BBUS 544
Strategic Management in High Technology Firms

MBA ProgramUniversity of Washington Bothell • Spring 2007

Professor Kevin Laverty
laverty (at) • +1 425 352-5338 • Office: UWB-2, Room 325; hours by appointment

Course page:
ERes (library reserve readings)Archive of emails to class

Updated May 17, 2007: case questions for Week 9

Syllabus and schedule: htm|pdf

Pdfs of the sections that have been updated: portfolio|schedule

Required reading
• Text: Barney & Hesterly (2006) Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage: Conceptsdetails below
• ERes articles:
• Cases: available at UWB Bookstore
• Supplemental notes TBA

Preparation for this course
• This is the program's capstone course. We will build upon the seminal ideas of all the other courses.

• An exercise: eliminate these three terms from your vocabulary for the week immediately before the course begins:

core competence
first mover advantage
cut out the middleman

(I will explain when we meet.)
Assignments/Preparation for the first week
• Monday, March 26: No assignment due for this class; begin work on the assignments for Weds Mar 28

• Wednesday March 28

1. Individual written assignment: "What explains why some firms are more successful than others?" You should draw on your prior coursework in the program and cite what course(s) each of your ideas comes from. (If you can cite a specific book or article in addition to the course, that is great, but not necessary.) [Submit hard copy at beginning of class]

2. Reading on ERes: Christensen, CM & Raynor, ME (2003) "Why hard-nosed executives should care about management theory." Harvard Business Review.

3. Reading on plagiarism: Pay particular attention to these examples of plagiarism: B. The Mosaic, C. Paraphrase, and D. Insufficient acknowledgement.

4. Feedback on your prior coursework in the MBA program. Briefly answer the following questions. [Submit hard copy at beginning of class]

a. Are there any topics that you wish you had studied but have not?

b. Are there any topics that you feel you have "studied too much"? (e.g., material repeated in multiple classes)

c. What has been the most rigorous and challenging material that you have you studied? What has been the least rigorous and challenging? How do you define "rigorous and challenging"?

Forming groups
Please self-select groups for a research project that will be described in the syllabus. The ideal size for the groups will be 3-4. A group of 5 may be acceptable but I would have to consider your rationale. (A group of 6 will not be acceptable.) I encourage you to work with people with whom you have not worked before.

Individual written assignments: portfolio
This will consist of [a] weekly short (1 page) papers in which you reflect upon the readings and discussion and how these fit into the overall subject of the class and [b] a mid-term overview, and [c] a concluding/final overview. Details will be provided in the syllabus. The weekly papers wil be due on Mondays beginning the second week (April 2). [Submit hard copy at beginning of class]

Course information

• Text (will available at UWB Bookstore)

Jay Barney and William Hesterly (2006), Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage: Concepts (This is the paperback version)
ISBN: 0-13-154716-X,1144,013154716X,00.html

Note: There is also a version of this book with cases. We will not use the cases but the text is identical, so it is fine if you buy the following instead of the "concepts" version: Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases ISBN: 0-13-154274-5

• Cases from Harvard Business School Publishing (case packet will be available at UWB Bookstore)

• ERes:

• Archive of emails to students enrolled in BBUS 544, Spring 2007: click here