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Syllabus for MGMT 4309 - 22916

MGMT 4309 - 22916 Spring 2014

Course Number MGMT 4309 - 22916
Course Title Strategic Management
Location Online
Prerequisites Senior standing. All BBA core courses, one of which may be taken concurrently.
Instructor Ehsan Fakharizadi
Office Brazos Hall 306 (Sugar Land)
Office Hours Tuesdays 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (Sugar Land). Tuesdays 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM (Online).
Phone 832-842-2934
Faculty Homepage/URL http://

Prerequisite Policy

Prerequisites for a course exist because the School of Business Administration faculty have determined that the knowledge, skills, and/or exposure students receive through the prerequisites is critical to their success in the course and their ability to contribute to their fellow students' learning experience. In addition, taking your core courses and concentration or elective courses in a prescribed sequence prepares you to integrate the knowledge and skills you are acquiring properly. Students bear the responsibility for verifying that they have the appropriate prerequisites for their courses. Students who enroll in a course without completing the prerequisites risk being dropped from the class at any time during the semester should their lack of prerequisites come to light. In addition, students who enroll without the prerequisites and as a result find themselves at a disadvantage in meeting course objectives will have no redress with the instructor.

Course Description

Formulation and implementation of strategies for both single-business and diversified firms operating in domestic or international contexts. Topics include the analysis of the remote, industry, and operating environments; the analysis of the internal firm resources, competencies, and competitive advantages and weakness; the issues of outsourcing, mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures; and the integration of functional and behavioral knowledge in the formulation and implementation of firm strategies and tactics. Credit will not be given for both MGMT 4309 and MGMT 4340.

MGMT 4309 is intended to be a challenging capstone course for the undergraduate business school curriculum. It is first and foremost a course about "strategy" and about "managing for success". The course centers around the theme that a company achieves sustained success if, and only if, its managers (1) have an astute, timely strategic game plan for running the company, and (2) implement and execute the plan with proficiency. Our study of this course will help you to understand how and why a well-conceived, well-executed strategy nearly always enhances a company's long-term performance. In studying the tasks of managing strategy, you shall also tackle another important function: that of trying to integrate much of the knowledge you have gained in the core business curriculum. This is a "big picture" course, a trait that makes it a truly different kind of course from other business courses. Virtually all of the other required and elective courses you have taken were concerned with a specific functional area (such as marketing, finance, accounting, etc.) and/or a well-defined body of knowledge (economics, statistics, etc.). More than a few of your previous courses have been highly structured and related closely to a well-developed body of theory. Some provided quantitative techniques for you to sink your teeth into. Others related to information and specific skills the faculty believes you needed to acquire. This course shares a few of these traits. The problems and issues of strategy formulation and implementation cover the whole spectrum of business and management. Many variables and situational factors must be dealt with as one. Weighing the pros and cons of strategy entails a total enterprise perspective and a skill of judging how all of the relevant factors add up to shape what actions need to be taken.

Textbook Information

John E. Gamble and Arthur A Thompson Jr., Essentials of Strategic Management the Quest for Competitive Advantage, 3 ed., McGraw-Hill Irwin, ISBN 9780078029288(Required)

Information on Buying Textbooks

The Victoria College Bookstore carries textbooks for all UHV SBA courses.

Students may use the publishing information posted above to order their textbooks from their favorite book vendor. However, before doing so you should find out what your vendor's anticipated shipping time is, and what their return policy is. Also, you should not write in or remove shrinkwrap from any textbook or materials you purchase from any vendor until the first class day in the event that:

  • the vendor supplies you with the wrong edition of your text,
  • the course instructor is forced to make a late change to the required textbooks,
  • you are forced to make a last-minute change to your schedule due to missing prerequisites, or
  • your course is canceled due to low enrollment.

In addition, be aware that, on occasion, certain outside vendors may substitute an international version of a textbook for the version you have requested without notice. International versions of textbooks may be quite different from the editions we require.

Required Course Materials

1. Textbook; 2. Other reading materials will be provided before each session.

Course Relationship to Program Mission

The School of Business Administration prepares students for entry level and professional positions in business. BBA graduates will:

  • Comprehend the business environment and functions.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills.
  • Demonstrate computer usage skills.
  • Employ ethical principles in all business situations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively on teams in diverse organizations.

