SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT MARTIN
DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING, MANAGEMENT,
AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
COURSE NUMBER AND TITLE: Management 490 Business Policy
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A Capstone course focusing on policy, strategy, and the integration
of all business functional areas, including analysis of the implications and relevance of social,
ethical, environmental, competitive, and international considerations for top-level
organizational decisional making.
COURSE PREREQUISITES: This course requires completion of all other business
administration core requirements and senior class standing.
TEXT: CRAFTING AND IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY BY THOMPSON & STRICKLAND
WALL STREET JOURNAL
COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1. Develop and use analytical abilities needed for strategic decision-making including
conceptual and quantitative data analysis.
2. Reexamine, integrate, and apply previous course material within the content of the strategic
3. Develop and refine the ability to express ideas and conclusions verbally and in written
4. Develop ability to lead class discussions designed to produce comprehension and consensus
with respect to strategic business policy decisions.
1. Individual students are responsible for meeting prerequisites, requirements, and objectives.
Faculty are to provide quality instruction, leadership, and support student academic efforts.
2. Use of personal computers or mainframe computers is often required to develop solutions
for written cases and/or other course assignments.
3. All cases and other assignments are due on the date specified by the course instructor. The
professor may grade late cases, but these assignments will count for a grade of zero.
4. Strict compliance with course prerequisites is required.
UNIT 1. Strategic Management and Case Analysis: Basic Concepts and review of analytical
business decision-making. Review of creative problem-solving, mission, goals, and objectives
and international business operations.
UNIT 2. Strategic Management and Business Policy-Environmental Considerations: oppor-tunities and constraints; international business management, ethics and social responsibility.
UNIT 3. Strategic Development and Management of Strategy Process: Analysis of strategy,
strategic alternatives, social responsibility, and entrepreneurship values as the environment
influences these. Competition and the free enterprise process in an international environment.
UNIT 4. Strategy Implementation, Evaluation, and Strategic Alternatives: Selection of various
strategic alternatives considering social responsibility, management of values, community
relations, governmental relations, and environmental concerns.
INSTRUCTOR: Tommy Cates
OFFICE HOURS: 11:00-12:00 MTWTh,
OFFICE PHONE: 587-7307 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICE: Room 213 Business Administration Building FAX: 587-7231
CLASS PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS:
1. Assignments shown below reflect the plan for presentation of course materials and will be
followed as closely as circumstances permit. Adjustments may however, be made from time to
time by class announcement. Each student is responsible for compliance with all announced
2. Attendance Policy is that all students are required to attend all classes. Student
participation and interaction is important and needed to achieve course objectives at the levels
3. Course Grading criteria are based on the following: (1) Written cases (70%), in class
participation (10%), the first exam (5%), a second exam (10%) and final exam (5%).
4. All cases are to be submitted typed (a typewriter or word processor), the length assigned, when due, and in format determined in class.
5. Failure to comply with the Student Handbook will adversely affect a student's grade. The
degree of this effect is totally at the professor's prerogative.
6. On designated days students will be expected to discuss the information that has been
printed in the Wall Street Journal the previous week (through the previous day). Participation
in this discussion will count toward the participation credit within the course grade. Also, one
half the midterm and one half the final exam will be based on the Wall Street Journal.
The first page of your case should begin with your Student Identification Number and the
name of the case in the upper right corner. Then, staple the pages in the upper left corner. No
cover page, paper clips, or folders will be needed. You will need to use the following general
format to present your case analysis. All cases need to be typed. All sections except the
"Data Profile" are to be double spaced. You are limited to a maximum of five pages for the
body of each case, but there can be unlimited appendices. Three spelling errors or
grammatical errors in a case will earn a grade of zero. Not calculating all of the ratios for a
particular case will result in a failing grade for a case. A proper financial analysis of the case
will include your explanation of the information available in the ratios. For example, I know
that the current ratio is current assets divided by the current liabilities, and this does not
constitute analysis. It is up to you to discuss what the profitability, liquidity, leverage, and
activity ratios mean to the current financial condition of the firm. You will also need to
discuss the economic conditions which the firm was facing during the time frame of the case.
Also, you will need to consider these points when you design the strategy for the future of the
companies in the cases. Each section of your case should be subtitled as follows.
This is a statement of the overall strategic problem the company faces. It will take from one
to three lines to present this section. In each case you will have in this course, the problem
will have something to do with the strategy of the firm. You should begin by thinking of
strategy as the overall operations of the firm. One definition of strategic management of the
firm is "the sum of all the managerial decisions " within that firm. Based on this, a strategic
plan is a set of policies that will guide the managers in their decision-making. Based on this
approach, the "Problem Statement" will not address a narrow area of the firm, such as,
marketing or personnel. You will find that you will gravitate toward your major, then it will
seem that 90% of your efforts will be devoted to finding and correcting things outside your
major. Reading chapters 1, 2, and 3, will support this approach to the case.
Your understanding of the concept of strategy will be enhanced if you will study Chapter 1. A
flowchart (p. 4) of the strategy of a company is give and it is also shows an important idea:
that strategic management is a circular process. It is continually under review and revision.
Chapter 1 continues with a discussion of the importance of entrepreneurship and the tendency
of the firm to accept the personality of the CEO. This is particularly important in this class
since the CEO is usually instrumental in formulating the strategic plan for the company. It is
also important for you as future decision makers to understand the importance of each
manager in development of the strategy of the firm. This may have impact on you as you face
your employment in the future. The actual functioning of the general manager is covered in
This section presents the relevant information that supports the Problem Statement. Some
students see this section as a chance to discuss the problems the company faces, but you
should go further to discuss all of the factors that affect the future of the company. There are
two general ways to present this information: SWOT and internal/external processes.
SWOT. This analysis process is discussed in your text and stands for Strength, Weaknesses,
Opportunities and Threats (See pages 105-113). Your major obstacle in case writing will be
an over-abundance of information. The SWOT analysis will allow you to categorize the facts
which are relevant to the case. For example, is a fact a positive factor for the future of the
company? If so, it might go under either strengths or opportunities. One thing that you should
note in particular: different people may look at a point from different perspectives, so the facts
may seem to be strength to someone but seem as a weakness to someone else. This will be
particularly true as you begin to look at different strategic plans.
Internal/External processes. This is just another way to categorize the facts surrounding the
case. In this part, you would need to look at the internal events and factors that might control
the future of the company. What resources are available to the company to accomplish a
particular strategy? This would be the natural point to discuss the financial condition of the
firm. Also, what human resources, managerial experiences, etc., are available? External
conditions include anything outside the company that is important to the situation for the
company. This section should include economic conditions concerning the time frame of the
case. You should include anything in preparing the case while it was published before the
ending of the time of the case. One final point in this type of analysis is a discussion of the
competition for the firm. Who are the competitors? What resources are available to them?
Again, your perception or this information may make you different from your fellow students.
Much of the information about the competitors is available in the library, and it is cataloged
by the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. Competitive and industry analysis is
imperative for any firm. Porter's Five Forces Model (pages 73-85) are all ways of handling the
vast amounts of information available to you in these areas. In most of your classes, you have
some rules which apply to the in that class. In this class, the experience curve concept is one
of these rules. Two marketing theories are also important in studying strategic management:
product life cycle, and results of the PIMS (Profit Impact of Marketing Study). One of the
points in PIMS suggested that the firm with the largest market share was typically the most
profitable in the industry.
In essence, you are trying to define the current strategy of the firm. If a firm exists in a
particular form, what factors cause this structure? Is the firm using all of the available
resources as efficiently as possible? Is it reaching all of its customer groups?
There is a relationship between the "Data Profile" and the "Problem Statement." Many
students view the "Data Profile" as a section which supports, clarifies, and interprets the
"Problem Statement." You are laying groundwork for a new strategy for the firm.
This is the end of your discussion of the historical section of the case. The majority of the
research work and "library time" has been demonstrated up to this point. Everything from
here on must deal with the future of the company. You should be at the end of the first page
or just barely beginning the second page. If your "Data Profile" goes longer, you are
sacrificing a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of business in the "Implementation." I
will assume that you do not have much of this knowledge, and I will deduct most points.
From this point on this case, they will need your creative abilities to explain how you would
run the company.
This section suggests how you were thinking when you were trying to find new strategy.
What did you consider as possibilities? This is not some frivolous section of the case. At
some point during the semester, you may be required to select one of your alternatives which
you have not discussed in the paper and write a paper in class which implements that strategy.
