Introduction to Strategy and Organization

This Course sets the stage for learning about how business works. Beginning with an understanding of what an  organization is and its basic purposes, topics will include vertical and horizontal integration, diversification, the  managerial role, designing incentive plans, business strategy, the central importance of “value” in a business  context, and the concept of industry attractiveness.



Prof. Ian Larkin

Prof. Ian Larkin


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.


Ph.D. from the Haas School of Business at UC  Berkeley, M.Sc. from the University of London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar


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: 

  • Determine a company’s profit, using such key business concepts as input costs, transformation, total  cost, price, willingness to pay, and value. 
  • Make intelligent decisions about horizontal and vertical integration involving your business.
  • Use a comprehensive business strategy to intentionally create, capture, and deliver value to your  company and your customers. 


Module Learning Objectives: 

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

  • Explain the value of an organization in terms of how it manages resources and transforms inputs into  more valuable outputs. 
  • Evaluate a potential diversification opportunity that involves a key resource’s appropriability, control,  durability, and inimitability.
  • Determine the best course of action for a company that is considering vertical/horizontal integration or  geographic diversification.


Module Outline: 

  • Video Lecture 1: What Is an Organization? 
  • Video Lecture 2: Organizational Scope and Horizontal Diversification 
  • Reading 1: A Customer Value Creation Framework for Businesses That Generate Revenue with Open  Source Software 
  • Reading 2: Horizontal Integration 
  • Reading 3: Vertical Integration
  • Quiz on Introduction to Organizations, Part 1

 “It was a great learning experience! Would recommend it to others as well”


Co-Founder, XYZ




Please email [email protected] for any support required with respect to the program, course or platform.