• Class Number 2915
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Alexander Eapen
    • Dr Alexander Eapen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The objective of this course is to provide an evidence-based understanding of best practice in strategic management, including business policy and corporate strategy. As a research-led course it will explore a range of strategic management theories.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. define, explain and illustrate a range of strategic management theories;
  2. analyse an organisation’s internal and external strategically relevant environments by applying appropriate theories, models and heuristics;
  3. undertake an applied research project in the field of strategic management;
  4. explain how to apply evidence-based best practice strategy analysis and execution;
  5. demonstrate a critical understanding of strategic management theories and current empirical research associated with the topics covered in this course; and,
  6. communicate effectively in oral and written forms about strategic management theories and their application using appropriate concepts, logic and rhetorical conventions.

Research-Led Teaching

Strategic Management research draws on a variety of scholarly disciplines including management, economics and sociology. In this course particular attention is paid to how understandings of strategic management could help us find and apply evidence relevant to addressing problems in business.

Field Trips

Not applicable

Additional Course Costs

There are no other additional class costs.

Examination Material or equipment

Details on the final examination will be provided on Wattle and during the lectures.

The textbook we will use for this course is “Economics of Strategy” Wiley., 6e (by Besanko, Dranove, Shanley, & Schaefer). This should be available for purchase at the uni bookshop. Alternatively, you can purchase a (cheaper) electronic copy from the publisher. The link will be available on Wattle.

