How to Build a Network Advantage

Network Advantage: How to Unlock Value from Your Alliances and Partnerships” is written for MBA, Masters of management, and Executive Education programs. It can be used in core strategy courses or electives on corporate strategy innovation, or strategic alliances. The book offers a step-by-step guide for how to build network advantages.

  • The impact of individual alliances, partnerships and their portfolios on the firms’ competitive advantage (Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2).
  • The role of complementarity and compatibility between partners for the formation of successful alliances and partnerships (Chapter 3)
  • Differential impact of the “hub and spoke” alliance portfolios and “integrated” portfolios on competitive advantage. These represent inter-organizational networks rich in structural holes and dense ties, respectively (Chapters 4 & 5).
  • The role of organizational status in competitive advantage (Chapters 6 & 7)
  • Should the firm build its own alliance portfolio or join another firm’s network (Chapter 8)
  • How to improve information flows inside the firm to attain competitive advantage from alliances and partnerships (Chapter 10).

Most chapters introduce tools for how to develop a collaboration strategy. These are compiled at the end of the book. A short introductory video is available on youtube:

Contributed by Andrew Shipilov

Boycotting HBR? Some Alternatives…

You may have followed the debate about HBR’s policy prohibiting professors from linking suggested HBR readings to their own library’s paid subscriptions (see Joshua Gans’ blog posts on this and his Financial Times article on HBR and their journal list). I have increasingly used McKinsey Quarterly which makes their articles available for free (you need to register but that’s free). Here are some HBR alternatives that seem to work well (often by authors you know well):

Strategy process & org change

Internal Analysis and Competitive Advantage

Continue reading

Learning Through Simulations and Exercises

I’ve been using simulations to tie together segments in my class and to give students a better experience with the process of strategy.  It is important to allocate a good chunk of time — from one to three hours — to fully debrief the sim.  This debrief includes some sharing of emotions, since simulations can result in conflict and anxiety — I’ve had teams explode and almost come to blows.  It is useful to point out to participants that although this is a simulation, part of the results are a reflection of the individual themselves, along with their particular role, and the context provided by the simulation.  Three readings that may be helpful regarding sims are (Also see Brian Boyd’s website for additional resources below under OTHER TOOLS & LINKS:

Keys, J. Bernard, Robert M. Fulmer, and Stephen A. Stumpf.  1996.  Microworlds and simuworlds: Practice fields for the learning organization, Organizational Dynamics, Spring.

Orbanes, Phil. 2002. Everything I know about business I learned from Monopoly, Harvard Business Review, March.

Stumpf, Stephen A. and Jane E. Dutton. 1990. The dynamics of learning through management simulations: Let’s dance, Journal of Management Development, 9(2) 7-15.

Contributed by Mason CarpenterMason Carpenter

Bacon Salt Article/Case

Download the Bacon Salt Article here

I use the BaconSalt case to talk about how to shift from a product-strategy-mindset to an organization-thinking mindset. The Midwest Express article(linked here – and that I use as the “case”) does a good job summarizing the firm and here is also the link to the BaconSalt YouTube video website. A fun and tasty case.

Contributed by Mason CarpenterMason Carpenter

Diamonds & Stars

This is a short reading that Mason put together to explain the strategy diamond framework and the star model. While these are not his frameworks, the short reading is handy for those who want to use these frameworks in class.

Click here to download Mason’s Diamonds & Stars reading

Contributed by Mason CarpenterMason Carpenter