BUS 497A

Strategic Management Seminar - Fall 2006

Juniper Hall 1208

Monday/ Wednesday 9:00-10:15 am.


Professor: Dr. Lois Shelton                                                                 Office Hours:

Office: Juniper Hall Room 4206                                                         Mon. noon-1:30pm.,

Email: lois.shelton@csun.edu                                                             Wed. noon-1:30pm.

Office Phone: (818) 677-3313                                                            and by appointment



Required Texts

Dess, Lumpkin and Eisner, Strategic Management: Text and Cases, 3rd edition, McGraw-Hill Irwin,  2007.


Learning Objectives

            To acquire the following skills:

1)      ability to analyze the dynamic global business environment

2)      ability to relate key strategic concepts  to current news events

3)      demonstrate significant business and research skills by forming teams to analyze a strategic issue facing an actual firm. Recommendations based on that analysis are presented and defended orally and in writing, and judged by a panel of professors and business leaders.


Course Requirements and Grading



Three Exams   @ 100 points each                              300 points

Group Strategic Project/Presentation                          200 points

Class Participation                                                      100 points


Total                                                                            600 points


A general guideline for the assignment of grades is the following:


            A                     93% and above

            A-                    90%-93%

            B+                   87%-89%

            B                     83%-86%

            B-                    82%-80%

            C+                   79%-77%

            C                     73%-76%

            C-                    70%-72%

            D+                   67%-69%

            D                     63%-66%

            D-                    60%-62%

            F                      below 60%



Final letter grades will be based on both the total points a student earns and a student’s rank in the class distribution. The minimum requirements to receive an A/A- grade are at least 90% of total points and a ranking in the top 20% of the class.


Group Strategic Audit

For this project it is necessary for students to form into (self-selected) groups of 3 to 5. A detailed project outline will be handed out in class and posted on the class website. Students will select an actual firm and address the strategic issues facing their chosen company.  This project consists of a bound, written report of 25 to 35 typed pages and a concise, professional 20 minute Power-point presentation to the class. 


During the presentation of the Strategic Audit, business attire is required.  All group members should speak, and no one should be reading from notes or papers!  While an occasional glance at a Power-point slide to keep your place is acceptable, no group member should be reading their material. Everyone should know their material well enough to present it smoothly and to engage the audience. It is recommended that groups practice their presentation in advance.



Exams will consist of the analysis of a company case. The case will be assigned in advance; it is highly recommended that students review the case prior to the exam. Each exam will be closed book and closed note; copies of the case will be provided during the exam. No laptops will be permitted during exams.



Class Participation

Active preparation for and participation in case discussions and class lectures is essential for your learning and the learning of your classmates. Thus, your overall attitude towards this course and daily active class participation will be carefully evaluated. In grading participation, both the quantity and quality of contributions will be assessed, with a strong emphasis on the latter. Quality is determined by the following criteria:

Relevance – does the comment address the subject at hand?

Reasoning – have the antecedents and consequences of the comment been thought through?

Evidence – is the comment based on evidence from the case, from personal work experience, or specific business knowledge?

Clarity – is the comment concise and understandable?


From time to time, students will be called on randomly to share their insights. If a student is absent or unprepared to make a substantial contribution when called upon, his/her class participation grade will be negatively impacted. It is strongly recommended that students prepare written notes to speak from as part of their preparation for class. These notes may be collected and reviewed by the instructor from time to time; written notes not only demonstrate preparation but also provide a gauge of your overall learning and progress.

Please be aware that class attendance is not the same as class participation. Simply showing up for class without participating will not result in a passing grade for class participation. While up to two excused class absences will not hurt your grade, any unexcused absence or more than two excused absences will negatively impact your score.


Academic Honesty

Any instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and  will be handled according to the guidelines stated in the Undergraduate/Graduate catalog. The College of Business and Economics at California State University, Northridge prepares students to be ethical decision makers. The college maintains high standards of ethical conduct that students are expected to maintain throughout their academic and professional careers.   Students in the College of Business and Economics have identified the values of respect, honesty, integrity, commitment and responsibility as their guiding principles.


Personal Responsibility

Since this is an upper-division seminar, students will be regarded as adults who take full responsibility for all of their actions and inactions. This means completing assignments on time, avoiding disruptive behavior such as allowing cell phones to ring, going in and out of the classroom while class in session, leaving early or arriving late, as well as discussing any unusual problems (outside of a medical emergency) in advance with the professor. Students who disrupt the class can expect a significant grade penalty.



Course Schedule

A preliminary course schedule is attached. It may be up-dated as the semester progresses. Assignments for each class will be posted on WebCT.


Date                                        Topic                                                              Reading

                                                                                                                        (Dess text)


9/6                                           Welcome & Introduction                               



9/11                                         Vision/Mission/Stakeholder                            Chp.1


                                                Case - American Red Cross



9/13                                         External Environment                                  Chp. 2

(Bottled Water Industry)                                           



9/18                                         External Environment (con’t)                      Chp.2

                                                (Bottled Water Industry)



9/20                                         External Environment (con’t)                      Chp. 2

                                                (Bottled Water Industry)

Group Strategic Audit Proposal Due – Group Members, Member Assignments, Industry and Proposed Company



9/25                                         Case Analysis & Discussion

                                                Case – Atari and Infogames


9/27                                         Case Analysis & Discussion

Case – Fresh Direct



10/2                                         Exam One                                         



10/4                                         Internal Environment                                   Chp. 3

                                                (Danone, Nestle, Pepsico, Coca-Cola)



10/9                                         Internal Environment (con’t)                       Chp. 3

(Danone, Nestle, Pepsico, Coca-Cola)


Strategic Audit Draft Due - Company Overview & External Environment



10/11                                       Case Analysis & Discussion

                                                Case – Zara


10/16                                       Case Analysis & Discussion

                                                Case – Kroger



10/18                                       Exam Two


10/23                                       Introduction to Special Topics in Strategy                                     


10/25                                       Intellectual Capital and Knowledge               Chp. 4


10/30                                       Case – Pixar Animation



11/1                                         Business Level Strategy                                  Chp. 5            


11/6                                         Case - JetBlue

Strategic Audit Draft Due - Internal Environment




11/8                                         Corporate Level Strategy                                Chp. 6


11/13                                       Case – Kmart/Sears




11/15                                       International Strategy                                     Chp.7


11/20                                       Case – Starbucks



11/22                                       Group Meetings



11/27                                       Digital Business Strategy                                Chp. 8


11/29                                       Case - Yahoo

Group Strategic Audit Draft Due - Special Topics and Plan of Action

                                                Presentation Outline Due



12/4                                         Exam Three



12/6                                         Group   Presentations



12/11                                       Group   Presentations



12/13                                       Group   Presentations

                                                Final Written Strategic Audits Due