A copy of each textbook will be held in the ANU library reserve & short loan collection.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Week 1: What is strategy? Introduction to the course Readings: Rumelt, R. (2011) The perils of bad strategy. McKinsey Insight, 1: 30-39 (Available from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/the_perils_of_bad_strategy(http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/the_perils_of_bad_strategy) (free registration will give you a pdf version) Interesting / Supplementary readings Vermuelen, F. (2017) Many strategies fail because they are not actually strategies. Harvard Business Review. Try this link: https://hbr.org/2017/11/many-strategies-fail-because-theyre-not-actually-strategies Kenny, G (2014) A list of goals is not a strategy. Harvard Business Review (A summary of the article is available at http://www.strategicfactors.com/resources/A-List-of-Goals-Is-Not-a-Strategy.pdf) Nag, R., Hambrick, DC, Chen, M-J (2007) What is strategic management, really? Inductive derivation of a consensus definition of the field, Strategic Management Journal, 28(9): 935-955 (available electronically from the ANU library at http://www.jstor.org/stable/20141958(http://www.jstor.org/stable/20141958))
2 Week 2: How is strategic management seen in different scholarly disciplines? + Evidence-based approach to strategic management Introduction and Primer chapters of textbook Evidence based management for Strategic Management: Madhavan, R & Mahoney, JT (2012) Evidenceˆ’Based Management in "Macro" Areas: The Case of Strategic Management. In Denise M Rousseau (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Management (http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199763986.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199763986) (A copy is available here: https://business.illinois.edu/working_papers/papers/11-0105.pdf) Readings for the reflective essay assessment: Think about: why are there different perspectives to studying strategy? Which perspective would you adopt if you were designing this course? Rumelt, Schendel, Teece (1991) Strategic management and economics. Strategic Management Journal, 12(S2): 5-29 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/i342500(http://www.jstor.org/stable/i342500)) Powell, T.C., Lovallo, D., Fox , C.R (2011) Behavioral strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 32(13): 1369-1386 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/i40056872) Levinthal, D (2011) A behavioral approach to strategy—what's the alternative?, Strategic Management Journal, 32(13): 1517-1523 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/i40056872) Interesting / supplementary reading: Lafley AG, Martin R, Rivkin JW, Siggelkow N (2012) Bringing science into the art of strategy. Harvard Business Review. (Try this link: https://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-tothe-art-of-strategy) Preliminary steps towards forming student groups
3 Week 3: Scope of the firm - part 1 (Scale and horizontal boundaries) Chapters 2 and 3 of the textbook Readings for the reflective essay assessment: Where does competitive advantage come from? Schmalensee, R. 1978. Do markets differ much? American Economic Review, 75(3): 341-351 (available electronically from the ANU library at http://www.jstor.org/stable/1814804) Rumelt, R. 1991. How much does industry matter? Strategic Management Journal, 12(3): 167-185 Available via ANU library http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smj.4250120302/abstract (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smj.4250120302/abstract)) McGahan, A. & Porter, M. 1997. How much does industry matter, really?, Strategic Management Journal, 18 (summer special issue): 15-30 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/i355444 (http://www.jstor.org/stable/i355444)) Bowman, E.H & Helfat, C.E. 2001. Does corporate strategy matter? Strategic Management Journal, 22(1): 1-23 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3094251 (http://www.jstor.org/stable/3094251)) Complete student group formations
4 Week 4: Scope of the firm - part 2 (Diversification ) Chapters 2 and 3 of the textbook For discussion in class: (Where does competitive advantage come from? Part 2) NB: why are there sustained differences in profits? Barney, J.B. 1991. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1): 99-120 (Available via ANU library: http://jom.sagepub.com/content/17/1/99) Reed, R., & Defillippi. 1990. Causal ambiguity, barriers to imitation, and sustainable competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 15(1): 88-102 (Available via ANU library http://www.jstor.org/stable/i303000) Gibbons, R & Henderson, R. 2012. Relational Contracts and Organizational Capabilities. Organization Science, 23(5): 1350-1364 (Available via ANU library http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/orsc.1110.0715) Dyer, J., & Singh, H. 1998. The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage, Academy of Management Review, 23(4): 660-679 (Available electronically via ANU library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/259056) Strategy project client memo due, Wednesday 3pm
5 Week 5: Scope of the firm - part 3 (vertical boundaries) Chapters 2 and 3 of the textbook
6 Week 6: Scope of the firm - part 3 (vertical boundaries contd.)
7 Week 7: Scope of the firm - part 4 (Geographic boundaries) Chapter 4 from the textbook; lecture notes
8 Week 8: Strategic Alliances
9 Week 9: Industry and competitor analysis Chapters 5 and 8 from the textbook Porter, M.E. 2008. The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Chapter 2 in Harvard Business Review’s 10 must reads: On Strategy, Harvard Business School Press (available on wattle) Chapters 5 and 8 from the textbook Strategy write-up due, Wednesday 3pm
10 Week 10: Strategic positioning Chapters 9 and 11 from textbook Strategy Presentation due, in class
11 Week 11: TBA Strategy Presentation due, in class Reflective piece due, Wednesday 3pm
12 Week 12: Review of course

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Participation 10 % 27/02/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6
Strategy project client memo (group work) 10 % 20/03/2019 05/04/2019 2,3,4,5,6
Strategy write-up 20 % 08/05/2019 31/05/2019 2,3,4,5,6
Strategy presentation 10 % 16/05/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6
Reflective essay 20 % 22/05/2019 31/05/2019 3,4,5,6
Final exam 30 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is expected in all classes and assessments.


Additional examination information will be available on https://exams.anu.edu.au/timetable/  

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 27/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Class Participation

This course is discussion-oriented, which means that each student must be prepared to contribute to class discussions by either directly participating in the discussion or bringing interesting issues to the attention of the class. You can expect to be cold-called at any stage to help in the discussions. The extent to which you contribute to the discussion of cases and articles, and to general class discussion will influence your participation mark.

You will be provided with more information in class on how participation will be graded. But in general, this course values quality more than quantity, so students who provide insightful ways to further class discussion will be rewarded.

