Strategic Management - Dr. Howard Rasheed University of South Florida


Course Description

GEB 4890 is designed to be a challenging, interesting, and informative Capstone®; course for USF business majors, as well as an exit requirement for USF. The course presents the theory and practice of top level, organization-wide administration, which is known generally as strategic management and business policy. The course will provide students with a pragmatic approach that will guide analysis of industry structure, formulation, and implementation of strategies designed to lead a firm to sustainable competitive advantage. The course integrates business subjects previously studied, bringing together courses in management, marketing, finance, accounting, international business, economics and ethics. This study of strategic management and integration of previous subjects is accomplished through text presentation, case analysis, and a computerized business simulation.

Course Objectives

Specific objectives for GEB 4890 include:

1. Development of a general business view - General business activities take a long term, comprehensive view of the organization in order to relate the organization to its complex environment.
2. Development of the capability to think strategically - at the local, national and international level - about a company, its business position, how it can gain a sustainable competitive advantage, and the perils of not gaining such advantage.
3. Examples of quality leadership in large and small organizations including the importance of ethical principles, personal and company values and social responsibility.
4. Integration of previous course work - The systems view of organizations (the big picture) is emphasized for a total business perspective as each functional area is integrated.
5. Improved application and confidence in communication skills - Oral and written communication skills are required throughout the course.
6. Hands-on experience in reasoning about strategic options, crafting a business strategy, implementing and changing the strategy, in a multinational simulated environment.
7. Application of behavioral skills - In today's organizations, the ability to be an effective team member is critical, and a person can no longer succeed solely as an individual. This course will allow practice (or development) of interpersonal small group skills that are critical to an individual's organizational success.
8. Enhancement of analytical and computer related skills - Significant numerical analysis (number crunching) will be required in the course. The simulation requires extensive use of the microcomputer for analysis and decision-making.

Course Grading Weight

Business Simulation Game (Capstone®; ): 
Simulation Performance 10%
Preliminary Simulation Strategic Plan 10%
Final Simulation Strategic Plan 20%
Oral Presentation of Final Simulation Strategic Plan 10%
Individual Written Case Analyses (4) 20%
Quizzes: (1 Financial Analysis, 4 out of 5 text quizzes) 20%
Class participation/attendance/homework assignments 10%

TOTAL 100%

Business Simulation

Throughout the course, you will compete in teams in a simulation involving strategic, functional, and organizational decision-making. The purpose of this simulation is to help you apply the learning objectives to an implementation format. While many of the other components of the course will focus on formulation, this component will emphasis the integration of both formulation, and implementation. Refer to the simulation manual for further critical instructions on playing the simulation. There will be five decisions, each representing a year of operation and decision-making. The following will comprise your grade for this component:

Simulation Preliminary Strategic Plan and Performance

Your preliminary strategic plan will include the relevant environmental analyses, as well as your internal analysis and resultant mission and vision statements, a clear indication of the type of strategy you intend to follow throughout the simulation and the manner in which you will allocate functional goals and objectives for your performance. This plan will be no longer than 10 double-spaced, typed pages. The plan is due on the next class period after the second decision is due.

Simulation Performance. (10%) This grade will be adjusted based upon your performance on the simulation, based on your team's standing relative to the average in the class at the conclusion of the simulation. See Capsim handbook for scoring options and rules.

Final Simulation Strategic Plan (20%) You will complete a final strategic plan, providing direction for the decisions and emphasis for the company over the next 5 years. This plan will be no longer than 20 pages typed, though appendices with financial and other types of charts or relevant supportive materials may extend beyond the 20-page limit. Be sure to evaluate your initial strategic plan in a first phase of this document and then to make clear your vision and mission for the next several years. An important part of your future 5 year plan will be to propose a merger, acquisition, or leverage buyout of the lowest performing team in your industry as part of your corporate growth strategy. If you are the "weakest link" you will submit a plan for divestment of part of all of your corporate holdings. The most important part of this section will be the justification for the valuation and financial structure of the deal. We will discuss creating financial pro forma statements and valuation techniques in class.

Presentation of Final Simulation Strategic Plan (10%) In not more than fifteen (15) minutes, each team will present a polished and well-rehearsed professional presentation on the future of their company to the class using appropriate presentation software. Team members must each be actively involved in this presentation and team members may make only limited use of notes (one sheet of paper per person or 2 note cards per person) during their presentation. The oral report should focus on the future position of the company relative to its competitors/industry, and be based on a thorough analysis of the relationships existing between these organizations at present, the company's existing resources, and the company's historical performance. The team members should also be prepared to defend with adequate support their reasons for recommending each of the actions.

Group conferences will be scheduled after the preliminary plan is submitted to discuss details of your strategy with the Professor. Scheduling priority given in reverse order of performance.

Individual Written Case Analyses

You will individually prepare four brief two-page, double spaced report to management summarizing your analysis of the case and identifying and supporting the course of action you believe is most feasible for management to follow. For three of the cases the class will be divided into thirds. You will alternate between doing the external analysis, internal analysis (including SWOT matrix) and financial analysis. Use the case analysis format and tools presented to you in class and in your readings. This written analysis is due at the beginning of the class in which the case is scheduled for discussion. If submitted as an e-mail attachment, these analyses are due no later than 30 minutes before the start of class on the respective day.

During oral discussions in class on the case, the each student will be responsible for participating in the discussion related to that section, as well as turning in their written portion for an individual grade.


