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BUS 497A-25 – Strategic Management

Spring 2020
Instructor: Roger Neal Smith
Office: Bookstein Hall, Room 4136
Department of Management
California State University, Northridge
Office Hours: Mon. 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, Wed. 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm, Wed. 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm and
Fri. 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Email: roger.smith@csun.edu
Telephone: 310-466-8297
Class Meeting: Friday 12:30 pm – 3:15 pm – BB 1236
Required Materials: Harvard Business Publishing course pack. I can be accessed at:
The Business Strategy Game: A Global Simulation, 2013 ed by Thompson and
Stappenbeck, Available at www.bsg-online.com
Additional readings and materials may be assigned
Course Description:
This course looks at how firms attempt to create and maintain a competitive advantage relative to their
competitors – that is, how they try to achieve sustainable success. The focus will be on identifying the
key factors that determine success. This involves examining the internal and external constraints faced
by the firm, evaluating actions taken by the firm in response to these constraints, and developing
recommendations or conclusions to address specific issues facing the firm. We will do this through a
combination of cases, a simulation, and class discussion.

As a capstone course, this seminar builds on and integrates your previous course work. Strategy involves
consideration of the complex interaction of all the firm’s capabilities with the external environment –
competitive, social, cultural, ethical, and economic. Although there is a body of theory and practice
associated with strategic management, this course focuses on the application of theory to cases
derived from real organizational situations. Unfortunately, as in real life, there is seldom a clear “right”
answer in these cases – different people can look at the same set of “facts” and reach different
conclusions and solutions. Rather than seeking right answers, we will be trying to develop the ability to
analyze a situation, identify and prioritize key issues, generate and evaluate different strategic plans to
address the issues, and support conclusion on sound theoretical and experiential foundations. Social
and ethical issues will be addressed throughout.

Course Objectives:
1. To integrate previous business courses into an interdisciplinary framework that allows you to
consider situations from a system perspective.
2. To introduce core concepts, theories, and models used in strategic management and to
understand their uses and limits.
3. To develop an understanding of the strategic management process in a competitive and
uncertain environment.
4. To learn to apply models and theories to identify the critical issues the organization is facing.
5. To develop skills to analyze organizational and environmental conditions and make relevant,
valuable, and reasonable strategic recommendations for the organization.
6. To improve your ability to present and support your ideas, analyses, and conclusions in a
convincing manner.
7. To get you to increase the quality and detail of your work output.
8. To get you to increase the creativity of your work output.

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Course Outcomes. Upon completion of this course, students will
1. Explain how firms create and deliver value to the market and generate profits.
2. Analyze a firm’s strategy to assess their ability to align internal and external conditions, satisfy key
stakeholders, and generate competitive advantage.
3. Analyze industry structure and environmental trends to assess the profit potential of an industry.
4. Analyze a firm’s resources and capabilities to assess their ability to support their strategy and to
generate sustainable competitive advantage.
5. Explain how organizational values and corporate social responsibility affect the long-term potential
of a firm.
6. Approach problem solving more creativity.

Teaching Methods
The course is taught using case studies, lectures, class discussion related to assigned readings and a
team project – Business Strategy Game.

Class Policies and Guidelines

1) All students are expected to be prepared for class and to participate actively in class discussions. In
particular, cases must be thoroughly prepared before class. Assigned texts, articles, and handouts
constitute required reading.

2) There are expectations about the quality of work and the way in which you conduct yourself in
class, particularly with respect to how you behave towards the instructor and other students.
Students enrolled in this course are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic
conduct. Any inappropriate academic conduct in this course will be addressed in accordance with
the school’s stated policies and procedures on academic integrity. Violations will be taken seriously
and are noted on student disciplinary records. If you are in doubt regarding any aspect of these
issues as they pertain to this course, please consult with the instructor before you complete any
relevant requirements of the course.

3) It is each student’s responsibility to have an email address that can be used during the course.
Normally information throughout the semester is sent to your CSUN email address. It is recommended
that you either check your CSUN email regularly or automatically forward your CSUN email to your
personal one. Failure to have an email address or web access is not an acceptable excuse in this
course. Moreover, email accounts must have the capacity to accept attachments sent by the

4) All documents submitted for grade should look professional and must follow requirements for papers
in this syllabus. For any paper that does not look professional or comply with the requirements in this
syllabus, the grade will be reduced by up to 20% of the total points available for that paper.

5) Assignments that contain poor writing are unprofessional and will be graded as such. Poor writing,
lack of clarity, and errors in spelling and grammar must be avoided. Students are encouraged to
have someone proofread papers. At the professor’s discretion, poorly written papers will be
returned to students for re-writes, or the grade will be reduced by 20% of the total points available
for that paper.

