Strategic management (6 cfu)

Lingua inglese, Laurea Magistrale

, FDescription

The course aims at developing in-depth knowledge of the principles, processes, and tools for formulating and implementing firm strategies. In recent years, strategic management has faced an extremely dynamic scenario. Globalization, sectoral convergence, new technologies, and economic crisis are only some of the phenomena that have profoundly changed the environment, the competitive arena, and firm key success factors. Within this framework, the strategic management course provides students with all concepts and tools needed for dealing with firm survival and development. The course starts with the strategy notion's definition and the strategic management model, then explores how strategies are formed, how long-run orientations emerge, and what pushes firms to adopt and modify a strategy over time. The course also analyzes firm environment, that is, the array of factors that are exogenous to management control but can impact firm survival and strategies success. Students will therefore learn the issues and methodologies to identify the variables relevant to the firm, understand its dynamics in terms of threats and opportunities and consequently adapt the firm strategy. The Strategic management process additional includes an internal analysis, i.e. the valuation of firm strengths and weaknesses with the identification of the sources of competitive advantage and the strategies to defend and strengthen them over time.


· The notion of strategy and the strategic management process

· Analysis of the external environment

· Dynamics of the external environment

· Positioning and competitive advantage

· Resources, capabilities, and competencies

· Developing resources, capabilities, and competencies

· Organizational adaptation and change

· Strategy implementation

Course textbook and materials (all are required for the course)

A) Grant R.M. Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 9th edition, Wiley, 2016, chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

B) Markides, C. All the Right Moves: A Guide to Crafting Breakthrough Strategy, Harvard Business School Press, 2000, chapter 6, “Create the right organizational environment.”, pp. 129-145.

C) Case studies:

C1. Innovation and renovation. The Nespresso story, IMD046, v.15.12.2003.

C2. African Communications Group, HBS, 9-796-128, March 4, 1996.

C3. Leadership Online (A): Barnes & Noble vs., HBS, 9-798-063, March 16, 2004.

C4. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Ivey, 9B03A032, 2009-10-15.

C5. Rebirth of the Swiss Watch Industry, 1980-1992(A), HBS, 9-400-087, June 12, 2000.

C6. McKinsey & Company: Managing knowledge and learning, HBS, 9-396-357, January 4, 2000.

C7. Revolution at Oticon AS: The spaghetti organization (condensed), IMB083, v.27.12.2002.

C8. Sabena Belgian World Airlines, Ivey, 94M003, (A) 2000-05-05.

Additional information

Notes, summaries, and slides are not enough to prepare for the exam. To prepare well for the exam, a student must carefully read and understand the mandatory readings included in the syllabus. For the 9 CFU exam, please refer to the document named "Programma_SM_GVAGNANI_2020_2021".  Case studies can be bought directly at the Harvard business school website.

Readings and other materials


Monday, 10:00-12:00, Room (Aula di Matematica, Floor 1)

Tuesday, 8:00-10:00 Room (Aula Master Memotef, Floor 5, St 521)

Classes will start on September 18, 2023

Assistance to students

Prof. Gianluca Vagnani receives students in the classroom after lessons on Monday and Tuesday or at other times/days by prior appointment by sending an email to the institutional address: