Strategy is a complex field and intrinsically related to economics. In this first week of this course you will learn the basic logic of how firms and markets function by using economic logic from a distinctly strategic perspective.
The economic logics discussed in the first week have shaped the field of strategic analysis from very early on. Porter’s Five Forces – probably the most well-known strategic analysis tool – directly builds on the notion of market structures and helps us to get a deeper understand of how the competitive environment affects the ability of firms to generate true economic profits. In this week, we´ll look at how Porter's Five Forces are related to market structures, economies of scale, and begin to touch on how firms leverage these to create competitive advantage. Week three, we will move away from exclusively considering the external structure of an industry as the source of competitive advantage and instead focus our view on the internal resources and capabilities within firms – and the associated “resource based view” to look at how internal resources and capabilities play out in competitive situations. Looking through the lens of the five forces at the industry, or through that of the resource-based view at firm internal resources and capabilities, feels a bit like swings of a pendulum – and, indeed, strategic theory and practice over the last decades has veered from a near-exclusive focus on the environment to being entranced by firms’ core capabilities. However, to get the full picture of where your firm stands (and where it and its industry may move) requires us to consider both of these perspectives! In this final week we will work on this crucial integration by building our understanding of what a competitive advantage truly is – and what distinct forms it can take. This Course is primarily aimed at Coursera learners interested in exploring an IE Masters program and at professionals interested in building their business skills.