6) Students are required to take exams and hand in assignments on the dates assigned. If an
emergency should arise, students must notify the professor in advance so that arrangements can be
made for a make-up exam. Late assignments will be penalized by a 20% reduction in grade.

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7) Case analyses may not be submitted by email.

8) If at any time students have difficulty with this course, they are strongly encouraged to meet with
me. If you are unable to meet me during office hours, I am happy to meet you by appointment
most days and evenings, and on the weekend if necessary.

9) This syllabus provides my email address and telephone number. Please contact me as needed.

10) Students are expected to behave professionally in the classroom. Professionalism includes being
prepared for class yet flexible enough to deal with changes in topics or sequence, ready to lead an
exercise or discussion of a topic, willing to making short presentations to the class, participating
actively in teamwork, etc. Cell phones should be turned off, and the rights of fellow students and
the professor respected in discourse and comportment.

Grading Criteria Points

Case Analysis - #1 – Vitality Health 12
Case Analysis - #2 – Levendary Cafe 12
Case Analysis - #3 – Westlake Lanes 12
Individual Case Analysis - #4 – Doug Cook 12
Final Project 24
Quiz 1 3
Quiz 2 3
Overall company performance on the 5 scoring measures 75.0%
BSG Quiz 1 2.5%
BSG BSG Quiz 2 7.5% 30
Peer evaluation scores of co-managers 2.5%
Comprehensive exam (post-simulation) 12.5%
Total Points 108
Letter Grades
A 96.0% - 100%
A- 90.0% - 95.9%
B+ 88.0% - 89.9%
B 85.0% - 87.9%
B- 80.0% - 84.9%
C+ 78.0% - 79.9%
C 75.0% - 77.9%
C- 70.0% - 74.9%
D 60.0% - 69.9%
F 00.0% - 59.9%

Reasonable Accommodation
If you have a disability and need accommodations, please register with the Disability Resources and
Educational Services (DRES) office or the National Center on Deafness (NCOD). The DRES office is
located in Bayramian Hall, room 110 and can be reached at (818) 677-2684. NCOD is located on

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Bertrand Street in Jeanne Chisholm Hall and can be reached at (818) 677-2611. If you would like to
discuss your need for accommodations with me, please contact me to set up an appointment.
Academic Integrity
Students are encouraged to discuss cases, readings and assignments among themselves. Students are
encouraged to make full use in their papers and exams of the theories and concepts of the scholars
studied in class. They are also encouraged to share their ideas with colleagues when studying.
However, all assignments should reflect the ideas of the author. Ideas that are not of the author must
be referenced in a consistent manner so that credit can accrue to the original sources. University policy
specifically prohibits cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and collusion. Academic dishonesty will
result in a failing course grade plus any other academic sanctions allowed by the university policy.

Class and Team Participation

Active class participation comprises an important part of the course grade. The professor will assess
participation taking into account the quality and frequency of contributions to class discussion.
Opinions based on the readings are welcome. The professor reserves the right to call on all students to
elicit their participation. All students must attend all presentations. Students are expected to be in the
classroom, interested, attentive, and supportive during other students’ presentations.

Additional Information
If you would like to receive two extra credit points, do the following: On an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of white
paper, type your name, major, student ID and the words: “The distance from the earth to the sun is
93.75 million miles.” On January 31, between 12:30 pm and 12:45 pm, when you arrive at class, place
the sheet of paper face down on my desk at the front of the classroom. I will not ask you for the paper –
you must just place it there. You may not turn in the paper after 12:45 pm. If these instructions are not
followed exactly as stated here, you will not receive credit.

Format Requirements for all Papers Submitted for Grade in BUS 497A

All written work should be professional in both content and appearance, and should meet the following
 Do not exceed the established page limit for the body of the paper, but you may attach additional
pages with charts or tables in appendix:
- for Case Analyses: 4 pages
 Number the pages. In the footer, provide your name and the page number.
 Use a size 12 font. Single or 1 ½ line spacing are acceptable.
 Impose structure on your paper: divide it into relevant sections. For each section, provide a header
(in bold font or underlined).
 As appropriate, include tables and/or charts in the body of the paper or attached as appendices.
 Check your work before handing it in. Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes – you will be marked
 Do Not include a references or citations page at the end of the document. If you wish to cite a
source, place a footnote at the bottom of the page where the sources is used.
 Staple the pages. Do not use cover sheets, covers or binders for the Case Analyses. Instead, on the
top of the first page of the document, provide a title, name, email of the author, the course number
and the date. Below is the way the papers should be formatted. The heading should be centered.

