Course syllabus

TEK280 Strategy Creation and Change

7,5 Merit Points


Department of Technology Management and Economics

Division of Entrepreneurship and Strategy

LP1 2020


Purpose & Learning Outcomes

Decisions of scale, scope and direction – strategic decisions - are among the most important decisions made in an organisation. This course focuses on the process by which they are made, and the subsequent process of changing the organisation. We want to provide an opportunity for students to create an understanding of the whole chain of strategic actions and decisions. In the course, students should learn to:


  • Draw conclusions on the effects of strategy analysis for implementation.
  • Describe/analyze connections between organization design and strategic effectiveness
  • Make casual analysis of the effects of differentiation strategy for organizing
  • Make a diagnosis of an organization as the basis for strategy implementation
  • Describe and prescribe the process of creating strategic change and implementation
  • Describe the conditions for and the effects of strategic decision making

Course Content


The course points to the strategic process of an organisation and can analytically be divided into two parts.


(a) Strategy in the making

Here, the strategy making process is in focus. Among topics to be brought up are:

  • decision making
  • tools for strategy making
  • market strategy issues


(b) Strategy implementation and change

After decisions are made, change is normally initiated in the organisation. It is widely recognized that creating durable change is very difficult question, and that different change strategies create quite different results. We therefore intend to introduce students to theories of strategic change and invite a guest lecturer from industry to speak on this topic.

Design and components

The course actively promotes a view of strategy work in organization as a process and a practice. The course is structured around case work in teams and connected theoretical lectures. NB! The current situation creates a need for us to adapt. We will therefore not, as we have had earlier years, have any graded case discussions. The balance between individual performance and team performance in the grading of the course has therefore also changed.

Syllabus 2020 v1.jpg

As can be seen in the image above, the course is divided into weekly modules with a theme. You will be divided into teams (we will decide on the team composition). Each Monday, you get an assignment to “solve” a case in a memo of a maximum of five pages. The image above tells you what the cases are, but not what the questions are going to be. The deadline for the memo is the morning of the next Monday. On that Monday, we will discuss the different case solutions/memos from the different teams in class.


For the last week of the course, you are to write a memo about an organization of you own choosing. The theme of that week is “System Change”, and we want you to find an organization that has changed fundamentally, and explain to us what made that possible. Instructions will follow.


On Mondays, we meet virtually 13.15-15.00 (not 14.45).


On Thursdays, we meet virtually 09.00-11.45.


JEP               Johanna E. Pregmark, PhD, IMIT and Chalmers

TF                 Tobias Fredberg, PhD, Prof., Chalmers


Guest lecturers will be added.


Faculty and literature


Main lecturers are Johanna Pregmark and Tobias Fredberg (examiner) from the division of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Chalmers. In addition, guest lectures from industry will be engaged in the process. Please pose any administrative questions on Canvas. Jenny Taghvai ( is course administrator.


Three of the cases: Sonnentor, Merck Sharp & Dohme Argentina, Inc., and Pitney Bowes, can be bought as a course pack at the Harvard Business School Publishing homepage:


Three of the cases: Elanders, SurgiTech and Standard Chartered Bank, will be available through Canvas.


The assignment questions for the different sessions will also be posted on Canvas.


For the case of your choice around “System Change”, instructions will be posted on Canvas (and we will talk about it in class).





NB!! There may be reading added to this list. Additions will be posted online (and we will talk about it in class) and this document will be updated.

Reading for the different sessions:

Session 1-2:

Sonnentor Kräuterhandel (HBSP Coursepack)


Fredberg & Kalling (2013) Strategic Management (Canvas)

Porter (1996) What is strategy?


McGrath & MacMillan (1997) Discovering new points of differentiation, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1997

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Sull, D. N. (2001). Strategy as Simple Rules. Harvard Business Review, 79(1), 106-119. 


Kotler – Value based marketing


In addition: Read online about segmenting, targeting and positioning. This is basic marketing practice. Make yourself acquainted with the material (we used to have things for you to buy, but that seems unnecessary)


Session 3-4:

Case: Merck Latin America (HBSP Coursepack)



Amabile, T., Fisher, C M., Pillemer, J. (2014) IDEO’s Culture of Helping, Harvard Business Review, Vol 92, Jan-Feb, pp. 54-61


Detert, J. (2018) Cultivating Everyday Courage, Harvard Business Review, Vol 96, Nov-Dec, pp. 128-135


Lee, T. & Duckworth, A. (2018) Organizational Grit, Harvard Business Review, Vol 96, Sept Oct, pp. 98-105



Ravasi, D., Schultz, M., (2006). Responding to organizational identity threats: Exploring the role of organizational culture. Academy of Management Journal 49, 433-458.