There will be one financial ratios quiz referencing Chapter 14 and class notes. There will be five text quizzes from the chapters indicated, each over two chapters as indicated, with 20 multiple-choice questions. You will be able to drop one of the text quizzes, but not the financial quiz ratio. Scheduled quizzes will be given at the beginning of class - don't be late. Missed quizzes cannot be made up nor taken in advance. No exceptions-don't ask.

Overview of Course Policies:

My role in this course is to assist you in reaching the course objectives. I therefore welcome the opportunity to talk with you during my office hours or at other times more convenient to you through whatever media are most accessible to you (e.g., in person, email, telephone, or fax). You are especially welcomed and encouraged to discuss with me any concerns or progress you are making for tests and other assignments.

Several instructional methods will be combined in the course, including case readings, lecture, debate, group work, and audiovisual materials. Your participation is encouraged and expected. I will also adjust teaching approaches as necessary to benefit the class.

All assignments will be due by the beginning of class time on the date assigned. You are welcome to submit case analyses by email attachment using Microsoft Word. I will confirm receipt of your work submitted in this format. 
Any changes in this schedule will be announced in class at least one class meeting prior to the respective due date or exam. Late assignments will be accepted only under two circumstances: (1) a medical excuse from a doctor, or (2) express permission granted by the instructor at least three days before the class in which the assignment is due. A penalty of 10% each calendar day will be assessed if approved for late submission.

All written assignments are expected to be word processed with due attention to professional presentation through thoroughness and appropriateness of content and form, referencing, grammar, inclusion of relevant exhibits, neatness, and the inclusion of cover pages or tables of contents as necessary. Written assignments with exceptionally heavy proofreading or grammatical errors or those assignments not bound together in an appropriate manner will not be accepted. Oral presentations should be done with professionalism, and accompanied by appropriate audiovisual and multimedia aids.

Group Formation

Students will form groups with the optimal size being five. The Professor's permission must be obtained for size deviations. This course requires a substantial amount of time and work including numerous group meetings. As compensation based on team effort is a reality of the workplace, half of your grade will be based on group efforts. Carefully select group members based on work schedules, majors, talents, and temperaments.

Peer Evaluations for Group Projects

Your grade for all group-based assignments will be adjusted based on your Group Participation/Peer ratings. There will be two written peer evaluations - one for the simulation, and one for e-commerce case. 
A satisfactory group contribution grade requires that a group member participate fully, willingly, and productively in all group activities. Peer evaluations on team member performance will be completed anonymously and given to the instructor. Classmates are entitled to know the final grade but not the individual scores. These evaluations provide information to the instructor who solely determines each team member's group contribution grade. Individuals who do not effectively participate in each aspect of group work (based on confirmed peer evaluations and the judgment of the professor) may receive partial credit for group grades. Students not present for oral presentations or exercises will not receive credit.

Any team that has a non-productive member should advise that member immediately and work to help the member's inclusion and productivity. If a team continues to have problems with a member, notify the instructor by e-mail, copying the offending party and all group members. If a majority of the team agrees that remedial measures have been unsuccessful, that member may be suspended from that part of the course requirement or fired from the group. That terminated or suspended member must make up that part of the course, within the Professor's discretion. All personnel actions must be submitted to all parties in writing (preferably e-mail). A formal hearing with all parties present can be held with the Professor at the request of any member of the group.

The suspension or termination option is not available for the simulation once it has begun. The professor reserves the right to adjust individual grades on portions of group projects to zero to compensate for lack of participation by any member. Group transfers/trades may be requested with the approval of both groups and the Professor, but prior to decision 3. In the case of inter-group transfer, BSG group grades will be averaged.

Class Participation

You are expected to attend class and participate in discussions and exercises. Attendance and class participation observations will be recorded for each class and used to assign a grade.


Plagiarism, cheating, or any other form of academic dishonesty will result in a course grade of F regardless of any other performance considerations. Any and all violations of the student honor code will be prosecuted as required in the student handbook and University regulations.


Scheduled Course Topic
August 28
Basic Concepts of Strategic Management

Chapter 1
September 4
Corporate Governance
Quiz Chapters 1 & 2; Group formation
September 11
Environmental Scanning
Strategic Visioning Model 
Internal Scanning
Quiz Chapters 3-4 
Strategic Practice Exercise;

September 18
Strategic Visioning Class Exercise
Strategy Formulation
Readings & Trends articles
Quiz Chapters 5-6
September 25
Simulation Overview
Simulation Discussion
Read Capstone®; Team Member Guide
Practice decision (due Sept. 30 at 10 p.m.)
October 2
Strategy Implementation
Group Meetings
Quiz Chapters 7-8
Decision #1
October 9
Evaluation & Control
Introduction to case analysis
Quiz Chapters 9-10
Decision #2; Preliminary Strategic Plan due
October 16
Financial Analysis 
Case Analysis
Read Chapter 14 
Decision #3; 
October 23
Case Analysis
Simulation discussion
Financial ratio quiz; Practice case
Decision #4
October 30
Case Analysis
Simulation discussion
Case #1
Decision #5
November 6
Case Analysis
Group Meetings
Case #2 
Decision #6
November 13
Simulation summary
Strategic Entrepreneurial Ventures
Case #3
Strategic Exercise
November 20
Valuation of Entrepreneurial Ventures
Final Strategic Plan due; Strategic Exercise Financial Valuation (due 11/27)
November 27
Presentation of Simulation Strategic Plans
Final Strategic Plan Presentations

December 4
Implementing Strategic Change in the E-commerce era
E-Commerce case due
December 9
Final Exams

Simulation decisions are due by Monday 10 p.m. and processed by noon on Tuesday.