Case Analysis: United Cereal

John Doe, youremailaddress@csun.edu
BUS 497A-20
January 21, 2020

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Case Analyses
The case method requires that students have read and prepared cases in advance. Cases are often
used to explore a certain theory or model. Theories are provided within the text of the case itself or in
supplementary readings. While students should prepare all cases, a written case analysis should be
prepared by each student for the cases assigned. A proper case analysis is short (no more than 4
pages), well-organized, and applies a conceptual model(s) to the issues presented in a case. Do not
spend time just rewriting background information that is already contained in the case. I can read the
case for that information. I also look very closely as the “little” things in live, such as spelling, grammar,
punctuation and sentence structure. All those little things will also impact the grade you receive on an

Case studies normally state various options that a company is considering in order the to solve its
problem. However, I expect student to provide not only those options, but provide other potential
solutions as well. I want you to think of creative ways to solve the problem identified in the case, not to
simply regurgitate what is already being considered.

Content for Case Analyses:

State the problem. Begin your paper with a statement of the main problem. Your problem statement
should not be an exhaustive list of everything that is wrong. Rather, it should be one or two central
issues around which all else are organized. You should be able to state a problem in three sentences, or

Analyze the problem. This is where you identify relevant facts from the case and apply a conceptual
model to diagnose the problem. Analyze the problem you identified (and not some other problem).
Organize the facts into a coherent whole as if you were presenting evidence to persuade a skeptic.
Clearly state any assumptions that you’ve made. Provide evidence from the case to support your
analysis: use quotes, numbers, and facts from the case or other sources. Analyze the problem using a
conceptual model from the readings or lectures. Apply the conceptual model fully and explicitly; don’t
“cherry pick."

State potential solutions to the problem. State all the potential solutions that you have developed to
potentially solve the problem. You must state the potential solutions and explain the advantages and
disadvantages of each of the potential solutions that you have stated. You must provide multiple
potential solutions, not just one. Do not simply restate potential solutions contained in the case.

Recommend a solution and explain your rationale for the recommended solution. Recommend one or
more of the potential solutions that you have previously stated and provide an explanation for the
solution that you have recommended. You should only recommend a solution that you previously

Final Project
A final project will test your grasp of the materials discussed in class, in the assigned readings and what
you have learned through the years you have attended college. The final project is contained in this
syllabus, which means that you have at least 14 weeks to complete it. As a result, my expectations and
grading will be based on the assumption that it was not prepared the night before it was due.

Over the course of the semester, I will give you the tools needed to complete the assignment.
Combining the information that I give you with everything you have learned in other classes should
result in you doing well.

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There will be a quiz given during the final day of the semester. It will consist of an assignment worth a
total of 3 points. No makeup quiz will be given - so please don’t ask, or remember that the answer is no.

Business Strategy Game (BSG)

The BSG is a very comprehensive simulation of the global athletic shoe industry. You will be part of a
team representing the top management of an athletic shoe company with worldwide operations. Your
team is responsible for making all decisions required to compete against the other teams in your class.
Teams will consist of three or four members formed or approved by the professor.

Your team will be required to submit a set of strategic decisions for producing and marketing your
products. These will be used in the simulation to evaluate your performance in competition with the
other teams. Decisions are to be submitted no later than 11:59 PM Sunday each week that a decision is
due (see the course schedule for decisions dates). No exceptions are permitted and teams that do not
submit decisions will be severely penalized.

Team scores will be based on the team’s performance in the industry relative to all the teams in the
section. The winner of the game will receive the maximum points possible.

NOTE: Although each group is officially competing against other groups in the class and graded
based on that competition, BSG unofficially compares results of all players worldwide. If a
group’s performance is ranked among the BSG Global Top 100 Performances, that team will
receive extra credit points in the following way: BSG Global Top 100 Performances for the week –
.5 extra credit point for each occurrence.

To make your grade reflect as much as possible your participation in your group, you will evaluate each
other’s contributions. During the semester you will complete peer evaluation reports for you and each
member of your company. Each individual’s grade will be the team grade multiplied by a participation
factor. If you do not participate and contribute to the company effort you can receive a zero
regardless of the team grade. In extreme circumstances, a team may “fire” a team member if he/she
fails to contribute to the team effort. Lack of contribution includes missing most team meetings, being
unprepared for meetings, and/or showing a lack of cooperation and teamwork. In order to fire a team
member, the team must schedule a meeting with the instructor as soon as the problem becomes
apparent. The team and the instructor will discuss ways to correct the situation. If these measures fail,
the team member will be fired and will receive a zero for the assignment.

Ethical and practical considerations require each student to purchase and register their own copy of
the BSG. Students who do not have access to their own copy of the program are unlikely to understand
the game or to make meaningful contributions to the team’s efforts. Also, those not registered will not
be able to take the online exams.

All assignments must be completed by the date and time specified. Once the deadline has passed, the
assignment is locked, and no changes can be made.