AACSB Accreditation Standards

The School of Business Administration is accredited by AACSB International, the hallmark of excellence in management education. AACSB International accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Institutions that earn accreditation confirm their commitment to quality and continuous improvement through a rigorous and comprehensive peer review. AACSB International accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in management education. AACSB International accreditation adds value to your degree. The AACSB International accreditation standards require you to:

  • Operate with integrity in your dealings with faculty and other students.
  • Engage the learning materials with appropriate attention and dedication. (This standard recognizes the role students play in the creation of high-quality education. You cannot be passive, nor can your participation be superficial.)
  • Maintain your engagement when challenged by difficult learning activities.
  • Contribute to the learning of others. (Regardless of the delivery mode of the program, students should have opportunities to work together on some learning tasks. Students need to acknowledge their responsibilities to their fellow students by actively participating in group learning experiences.)
  • Perform to standards set by faculty.

Course Evaluation Process

Grading Scale:

Your letter grade is determined using the grade distribution that follows. You can calculate your percentage grade at any time in the semester by dividing the points you have accrued by the total points available up to that point. This percentage is then matched to a letter grade.

A 90% or higher
B 80 to 89%
C 70 to 79%
D 60 to 69%
F Less than 60%

Course Assessments:

Class Discussion10 %
Quizzes10 %
Midterm Project/Exam20 %
Team Assignments10 %
Final Project25 %
BBA Competitive Presentation20 %
ETS Test5 %
Peer Evaluation

Class Discussion

Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions in a constructive manner. Active contribution to the discussions means that as you learn from others, you must also share analyses with the class by discussing and presenting your ideas. This requires three activities:

1. Preparation. Students are expected to prepare prior to the beginning of each discussion by completing and studying ALL of the assigned readings for that week.
2. Keeping abreast of the online discussions. You are required to read the posts of other students and to know the arguments that have already been made and debated.
3. Contribute. You are required to contribute to the discussions. As you learn from others by reading their posts, you must also share analyses with the class by posting to the discussions each week. Your posts should contribute something new to the discussion. They should not merely repeat what has already been written. It is your responsibility to know what has already been written (see 2).

I will continually monitor both the quantity and quality of participation. Absences from discussions are not excused for reasons other than an emergency, and students are expected to notify the instructor at the earliest time possible.


Students will read the chapter and complete the weekly Chapter Quizzes designed to foster learning and understanding of the text material. The overriding purpose of the Chapter Quizzes is to provide a driving force for you to read and digest the chapters in our textbook.

Midterm Project/Exam

One of the important products from this course is a case analysis report that will be presented at BBA Conference in April 26. The target firm for this Semester will be announced at the beginning of the semester.
The report and conference presentation are prepared by a group of students. The group will formed by the instructor based on students' background, including major and concentration, expertise, working experience, and so on. The background information will be collected at the beginning of the semester through survey.
The format of the case analysis report and presentation is based on the premise that the group will serve in a consultation capacity to a company and have been asked to develop a strategic plan. The whole task is divided into three interrelated components, external analysis, internal analysis, and strategic recommendations.
The midterm project will provide each team an opportunity to perform an external analysis (i.e., the first component) of the target firm. Each group will develop a formal written analysis using the outline to be uploaded to Blackboard. Each team will need to begin with analysis (not description) of the general environmental factors impacting the industry, the driving forces of change in the industry; the five competitive forces, strategic group mapping of the industry, the key factors of success, and provide a summary of industry analysis at the end of the section. More detailed information will be provided during the semester.

Team Assignments

Each student is required to meet with his/her group in a virtual context. Your performance as a team depends on coordinated efforts and organized action, therefore it is necessary to meet with your group. You can use Adobe Connect, Skype, Oovoo, or any other software your group and the instructor agree to use for online meeting. It may not be necessary to purchase additional equipment, if your computer has a built in camera and/microphone. If your computer does not have these options, you will need to make arrangements for, at the very minimum, voice capacity.
During the teamwork, everybody should respond to each other (and to the Instructor) in a timely manner. I highly recommend you to check emails and blackboard messages at least twice a day. When communicating with other group members, please show your professionalism, maturity, and respect to others.

