M & IS 44285 SECTION 031






Course Syllabus




My office is on 4th floor of the Business Building in the new wing of the building, BSA A421, phone 330 672-1150. E-mail may be sent to me at jweinrot@bsa3.kent.edu. Our class meets in BSA 205 four days a week -- Monday thru Thursday, from 12:00 to 1:55 p.m. My office hours are Monday and Wednesday 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and other times by appointment only. The required text for the course is Thompson and Strickland, Strategic Management, Twelfth Edition, available at the university bookstore and DuBois. You are not required to purchase the on-line extras that the publisher advertises.



M & IS 44285 is the required "capstone" course for all students graduating with a BBA from the College of Business Administration at Kent State University. As such it is intended to provide opportunities for students close to graduation to integrate the knowledge of their four years in our program into an overview of how to manage an organization so that the organization maximizes its performance in a competitive marketplace.



1.     Registration. You must be officially registered and paid up for tuition on the registrar's records to receive a grade for any course on your transcript. Students who are not duly registered in any course by the registrar's deadline will be automatically deregistered and will not receive an official grade until the problem is corrected. For any questions, see the Undergraduate Programs Office in BSA 107. July 15 is last day to avoid late penalties for tuition payment.

2.     Last day to withdraw from an individual course in Summer III 2003 without penalty is August 2.

3.     Disabilities. Any student with a disability as recognized by the university office of Student Disability Services is entitled to have special needs provided for. Please notify me immediately if this applies.

4.     Grade grievance. If you believe that you have been graded unfairly in any course, there is an official university policy with specific procedures to be followed. The first step is always to talk with your instructor about the problem. Otherwise the various university officials will send you back to follow this first step. Note that the office of the University Ombudsman, Greg Jarvie, provides advice for you in these matters.

5.     Cheating. Cheating includes copying another student's work as your own or allowing someone else to do this, and turning in material that you have copied from a source other than your own words without acknowledging this by quotation marks and a citation of the source. Penalties provided by university policy for this infraction can be a failing grade for the assignment, a failing grade for the course, and disciplinary action.

6.     Missed class and/or assignments. You are expected to attend all sessions of this class. If you miss a quiz, you will not be allowed to make up that quiz unless you have an appropriate excuse, including the unfortunate events of illness documented by a doctor's written statement, death in the immediate family, or other events as determined by the instructor. Note that you are allowed to drop one of your seven quiz grades so this amounts to one allowed unexcused quiz missed. In keeping with the length of a five-week course, team written assignments will have the grade dropped by ten points for each day late, including weekends.



Student teams will be formed on our first day of class, based on the students' academic majors or minors -- Accounting, Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Operations Management. To have teams of proper size we will merge some of these categories. Work on the material of the course will be done in teams throughout the five weeks, but all grades received will be for individual work.



The following grading scale will be used:

90 and above = A

80 and above = B

70 and above = C

60 and above = D

below 60 = F

Rounding will be up for decimal values at or above 0.5 and down from decimal values below 0.5. If the class average for any quiz is below 75, everyone's grade will receive extra points to bring the class average to 75. No curve adjustments will be made for the distribution of final grades.

Your grade consists of 100 points, as follows:

  • Seven quizzes @ 8 points -- lowest grade or missed grade dropped …………….48 points
  • Two team progress reports @ 10 points …………………………………………..20 points
  • Two team presentations of a case @ 16 points ……………………………………32 points
  • Your grade for your team progress reports and your team presentations is for what is turned in under your name or what you present personally.



Your textbook is subtitled Concepts and Cases. Each of the chapters in the book presents concepts -- leading ideas, principles, procedures -- for the management of an organization. The second half of the textbook presents rich, detailed accounts of various cases involving real world organizations. In this class we will study some of this generous supply of learning material in seven two-day units. Each unit will involve a textbook chapter (concepts) and a textbook case. From the start the chapter material will provide you with insights and ideas for dealing with the related case, and this will increase for you as we progress through more material.

The following structure will apply to each of our two-day units.

  • Day 1
    • Powerpoint review of the chapter
    • Each team will ask questions and provide information and comments on the concepts of the chapter from the perspective of their management function (accounting, etc.). In our small summer class, every member of the class will contribute individually to this discussion.
  • Day 2
    • Each team will be asked one of the study questions, perhaps specifically from the perspective of their management function. Study questions for each case we study will be provided in the "UPDATED MATERIALS" section of this syllabus.
    • Five minute break
    • Quiz that covers the concepts of the Day 1 chapter and FACTS from the Day 2 case -- a test of how carefully you have read the material. Questions on the quizzes may require you to focus on your team's management perspective. ALL QUIZ QUESTIONS WILL BE ESSAY, AND SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND ESPECIALLY COMPLETENESS OF SENTENCES AND CONNECTIONS BETWEEN IDEAS WILL COUNT.
    • Brief review of the quiz before class concludes for the day.



