Course code BUS306

BUS306 Strategies for Growth and Competitiveness

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2018 - 2019 .

Course responsible: Glenn Roger Kristiansen
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN, NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
The course starts in August and continues in the autumn semester.
Course frequency: Annually.
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Last time: 2019V
Preferential right:
M-ØA and M-EI.
Course contents:

The course has three main themes: (1) strategic choices underlying competitive advantage and growth; (2) strategy analysis and formulation together with profitability analysis; (3) strategy processes in practice.

The subject is about how companies can create successful strategies in today`s modern and digital society, while being sustainable. Strategy is about the long-term direction of the organization, and how we will reach the long-term goals. We find strategies at all levels in the organization, from cognition and single activities to M&As. Companies are now faced with significant and modern challenges; such as environmental issues (e.g., how to ensure an environmental sustainable value chain), digital transformations (e.g., online sales), collecting and analyzing an increasing amount of data, professionalization of industries and functions (e.g., the HR-function), and the transformation of industries (e.g., the electrification of the automobile industry). In this course we will address various significant strategic challenges from different perspectives, and discuss how we can manage these.

Learning outcome:

This course will make students better understand and contribute to strategy development from the point of view of their specialization. The students will also get a better understanding of why some companies succeed and other fail, and how companies may create profitable growth.


After the completion of this course, the candidates have fundamental knowledge of topics, issues and methods in the subject, for instance:

  • understand the fundamental theoretical perspectives in explaining competitive advantage for dynamic environments, growth strategies (strategic alliances, M&As, customer-supplier relations), and challenges and tradeoffs with strategy work
  • understand profitability analyses and how to interpret these in relation to strategic challenges
  • understand the complexity i strategic problem solving, decision making, and tools for strategy work in practice
  • explain important strategic challenges in today's society
  • understand different interpretations of profitability
  • understand how organizations should, and should not, grow
  • understand how profitability can be created (the revenue and cost side, the their relations)
  • understand the risk that management and executives may manipulate the financial statements within the IFRS
  • explain strategic growth opportunities for different parts of industry and product cycles, and this for various industries
  • explain how growth, profitability, capital expenditures, and competitive strategies are related
  • understand the complexity in strategy processes
  • understand the danger of over-analyzing, and how the management consultant industry relates to this issue
  • be familiar with new topics and areas within the strategy literature as well as in practice
  • understand the gap between the concept of strategy in academia compared to practice
  • understand the functions of KPIs (key performance indicators)


After completion of this subject, the candidate will be able to work independently with topics and issues that are essential for this subject, for instance:

  • choose and apply suitable theoretical perspectives for decisions related to growth- and competitive strategies, as well for strategy work in practice
  • critically evaluate what a good financial measure is and means
  • take suitable strategic choices, formulate strategies, and avoid common pitfalls in strategic decision making
  • manage uncertainty and tradeoffs in strategic decision making
  • communicate the company's srategy for internal and external stakeholders
  • illustrate how value drivers relate to each other
  • use the financial statements to calculate ROIC, ROA, ROE, and other related profitability measures
  • use financial statements to identify areas for improvement and value drivers
  • visualize the data material to present for management and executives
  • systematize information to discuss strategic challenges
  • systematize information, and identify additional information needed, to design strategies
  • create, design, and improve strategies not only in a descriptive way, but also as actionable

General competence:

After completion of this subject, the candidate will be able to apply and convey ones knowledge and skills for a trainee- or similar position related to course, for instance:

  • subvert an issue in the subject, analyze it, and identify the information necessary to illuminate or clarify the issue at hand
  • complete necessary and critical analyses and estimations of issues related to the subject that are different or new compared to the material covered in the course
  • be able to convey analyses and arguments to those that do not have an in-depth knowledge of corporate finance and valuation, but whom do at least have a bachelor degree in business economics
  • handle the daily use of expressions and terminology from the subject, both in Norwegian and English
  • potentially contribute to the development of essential aspects of strategic management
  • have a fundamental understanding and insight of ethical issues related to the application of the subject in practice
Learning activities:
Learning methods that may be used: lectures; flipped classroom; strategy simulations; and cases.
Teaching support:
Papers, selected chapters and other parts of the curriculum will be announced on Canvas before the start of the course. Lecture notes will be part of the curriculum. 
This is a course an MSc course. It is required that students have prior knowledge equivalent to a bachelor degree in business administration. Prior subjects in strategy, organizational theory, management accounting, and finance are important. This knowledge is important to read the curriculum and solve exercises properly. It is assumed that students know how to read scientific papers, cases, and other material in English.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
The students will be organized in groups at the beginning of the course. Participation in these groups are compulsory to pass the course. Students must not join the course later than the second lecture in order for the groups to be configured. Information about the groups will be given at the start of the course. The compulsory requirements (hand-ins) are valid only for one semester. If the students want to retake the course, the compulsory requirements also need to be retaken. Information about how to complete the course will be given at the start of the course.
Delivery of the mid-term termpaper by your group accounts for 30% of the overall grade. An individual 3.5 hours exam at the end of the course accounts for 70% of the overall grade. The students must pass both the termpaper and the exam in order to pass the course. There will not be any retake exam in the course. Those that wish to take the course again must do so at the next time the course is arranged, including the term paper and the final exam.
Nominal workload:
300 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Reduction of credits:

2.5 ECTS with BUS313.

5 ECTS with BUS305.

Type of course:
Announced at the start of the course.
An external evaluates the exam.  
Allowed examination aids: B2 Calculator handed out, other aids as specified
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått