In the course it is analysed how the performance of a business is determined by its strategy and the environment in which it operates. Special attention is drawn to strategy analysis and formulation. Two levels are distinguished, with a focus on the latter: concern and competitive strategy. Concern strategy determines in which industries the business should invest and competitive strategy tells how a business can position itself in a segment and how it can reach and maintain a competitive advantage. The course consists of three main parts, covering the respective chapters in the handbook: boundaries of the firm (horizontal and vertical boundaries, and differentiation), dynamics of competition (pricing dynamics, cooperative pricing, competing on quality, industry dynamics) and competitiveness (creating and sustaining competitive advantage at the firm or cluster level).
During the course economic instruments and methods (including competitive models, decision trees, backward induction, etc.) are critically discussed and applied for the analysis of the competitive situation or strategy of a business and how firms should react upon this. A lot of examples are given during the lectures and cases are made in groups and discussed together.
The link between strategy and specific business or managerial environments (such as uncertainty and bounded rationality) is particularly addressed in this course. All major theoretical concepts are developed which are important for strategy building in a realistic and contemporary business setting.