Quinn, R E. & Thakor, A V. (2018) Creating a purpose driven organization, Harvard Business Review, Vol 96, Jul-Aug, pp. 78-85


Session 5-6:

Pitney Bowes case (HBSP Course pack)


Fredberg, T, & Pregmark, J. E. (2018) Organizational Renewal: When the seed changes the soil, Research on Organization Change and Development, vol 26, pp.99-126 (on Canvas)


Lackeus, M., Lundqvist, M. Williams Middleton, K. & Inden, J. (2019) The Entrepreneurial Employee: What, Where, How, report to the European Commission (Canvas)                                  

Smith, W. K., Binns, A., & Tushman, M. L. (2010). Complex Business Models: Managing Strategic Paradoxes Simultaneously. Long Range Planning, 43, 448-461.


O'Reilly, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. (2011). Organizational Ambidexterity in Action: How managers explore and exploit. California Management Review, 53(4), 5-+.


Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). The Era of Open Innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 44(3), 34-41. 


Session 7-8:

Elanders case (Canvas)


Galbraith, J (2012) The Evolution of Enterprise Organization Designs, Journal of Organization Design, 1(2): 1-13


Galbraith, J (2012) The Future of Organization Designs, Journal of Organization Design, 1(1): 3-6


Beer (2009) High Commitment, High Performance, Jossey Bass – Chapter 4 (Canvas)

Osterwalder, A & Pigneur, Y (2011) Business Model Generation (scan around on the site and in the preview of the book)



Zott & Amit (2010) Business Model Design: An Activity Perspective, LRP,


Liedtka & Rosenblum (1996) Shaping Conversations: Making Strategy, Managing Change, California Management Review, 39(1)


Session 9-10:

Surgitech case (Canvas)


Graeff C. The Situational Leadership Theory: A Critical View. Academy Of Management Review [serial online]. April 1983;8(2):285. Available from: Complementary Index, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 31, 2018.


Blanchard K, Hersey P. Great ideas revisited. Training & Development [serial online]. 1996:42. Available from: Business Insights: Essentials, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 31, 2018.



Flynn, S. I. (2013). Transformational and Transactional Leadership. Research Starters: Sociology (Online Edition),



Beer, M, Finnström, M. & Schrader, D. (2016) Why Leadership Training Fails, and what to do about it, Harvard Business Review, Oct 2016


Session 11-12:

Standard Chartered Bank case (Canvas)

Beer, M., Eisenstat, R. A., Foote, N., Fredberg, T., & Norrgren, F. 2011. Higher Ambition: How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value. Cambridge: Harvard Business Press., Chapter 1 (Canvas)

Friedman (1970) The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits (Canvas)


Gartenberg, Pratt & Serafeim (2019) Corporate Purpose and Financial Performance, Organization Science,


Ghoshal, S (2005) Bad management theories are destroying good management practice,  Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(1), 75-91

Jensen & Meckling (1976) Theory of the firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure

Porter & Kramer (2011) Creating Shared Value, Harvard Business Review, 89(1-2)  


Session 13-15:

Beer et al (1990) Why change programs don’t produce change, Harvard Business Review, 68(6)

Beer & Eisenstat (2000) The Silent killers of Strategy Implementation and Learning, Sloan Management Review, 41(4)

Beer & Eisenstat (2004) How to Have an Honest Conversation about Your Business Strategy, Harvard Business Review, 82(2)

Hagel et al (2008) Shaping Strategy in a World of Constant Disruption

Kotter (1995) Leading Change: Why transformation efforts fail, Harvard Business Review 73(2)



Learning objectives and examination


  1. The following learning objectives are formulated:
    • An awareness of elementary concepts and the vocabulary of strategic management theory
    • An understanding of the strategy process and insights regarding the practice of strategy work.
    • The ability to identify, examine, and report actual cases from industry on basis of a strategic management theory perspective.
    • A training and insight into real strategic practices.


  1. Examination – a total of 100 points


Each memo is worth a maximum of 7 points. There are 7 memos, and hence a maximum of 49 points. The exam (a case analysis) is worth 51 points.


  1. 7x7p=49p Weekly Team Memos
  2. 51p Individual Case Analysis (Exam), Oct 24







Course summary:

Date Details Due