Managing Global Enterprises

Competitive Strategy | 2018-19

This Course dives deeply into business strategy, beginning with a comprehensive overview of competitive advantage and how game theory can help a businessperson achieve it. Professor Larkin then moves into technology strategy – so critical in today’s global market and finally to non-market strategy, in which forces not motivated by profit affect a company’s success.

Faculty

Prof. Ian Larkin

Prof. Ian Larkin

Professor

Ian Larkin is an Assistant Professor in the Strategy group at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He researches the optimal use of formal rewards systems by companies, given the complex and often unanticipated effects these systems have on employee motivation and decision making. His research quantifying the cost incurred by a major enterprise software vendor due to salespeople deliberately gaming their sales commission system, published in The Journal of Labor Economics, is one of the most prominently cited empirical studies of incentive system gaming. It was the basis for a case study widely used in MBA classes on compensation and human resource management.

His recent research focuses on corporate awards and other programs companies use to formally recognize employee performance, and demonstrates that these programs often have unintended costs, such as the demotivation of some employee groups. A final stream of research investigates physician prescribing decisions in light of different sales tactics used by pharmaceutical sales representatives. His research has been discussed in a variety of media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes and National Public Radio.

Ian teaches the core Business Strategy course at Anderson. Before coming to Anderson, he was a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School, where he taught an elective MBA course on human resource management, as well as several executive education courses. He received a Ph.D. from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and a M.Sc. from the University of London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Ian worked as an Associate and Engagement Manager for McKinsey and Company, based in Hong Kong and Silicon Valley.

Ian’s hobbies include cooking, traveling and supporting the Green Bay Packers.

Course Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Use precepts of game theory to develop a business strategy with good potential to achieve competitive advantage.
  • Employ the key ideas of disruptive innovation and network effects to carve a unique place in the market for your company.
  • Influence non-market players such as the media and governmental agencies to communicate and maintain conditions favorable for your business.

Syllabus

Strategy and Competitive Strategy

Module Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the relationship between “competitive advantage” and “business strategy.”
  • Given a particular business situation, propose at least two sources of competitive advantage based on barriers to imitation.
  • Given a particular business situation, propose at least two sources of competitive advantage based on positioning.

Module Components:

  • Video Lecture 1: What Is Competitive Advantage?
  • Video Lecture 2: Capabilities
  • Video Lecture 3: Positioning
  • Reading 1: Sustainable Competitive Advantage
  • Reading 2: Porter’s Generic Strategies
  • Reading 3: Strategies for Competitive Advantage
  • Reading 4: HR Innovation for Competitive Advantage: Insights for Australia
  • Assignment: Case Study on SAFER-911
  • Check for Understanding Assessment

Strategy and Competitive Dynamics

Module Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this module, you will be able to:

  • Use a decision tree and backward-induction reasoning to make the most advantageous choice in a given situation.
  • Analyze a simultaneous game based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma to make the most advantageous choice in a given situation.
  • Develop a plan, based on a given set of circumstances, to send a signal to your competitors to deliberately influence their beliefs.

Module Components:

  • Video Lecture 1: Introduction to Game Theory
  • Video Lecture 2: Simultaneous Games
  • Video Lecture 3: Applications of Game Theory
  • Reading 1: Game theory – Prisoners Dilemma, Dominant Strategy and Nash Equilibrium, Coordination Games, Finitely Repeated Games, the End-of Period Problem, Infinitely Repeated Games, Sequential Move Games
  • Reading 2: Game Theory Applications to Oligopoly
  • Reading 3: Nokia’s Smartphone Strategy – Maximin
  • Assignment: Case Study on SAFER-911, continued
  • Check for Understanding Assessment

Introduction to Technology Strategy

Module Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this module, you will be able to:

  • Interpret an S-curve showing the adoption patterns of two competing technologies.
  • Recommend corrective action/s for an incumbent faced with a disruptive innovation, hoping to regain lost market share.
  • Propose a solution involving a network effect to help a specific company increase its level of success in the market.

Module Components:

  • Video Lecture 1: S-Curves
  • Video Lecture 2: Disruptive Innovation
  • Video Lecture 3: Network Effects
  • Reading 1: Diffusion of Innovation: The “S” Curve
  • Reading 2: The Start of a Journey…
  • Reading 3: MOOCs: A Disruptive Innovation or Not?
  • Reading 4: Network Effects
  • Assignment: Case Study on SAFER-911, continued
  • Check for Understanding Assessment

Introduction to Non-Market Strategy

Module Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this module, you will be able to:

  • Use the 4 I’s Model to analyze non-market forces in a given situation to make needed adjustments in a company’s overall strategy.
  • Develop a business strategy that maximizes positive results by cooperating with the media on a news story.
  • Propose an approach to work cooperatively with a governmental agency, given a specific business situation.

Module Components:

  • Video Lecture 1: What Is a Non-Market Strategy?
  • Video Lecture 2: The Media
  • Video Lecture 3: Government
  • Reading 1: Public and Private Political Strategy
  • Reading 2: Strategic Activism and Nonmarket Strategy
  • Reading 3: If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead (Part Eight): The Value of Spreadable Media
  • Assignment: Case Study on SAFER-911, continued
  • Check for Understanding Assessment

Support

Have questions regarding UCLA PGP PRO, Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Please email support@northwest.academy for any support required with respect to the program, course or platform.