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2022/2023  KAN-CIMMO1073U  Foundations of Strategy

English Title
Foundations of Strategy

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Wolfgang Sofka - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Organisation
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 24-06-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The objective of this course is to enable students to provide an in-depth study of a problem of scientific relevance based on the course. Students must demonstrate this ability through theoretical review, analysis, and reflection. Specifically, the learning objectives are demonstrated in the exam to the degree to which students can:
  • Limit a scientific paper to a particular level of analysis and theoretical problem.
  • Show a thorough understanding of the relevant theories.
  • Apply relevant theories to produce a clear, consistent, and logical analysis within the focus of the scientific paper.
  • Demonstrate abilities in thoughtfully discussing and reflecting on the analysis.
Foundations of Strategy:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The exam will consist of the preparation of a short scientific (subject-related) paper by each student covering topics taught in the course. The topics of the papers are distributed randomly. 

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This is the first course in strategic management of the study program. The aim of this course is to provide students with a strong theoretical foundation in the strategy field. Consequently, the course offers a variety of strategy topics and views in order to provide a holistic view of the strategy field.


Strategy deals with the management of businesses and product-market activities within the umbrella of the larger, typically multinational, enterprise. Hence, the course focuses on business strategy perspectives concerned with competitive advantages in industry specific product-markets. Managers need a strong theoretical foundation to design and improve strategic choices. Upon completion of this course the student should be well equipped to address essential strategy issues and analyze a variety of different strategies through different theoretical lenses. The theory-guided approach facilitates critical reflection of firm practices and the identification of new, entrepreneurial opportunities.


The course will use a mixture of theory and case studies to engage students in fruitful classroom discussions. In order to have an optimal mix theoretical frameworks and perspectives, 10 lectures will be accompanied by 8 exercise sessions. The course will challenge students to develop a logical reasoning for strategic decisions, think about the boundaries of existing theoretical frameworks and envision useful extensions. Topics and readings for each session are published as course outline via Canvas.

Description of the teaching methods
The ten lectures are to a large extent literature-based and might also incorporate short cases as well as accounts from practitioners to discuss some of the contemporary strategic challenges. We intend to engage in a dialogue-based teaching approach. Thus, to gain the most benefit from the sessions students should be prepared to take active part in discussions and to prepare the readings thoroughly.

We boost the interactive components of the course through in-class exercise sessions which will work in the following way: All course participants will be allocated randomly to 2 exercise groups that will go through the same scientific article discussions and case study exercises. The aim of the exercise sessions is to discuss and apply theoretical approaches and perspectives introduced in the lectures in a context of a much smaller class. Of course, the quality of this learning experience is strongly dependent upon the students’ preparation, engagement, and interactivity during the sessions. Selective groups of students in the exercise sessions might therefore also be asked to present their findings and case answers to the class.
Feedback during the teaching period
The design of the course follows a proactive feedback philosophy by ex-ante mirroring the exam. Students are repeatedly exposed to learning objectives, exam sub-tasks, and situations during selected exercises and lectures. In the exam preparation sessions, students are debriefed and can ask for detailed feedback on their own performance. Hence, they have opportunities for reinforced learning based on exam-relevant tasks and feedback all along the course, and well before they enter the actual exam. The preparation and feedback sessions are scheduled for maximizing learning impact after the first half of the course and close to the end. Parts of the final lecture are used to recap material, provide overarching feedback and invite detailed student questions.
Student workload
Preparation 100 hours
Teaching 80 hours
Examination 26 hours
Expected literature

The course is based on a combination of textbook, scientific articles and case studies.


The textbook is:


Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 11th Edition

Robert M. Grant


The additional readings or case materials for each session and related exercises are listed in the course outline on Canvas. All additional readings can be accessed via the CBS library homepage. Case studies used in this course are part of the Grant book or need to be purchased separately. See the course outline for details.


Please note that there might be some changes in the final readings before the respective class sessions. These changes will be announced in class or via Canvas. Canvas will also be used to communicate additional course-related information.

Last updated on 24-06-2022