Paul & Elisabeth Merage Foundation | Andre & Katherine Merage Foundation


Margarethe F. Wiersema, Ph.D.

Margarethe F. Wiersema, Ph.D.

Deans’ Professor of Strategic Management

The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine

Class Overview

The business strategy Module is designed to help managers build capabilities for strategic analysis and decision-making. The goal is to broaden your perspective and develop strategic thinking capabilities to make your organization more competitive.

The approach of the course is practical and problem-oriented. It distills and applies the latest strategic insights and approaches to assessing competition in an industry and evaluating competitive strategy. Frameworks will be introduced by which to assess a firm’s resources and how to leverage those resources to form the basis for a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. By applying these strategic concepts and frameworks to your own company and industry, you will gain a strategic understanding of the challenges and opportunities your organization faces. This Module will provide you with the knowledge to improve decision making in a competitive and dynamic environment.

Wednesday, June 5TH 1:00-5:00
The Concept of Strategy

Provide introduction to Strategy Module. Introduce participants to key strategic concepts and frameworks. Foster strategic level awareness that forces participants to go beyond specific operational issues. Discuss what defines a strategy and the process of formulating a company strategy. Introduce the business model concept and business model analysis to make explicit the key assumptions underlying a firm’s profit-making logic. Analyze and understand the value propositions behind the firm’s business model.

Johnson, M.W., Christensen, C.M., & Kagermann, H. (2008) “Reinventing Your Business Model.” Harvard Business Review, Reprint # R0812C

Eisenmann, T. Business Model Analysis for Entrepreneurs. Harvard Business School, 9-812-096.

Individual Exercise:
Assessing your company strategically and identifying the assumptions in your business model

Thursday, June 6TH 8:00-12:00
Industry Structure Analysis

Gain a clearer understanding of how to assess key forces in the marketplace and competitive behavior. Introduce participants to strategic concepts used to analyze the competitive environment. Foster strategic understanding of competitive behavior and the key forces driving evolution of the marketplace. Utilize various industry examples to highlight how competitive forces influence firm strategic behavior. By understanding the forces driving competition in the industry, a strategic perspective can be gained on what drives competitive behavior.

Porter, Michael (2008). “The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy.” Harvard Business Review

Group Exercise:
Analyze the competitive forces impacting a specific industry

Thursday, June 6TH 1:00 – 5:00
Analyzing Resources and Capabilities

Introduce participants to a resource-based perspective for analyzing the strategic capabilities of an organization. We shall discuss how to identify and appraise the resources and capabilities of an organization and in so doing will build the foundations for analyzing the basis for competitive advantage. By evaluating the potential of a firm’s resources and capabilities, we can assess the basis for the development of a sustainable competitive advantage.

Robert Grant (2010). Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 7th edition. Chapter 5: Analyzing Resources and Capabilities
Prahalad, C.K. and Hamel,G. (1990) “The Core Competence of the Corporation”, Harvard Business Review

Group Exercise:
Analyze the resources and competences within your organization