Paul & Elisabeth Merage Foundation | Andre & Katherine Merage Foundation


Dr. Leonard Lane

Dr. Leonard Lane

Senior Lecturer, Strategy

The Paul Merage School of Business University of California, Irvine

Class Overview

The focus of this module is on competitive strategy. The objectives are to provide knowledge of successful techniques for strategy formulation and strategy implementation. To analyze competitive strategy it is essential to understand the structure of an industry, the evolution of this structure and the pattern of interaction among the competitors in the industry.

The module is designed to improve your decision-making in a competitive and dynamic environment where competition means the goal of every business is to gain and sustain an advantage over rivals. Therefore, our approach is practical and problem-oriented. A major part of the module will involve applying concepts, frameworks, analytical techniques and managerial insights to the strategic issues which your companies are facing.


The course schedule, required readings, and case questions are outlined below, along with the dates for each class.

Wednesday, March 7TH 8:00-12 and 1:00-5:00
The Concept of Strategy

  • Read:
    Grant: Chapter 1
  • Read:
    Crafting Strategy by Henry Mintzberg
  • Read:
    What is strategy by Michael Porter
  • Read:
    Can You Say What your Strategy Is? HBR, April 2008, Collis and Rukstad

The first afternoon module will address key elements of strategy along with two exercises to support our discussions. We will address the definition of strategy and its relation to competitive advantage and identification of an intensity of rivalry in the technology industry in the United States. An exercise will be conducted amongst participants to define the industry segments in which you compete and who has the power in those segments. Based on this exercise we will then have a discussion on how to identify and exploit competitive advantage.

Thursday, March 8TH 8:00-12:00
Analyzing Resources and Capabilties

  • Read:
    Competing on Resources
  • Read:
    The Core competence of the corporation
  • Read:
    Creating Competitive Advantage, HBS press, Product 9-798-062

The morning of March 8 will be devoted to understanding how to compete on your resources and capabilities. The focus will be identification of your company’s drivers, assumptions, capabilities and current strategy in relation to developing a future strategy to exploit your competitive advantage in the U.S market.

Group Exercise:
Identification of resources and capabilities in relation to market opportunities – your strategic fit.

Thursday, March 8TH 1:00-4:30
Application to the Technology Industry

Discussion of the industry and product life cycles, as well as critical success factors, required at different stages of the industry and product life cycle. The final portion of this module will be devoted to an exercise in which participants will identify the critical success factors needed at each stage of their product life cycle and prepare a summary plan on how to focus the necessary resources and capabilities on achieving these critical success factors.


Course Reader:
The course reader contains all the cases along with required readings. You are required to complete all readings in the course.