NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

MGMT-UB.0001.001 (C50.0001): MGMT & ORGANIZ ANALYSIS

Fall 2011

Instructor Details

Dunbar, Roger



Wednesday 2 – 5 pm

7-19 Tisch Hall


Roger l. M. Dunbar

I was born in New Zealand and did undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Otago. I did my doctoral work at Cornell University and then taught at Southern Methodist University before spending five years at the International Institute of Management in Berlin, Germany. I joined the Stern School of Business  faculty at NYU in 1979. Since then, I've held visiting appointments at the Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, at the Free University of Berlin in Germany and at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

I'm interested in sense making processes in organizations and in particular, how framing processes and the way we use language determine meaning. I'm interested in how understandings develop in organizations to support different perspectives, and how this stability then creates difficulties when change is necessary. I co-edited a special issue focusing on organizations and organization design in Organization Science (March-April 2006). I’m currently a senior editor of Organization Studies and on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Learning and Education and the Strategic Management Journal. I’m also a member of the Humanities Council Initiative at NYU.

In terms of current research, I co-authored a paper, "Distributed knowledge processes and indeterminate meaning: The case of the Columbia shuttle flight" that was published recently in Organization Studies (April 2009). The paper describes why it was so difficult to work out what had occurred during the tragic Columbia shuttle flight, and why this difficulty may in fact be a general issue that many organizations face. Another co-authored paper, "Dealing with unusual experiences: A narrative perspective on organizational learning" will appear shortly in Organization Science. Most of my current research focuses on how we use narratives in discourse to make sense of organizational contexts.  My doctoral studies and earlier research focused on using numerical evidence to establish evidence to support theories but increasingly, I find that rhetorical methods are what we use most to understand and learn.  I’ll talk about how these approaches contrast late in the course.


Course Meetings

MW, 8:00am to 9:15am

Tisch T-UC25

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Organizations face many management and leadership issues. This course introduces you to the processes used to manage them. In particular, we’ll discuss how management involves formulating strategies to provide firms with sustainable competitive advantage within an industry, implementing organizational structures that execute these strategies effectively, and selecting and rewarding employees so they are productive, motivated, and satisfied within these work environments. The assumption is that as firms accomplish these tasks consistently well over time, they generate profits, contribute to society, and beat the competitive odds stacked against them. Over the semester, we will examine examples of the best and worst management practices. Our goal is to understand how successful organizations are built, how they are managed, and how they can rebound after facing adversity.

Why is studying management important? Scholars, executives, and consultants have studied and written about organizing and managing for centuries and so a well-rounded business education should include exposure to these accumulated ideas. Over the years, we have learned that there seem to be better and worse ways to organize. A choice of a better way can have untold benefits in terms of output and quality of life measures. We need an idea, therefore, of the practices that work and the practices that often fail. Such an understanding is complicated as there are many different managerial beliefs and not all are supported by empirical evidence. Evolving technology has recently further opened up new possibilities. Yet as most people agree that “human elements” impact organizational success and failure, we need ways to distinguish the desirable and undesirable. There are usually several ways of organizing that will work well in a particular situation and there are also other ways that will almost certainly generate predictable issues and problems. Managers want to be able to distinguish approaches that are likely to be effective and the contexts where different options are more likely to work.

Conceptually, the course has three components. The first emphasizes “strategy” focusing on the managerial problem of how to define a business and identify a set of strategies that will position a firm for marketplace success. The second concerns the managerial issue of organizational design, what structures should be adopted, and how managerial design decisions affect overall organizational performance. An important consideration is how organizational designs and a firm’s competitive strategy should be aligned. The third part of the course is more directly people focused and considers how to design employee jobs
that are motivating and satisfying, how to evaluate employees, and how to attract and retain the employee talent a firm needs to be successful.

