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Campus Compact > Syllabi > Business/ Management > Business Policy & Strategy

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Business Policy & Strategy

School: Lipscomb University
Professor: Steve Little

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
~ Proverbs 29:18 

“Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.”
~ Japanese Proverb

COURSE OVERVIEW

Welcome to BA4503 Business Policy & Strategy. This course serves as the capstone experience for your business degree. In this section of the syllabus, you are provided with the foundational underpinnings of the course as well as an overview of what is expected. Please take the time to read the entire syllabus, and don’t hesitate to ask questions as you have them. This course will be a great experience – challenging, but very rewarding (and maybe even a little fun).

The core values of Lipscomb University (and of this course) are:

  • Christlikeness – Lipscomb exists because of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. The constant aim is for each member of the Lipscomb family to grow in His image.
  • Truth – Truth is sought in each class and should be lived out in the behavior and speech of each employee and student.
  • Excellence – In every facet of our work, Lipscomb University seeks the highest level of performance and service. “Perpetual improvement” is the mantra for each class, department, and administrative area.
  • Service – Everything we do and teach should reflect the second great command “to love your neighbor as yourself.” Knowledge acquired and skills gained are to be used to bless the lives of others.

As a community of believers and learners, we will encourage each other to demonstrate these values in thought, in word, and in deed.

Mission of this Course

To prepare students for service to society and the Kingdom through excellence in strategic management and leadership.

Course Description

From the undergraduate catalog: Study of the development of company policy and strategy; impact of a company’s internal and external environment on strategic decisions; case practice in analyzing and formulating business policy and strategy. This course is an integrating experience to be taken in the final semester. Prerequisites: Senior standing and BA3603 Fundamentals of International Business (or equivalent College of Business global travel course), BA3703 Management Communication, FI3503 Principles of Finance, IT2043 Information Systems, MG3503 Principles of Management, and MK3503 Principles of Marketing.”

This course is intended to be a challenging capstone course for the business student, and as such will integrate and build upon the knowledge and skills you have acquired through your previous coursework. Unlike other business courses that concentrate narrowly on a particular function or aspect of business (accounting, finance, marketing, operations, human resources, or information systems), strategic management is a “big picture” course. It cuts across the whole spectrum of business and management. The center of attention is the total enterprise (the industry and competitive environment in which it operates), its long-term direction and strategy, its resources and competitive capabilities, and its prospects for success.

Throughout the course, we will focus on the foremost issue in running a business enterprise: “What must managers do, and do well, to ensure the success of their business?” The answer that emerges, and which becomes the theme for this course, is that good strategy-making and good strategy-execution are the key ingredients of company success and the most reliable signs of good management. Key activities of the course include exploration of why good strategic management leads to good business performance, understanding of the basic concepts and tools of strategic analysis, and mastery of the methods of crafting and competently executing a well-conceived strategy.

Finally, and most importantly, we will explore the social, moral, and ethical consequences of strategic management decisions. What responsibilities do we have as leaders to be socially responsible, moral, and ethical in our dealings? How should we as Christians function in the world of business? Our study, our work, and our discussions in this course will be viewed through a Biblical lens (faith-informed learning).

Course Objectives

The following table provides an overview of the primary objectives of this course. Each learning activity (requirement) has been specifically selected to help achieve one or more of these objectives.

OBJECTIVE LEARNING ACTIVITIES*

Strategic Thinking. To develop your capacity to think strategically about a company: its present business position, its long-term direction, its resources and competitive capabilities, the caliber of its strategy, and its opportunities for gaining sustainable competitive advantage.

Global Perspective. To develop your appreciation for global opportunities and threats. You should be able to identify global opportunities and determine key strategies to successfully pursue these opportunities. You should be able to identify global threats and determine key strategies to insulate a company from these threats. You should understand the challenges of a global market.

Strategic Analysis. To build your skills in conducting strategic analyses in a variety of industries and competitive situations, using what-if analysis to evaluate action alternatives.

Strategy Formulation. To give you hands-on experience in crafting business strategy, reasoning carefully about strategic options, and applying strategic analysis to make sound strategic decisions.

Strategy Implementation. To acquaint you with the managerial tasks associated with implementing and executing company strategies, drill you in the range of actions managers can take to promote competent strategy execution, and give you some confidence in being able to function effectively as part of a company’s strategy-implementing team.

