Corporate Strategy

2 credit hours

This course covers the fundamentals of corporate-level strategy as opposed to business-level strategy. “Business-level” (business) strategy deals with achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage in a discrete and identifiable business. “Corporate-level” (corporate) strategy deals with the way a company creates value through the selection of a portfolio of businesses and the configuration and coordination of these businesses.

The primary way in which corporate strategy ultimately creates value is through increasing the ability of businesses in the portfolio to create and sustain a competitive advantage. For example, sharing manufacturing activities may reduce costs. Alternatively, sharing a strong brand may increase differentiation while reducing overall marketing costs. Hence there is a very close relationship between business and corporate strategy. The major topics we will cover are diversification (related and unrelated), vertical integration, restructuring, synergy, alliance strategy, and global strategy. We will be introducing a variety of tools to help us analyze these topics.

The primary objective of the course is to introduce you to the primary decisions, tools, and concepts of corporate strategy. By the end of the course you should be able to understand how multi-business firms can create and destroy value; be able to engage in a thoughtful discussion of corporate strategy with senior executives; be able to identify opportunities to improve corporate strategy; understand and be able to analyze the major benefits and risks of various diversification strategies; understand the economic and organizational realities behind the term “synergy” and be able to identify and analyze synergy opportunities; understand the role alliances play in corporate strategy and be able to analyze the major tradeoffs between alliances and acquisitions; understand the role a particular business plays in a corporate strategy; and understand the nature and strategic implications of both regional/global rationalization and local responsiveness in global strategy.