The "Alternative Solutions" are strategies that could solve the "Problem Statement" which you
defined at the beginning of the paper. The nature of these alternatives will change from time
to time based upon the type of company with which you are dealing. There are two types of
strategies discussed in your text: business strategies and corporate strategies. The business
strategies are used in companies that only have one major business operation in one industry.
Corporate strategies are used for companies that have several different types of operations in
different types of operations in different markets. It is normal for business strategies to be
subsets of corporate strategies. This type of arrangement follows the idea that a company
needs to respond to different industries with different strategies. They typically call these
different subsets Strategic Business Units (SBU).
You should have at least four alternative strategies. They should all be mutually exclusive. They
should not be longer than two to four lines.
This is simply a restatement of one of the alternatives listed in the section above, but this will
announce your commitment to implement a particular solution to the exclusion of the other
At this point, you should still be on page two of your case. You will select one of the
alternatives you outlined in the section above, and now you are ready to make it work. This
section is a "how to" manual for making your strategy work, and it represents about 60% of
your writings of the case. Each part of your strategy must be explained, and the interaction of
the parts should be demonstrated. For example, businesses must typically make money before
they spend it; so I assume that in your strategy, you will follow this simple concept. Use the
next three pages to demonstrate how much you have learned in business administration. This
section of your case will be related to the rest of your case because you will be expected to
solve or minimize the risks which you delineated in the "Data Profile".
Pick the one Alternative Strategy that you feel is most appropriate and describe how you plan
to help the company implement this strategy. All of the other alternative strategies are
neglected at this point. There are numerous ways to present your Implementation. One is to
present a chronological progression. This could be phases of the development of a strategy.
Another way of presenting your strategy is to discuss the sections just as you have studied in
the School of Business: a section for management, marketing, finance, accounting, etc. These
topics would be variable based on each case and the problems that the company is facing. For
example, in some cases, the company may need a section entitled "Legal Aspects" or
You are given direction in two other areas by your text. Chapter 9 discusses building resource
capabilities and structuring the organization. Chapter 10 explains actual implementation of
the strategy through day-to-day activities.
None of these references are meant to diminish the concept that this is a capstone course.
Students are encouraged to utilize any and all the materials that you have been taught in the
Business Core of the curriculum. Please feel free to use any of the books that you were
taught from in these courses as reference materials to help you in preparation of cases in this
In this section, please discuss how you expect the major competitors to respond to your new
strategy. This section is based on your study of the competitors and the strategy which you have
implemented. This section of the case should be no longer than one half page.
Appendix A is reserved for your financial analysis of the firm. You should calculate all of the
ratios that can be developed based on the data provided or which are available in the library
(See pages 626-627). Once you have calculated the ratios, I require that you give your
interpretation of the ratios. This does not mean that you define the ratios. I expect you to
compare the ratios to previous performance of the company and to performance of the other
companies in the industry. If there is no industry, pick key competitors and compare this
company to them. It is almost impossible to manage twenty-eight or more ratios mentally at
one time. I suggest that you look at the activity ratios, then the profitability ratios, etc. This
also means that you will need to write a paragraph about the meaning of the activity ratios, a
paragraph about the profitability ratios, etc. Feel free to use Lotus 1-2-3 or any other
spreadsheet program to make this task easier. I will fail any case which does not have a
complete set of ratios and a thorough analysis.
Your appendices should be used to support, summarize, and clarify the information presented your case. I realize that five pages is not very much room to write about the hours that
you have spent on the cases, so use the appendices wisely. The five typewritten pages are a
summary of your efforts. The appendices do not need to be typed. One farther point, if you
elect to attach an article or a case as an appendix, I require you to have a paragraph noting the
important parts or summarizing that appendix.
Each appendix should have a cover page outlining the major points in that appendix and
explaining how that appendix relates tot he case.
May 30 Introduction
31 chapters 1-6
June 1 chapters 1-6 and WSJ
2 chapters 1-6
5 Exam 1
6 chapters 6-11 and WSJ
7 chapters 6-11
8 case 1
9 chapters 6-11 and WSJ
12 case 2
13 chapters 6-11 and WSJ
14 Exam 2
15 case 3
19 case 4
20 exam 2
22 case 5
27 case 6