Holistic Perspective. To integrate the knowledge gained in earlier core courses in the business school curriculum, show you how the various pieces of the business puzzle fit together, and demonstrate why the different parts of a business need to be managed in strategic harmony for the organization to operate in winning fashion. Additionally, you will complete an assessment instrument to measure how effectively your course work has provided a comprehensive foundation of business knowledge.

Business Judgment. To develop your powers of managerial judgment, help you learn how to assess business risk, and improve your ability to make sound decisions and achieve effective outcomes.

Business Communication. To exercise and improve your business communication skills. You will demonstrate your oral communication skills in both informal group settings and in formal presentations. You will demonstrate your writing skills in multiple business formats (including Strategic Plans, assessment documents, and recommendation documents). You will complete the transition from an “academic” style of communication to a “business” style of communication.

Time Management. To develop and improve time management skills. Maintaining a priority-focused life and managing time wisely are essential to success. This course is demanding. All of the course requirements are identified at the beginning of the course. Students who work ahead and manage their time wisely will find the workload reasonable. Students who procrastinate will find the workload unbearable. Includes all activities, measured by completion of all activities on time at acceptable levels of quality.

Team Skills. To develop skills for getting the maximum benefit out of group projects and for overcoming challenges that lead to group dysfunction. Most great accomplishments are achieved by groups. Teams (work groups, task forces, etc.) have become ubiquitous in the business community. Successful managers must be able to manage teams. The rigor and workload of this course require a well functioning team.

SALT Course Requirements

To satisfy the requirements of a SALT course (service-learning). Students will further develop skills in policy and strategy by applying concepts within an operating non-profit organization.

The Christian Foundation. To raise your awareness of the importance of exemplary ethical principles, sound personal and company values, and socially responsible management practices. Applying Christian principles, to determine what is right, ethical, and good for company leaders to do. To increase your desire and ability to “do good” in all situations.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~ Colossians 3:17

Achievements of objectives are assessed primarily through the mechanism of scoring learning activities. Scores will be determined based on the personal observations of the instructor (as with class discussions, team meetings, and presentations), evaluation by the instructor of submitted work (as with papers, annotated bibliographies, strategic plans, and case analyses), input from third-parties (as with peer reviews and investor panels), and performance on standardized tests (as with the ETS MFAT and BSG quizzes). Level of achievement will be determined by comparing points earned to points available for each assignment (and where appropriate for each component within the assignment). The minimum level of achievement considered “passing” is 70% (i.e., 70% of the available points are earned). The exceptions to the 70% rule are the standardized tests (ETS MFAT and the BSG quizzes). Achieving a score at the 50th percentile is considered “passing” for the standardized tests.

Course Structure

Classes will be discussion oriented. The instructor will use approximately 25% of the class time for lectures, guest speakers, and activities. The majority of class time, approximately 75%, will involve discussions and presentations about cases, strategic audits, and the Business Strategy Game.

A significant amount of time will need to be devoted to out-of-class team meetings. Approximately 8 hours of team meeting time (plus 8 hours of independent work) will be required prior to the first BSG decision. After that, approximately 2 – 4 hours per week of team meeting time will be required to complete BSG decisions and other team assignments. It is strongly suggested that you agree upon a fixed meeting time and place for each week (this should be one of the first things you do as a team).

Students typically spend 140 – 160 hours outside of class to successfully complete this course (an average of 10 – 12 hours per week outside of class). This time will include both independent and team work. You are encouraged to plan well, use your time wisely, leverage the strengths of your team, and meet/exceed your team’s expectations. Please remember: DON’T PROCRASTINATE.

This course is divided into three distinct phases, Foundation, Practice, and Application:

Foundation (first 5 weeks)

  • ETS Major Field Achievement Test
  • Discuss concepts from the textbook
  • Discuss non-profits (in preparation for strategic audit project)
  • Business Concepts Paper
  • Discipline-specific strategy articles and summaries
  • Cases
  • Perfect Paper Assignment (Written Case Section)

Practice (next 5 weeks)

  • During this phase, teams will often meet independently with instructor instead of meeting as a class. Carefully review the Course Schedule provided in this syllabus for days when team meetings replace class meetings.
  • BSG
  • BSG Strategic Plan and Roadshow presentation
  • BSG Case Analysis Paper
  • Shareholder’s Meeting presentation

Application (final 5 weeks)

  • During this phase, teams will often meet independently with instructor instead of meeting as a class. Carefully review the Course Schedule provided in this syllabus for days when team meetings replace class meetings.
  • Strategic Audit (research, paper, and presentation)