Participation is expected in all classes and assessments.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5,6

Strategy project client memo (group work)

Given this is a course on strategy, it is only natural that one of the key assessment items is a strategy project. You complete this as a group. We expect that groups will be of three to four students max. The case that will be the basis for this assignment is available on Wattle. It depicts the story of the Lotus Formula 1 (F1) car racing team at a strategy crossroads. In brief, your goal is to design a strategy that solves the problem that this particular organization is facing.

There are three main deliverables from this project. The first is a memo you would give to your client, outlining the scope of the strategy work that you intend to do for them. This is expected to be only a page or two long (250 words), and in reality, is to create an opportunity for you to get feedback on your intended plans for this assessment. This is due in week 4. The second is the write-up of your strategy. This is due on Wednesday of week 9 and needs to be around 2000 words. The third deliverable, is a 10-15min presentation of your strategy recommendation to the (fictitious) management team of these organizations. This will happen in- class in weeks 10 and/or 11 (depending on the number of students in the course). Each group member is expected to present a portion of the group's presentation.

One approach to coming up with a strategy recommendation is to follow the “diagnosis - guiding principle - coordinated actions” framework that Rumelt suggests in his book “Good Strategy / Bad Strategy”. The essence of this framework is also available in the McKinsey Insight article titled “The perils of bad strategy” that is prescribed reading for week 1. A link to the article is available on wattle. What would be critical is how you use the information available in the case to converge on your diagnosis. The suitability of your “guiding principle” to your diagnosis, the executability of your recommended coordinated actions, as well as its coherence with the guiding principle are also important.

Your analysis should also be based in some ways on what you think are the sources of competitive advantage for this organization. You might use the readings prescribed for week 4 (available of wattle) as a means of identifying where competitive advantage comes from for this particular organization.

Finally, you should try to use the information in the case to conduct a brief industry and strategic positioning analysis, along the lines of what we discuss in class.

I will leave it up to you to find ways of incorporating all the above elements into one coherent and cogent strategy recommendation for this particular organization. The end product needs to be a polished strategy document that the management team of Lotus would be happy to accept and implement.

Marking criteria for this assessment will be available on wattle. Word count requirements allow you to exceed by 10%.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 08/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5,6

Strategy write-up

(Please see description above under "Strategy project client memo (group work)")

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Strategy presentation

(Please see description above under "Strategy project client memo (group work)")

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5,6

Reflective essay

There are three sets of journal articles that are assigned readings for weeks 2, 3, and 4. Links to these are available on Wattle and on this outline. Each set contains articles representing different viewpoints in a debate relevant to the strategy field of knowledge. And across the articles in each set, there is a storyline that, in some cases, depicts the evolution of the debate over time. In the reflective essay assessment, you will record your reflections on one of the three sets of readings.

So, as a first step, you will choose one of the three sets of readings. For example, if you were interested in the ‘economics’ versus ‘behavioral’ perspectives in strategy, you would choose the set of readings that were assigned for week 2. If, on the other hand, you were interested in reflecting on various perspectives on the ‘sources of competitive advantage’, you would choose the readings for week 4.

As the second step, you would read these papers carefully. I am aware that some of the articles are dense, and may not be easily comprehended. That is ok. Our interest is in the overall ideas of the papers, rather than their intricate technical details. You should then also search for and gather more journal papers that are relevant to the topic / debate for that week. Naturally, I cannot assign ALL the relevant papers in a debate as reading material. I have picked and chosen a few key ones. Your reflective piece would be all the better if you reach out to more papers beyond the ones that I have recommended.

As the third step, I would like you to sit back and reflect on what you have read. Think about being in an intellectual cafe, conversing with the group of authors of the papers you have read. What would you say to them about their collective work. Do you think their collective work is interesting and important? Is it compelling? Is it exciting? Do you think that, as a group, they have been on the right track to finding answers to the issues they have been debating? Do you think there could be ways to integrate their work together? Is there a storyline that connects their work together? If they invite you to come back again to join them for coffee so they can listen to your deep insights, what would your comments to them look like? These are some of the questions that you might keep in mind while reflecting on the papers.