Final Project

For the final project, each group will be required to submit a written strategic case analysis of the target company (double-spaced typed, 12 cpi font size, 1 inch margins) developed further on your mid-term project. The assessment for final project encompasses the quality of your external analysis and strategic recommendations, and the quality of your final report.

The internal analysis reflects the answers to the following five questions:
- How well is the company's strategy working?
- What are the company's competitively important resources and capabilities?
- Are the company's prices and costs competitive?
- Is the company competitively stronger or weaker than key rivals?
- And what strategic issues and problems merit front-burner managerial attention?

The instructor evaluate and grade your final report based on the following aspects:
1. Understanding of the terms and those analytical tools used in your report.
2. Richness and authenticity of data collected and cited in your analysis.
3. Logic and consistency of your analysis.
4. Support that your recommendations received from your external and internal analysis.
5. creativeness of your strategy recommendations.
6. Feasibility of the recommendations.
7. Writing and format.

By submitting the executive summary of your final report to the Student Success Center for Online Tutoring, teams will receive 5% bonus point.

BBA Competitive Presentation

The oral presentation (40 minutes) is mandatory for all students. The oral presentation is a group based presentation requiring that each group member divide their times equally at the BBA Conference at the end of the Semester. Several professors and alumni panelists will hear and grade your oral presentations, even though I will give you your final grade. The presentation will be on a Saturday on April 26, 2013 in Sugar Land. The presentation will be graded according to the presentation grading rubric by the BBA Conference panelists. Please check the following link for schedule updates:

ETS Test

The ETS exam is scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 2014.

Participation in the ETS exam is mandatory (unless a student has taken the ETS exam in a previous attempt of the MGMT 4309 course). The student is not allowed to use any materials for the exam. The exam is used for program assessment purposes, and students will be tested on concepts they should have learned/retained throughout the course of their BBA program.

Students in the MGMT 4309 courses need to plan to attend at one of the 2 locations below, which will be proctored by SBA Student Services staff. If they are unable to make it to the proctored group exam at one of the 2 below locations on February 22, 2014, they need to contact me at so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Sugar Land 10:00-12:00
o George Building Room 302, 305 and 306
Victoria 1:00-3:00
o University Center Room 201

Students are not allowed to use any materials for the exam. The exam is used for program assessment purposes, and students will be tested on concepts they should have learned/retained throughout the course of their BBA program. For more information, please see: Students who score more than 80% on the exam will receive an extra 5% bonus.

Peer Evaluation

For those team projects and presentations for which only team-level grades are given, your individual grades will be determined by the team grades and peer evaluation. At the end of the semester, you will be asked to evaluate the contribution of your teammates in group activities. Peer evaluation ensures the fair distribution of team grades between team members.

Reading Assessments

Your capacity to contribute to class discussions is directly related to your commitment to completing all reading assignments by the dates listed on the course schedule. Class participation grades will reflect both the quantity and the quality of your participation.

Makeup Exams

Make-up exams will only be given at the discretion of the instructor. Students are strongly cautioned to notify the instructor immediately if legitimate and insurmountable obstacles prevent them from participating in a scheduled exam session.

Late Assignments

The due dates for all assignments will be strictly followed. Late assignments may or may not be accepted at the instructor’s discretion; should the instructor accept a late assignment, he or she may reduce the grade of the assignment the equivalent of one (1) letter grade for each day the assignment is late.

Attendance Policy

According to the UHV Student Handbook, students are expected to be diligent in their studies and regular in class attendance. A student whose absences are determined by the instructor to be excessive shall be dropped prior to the last day to drop a course or withdraw from UHV with a grade of W or F. For students enrolled in online courses, "absence" connotes a failure to engage in class participation activities on a weekly basis. If an unforeseen crisis (including family emergencies, professional obligations, and technical difficulties) prevents you from fulfilling your course obligations, you are responsible for alerting your instructor to the reason for and anticipate duration of your absence.

Teaching and Learning Partnership

Teaching and learning is a partnership between faculty and students. I will fulfill my partnership obligations by serving as advisor, consultant, mentor and purveyor of general comments and clarifications of difficult or confusing concepts. To this end, I will respond to questions within 72 hours.  You will fulfill your partnership obligations by being a fully participative, responsive, helping, and working team member of the class.  You should check your UHV email frequently and respond to faculty in a timely fashion. Good business and professional etiquette is expected. No derogatory comments should be made. You may certainly disagree with others in class discussions, and you may state your disagreement (if you choose to); however, please do so in a polite manner.