Significant efforts from faculty and students have gone into designing this course; however, there is no perfect design that works for all classes. This syllabus reflects our best collective thoughts of what is appropriate for the course. As we progress through the term, it may become apparent that minor scheduling changes or major structural changes are needed to better meet our objectives. If you have suggestions for changes, please share them. As changes are needed, please be receptive and supportive. Flexibility is important.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

1. Engaged Attendance. Most great successes are the result of collaborative efforts, synergistic work, candid discussions, shared information, challenged ideas, and mutual learning. Success in this course requires a collaborative effort. A significant part of that collaborative effort will take place in class.

a. You are expected to attend each class (and each team session with the instructor), but you are not required to do so. Emergencies and competing priorities may cause you to miss a class. While prior notification of an anticipated absence is appreciated, it is not required, nor are you required to provide an explanation of your absence. When you do miss a class (or a team session with the instructor), you are required to complete a makeup assignment (request the makeup assignment from the instructor). The makeup assignment is due within one week of your absence. Makeup assignments are graded on the basis of “pass/fail.” The assignment passes if it sufficiently demonstrates a mastery of the concepts discussed. Failure to submit a passing makeup assignment within one week of your absence will result in 20 points being deducted from your attendance score. You begin the course with 100 points for attendance. Please note that excessive absences (more than 5) will drive your attendance score below zero.

b. You are expected to be prepared when you come to class so that you can fully engage in discussions. Read the chapter from the textbook prior to the class in which it will be discussed. Complete your case analysis prior to the class in which it is discussed. Complete all assignments on time. Be prepared!
c. You are expected to participate. Each person brings valuable experiences and knowledge to the classroom. Optimal learning will be achieved only when all willingly share their experiences and knowledge. You begin the course with 100 points for participation. Points will be deducted if you attend a class (or team session with the instructor) and you are either unable or unwilling to make a meaningful contribution.

2. Teamwork. A significant portion of this course involves working as a contributing member of a team. The quality and sufficiency of your individual contributions to the team’s success will be graded through self and peer assessments. Each group assignment will include a “Contribution Assessment Form” to be completed and submitted by the project manager for that assignment. The BSG will include on-line modules for self and peer assessments.

3. Writing. This course includes several individual and group writing assignments. It is expected that you already know how to write well (if you need help, don’t hesitate to work with the Writing Center). The focus in this course will be to write in a style and format appropriate for business. Be sure that you understand the writing requirements detailed in this syllabus.

4. Financial Analysis. Whether you are engaged with a for-profit or a not-for-profit organization, understanding the financial health of the organization is essential. Be sure that you understand the financial analysis requirements detailed in this syllabus.

PHASE I, FOUNDATION REQUIREMENTS

5. ETS Major Field Achievement Test in Business. This assignment is worth 200 points. You are to sit for the ETS Major Field Achievement Test in Business. The test will be offered two times during the semester; you should arrange to take the test at one of these two sessions. This test provides an opportunity to compare your mastery of fundamental business concepts to other graduating business students throughout the country. You are encouraged to do your best. To help prepare for this test (and prepare for this course), you should review the material in the “Business Concepts Overview” folder in BlackBoard. If you are unable to sit for the test during the scheduled times, please let the instructor know as soon as possible.

6. Business Concepts Paper. This assignment is worth 100 points. This is a team project. As a team, you are to write a paper presenting and defending your collective positions on two foundational business concepts: the purpose of a corporation and the role of strategic planning.

7. Strategy Articles Annotated Bibliographies. This assignment is worth 100 points. This is an individual assignment. You are to select two articles from academic, peer-reviewed journals in your discipline. The articles should relate your discipline (accounting, economics, finance, HR management, management, or marketing) to some aspect of strategic planning. (A list of recommended academic, peer-reviewed journals is included in this syllabus.) For each article you will write an annotated bibliography.

8. Perfect Paper Assignment. This assignment is worth 100 points. This is an individual project. Each student will read the assigned case and submit the environmental scan section of a comprehensive written case.

PHASE II, PRACTICE REQUIREMENTS

9. The Business Strategy Game. The BSG is worth a total of 2000 points. Your team will be responsible for managing an athletic footwear company in competition against the companies of other students in the Business Strategy Game. You and your co-managers will address a number of strategic and operating issues facing your company. You will earn points for your work in the Business Strategy Game in the following ways:

a. Overall company score (500 points). Your team will be in competition with all other teams in this section. Your overall company score will be determined by your company’s EPS, ROE, Stock Price, Credit Rating, and Image Rating (all equally weighted). Your score will consider your performance as compared to both investor expectations and the performance of the best company in the industry. The score you earn in the course will be based on the better of your performance for the entire game (all 8 years) or just the last 2 years.

b. BSG Quizzes (200 points). You will take two quizzes, each worth 100 points. This is an individual effort. Quizzes will be taken through BSG-Online.

c. BSG Strategic Plan (500 points). Your team will produce a 5-year strategic plan. The strategic plan will present your company’s mission, vision, objectives, and strategies for years 14 through 18 of the Business Strategy Game. The strategic plan assignment has three components:

i. Written strategic plan (worth 300 points)
ii. Strategic plan objectives entered through BSG-Online (worth 100 points). You will earn points based on the strength of your objectives and how well your company achieves the objectives that it established.
iii. Roadshow Presentation (100 points plus up to $50 million cash award). Your team will make a Roadshow presentation to raise equity capital for your company. Each team member should participate in the preparation and delivery of your presentation.

d. BSG Case Analysis of your company (500 points). Each team member will complete a written case analysis of his or her company (this is an individual assignment; you may not work with your team members on this assignment).

e. Shareholders Meeting Presentation (100 points). Your team will present an assessment of past performance and outlook for the future at the annual shareholders meeting. Your grade will be determined by the amount of new investment you earn through this presentation.

f. Self-evaluation (100 points). You will evaluate your contributions to the management team as related to the operation and performance of your company. This evaluation will be made through BSG-Online mid-way through the game as well as at the end of the game. The end-of-game evaluation will earn points.

g. Peer-evaluation (100 points). Each of your co-managers will evaluate your contributions to the management team as related to the operation and performance of your company. These evaluations will be made through BSG-Online mid-way through the game as well as at the end of the game. The end-of-game evaluation will earn points.

PHASE III, APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

10. Strategic Audit. This assignment is worth a total of 800 points. This is a team project. You will select a non-profit organization and perform a strategic audit (see Appendix 11.C of the textbook, beginning on page 179). Your earned points will be based in part upon feedback from an executive at the organization you select. You will need to complete a Strategic Audit Agreement form before you can begin this project. At the end of the project, your executive contact at the organization must complete an Executive Input form. You will find both of these forms in the syllabus. The individual components of this project include:

a. Strategic Audit paper (500 points).
b. Strategic Audit presentation (200 points).
c. Reflection paper (100 points). This is the only component of the project that is an individual assignment.

Phase III of the course focuses on applying the concepts you learned in Phase I and mastered in Phase II. You will apply these concepts by performing a strategic audit of a non-profit organization. This project meets the requirements of SALT Tier II.

This section provides detailed descriptions of the requirements for each assignment in Phase III of the course. Following the description of each assignment’s requirements is the assessment document for that assignment. The assessment document is the rubric the instructor will use to score your work. If you have questions about the requirements or about how your work will be scored, please seek clarification from the instructor well in advance of the due date.

Strategic Audit

A strategic audit is a comprehensive analysis of an organization usually performed during the strategic planning process or during due diligence prior to an acquisition. Appendix 11.c. of the textbook (beginning on page 179) provides a good overview of the scope of a strategic audit.

Each team will select a non-profit organization. You should select an organization that is of interest to your team members.

Upon selecting your organization, you will identify and contact an executive (senior manager) within the organization with whom you will primarily work. A completed Strategic Audit Agreement form will serve as the official launch of the project.

The project has three deliverables:

1. Strategic Audit Paper (team)
2. Strategic Audit Presentation (team)
3. Strategic Audit Reflection Paper (individual)

Strategic Audit Paper and Presentation

Requirements

1. Perform the strategic audit as outlined in Appendix 11.C of the textbook (beginning on page 179).

2. Produce a report of your findings and recommendations. The report should have a length of 12-15 pages. Follow the outline below. The finished report will be given to your key contact at the organization and to the instructor. Your key contact will provide feedback to the instructor concerning the quality of your report (Strategic Audit Executive Input form).

3. Make a 20-minute presentation of your findings and recommendations to the class. Your key contact should be invited to the presentation (however, there is not a requirement that he or she attend).

4. A Contribution Assessment form must be submitted by the project manager

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