What you need to submit (i.e., your “deliverable”) is your 400-500 word written version of this reflection. The word count is exclusive of references, tables, etc. In the written reflection, you need to include the following:

(a) A title that that you have come up with that clearly implies which of the three sets of readings you are basing your reflection on

(b) A very brief overview of the papers you have chosen to reflect on (at the minimum, these should consist of the assigned papers). In the overview, your focus should be on highlighting the storyline that connects the papers. What we don’t want is a “he said this”, “she said that” account.

(c ) The larger part of the reflective report should be your own reflections on what you have read. You need to try and bring precision and coherency into your reflection, and also, you need to try and demonstrate deeper levels of thinking and insight. You need to say what you might do as a scholar to either extend the body of work you have just read. For example, you might suggest ways of evaluating competing arguments or standpoints in the debate. Or, alternatively, you might suggest ways to integrate the competing viewpoints in the literature into one coherent, mutually compatible view. Whatever you do, you should try hard to make unique and insightful observations. Afterall, this is a reflective piece and not a standard essay assignment.

Feel free to use figures, tables, or charts if they better convey your ideas. But do also describe your figures and charts in the text.

(d) Finally, you need to include full references to all the papers you have read and reflected on in this piece. Harvard style referencing is what we usually require.

The deadline for this assessment is 3pm on Wednesday of week 11. You need to submit your essay in pdf format through Turnitin on wattle.

Marking criteria for this assessment will be available on wattle. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Final exam

The final exam assessment will be a closed book one and consist of a combination of multiple choice and short essay type questions (some of which may be based on a short case study). The exam duration will be 2 hours plus reading time, and an introduction to the exam will be provided in one of the last few classes of the semester. The exam will be comprehensive and will cover all topics covered in the course. Questions will require that you to both identify and more particularly demonstrate that you are seeking to apply course materials/models/concepts/frameworks.

Kindly see the ANU Examinations website for further information.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

This course will not require submissions of hard copies. Online submission via Turnitin will suffice.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

All assignments will be marked and where appropriate feedback will be provided either:

in class, or in person by appointment with the course lecturer, or via the course Wattle site.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

You are allowed to resubmit your assignments before the specific deadlines. Any submission done after the deadline will be considered as a late submission and not be marked.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Alexander Eapen
02 6125 6737

Research Interests

Dr. Alex Eapen earned his doctoral degree from Tilburg University, The Netherlands in June 2007, and is currently senior lecturer in Strategy and Deputy Director (Research) at the Research School of Management at ANU.

His current research seeks to better understand the impact of multinational enterprises (MNE) on host country firms and economies. The specific questions his research seeks to answer are (a) what are the conditions that make the presence of foreign MNEs beneficial to host country firms? and (b) empirically, how do we correctly estimate the magnitude of such 'external effects' of foreign MNEs? These issues have far reaching implications, not only theoretically, but also for practice and policy formulation.

His research has been published in journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Science, and Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences.

Dr. Eapen has received several international awards for his research. His doctoral thesis was one of the four finalists for the coveted Gunnar Hedlund prize (2007) given by the Stockholm School of Economics for the best dissertation in International business written at universities around the world. He also won the Verity Award for the most outstanding paper published in the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences in 2009. His publication titled 'Social structure and technology spillovers from foreign to domestic firms' was selected and highlighted by the editors of the Journal of International Business Studies as an example of 'groundbreaking scholarship'. He was also a finalist for the 2015 Alan Rugman Young Scholar award (formerly, Haynes Prize) and 2017 Carolyn Dexter Awards respectively at the Academy of International Business and Academy of Management.

Dr Alexander Eapen

Tuesday 12:30 13:30
Tuesday 12:30 13:30
Dr Alexander Eapen
02 6125 6737

Research Interests

Dr Alexander Eapen

Tuesday 12:30 13:30
Tuesday 12:30 13:30

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions