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2023/2024  KAN-CMIAO1006U  Growth and Entrepreneurial Strategies

English Title
Growth and Entrepreneurial Strategies

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and CMIA (CMIA)
Course coordinator
  • Francesco Di Lorenzo - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 30-06-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Learning objectives
The goal of this class is to establish a strong link between theory and practice, in particular learning theories and applying them in contexts to grasp the essence of their foundations and to explore useful applications
To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:

Understand the main theoretical assumptions and rationales behind strategic decision making processes for growth.
Analyze the competitive landscape in relation to an industry and/or market.
Understand and apply growth strategy models to specific cases and discuss the implications.
Reflect on value creation and synergies of growth strategies
Growth and Entrepreneurial Strategies:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 4-5
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Max. 20 pages (groups of 5 students), max. 16 pages (groups of 4 students)
There are 2 format possibilities for the deliverables depending on the group size (# of students):
Group size equals 4:
Group project: max. 12 pages
Individual reflection: max 4 pages
Group size equals 5:
Group project: max. 15 pages
Individual reflection: max 5 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer and Summer
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 deliver one written document based on 2 parts:

  • Part 1: a case study developed in a group of students.

  • Part 2: an individual reflection on the the case study


Part 1: The Group Project

The project shall be centered on a case of the group’s own choice and have a focus around the analysis and assessment of an entrepreneurial and growth strategy. The groups are welcome to visit the instructors to discuss their project; yet, no precise hours are officially allocated to each group for supervision. The exam will be evaluated in accordance with the learning objectives of the course.

As guideline, each group is expected to:

  • Pick a real-life case that has already happened or is on-going to happen, up to date.

  • Decide which discussed GES topic the selected case is more suitable for, and thus select a set of tools/theoretical framework related to that topic (1 or 2 tools/framework max.)

  • Analyze the selected case using the selected framework(s) (see section below on FRAMEWORKS).

  • Offering recommendations/assessments as a result of the analysis.

  • An ideal structure would be: i) problem statement or case presentation ii) short firm(s) introduction iii) industry/competitive landscape analysis iv) case analysis using framework(s) v) recommendations.


Part 2: Individual Reflection

Each student in the group has to write an individual reflection on the group project which needs to be handed in along with the group project.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach


1. Introduction to the course and to Diversification

Introduction to the course contents, methodology. Introduction to Diversification Strategies

Objectives: Motives of corporate diversification. How to plan a successful diversification strategy. Diversification and Performance.


2. Growth and strategic models

Models of growth and their fit with models of industry and technology dynamics.

Exit options and shake-outs.

Objectives: Identify growth and entry opportunities at different stages of industry technology cycles.


3. The five fundamental entry strategies

How IP impacts strategic choices. Entry strategies 1 and the non-entry option.

Objectives: Fitting firm and IP strategies to growth and entry options.


4. Entry strategies II,  Judo strategy -- entering the product market and growing the new firm

Product markets vs markets for ideas.

How to deter attacks from incumbents using strategic alliances and mutual forbearance.

Objectives: Balancing own expansion while avoiding attacks.

Action choices for the new firm.


5. Strategic decision making by boundedly rational agents in organizations 1: The individual level

How are strategic decisions defined and what are their particularities/challenges? What are the theoretical foundations of individual level strategic decision making? Rational choice vs. Behavioral limitations. How do individual level biases map to the strategic decision making process? What are heuristics and biases? Which techniques help to overcome behavioral limitations in strategic decision making? Decision tree


6. Strategic decision making by boundedly rational agents in organizations 2: The organizational level

How do organizations (defined as social entities) affect individuals’ behavioral limitations? What is the difference of strategic decision making by individuals vs. organizations? Which tools can be used to improve strategic decision making in organizations. Frameworks in general. Choice architecture


7. Managing corporate growth: The growth corridor

Why is growth essential for the survival of organizations? What are the (upper and lower) limits of growth? How to determine a growth corridor, which helps to determinate growth boundaries of an for-profit organization


8. Competitive dynamics in digital markets

What are digital markets? What types of digital markets we have? How do they differ from traditional markets”?  How to think about market boundaries and competition in digital markets? What are the competitive strategies in digital markets and how do they differ from competitive strategies in traditional markets? 

Objectives: Difference of digital markets and traditional markets. How to assess competition in digital markets. How to design competitive strategies in digital markets


9. Platform-based disruption of traditional sectors 

What is platform disruption? Platform disruption vs. Disruptive innovation. Types of platform disruption. Pre-conditions and predictors of platform disruption

Objectives: When are incumbent firms most likely to be disrupted by platforms. What is platform disruption and how it unravels. Predictors of platform disruption.


10. Ecosystem design and strategy

Ecosystems: what they are and why they matter. Ecosystems vs. platforms. Ecosystem emergence and strategy. Strategies for leveraging ecosystems

Objectives: Ecosystems: understanding the firm’s broader environmental context. How to design a successful ecosystem strategy: building your own ecosystem vs. playing in others’ ecosystems


11. Corporate Entrepreneurship + Course Wrap-up

Innovation in large incumbents. Corporate Venture Capital

Objectives: Understand the innovation challenges in large organizations. Introduction to collaborations between large firms and startups via equity investments.



1. IP Strategy

IP strategies for my project -- patent and trademark searches.

Objectives: Being able to quickly find information about what others do in your product category. Understanding if you have the right to practice


2. Platforms

Platform design (how to design a platform business model) Ecosystem design (how to design an ecosystem structure)

Objectives: Actionable tools to design platform business model and ecosystem strategy

3. Decision-Making

Experiments on bounded rationality in organizations Experiments on decision-making biases

Objectives: Understanding decision-making biases

Description of the teaching methods
The course will be a balanced format between theory and case discussion.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback activity 1:
Signed case with few questions that students have to “solve” (this is a mini case/problem where students will have to apply the concepts and theories learned in class to propose their management solution). Students work in teams of 5 and will prepare a short presentation (5 min max) following the structure provided by the instructor to present their solution and motivate it
Each group will receive a dedicated feedback.

Feedback activity 2:
Case exercise in groups. In groups of 3-5 students, discuss the questions asked. Using models from this course as well as previous courses, systematically analyse the questions and write up to 5 pages/group.
Each group will receive a dedicated feedback.
Student workload
Teaching 36 hours
Preparation 100 hours
Exam 70 hours
Expected literature



  • Agner, E. 2016: A course in behavioral economics - sections from part 2 and part 3 (2nd Ed.) Palgrave Mcmillan, London, UK.
  • Bazerman, M. & Moore, D. 2013: Judgement in managerial decision making (8th Ed.) Wiley
  • Cennamo C., 2019, Competing in digital markets: A platform-based perspective. Academy of Management Perspective https:/​/​doi.org/​10.5465/​amp.2016.0048
  • Ozalp H., Cennamo C. Gawer A. 2018. Disruption in platform-based ecosystems. Journal of Management Studies, 55(7): 1203-1241. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1111/​joms.12351
  • Cennamo C., Meyer T. 2018. Digital Transformation and the Value of Incumbents' Complementary Assets: The Substitution Effect of Digital Platforms. Available at SSRN: https:/​/​ssrn.com/​abstract=3218170
  • Jacobides M, Cennamo C, Gawer A. 2018. Towards a theory of ecosystems. Strategic management journal, 39(8): 2255-2276
  • Adner R. 2017. Ecosystem as structure: An actionable construct for strategy. Journal of Management, Vol. 43: 39–58
  • Adner R. 2016. Match your innovation strategy to your innovation ecosystem. Harvard Business Review
  • Vazquez Sampere JP, 2016. Why platform disruption is so much bigger than product disruption. Harvard Business Review.
  • Das T. & Teng, B. 1999: Cognitive biases and strategic decision processes: An integrative perspective, Journal of Management Studies, 36(6): 757-778
  • Leiblein, M.; Reuer, J.; & Zenger, T. 2018: What makes a decision strategic? Strategy Science, 3(4): 558-573
  • Schwenk, C. 1988: The cognitive perspective on strategic decision making. Journal of Management Studies, 25(1): 41-55
  • Schwenk, C. 1995: Strategic decision making. Journal of Management, 21(3): 471-493
  • Ferrier, W.; Smith, K.; & Grimm, C. 1999: The role of competitive action in market share erosion and industry dethronement: A study of industry leaders and challengers. Academy of Management Journal, 42(4): 372-388.
  • Montgomery, C. & Wernerfelt, B. 1991: Sources of superior performance: Market share versus industry effects in the U.S. Brewing Industry. Management Science, 37(8): 954-959
  • Penrose, E. 2009: The Theory of the growth of the firm. Oxford University Press.
  • Raisch, S. & van Krogh, G. 2007. Navigating a path to smart growth. MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(3): 65
  • Young, G.; Smith, K.; & Grimm, C. 1996: Austrian and Industrial Organization Perspectives on Firm-Level Competitive Activity and Performance. Organization Science, 7(3): 243-254
  • Chesbrough (2002). Making sense of Corporate Venture Capital, HBR
  • Dushnitsky and Garrido (2015). Are entrepreneurial venture's innovation rates sensitive to investor complementary assets? Comparing biotech ventures backed by corporate and independent VCs., SMJ
  • Di Lorenzo and Van de Vrande (2018). Tapping into the knowledge of incumbents: The role of corporate venture capital investments and inventor mobility, SEJ
  • Busenitz, L. & Barney, J. 1997: Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision making, Journal of Business Venturing, 12: 9-30
Last updated on 30-06-2023