Competitive Strategy (42001), Winter 2024
The course applies microeconomics—mainly the economics of industrial organization—to analyze decisions managers face in business environments.
The first half of the course takes a "price theory" approach to managerial decision-making. The actions of rivals are mostly assumed fixed, so we can isolate key tradeoffs that firms face. The second half takes a game theory approach. Firms' actions directly affect their rivals payoffs, and vice versa, which allows us to address strategic interactions. Topics include pricing, positioning, determinants of cross-industry and within-industry profitability, entry and exit, vertical integration (i.e., the “make or buy” decision), commitment, cooperation, deterrence, network effects, and multi-sided platforms (MSPs).
The class is very interactive. Lectures comprise only about one-third of each week's class. The majority of time is devoted to case discussion.
Cases include Moneyball; Cola Wars Continue; Airborne Express; US Airline Industry in 1995; American Airlines; Intel Kickbacks; Dogfight over Europe: Ryanair; Power Play: Nintendo in 8-Bit Video Games; LinkedIn in 2012; Dropbox: It Just Works; Uber, Lyft, and the Transportation Network Industry.
Updated syllabus here. Week 1's readings and reading guide here.