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1 01/24 Strategic Management: Creating Quiz 1 – Due 01/26 - Online
Competitive Advantages
Analyzing the External Environment
Business Models and
2 01/31 of the Firm
Strategic Management
Group Formation - Final

Assessing the Internal Environment

3 02/07 Form BSG Groups Selected
of the Firm

The Strategic
Analyzing Strategic Management Cases Year 11 (Practice)
4 02/14 Management of
Business Structures Deadline 02/09 – 11:59 pm
BSG Quiz 1 Due – 02/17
Recognizing a Firm’s Intellectual Assets Case 1 – Due 02/21
5 02/21 Year 12 (Practice)
Creating Intellectual Assets Vitality Health
Deadline 02/16 – 11:59 pm

Negotiating – Part 1
6 02/28 Patent Sharks
Business-Level Strategy

Negotiating – Part 2 Year 11

7 03/06
Corporate-Level Strategy Deadline 03/01 – 11:59 pm

International Strategy Case 2 – Due 03/13 Year 12

8 03/13
Tapping into the Global Market Levendary Cafe Deadline 03/08 – 11:59 pm


9 03/20

Non-Equity Financing
Entrepreneurial Strategy
10 03/27 for Entrepreneurial
Levendary Cafe Discussion

Strategic Control and Corporate Case 3 – Due 04/03 Year 13

11 04/03
Governance Westlake Lanes Deadline 03/29 – 11:59 pm

Creating Effective Organizational Designs Year 14

12 04/10
Westlake Lanes Discussion Deadline 04/05 – 11:59 pm

Ethical and Unethical Practices Used in

13 04/17 BSG Quiz 2 Due – 04/13

Industrial Espionage Is
Year 15
14 04/24 Strategic Leadership More Effective Than
Deadline 04/19 – 11:59 pm
Peer Evaluation Due – 04/27
Managing Innovation Case 4 – Due 05/01
15 05/01 Year 16
Doug Cook Discussion Doug Cook
Deadline 04/26 – 11:59 pm

Entrepreneurship Comprehensive Exam

16 05/08
Game Review and Results Due – 05/07

Final Exam: May 17, Friday

12:45 pm - 2:45 pm

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Final Exam Project

In lieu of a final examination, BUS 497A students have a final project. Below is an outline of the

After graduating from CSUN, you could not find the type of employment you wanted. As a result,
decided that you want to go into business for yourself. After much consideration, you narrowed your
choice of products to one of the sixteen listed below. Since, after taking BUS 497A, you know that it
would not be prudent to run a business without a plan, you decide to begin addressing the items

- What type of business organization? (Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC) Why?

- What type of organizational structure? (Simple, functional, divisional, etc.) Why?

- Locate a manufacturer to produce your product, and provide the name, address, phone, website,
etc. for the company. You must make it known to the manufacturer that you are planning to sell
the products under your own brand name. (It must be a real company.)

- Decide on a name for the product and confirm that the name can be trademarked.

- Get the actual pricing for your products. (You will need to also ask what the minimum order
quantity [MOQ] with be.)

- Determine how much you will charge for your products. Explain your pricing strategy.

- Where will your market the products? (Which country and, if in the U.S., which area.) Why?

- Will you sell wholesale or retail? Why?

- Develop a budget for your product(s).

- Develop revenue projections for your product(s). Explain how you came to those projections.

Products from which you may choose (select only one product group):

Vitamins (any type you want) Water Wine Pasta

Milk Sausage Popcorn Juice

Condiments (ketchup,
Soft drinks mustard, vinegar, etc. – you Perfume Cosmetics
pick what kind)

Handbags Clothing (you pick what kind) Headphones Sunglasses

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Deliverables: (1) A business plan that provides a detailed description of the business that you will
(2) The plan should include the strategies and a projected budget.
(3) You should provide as much detail as possible.
(4) You should provide a rationalization for your strategies.
(5) There is no set limit for the number of pages.
(6) Your plan must have a cover page containing your name and the name of the
product and/or company.
(7) A Table of Contents must be included.
(8) The pages must be numbered.
(9) Do not include a reference or citation page. If you want to cite a resource, use
footnotes at the bottom of the page where the resource is cited.

Due Dates: (1) The project may be handed in at any time prior to your final examination date,
but absolutely no later than Friday, December 15 – 2:45 pm.
(2) Final projects must be submitted to me via CANVAS.

Notes: (1) This is an individual project, not a group project. However, you can confer with
your classmates, if you wish.
(2) The plan should be divided into pertinent sections and all the aforementioned
issues must be covered.
(3) You must provide a document with enough information to actually conduct the
business. This means that detail is very important and is what I am looking for in
your plan.
(4) The document must look professional in its layout and design.
(5) You will be graded on both the content of the document and the way that it
(6) The document should be sent as a PDF file. Do not submit a PAGES (Apple)

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