andersen, T.J. & Young, P.C. (2020). Strategic Risk Leadership. Engaging in a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown. London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 2 (“The story of risk management”), 23-51.
  • Courtney, H., Kirkland, J., & Viguerie, P. (1997). Strategy under uncertainty. Harvard Business Review75(6), 67-79.
  • Manuj, I., & Mentzer, J. T. (2008). Global supply chain risk management. Journal of Business Logistics29(1), 133-155.
  • McKinsey (2020). Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains – Executive Summary, 7-28. McKinsey Global Institute, August 2020
  • Heijden, K. v. d. (2002). Scenarios – The Art of Strategic Conversation, pp. 131-144, 183-237. Wiley, Chichester.
  • UNCTAD (2020). World Investment Report – International Production: A Decade of Transformation Ahead (Chapter 4), 119-177. Geneva: UNCTAD.
  • Case: Nell, P.C., Kratochvil, R. & Klopf, P. (2017). Managing a Severe Crisis: PharmaCorp in Ukraine. Ivey Publishing.
  • Miller, K.D. (1992). A framework for integrated risk management in international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 23(2), 311-331.
  • Bennett, N. & Lemoine, G.J. (2014). What VUCA really means for you. Harvard Business Review, 92(1/2), 27-28.
  • McKinsey Global Institute (2020). Risk, Resilience and Rebalancing in Global Value Chains. Chapter 5: Building Resilience, pp. 73-84.
  • Fiksel, J., Polyviou, M., Croxton, K.L. & Pettit, T.J. (2015). From risk to resilience: Learning to deal with disruption. MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(2), 79-86.
  • Jensen, P.D.Ø, Manning, S. & Petersen, B. (forthcoming, 2021). Location flexibility in global supply chains – a way to stay competitive in a volatile world. In H. Merchant (Ed.) Handbook in International Business, Springer Publishing, New York, NY.
  • Jensen, P.D.Ø, Pedersen, T. & Petersen, B. (2013). Do expectations match reality when firms consider the risks of offshoring?: A comparison of risk assessment by firms with and without offshoring experience. In: The Offshoring Challenge: Strategic Design and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Organization, Pedersen, T., Bals, L., Jensen, P.D.Ø & Larsen, M.M. (Eds.). London: Springer Science+Business Media, pp. 287-299.
  • Case: Aggarwal, S. & Srivastava, M.K. (2016). Nissan: Recovering Supply Chain Operation. Ivey Publishing.
  • Jensen, P.D.Ø. & Petersen, B. (2013). Global sourcing of services: Risk, process, and collaborative architechture. Global Strategy Journal, 3(1), 67-87.
  • Jonsson, A. & Foss, N.J. (2011). International expansion through flexible replication: Learning from the internationalization experience of IKEA. Journal of International Business Studies, 42, 1079-1102.
  • Tomlin, B. & Wang, Y. (2011). Operational strategy for managing supply chain disruption risk. In: Kouvelis, P. Dong, L., Boyabatli, O. & Li, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Integrated Risk Management in Global Supply Chains (vol. 1), pp. 79-100.
  • Winter, S. & Szulanski, G. (2001). Replication as strategy. Organization Science, 12(6), 730-743.
  • Andersen, T.J. & Young, P.C. (2020). Strategic Risk Leadership. Engaging in a World of Risk, Uncertainty, and the Unknown. London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 3 (“Standards and practices”), 52-83.
  • Darendeli, I. S., & Hill, T. L. (2016). Uncovering the complex relationships between political risk and MNE firm legitimacy: Insights from Libya. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(1), 68-92.
  • Oh, C. H., & Oetzel, J. (2017). Once bitten twice shy? Experience managing violent conflict risk and MNC subsidiary‐level investment and expansion. Strategic Management Journal, 38(3), 714-731.
  • Ballesteros, L., Useem, M., & Wry, T. (2017). Masters of disasters? An empirical analysis of how societies benefit from corporate disaster aid. Academy of Management Journal, 60(5), 1682.
  • Cuervo-Cazurra, A. & Genc, M. (2008). Transforming disadvantages into advantages: Developing-country MNEs in the least developed countries. Journal of International Business Studies 39.6: 957-979.
  • Holburn, G. L., & Zelner, B. A. (2010). Political capabilities, policy risk, and international investment strategy: Evidence from the global electric power generation industry. Strategic Management Journal, 31(12), 1290-1315.
  • Henisz, W. J., Dorobantu, S. & Nartey, L. J. (2014). Spinning gold: The financial returns to stakeholder engagement. Strategic Management Journal 35.12 (2014): 1727-1748.
  • Case: Beamish, P. W. & Newenham-Kahindi, A. (2014). Barrick Gold Corporation – Tanzania. Ivey Publishing.
Last updated on 15-02-2021