STRATEGY 840 - Emerging Markets Strategy

Course Description

The course focuses on strategies that firms based in emerging market economies around the world are adopting in order to compete in their home markets and, increasingly, in regional and global markets beyond their boundaries. By emerging market economies, we mean countries that have established a moderate degree of market-based commercial infrastructure such as labour markets, legal transparency, capital markets, and external supply chains. These markets – ranging from the BRIC countries of Brasil, Russia, India, and China, to myriad countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East – are now the most dynamic economies in the world. Firms based in these countries are adopting strategies that partly reflect what we have come to think of as traditional business strategy, but also incorporate important elements of strategy that arise from the distinct conditions of their home countries. The course explores similarities and key differences of business strategy in these emerging market environments.

We will explore multiple factors that create differences in both kind and intensity of strategies in emerging markets. Three dominant issues arise at the centre of the factors: Internalisation incentives, political strategies, and rapid transitions of complementary and competitive strategies. In turn, these issues lead to a range of questions involving supply chains and human resources, cost structure pressures, flexibility and uncertainty, and other dimensions of strategy. We will explore how firms based in emerging markets around the world have developed strategies to deal with these issues, sometimes successfully, other times struggling to compete effectively at home and abroad.

We approach the issues from the perspective of firms based in the emerging market economies. Of course, the issues are also relevant for firms based in established market economies that are competing with emerging markets firms, either in their home markets or as they expand around the world. The core point, from whichever perspective, is to understand the nature of competitive strategy in contemporary emerging markets.

Most generally, the course adopts the perspective of managers within the corporation, business, division, plant, or other operating unit who must mesh their individual actions and responsibilities with the overall objectives of the firm. During the course, we will focus on the perspectives and skills required to diagnose and find realistic solutions for critical problems in complex business situations. In doing so, he course deals with issues of both managerial effectiveness and business efficiency, with "doing the right things" as well as "doing things right."

The course is aimed at all managers, whether you have general management responsibilities or work within a specialist position. Due to increasing complexity and specialization, it is critically important that specialists acquire the capability to perceive the company as a whole, to understand its mission, and to work effectively with specialists in other functions within the company or within the company’s business partners. You need to know the general purposes that you serve as a specialist in order to manage well.

The course has several core premises. Strategic management involves decisions that require long-term commitments of resources that influence firm-wide actions and performance.  Strategic management is integrative, in that it draws on multiple people and resources within and across firms. Strategy often requires quick responses to short-lived opportunities. Strategy is often ambiguous, but requires that you act in the face of the ambiguity.

In order to capture the pragmatic, action-oriented nature of strategic management, we teach this course through the case method, supplemented with readings, lectures, and discussions. Our objective is for you to develop your personal synthesis and approaches for identifying and solving the key problems that you face as business managers.