The course will introduce you to analytical frameworks that will help you understand and manage each of these organizational challenges. These frameworks provide a basis for evaluating organizations and their dynamics. A second objective is for you to learn to use theories and frameworks to analyze problems and develop solutions. Problem solving skills are best developed via practice. The course will rely heavily on case studies to provide opportunities to work on actual managerial problems. You are expected to carefully analyze all of the course cases, prepare your thoughts on them, and participate in the discussions we will have about them in class. My hope is that by the end of the semester, you will be able to see many organizational and managerial issues and solutions you had not seen before and that you will have many more ideas about how it would make managerial sense to move forward in a particular situation.


Course Outline


Class Schedule







September 7

 Course Overview




No Assignment




Start looking for articles about firms pursuing interesting strategies.  By October 18, post an article that either is about a firm’s strategy or has relevance for its strategy in the Strategy Article Folder on the Discussion Board. Include a paragraph explaining what you found interesting about this article.



September 9

 Identifying Strategy: How can firms that pursue similar strategies nevertheless have different fates?

Assignment: Porter: What is strategy?

Case: Southwest Airlines



September 14





Case:  People Express



September 16

Strategy as competitive gaming




 Assignment: Brandenburger and Stuart: Value-base strategy

Start choosing your group members.



September 21

Strategy as gaming case




Case: Bittersweet competition

Let Matan know your group members and, as soon as you can, the name of the firm whose strategy you will study



September 23

Assignment: Problems with project groups

We will do this exercise in your new case write-up groups.




September 28

 Strategic value creation and capture

Assignments: Porter: How competitive forces shape strategy




Brandenburger and Nalebuff, The right game: Use game theory to shape strategy



September 30

Strategic value capture case



October 5

Competitive positioning




Assignment: Progressive Insurance Corporation



October 7

Generic Strategy: Low price and high volume

Assignment: Barney: Looking inside for competitive advantage: Walmart Case



October 12

Generic Strategy: High price and low volume        

Assignment Steinway & Sons: Buying a legend



October 14

 Team presentations of strategy cases



October 19

Team presentations of strategy cases



October 21

Individual strategy in class case analysis exam



October 26

Organization Structure and design: Exercise in class




Second group case write-up assigned




The MOA 1-hour behavioral lab experience will take place next week, Nov 1-6 .Sign -up sheets will be posted this week.



October 28

Managerial alignment

Assignment: Johnsonville Sausage\




The MOA Behavioral Lab takes place this week, Nov 1-6



November 2

Designs for growth and diversification

Assignment: Greiner, Evolution and revolution as organizations grow

Case: Mrs. Fields Cookies



November 4

Second group case write-ups due. We’ll review the cases in class



November 9

Motivating people through pay

Assignment: Lincoln Electric



November 11

Motivating people through quality-of-life incentives




Assignment: SAS



November 16

Motivating people through job design




Assignment: Hackman et al., A new strategy for job enrichment



November 18

Motivating people through evaluation processes




Assignment: Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A), (B), (C)



November 23

How motivating systems can interact to generate new management issues

Assignment: Massachusetts Financial Services



November 30

Lecture: Making sense and seeking truth



December 2

Influence processes, reasoning and analysis

Assignment: Cialdini: Harnessing the science of persuasion



December 7

How organizations can go wrong

Assignment: The talent myth by Gladwell;  The war for talent (McKinsey)Discussion of example: Enron



December 9

Second individual in-class case analysis exam



December 14

Discuss case used in second in-class case analysis exam


GENERAL STRUCTURE: The course meets in Tisch UC24, MW, from 8:00 – 9:15am. Most classes will consist of a short introductory statement about the material and ideas to be discussed that day, followed by a detailed analysis of an assigned case or cases that illustrate concepts and models presented in the readings. The primary vehicle for learning is the case analysis. You are expected to read each case and the assigned reading material and to be prepared to discuss them during the appropriate class session. This means having in mind things you found interesting about the case, questions it raised for you, ideas about how the concepts in the readings relate to the case or questions about how they relate. Learning from cases is an ongoing process that I hope we will all get involved with and help each other to deal with the issues raised.

