This module will provide students with the tools to recognize and address strategic challenges facing high technology firms. We will discuss both classic and emerging strategy theories and illustrate their use within firms that compete in technology-intensive industries, with a special focus on IT and internet-based firms. Case studies will range from relatively stable markets to rapidly-changing markets to nascent markets that are still developing. Questions we will address include: What are effective strategies for operating in industries with network effects? How is technology used to develop technological ecosystems, including multi-sided markets? How do firms develop and execute business models that create sustainable competitive advantage? What are the unique challenges facing firms – particularly startups – in nascent industries?
The module will be particularly useful for students who plan to work directly in tech-based firms or students who would like to specialize in technology industries as consultants or finance professionals. Each class session will be split between case discussions and an extended business simulation in which student teams compete against each other in managing R&D, production, and marketing at simulated technology firms.
Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to:
- understand the economic, technological, and social characteristics of technology industries
- identify and analyze key strategic concerns in technology industries, such as R&D management, network effects, and business model development
- understand the function of multi-sided platforms and how technology facilitates such business models
- understand how entrepreneurs and institutional actors guide the creation of nascent industries
- apply the concepts learned in class to analyze real world business problems and create actionable recommendations for how to address them
- Industry analysis
- Internal resource portfolios
- Product development and positioning
- Two-sided markets and network effects
- Business ecosystems
- Technology standards
- Growth and adaptation
- Business models
- Entrepreneurship and market creation
Class participation 20%
Individual coursework 40% (quizzes + individual case analysis)
Group coursework 40% (simulation performance and write-ups)
Current students should refer to Moodle for specific details of the current year’s assessment.
Students will be required to read one case study plus 1-2 articles per week.