STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY (THEORY) | Università degli studi di Bergamo - Didattica e Rubrica


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Ingegneria gestionale

No prerequisites are mandatory for the course of Strategic Management in the Digital Economy (37198-E), consisting of two modules: Theory (37198-E1) and Practice (37198-E2).
Some knowledge about the issues of Economics of Technological Change could facilitate the learning of the main topics. Deep synergies are pursued with the course of Startup and Digital Transformation (37205-E).

Educational goals

At the end of the Theory module (37198-E1) students will be aware of the centrality of strategic management processes in the management of a business. The module will focus on external and internal analysis of businesses, discussing models and frameworks useful to define medium- and long-term goals, to assess external environment, identify and evaluate key resources and capabilities to build a competitive advantage, as well as engaging with digital strategies.

During the Practice module (37198-E2), students will have the opportunity to apply models and frameworks in group projects, will be able to analyze and to understand an industry and the companies within it from a strategic point of view.
The modules contribute to the educational goals of the course of study regarding the economic-management area, mainly the understanding of entrepreneurship, innovation and business strategy and the ability to solve complex organizational and management problems in the digital economy.

Course content

The success of a business over time is described by its strategy. The future stands on the ability to find the direction to recreate the conditions for growth, even under great uncertainty and a very fast global changing environment. Uncertainty and complexity are the main issues of the current global scenarios to be exploited through increasing strategic management capabilities.
Strategic change and complexity management are the main themes of the new millennium both for country economics and for businesses.

The course consists of two modules, Theory (37198-E1) and Practice (37198-E2), and introduces the concept of strategic management, considers the direction and objectives of an organization, the sectors and strategic groups, the impact of new digital technologies, the development of competences aimed at innovating the business model. The main part of the course concerns the strategic evolution effect of the digital transformation, a pervasive radical innovation that changes the traditional strategic plans in a short time and generates great opportunities if the rapid paradigm changes are captured and understood.

The Theory module (37198-E1) deals with the following topics:

- Understanding strategy in the digital economy: Definitions and key concepts. Strategy foundations.
- Analyzing business environment: PESTEL-analysis. Industry analysis (5 competitive forces and beyond). Competitive group analysis and scenario analysis.
- Strategic positioning.
- Internal analysis: Sources of competitive advantage, internal strategic change, strategic options.
- Business model innovation
- Digital strategies
- Corporate social responsibility, sustainability and business ethics.
- M&A simulation game (with guest professor)

The Practice module (37198-E2) includes case studies, meetings with managers and entrepreneurs, and the development of a group project work, aimed at deepening the methodologies learned during the Theory module (37198-E1).

Teaching methods

The course of Strategic Management (37198-E) consists of two modules, Theory (37198-E1) and Practice (37198-E2), one module for each term.

- The Theory module (37198-E1) refers to frontal lectures on the theoretical contents of the course, constantly engaging students to discuss the topics taught, apply concepts and models to real examples, and formulate proposals for further studies or debates.

- The Practice module (37198-E2) is lab-oriented, with analyses and discussions about current topics and cases. They are related to actual strategic decisions (e.g., merging and acquisition operations), strategic challenges faced by a company or industry (e.g., a change in market demand or technology) or global trends (e.g., a competition shift) with long-term impacts on individual sectors or geographical areas. Within the Practice module, meetings and conferences with entrepreneurs and managers are organized within the module on a regular basis to deepen the strategic management topics.

Through the e-learning platform students can download the teaching material discussed in class. Complementary material is also available (articles from scientific journals and economic-financial magazines, etc.).

Social networking tools facilitate the discussions and the exchange of ideas on the cases under investigation.

Assessment and Evaluation

The assessment of the course Strategic Management (37198-E) covers both Theory (37198-E1) module and Practice (37198-E2) module and requires to demonstrate the mastery of the topics and tools covered during the course.

Theory Module (37198-E1)
The assessment aims to evaluate the theories, models, methods of corporate and business strategy, and refers to the knowledge of the theoretical topics covered during the course, the main reference books and the resources made available through the e-learning platform (materials, cases and discussions).
The exam consists of a written test with open-ended questions, and a short case to be solved, which lasts 90 minutes.

Practice Module (37198-E2)
The assessment requires the preparation and presentation of a group project work assigned during the course. Students are required to apply tools and knowledge of strategy covered in the course to the real economic environment. Innovative ways of presentation, original ideas, clarity, focus on the topic are encouraged. The project work analyzes an industry, a set of companies, a strategic initiative, a strategic opportunity faced by a company or industry or a global trend. The project work consists of a written report and a final presentation, which lasts about 30 minutes. Originality, internal coherence, methodological rigor, quality and multiplicity of sources, accuracy and clarity are evaluated.

This yields for both attending and non-attending students (who are going to develop an individual project work).
The finale mark of the integrated Strategic Management course (37198-E) is the weighted average of the marks of the two modules: Theory module (37198-E1) weights 50% and Practice module (37198-E2) weights 50%.

Further information

Erasmus program students may decide to replace one of the two modules with a corresponding course abroad.

Main reference books:
- Contemporary Strategy Analysis, Robert M. Grant, John Wiley & Sons Inc, ISBN 978-1119120834
- Exploring Strategy: Text & Cases, Gerry Johnson, Richard Whittington, Kevan Scholes, Duncan Angwin, & Patrick Regnér, Pearson Education, ISBN 978-1292145129

Other optional books:
- Business Model Innovation Strategy: Transformational Concepts and Tools for Entrepreneurial Leaders, Raphael Amit & Christoph Zott, Wiley, ISBN 978-1119689683
- Entrepreneurial Strategy, Lucio Cassia, Michael Fattore, & Stefano Paleari, Edward Elgar Pub, ISBN 978-1845421977