Homework, take-home exams, case assignments and bulletin board participation all play an important role in your education in this course. They are an essential part of the learning process in that they require the synthesis and extension of concepts. They also help both the student and the instructor to evaluate one’s progress in mastering the material. Past experience indicates that generally the course material cannot be adequately mastered without active involvement on your part.

Discussion of homework assignments with others who are also struggling with them can be highly beneficial and is encouraged. Most real-life problems are solved through team efforts, and it is important to learn how to solve problems cooperatively. The interaction with others working on the same problem often reveals different approaches to common difficulties.

Academic Honesty

Each student is responsible for maintaining high standards of academic honesty and ethical behavior. In order that each student understands what is (or is not) acceptable behavior, the following guidelines are offered.

  • Discussion of assignments with other students and members of the faculty is both permitted and encouraged as a constructive educational practice.
  • Students are expected to write their exams, quizzes and papers on their own, based on their individual level of progress with the material.
  • Copying of another’s work and representing it as one’s own work is a serious academic offense, and will be treated as such.
  • Students are encouraged to review materials other than those required for the course in preparing assignments, but should always properly cite any sources used in assignment preparation.

UHV’s Student Handbook contains a detailed description of the university’s Academic Honesty Policy. In addition, tutors at the Academic Center (see section below) are available to assist you in providing proper citations for your source materials.

Disabled Student Policy

The University of Houston System complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, pertaining to the provision of reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids for students with a disability. In accordance with Section 504 and ADA guidelines, the University of Houston-Victoria strives to provide reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids to students who request and require them. If you believe that you have a disability requiring academic adjustments/auxiliary aids, please contact the UHV Office of Disability Services; Cheryl Worley, Manager; 3007 N. Ben Wilson St., University North, Suite 214H, Victoria, TX 77901. Office phone – 361-570-4287; Fax – 361-580-5504; E-mail; Website -

Student Absences on Religious Holidays

Per Texas state law, students will be excused from attending class and other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. A student whose absence is excused on these grounds will be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment within one (1) week of the excused absence.

Sexual Harassment

Students who feel they are the victims of sexual harassment may contact the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at 361-570-4290 and/or the Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action at 361-570-4800.

Grievance Procedures

Students who have non-academic grievances or complaints may contact Student Services at 361-485-4409.

Student Success Center Services

The Student Success Center offers writing assistance to all UHV students in the form of paper reviews by peer tutors. Tutors will aid students in looking more critically at their own writing to examine issues such as organization, structure, and development of ideas. To submit a document for online tutoring, or to schedule an appointment for face-to-face tutoring, please visit the Student Success Center online For more information about the Student Success Center and its library of online resources, visit the Center's Web site at or stop by Suite 129 (University West in Victoria).

Weekly Class Schedule

1Course Overview; Strategy BasicsChapter 1Self introduction; Background survey
2Leadership and the Strategic Management ProcessChapter 2; "What is Strategy?" By Michael PorterQuiz 1; Discussion Board (DB) 1
3Evaluating the External EnvironmentChapter 3Team Initiation Report; First Online Meeting
4Team project virtual meeting 1Chapter 4; Case #1Quiz 2; DB 2; Data Collection
5Team Meeting 1Project Instruction; Teamwork GuidelinesMeet with your team
6Competitive StrategiesChapters 5 & 6; SWOT Analysis GuidelineQuiz 3; DB 3
7Globalization Strategies; Team Meeting 2Chapter 7Quiz 4; Meet with your team; Mid-term project due
8Spring Break: Mar 10 - Mar 16
8Corporate StrategyChapter 8Quiz 5; DB 4
9Team project virtual meeting 3Meet with your team; Team Project Part II
10Strategy, Ethics, and Social ResponsibilityCh 9; Case #2Quiz 6; DB 5
11Strategy ImplementationChapter 10Quiz 7
12Team Meeting 4Meet with your team; Team Project Part III
13Conference PPT Review/RevisionGuideline and Tips for Effective Business PresentationTeam Meeting with Instructor; Mock Presentation
14Project Revision and Conference PresentationRevise all previous parts; Perfect and practice your presentation
15Business WritingGuideline and Tips for Business WritingFinal Project Report Due