CASES: We will use cases extensively to illustrate how to apply conceptual frameworks and arguments to actual business situations. We will delve into most cases together in an open class discussion. Most of the cases must be purchased electronically through Xanedu and the Stern Bookstore. The Xanedu website is www.xanedu.com. You will need to register as a student and then purchase a key to unlock the course pack for our course: C50.0001.01. The “Smile Factory” case by John Van Maanen is also included in the electronic course pack from Xanedu. Three cases (Southwest Airlines, Aquarius Advertising, and Acetate Department) are available in the course documents section of our Blackboard site.

READINGS: There is no course text. Instead, readings in strategy, administrative science and organizational behavior have been selected to supplement what you will learn via our case discussions. Articles from the Harvard Business Review and other journals and periodicals are provided in the course documents section of our Blackboard site. We will use case materials as the primary learning vehicle and I will then introduce and discuss concepts via the case discussions and sometimes in short lectures and via slides. Use the readings to further elaborate and review the concepts. A complete list of the course readings is included below.

LECTURES AND SLIDES: Mini-lectures before and/or after class discussions will set the stage or summarize course concepts. The slides I use will be posted on our course Blackboard site. I intend to try to post these slides before the class where I use them so that you can have an idea in advance concerning how I see what we will be discussing.


Required Course Materials


Articles from Journals and Periodicals (all available on our Blackboard course site):

Porter, Michael “What is Strategy?”  Harvard Business Review, 1996, #96608

Brandenburger, Adam & Nalebuff, Barry “The Right Game:  Use Game Theory to Shape      Strategy, Harvard Business Review 1995, #95402

Porter, Michael “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy” Harvard Business Review, 2008, #R0801E

Fisher, C. D., Shaw, J.B. and Ryder, P., Problems in project groups: An anticipatory case study, Journal of Management Education, 1994, 18(3) 351-355

Barney, J.B.  “Looking Inside for Competitive Advantage”, Academy of Management Executive, 1995, vol 9(4), pp. 49-61

Brandenburger, A.M & Stewart, H.W.  “Value-based Business Strategy,”  Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 1996, vol 5(1), pp. 5-24

Hackman, J.R., Oldham, G., Janson, R., & Purdy, K.,  “A New Strategy for Job Enrichment” 1975. California Management Review, Vol. 17. No. 4.

Greiner, L.E. “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow,” Harvard Business Review, 1998, #98308

Gladwell, Malcolm.  “The Talent Myth,” New Yorker, July 22 2002, pp. 28-33.

Chambers, E. et al.  “The War for Talent,” The McKinsey Quarterly, 1998 no. 3, pp. 44-57.


Harvard Cases are in the electronic course pack. To access the pack you buy an electronic password key at the NYU bookstore:

People Express (A) #9-483-103

People Express March, 1984 #9-487-043

People Express May, 1985 #9-487-044

People Express Update 1/89 #9-489-022

Bittersweet Competition #9-794-079

Intel Corporation 1968-2003 #9-703-427

Intel Corp, 2005 #9-706-437

Wal-Mart Stores in 2003 #9-704-430

Steinway & Sons Buying a Legend #9-500-028

Progressive Corporation #9-797-109

Cola Wars Continue:  Coke and Pepsi in 2006 #9-706-447

The Johnsonville Sausage Co (A),  #9-387-103

The Johnsonville Sausage Co (B), #9-393-063

Mrs. Fields, Inc 1977-1987, #9-194-064

Mrs. Fields, Inc 1988-1992, #9-194-065

Lincoln Electric:  Venturing Abroad, #9-398-095

SAS Institute (Stanford Case, rev Jan 1998), #HR6

Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A) #9-498-054

Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (B) #9-498-055

Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (C) #9-498-056

Massachusetts Financial Services #9-902-132

The Walt Disney Company:  The Entertainment King #9-701-035

Van Maanen, John.  The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland, in Peter J. Frost et al (Eds), Reframing Organizational Culture, 1990, Sage Publications, pp 58-76.   ISBN-13: 978-0803936515


