Session Outline

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Business Strategy: Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
with Prof. Michael Roberto

Date: October 25, 2017
Session Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Location Information:
Springfield Country Club
400 West Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA 19064
(610) 690-7600
Session Description
To build and sustain competitive advantage, companies have to understand their competitive environment. They must be able to assess the forces that shape profitability in their industry, and they have to recognize the threats and opportunities in that environment. Moreover, building a sustainable advantage requires the establishment of a distinctive competitive position in the marketplace. We will examine the attributes of an effective strategy, as well as the typical characteristics of flawed and unsuccessful strategies. This seminar will offer key insights that enable you to view your company’s strategy and your competitor’s behavior in a whole new light. Moreover, it will provide important frameworks that can help you make decisions at all levels that build and enhance your firm’s competitive advantage. Through many case studies, you will see examples of firms that have succeeded, and others that have failed… providing key lessons for you and your organization.

Prof. Michael Roberto is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, where he teaches leadership, managerial decision-making, and business strategy. He joined the tenured faculty at Bryant after serving for six years on the faculty at Harvard Business School. He has also has been a Visiting Associate Professor of Management at New York University`s Stern School of Business. Professor Roberto`s research focuses on strategic decision-making processes and senior management teams. More recently, he has studied why catastrophic group or organizational failures happen, such as the Columbia Space Shuttle accident and the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy. Professor Roberto`s research has earned several major awards. His 2004 article, "Strategic decision-making processes: Beyond the efficiency-consensus tradeoff," was selected by Emerald Management Reviews as one of the top 50 management articles of 2004. His book, Why Great Leaders Don`t Take Yes For An Answer, was named one of the top 10 business books of 2005 by The Globe and Mail. His multimedia case study about the 2003 space shuttle accident, titled Columbia`s Final Mission, earned the software industry`s prestigious Codie Award in 2006 for Best Postsecondary Education Curriculum Solution. 
Time Allocation - Topics

33% Session 1: Evaluating the Competitive Environment

Case Study: Cola Wars, Fitness Centers, Personal Computers, Airlines, Pharmaceuticals We will take a look at the long-running competitive battle between Coca-Cola and Pepsico in the soft drink market. Through this analysis, we will learn to apply a framework for evaluating any industry. This framework will provide us the tools to determine why some industries are more profitable than others, as well as the tools for identifying key threats and opportunities in your competitive environment. We’ll extend that analysis to other industries including fitness centers, personal computers, airlines, and pharmaceuticals.

33% Session 2: Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage

Case Study: Trader Joe’s, Ryanair, and Netflix How did Trader Joe’s establish a formidable competitive advantage while going up against much larger established firms in the supermarket industry? How did Ryanair establish a profitable enterprise in an industry (airlines) where so few firms make profits on a consistent basis? How did Netflix overtake Blockbuster and other video rental companies? By examining these three firms, we will learn how firms establish a distinctive competitive position, defend and sustain that position, and deal with disruptive threats.

34% Session 3: Diversification and Synergies

Case Study: Disney, GE, Berkshire Hathaway Why does Disney (and other firms such as GE and Berkshire Hathaway) choose to operate in many different businesses? What advantage do they establish by virtue of being in so many different product markets? As firms diversify, we have to ask ourselves: Is the whole worth more than the sum of the parts? In other words, are these businesses worth more together than they would be on their own. The only justification for corporate diversification is if the entities are more valuable together than apart. We will take a look at how to evaluate the decision to expand a company’s product portfolio, as well as its decision to enter entirely new markets.

Guide to Participant Selection
1 indicates primary target audience.
2 indicates a good fit if the level of material is appropriate.
3 indicates (in the opinion of the institute and the faculty) very limited applicability.
Senior Executive
(Pres, Exec & Sr VP)
(VP & Gen'l Mgr)
Senior Managers
(Div & Reg. Mgrs)
Middle Managers
& Superintendents
Communication, Creativeness, Decisiveness, Interpersonal Relations, Judgment
Problem Identification, Selecting and Organizing Information, Analysis, Evaluating Alternative Solutions
Coordination, Decision Making, Follow Up, Results Analysis

Introductory    Intermediate    Advanced
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