During the last week of class, each team will do two in-person presentations, analyzing a case from the textbook and giving their recommendations for a competitive strategy. Two specific cases will be picked by the class, from any of the cases in the textbook not already assigned for study. Each team will give a presentation on each of these two cases. The analysis to be followed will use as many of the concepts from the chapters we have read and as many techniques we practiced for the cases reviewed in class as fit into a coherent and convincing presentation. Presentations will be done using powerpoint slides. Teams are responsible for their own powerpoint work, but may ask the instructor for help if needed. Each member of the team is responsible for her or his own part of the powerpoint presentation and the analysis that goes into that part of the presentation. Each team member will give the talk related to his or her part of the presentation. Presentations will be graded based on:

o        Effective examination of the strategic problem at issue from the perspective of the team's management function,

o        accuracy of the material,

o        use of relevant concepts and principles,

o        clarity,

o        creativity,

o        the clear identification and examination of a central strategic question,

o        presentation and cost-benefit evaluation of alternative solutions and

o        demonstration of the preferred solution/strategy.



At the assigned dates each team will turn in Progress Report # 1 and Progress Report # 2. These are to be turned in on disk as Word files. Both reports will have as their heading the team's management function and the case being analyzed. Progress Report #1 is on the first case to be presented and Progress Report # 2 is on the second case to be presented. Each individual team member's part of the report is to be identified under her/his name. In your progress report you give an extensive outline of what your powerpoint presentation is going to be --

o        the strategic focus your team is taking on this case from the perspective of your team's management function,

o        the important facts,

o        the major issues,

o        a number of concepts applied (vision, mission, objectives, competitive conditions, short and long range strategies, industry structure, strengths and weaknesses, niche, e-considerations, etc., etc., etc.),

o        the alternative strategic solutions you are considering, and

o        anything else you regard as important.




Day 1

Day 2


Monday, July 14

Introduction -- identification of teams



Tuesday, July 15

Chapter One -- the Strategic Management Process

Wednesday, July 16

Case # 4 -- Giuseppe's Original Sausage Company



Thursday, July 17

Chapter Two -- Establishing Company Direction


Monday, July 21

Cases # 2 & 3 -- The Daimler-Chrysler Merger



Tuesday, July 22

Chapter Three -- Industry and Competitive Analysis


Wednesday, July 23

Case # 5 --The Chinese Fireworks Industry



Thursday, July 24

Chapter Four -- Evaluating Company Resources & Competitive Capabilities


Monday, July 28

Case # 1 --Steve Case, America Online and Time Warner

Update on AOL/Time Warner




Tuesday, July 29

Chapter Five --Strategy and Competitive Advantage

Wednesday, July 30

Case # 13 --Callaway Golf Company



Thursday, July 31

Chapter Seven -- New Business Models & Strategies for the Internet Economy

Monday, August 4

Case # 8 -- Peapod, Inc. & the Online Grocery Business




Tuesday, August 5

Chapter Eleven -- Building Resource Strengths & Organizational Capabilities

Wednesday, August 6

Case # 11 -- eBay: King of the Online Auction Industry



Thursday, August 7

Chapter Thirteen -- Corporate Culture and Leadership






FOR Monday, JULY 14 -- some questions on Chapter One:

1.     Explain differences between Vision, Mission, and Objectives. Apply these to your team's management function.

2.     What is it have a strategy versus not to have a strategy? Can any organization really not have a strategy? What is the focus of an organization's strategy for your team's management function?

3.     What are the "three big questions" of strategic management? How do these apply to your team's management function?

4.     How is a business model different from a strategy? How does this apply to your team's management function?

5.     Page 8 -- examples of Strategic Visions and Company Missions -- which is the best? Which is the worst? Why?

6.     Page 11 -- examples of Strategic and Financial Objectives -- what is the difference between the two? Which is the best? Which is the worst? Why?


FOR Tuesday, JULY 15 -- study questions for Case # 4:

1.     What is Giuseppe Sausage Company's strategy?

·        High quality

·        Distinctive taste

·        Broad product line

·        Pricing a few cents above upper end competition

·        Niche player


2.     What is the nature and strength of the competitive forces confronting Giuseppe in the Memphis area speciality sausage industry? Is the Memphis area market attractive from the standpoint of offering Giuseppe attractive profit margins?

·        Rivalry is strong -- 25 to 30 major sausage brands!

·        Leverage of suppliers is weak

·        Power of buyers is strong -- must have distributor support

·        New entrants is moderate -- newbees probably will match any growth in demand

·        Substitute products is strong -- high-fat food -- sausage for dinner has limited appeal

·        Overall -- difficult to make this a highly profitable business -- niche player does not seriously impact the larger companies


3.     What do you see as Giuseppe Sausage Company's competitive strengths and weaknesses?

·        Sales increase since 1994

·        Broad product line

·        Excellent on health inspections

·        Top sellers -- chicken sausage and original sausage

·        No accurate accounting system

·        Entirely dependent on Joe's marketing skills, which he may not have

·        Strong competition

·        Small market share after seven years = 2% of local market!

·        Very dependent on top 3 customers -- casino, american seafood, seesel's

·        Not achieving economies of scale -- look at COGS


4.     What problems do you see at this company? Should Mr. Cotrone be pleased with the progress gthe company is making? Why or why not? Why has it taken the company seven years to get this far?

·        88 different products!

·        COGS jumped in 96 and 97

·        No clear strategy!


5.     Is the company in good financial shape? Why or why not?

·        Top two customers total over 75%of total sales

·        35 products had sales of less than 130 lbs.

·        10% of the products account for 50% of sales -- 70% of products do not generate sales even equal to normal batch size

·        Break-even point was reached in 97 -- future strategies need to exceed this

·        Accounts receivable and inventory are increasing faster than sales

·        Average collection period increased from 24 days in 94 to 43 days in 97


6.     If Mr. Joe Cotrone continues to operate Giuseppe's Original Sausage Company as he h as to date, what financial results can he expect over the next 3 years? Do you think this is acceptable?

·        Look at % change in income statement items--













Gross Profit




·        What is the future implication of these numbers?

·        Even if costs can be controlled and sales increased, in theory, is there the necessary customer base for such expansion?

·        Finance and accounting folks should do some financial ratios for us in future


7.     What recommendations would you make to Mr. Joe Cotrone? If he follows your recommendations, what improvement in financial performance can he expect?

·        GET THEIRS FIRST!!!

·           Computerized financial management

·           Relationship with one or more brokers

·           Mail order and good web site

·           Establish minimum order size

·           Credit card sales only

·           Keep best selling products in inventory and produce speciality only on order (note this totally reverses Joe's image)

·           Get involved in local festivals, etc.

·           CLOSED IN NOV 99




Study questions for chapter two – class on July 17..


1.     Examine the mission statements of Cardinal Health, JDS Uniphase, and Russell Corporation, Mc-Graw-Hill, FDX, Pfizer, Inc., Ritz-Carlton, Apple Computer, Gillette, presented on pages 34-38.   Critique these for (a) incorporation of the focus on how will we make a profit rather than will we make a profit, (b) addressing the necessary 3 questions, appropriate scope (broad or narrow).  Which statements clearly capture or reflect specific innovative competitive strategies, and which ones fail to do so.

2.     Pick the mission statement from the group referenced in question 1 that you find the most promising.  Use your imagination to answer the six questions at the top of page 39 in order to generate Strategic Vision statement for the company.  Make specific use of insights from the management function addressed by your academic major wherever possible.

3.     What is an inflection point and what is its importance.  Explain the history of inflection points for the Intel Corporation.

4.     Examine carefully the discussion on pages 43-44 of strategic versus financial objectives.  Consider then the problem of the pressure on managers for short-term financial performance at the expense of strategic investment – get the quarterly stock prices up and then jump ship to the next promotion elsewhere!   Address this issue from the perspective of your academic major’s functional area of management.

5.     Explain with an example the statement in your text that the Objective-setting process must be top-down, not bottom up.   What light does the perspective of your academic major’s functional area of management shed on this idea?

6.     Study the statement on page 65 concerning the company’s ethical strategy, and give some thought to what is implied by the combination of this published statement and the infamous recent history of this company.   What impact does this issue  have on your academic major’s functional area of management?


 Study questions for Cases 2 & 3 – The DaimlerChrysler Merger – Monday July 21



1.     What is your assessment of DaimlerChrysler’s mission and purpose?  How important is the listing of the corporation’s shared beliefs and values?  Is the new mission something that former Chrysler employees ought to accept and commit to being a part of?  Can former Daimler –Benz employees buy-in to the new mission?

2.     Have DaimlerChrysler co-chairmen Bob Eaton and Jurgen Schrempp established clear goals for the new corporation?  If so, are they adequately linked to the corporation’s mission?  Are they measureable?   Do they specify a deadline for completion?  Are DaimlerChrysler’s objectives lacking in some way?  Explain.

3.     Evaluate DaimlerChrysler management’s approaches and actions to integrate the operations of the two companies.  Will they result in the achievement of DaimlerChrysler’s objectives or do you see them as not going far enough or being inadequate?

4.     How well has DaimlerChrysler management implemented its plans for integration of the two companies?  Have there been implementation challenges?  Is there evidence that management’s approach to strategy execution is working?  Why or why not?

5.     Explain how DaimlerChrysler management has evaluated performance during the

merger and taken corrective actions where necessary?  Have management’s efforts been satisfactory?  Why or why not?

6.     What are your recommendations to make the merger work?  What additional

       issues and initiatives should Daimler Chrysler management consider?

Click on links below:

Study Questions for Chapter 3 

Study Questions for Case 5 

Study Questions for Chapter 4

Study Questions for Case 1

Dell Computer Progress Report

Progress Report 1 Final

Black & Decker Progress Report

Black & Decker Progress Report 2