Non-Harvard Cases:  (downloadable from our course Blackboard site)

Southwest Airlines

Aquarius Advertising

Acetate Department


Assessment Components

ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING:  Grades in this class will be assigned on the basis of total points awarded to each student for completing work during the semester.  Each student can earn up to 100 points for the class.  Grades will depend on your position in the class distribution of point totals at the end of the semester.  Each student’s point total has five components:

                                    Team Project 1:           20 points

                                    Team Project 2:           20 points

                                    Exam 1:                       20 points

                                    Exam 2:                       20 points

                                    Class Contribution:     20 points

The first team project and the first exam will relate to strategy. You will choose teams around September 20 and then a firm whose strategy you will study as soon as you can thereafter. Teams will present their analysis of their firm’s strategy in class on October 14 and 19. The second team project will relate to organizational designs and will be due on November 4 when we will discuss your analyses in class.

There should be 6 members in each project team. Each team will be responsible for the two team projects described above. I prefer conciseness and I appreciate a clear argument with ideas that follow one another in a related way. In the first project, I anticipate you will prepare slides and your paper should be around ten double-spaced typed pages with 12-point font and one inch margins. The second project should be around five double-spaced pages. Diagrams can supplement the text and there is no limit to the number of diagrams and appendices you can include.

The in-class exams will occur on October 21 and December 9

In terms of grading, the table on the next page gives you an idea of the sort of criteria we will use to identify quality and grade your papers. 



Thesis = Aim of the Analysis


Use of Course Frameworks for Analysis


Quality of Writing and Organization



An exceptionally innovative and insightful thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives the entire paper

Exceptional creativity in finding relevant data to support key points

Exceptional integration of most relevant concepts as bridge between thesis and conclusions displaying strong critical thinking

Draws clear, feasible and discerning conclusions that stem directly from data and analysis

Paper is clearly organized, easy to follow, has a unified tone, and is well-written


Clear thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives the entire paper

Substantial effort to collect information given availability of data on subject

Covers most relevant frameworks and class concepts given thesis, subject and data, and presents logical analysis of data used

Presents clear conclusions that include specific actionable items

Paper is relatively clearly organized, and demonstrates solid writing and communication style appropriate for the material


Relatively clear thesis that unevenly drives paper, or thesis doesn’t really provide answer to company’s issue(s)

Significant holes in data collection that leave paper unable to address key issues

Omits one or more important concepts, or uses them superficially

Link between conclusions and analysis/data is tenuous and/or conclusions are largely infeasible

Organization and writing is uneven


A poorly-defined thesis, multiple unrelated theses, or not using the thesis to drive the paper

Heavy reliance on 1-2 sources, overly-biased sources, inadequate citation of sources, or significant lack of research creativity

Incorrect usage of course materials, or practically no actual usage of materials

Overly simplistic conclusions that don’t derive from analysis, and no thought is given to implementation issues

Organization is difficult to understand or lacking, or writing quality is unacceptable



CLASS CONTRIBUTION:Case analysis requires student participation in class discussions in order to be effective.  Case discussions may start with a few “cold calls” to check your reactions and initial ideas. Various classroom exercises and small group discussion sessions will also be used to elicit student involvement.  The course Blackboard site also has a discussion forum. Participation in both forums is highly encouraged and discussion board participation will count toward class contribution points.  We will depend on everyone’s active involvement to make the class successful.

Please come to class well prepared and ready to discuss the material. The questions you may have are always valuable as are ideas in the case may be generalizable to other firm  contexts. If you need to miss class, please email Matan ahead of time to tell us you will be away and why. Attendance is monitored and absences will result in a reduced class contribution grade.

Up to 20 points will be awarded to students for their class participation and contributions. Two out of the 20 points will be allocated based on participation in the Organizational Research Assignment.  Details of this research participation requirement are provided at the end of the syllabus.

