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University of Virginia

The Strategist's Challenge

University of Virginia via Coursera

Overview

In this course, you will develop your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment, and recommend firm positioning and value creation. We will explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy and provide the tools you need to understand that strategy including SWOT, Competitor, Environmental, Five Forces, and Capabilities Analyses.

Syllabus

  • The Strategist's Toolkit
    • In this module, we'll discuss what we mean by business strategy and why it's important to an organization's competitive positioning. You'll learn about the strategic analysis and the SWOT, competitor, and environmental analysis tools and then have an opportunity to apply two of these tools in the Google case study. Enjoy learning!
  • Analyzing Industry Structure
    • In this module, we'll explore how to assess an industry's structure and how the competitive dynamics in an industry affect profitability. We'll go into depth with the five forces tool, a common and highly influential analytical framework that helps you understand key factors that shape the nature of competition in a specific industry environment. You'll get a chance to apply this tool in the Redhook case study. Enjoy analyzing!
  • Firm Capabilties
    • In this module, we'll examine the tangible and intangible assets that form an organization's strength. We'll show you in depth how to complete a capabilities analysis and how to use this analysis to guide decision making. You'll get a chance to apply this tool in the Apple case study to clarify the major activities, skills, and resources that drive value to Apple's customers. Happy analyzing!
  • Competitive Position
    • In this module, we'll explore firms' competitive positioning relative to rivals and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of four generic competitive positions firms occupy. We'll use the easy and intuitive strategy maps tool to develop an at-a-glance communication about firm positioning. This visual approach will help spark discussion about drivers of positioning and help you determine the best approach for your firm. You will have a chance to deepen your understanding of how to utilize this tool in the Piaggio case study.

Taught by

Jared Harris and Michael Lenox

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