Further and as we discuss strategy in the first part of the course, I want you to be looking for articles in the press that discuss firm strategies.  I will put a “Strategy Article” folder on our Discussion board and over the first month of the course, I would like each of you to post access to an article you have found interesting in this folder.  Along with the url to the article, please include a paragraph explaining why you found the article interesting.  This posting is worth 3 points of your participation grade.

Polite and collegial behavior is important for maintaining a productive class environment.  Cell phones should be turned off during the class period.  Please don’t monopolize class discussion.  Keep your points focused, succinct, and informative.

FINAL GRADES:Grades in a case-based class reflect how well students develop as organizational analysts and problem-solvers. Your development in the course will depend on many factors, not the least of which is your diligence in preparing for and participating in class discussions, as well as the effort you devote to the various assignments. In UG core courses, the Stern School has the following guidelines for letter grades:

25-35% of students can expect to receive A’s

50-70% of students can expect to receive B’s

5-15% of students can expect to receive C’s

STAYING IN TOUCH:  Email is the best way to get in touch with me or  Matan.  We’ll usually respond to any question within 24 hours.  Students can arrange to meet outside of class throughout the semester. I will maintain formal office hours on most Wednesdays from 2-5 PM in 719 Tisch and I welcome office hour visits. Matan is available by appointment that you can make by sending him an email..


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.


Details on the Organizational Research Assignment

The Organizational Research Requirement is worth 2% of your grade (see Class Contribution). Sound management practice is informed by academic research, where studies are conducted to examine basic psychological processes that play out in the workplace. You can obtain credit for the Organizational Research Assignment through either of following two options (you choose Option 1 or Option 2 – you will not get credit for doing both), and it is designed to enrich your understanding of the value of research to the formulation of sound management practice. I very much prefer that you choose option 1.

Option 1: Subject Pool Lab Participation. The first option is participation in the Management Department Subject Pool that will take place November 1-6. This gives you an opportunity to be part of management research in action and later evaluate it with the advantage of firsthand experience. With this option, you will be a participant in a 1-hour session of research experiment(s) currently being conducted by Management Department faculty. (Note that while the people running the studies are usually Ph.D. students or other research assistants, they are conducting the research for or with members of the Management Department faculty, who supervise them closely.) When you show up for a study, someone at the lab will seat you and record your attendance in the sign-up system so that you receive credit for this assignment, but note that your responses in the experiment cannot be connected to your identity in any way. Once these studies are finished, you will receive written debriefings.

Participation in the Subject Pool is easy and should be enjoyable. It only requires signing up for a session, showing up at the Stern Behavioral Lab, and following instructions. However, while the experiments are usually fun, you should take them seriously and provide honest and careful responses to all questions you are comfortable answering. Sign-ups will occur on-line once during the term and you will select a 1-hour slot that works for you during those days. Please note that the web-based sign up sheets do not reveal the identity of yourself or anyone else who will be participating in the experiment. I will announce when sign-ups become available for the experiment.

At the beginning the experimental session, you will be informed of what the study is about, what your rights are as a participant in the study, and any risks or benefits of participation in the experiment. You will be asked to read and sign a consent form, stating that you agree to participate in the experiment. You will be given one copy of the consent form to keep. If you prefer not to participate in the experiment or it you withdraw from the study once you begin, you may complete the research proposal assignment described below (“Option 2”) and will receive the same credit as if you had completed the experiment.

Please see me if you are under 18 and would like to participate in the lab research (“Option 1”) for your class requirement. It is a Federal law and University requirement that you provide a signed consent form from your parent or legal guardian before you can be a research participant. I will provide you with a copy of the parental consent form for each experiment, which must be read and signed by your parent or legal guardian. The form must then be returned to me prior to your participating in the experiment. (Note that you do not need parental consent if you this Research Proposal “Option 2” assignment described below.)

Option 2: Research Proposal Report. The other option is to write a research proposal. The assignment involves writing a report on a research proposal and will give you additional experience with organizational research and its application to management practice. The assignment will be available on the course BB site and is due on the last day of class.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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