Professor Vassilis Papadakis Website

Οι ώρες γραφείου του κ. Παπαδάκη για το χειμερινό εξάμηνο είναι: Τρίτη 12.00 - 13.00

Business Strategy

1) BRIEF OUTLINE  (For the Current academic year the course is taught by Assistant Professor Mrs Salavou). 

Please follow the instructions provided by Prof. Salavou and not the description given below.

Strategic management deals with the fundamental problems facing every top manager:


  • How to analyze the external environment of the company: (Structural Analysis of Industries, Strategic Groups, Trends)



  • How to exploit and build resources and capabilities needed to achieve, maintain and improve the firms market positioning (strategy as the creation of dynamic capabilities)



  • How to direct the company into the future (mission/vision/strategic intent)



  • How to make a strategic choice, given a number of alternative strategic options (choices include: in which areas should we diversify, in which products/services should we expand, how are we going to implement this expansion, are we going to acquire, merge, form an alliance with another business).



  • How to build and sustain competitive advantage.



  • What type of structure, systems, people does a company need to successfully implement a chosen strategy.



  • The course will provide frameworks for identifying the challenges of different competitive environments. We will give you some analytical approaches that are useful to widely different strategic problems. Our final aim is to help you understand how to build a strategically responsive organization by tuning systems, structures and people to strategy, and how to effectively manage the process of strategizing.



The knowledge acquired in previous courses attended (e.g. marketing, production management, human resources management, financial management), will prove useful in better understanding the strategy course.


The required textbook is the following:

Hill, C.W.L. and G.R. Jones, 'Strategic Management: An Integrated Approach', Houghton Mifflin, 2008, eight edition ISBN-13: 978 0 618 89469 7 ISBN: 0618 89469 1

We would strongly recommend buying the book. Alternatively you can borrow the book from the University's central library. 
 Other recommended books:

  • Hitt, M.A. R.D. Ireland, and R.E. Hoskisson, Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization, South Western Publishing, 2009, eight edition.
  • Johnson G., K. Scholes and R. Whittington, Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, Pearson Education, 8th edition, 2007.
  • Markides C., All the Right Moves , Boston , Harvard Business school Press, 1999.
  • Hamel G. Leading the Revolution , Harvard Businss School Press 2000.
  • Hamel G. and C.K. Prahalad, Competing for the Future, first edition, Harvard Business School Press, 1994.


This is a reading course. This implies that you have to read the assigned material on your own, respond to the various assignments, and be prepared at the end of the semester (i.e. sometime in January 2020) to stand an oral examination. In the meantime there are specific deadlines you have to meet. 
Each deadline corresponds to a specific case study. You are required to:

  • Read the case study and understand it,
  • Read the relevant chapters from the book and/or additional material you may wish to find on your own
  • Link the questions to the textbook material and produce a short report responding to each of the questions posed. Typically the length of the report to each of the questions is between 1 and 3 pages (single space, 2.5 cm margins, times new roman, 12 pt).


Case Assignments

Deadline *

Most Relevant Chapters from the assigned textbook

•  1. The Pharmaceutical Industry, 2000

5 th of November 2010


•  Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: May 2002

2 6 th of November 2010


•  Harley-Davidson, Inc: January 2001

17 th of December 2010


•  The New Corporation (2001)

14 January 2011


* All reports should be submitted by 3 pm of the day specified. Please drop the assignment in the mailbox of Ass. Prof. E. Salavou. Please, don't send the assignments by e-mail.

All reports will be graded on a 1-10 scale (10 being the perfect mark). Delayed reports will receive a grade of 6 at maximum.

Plagiarism is forbidden. Plagiarism is defined as using 'a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work'. Of course you are allowed to use any sources of data you want, cooperate with students working on the same assignment, however you have to present your arguments in your own words. Plagiarizing assignments will get a zero mark.


You can send me an e-mail ( Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε. ) stating your full name and saying that you decided to take this course.


6) Discussion Questions for Case: The Pharmaceutical Industry, 2000

•  Use Porter's 'Five Forces of Competition' framework to show how the structure of the airline industry has caused low profitability during the past 20 years.

•  Which of Porter's five forces has had the biggest impact in depressing industry profitability?

•  In what ways, and with what success, have the airline's strategies attempted to counteract competitive forces depressing profitability in the industry?

•  What is the outlook for industry profitability during the remainder of the decade?

Think about the events of Sept 11, 2001. Can you imagine any European airline increasing its profitability after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack? Justify your position


7) Discussion Questions for Case Assignment 2: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: May 2002



  • To what extent is Wal-Mart's performance attributable to industry attractiveness and to what extent to competitive advantage?
  • In which of Wal-Mart's principal functions and activities (namely: purchasing, distribution and warehousing, in-store operations, marketing, IT, HRM, and organization and management systems/style) do WM's main competitive advantages lie? Identify the distinctive resources and capabilities in each of these functions/activities.
  • To what extent has WM been able to transfer the competitive advantage it established in discount retailing in the US (a) to other countries, (b) to other retail sectors and formats? Why has WM's overseas performance to date been so patchy?
  • To what extent is WM's competitive advantage sustainable? Why have other retailers had limited success in imitating WM's strategy and duplicating its competitive advantage?
  • Looking ahead, what measures does WM need to take to sustain its recent performance and defend against competitive (and other) threats?



8) Discussion Questions for Case Assignment 3: Harley-Davidson, Inc: January 2001

•  Identify Harley-Davidson's strategy and explain its rationale

•  Compare Harley-Davidson's resources and capabilities to those of Honda. What does your analysis imply for Harley's potential to establish cost and differentiation advantage over Honda?

•  What threats does Harley face?

•  How can Harley Davidson sustain and enhance its competitive position?


9) Discussion Questions for Case Assignment 4: News Corporation (2001)

•  Please identify the corporate-level strategies TNC implemented throughout the period 1980-2000.

•  Please evaluate how these strategies (see question 1) were associated with the SWOT analysis of TNC.

•  How did TNC corporate-level strategies add value at the business-level?

•  Please propose and evaluate two corporate-level strategies, which should be adopted by TNC for the period 2001-06.


Your final grade will depend on the following:

Quality of Written Reports to case studies


Final Examination


    Exams will take place in the period between mid January-Mid February. Therefore students wishing to go back to their countries before or shortly after Christmas are advised not to take this course.
    In case fewer than 10 students assign for the course the final exams will be aural exams. If more than 10 students assign there will be a written examination. In the later case it is going to be an open book examination based on either a short case study, or questions on the 4 main case studies, or multiple-choice questions or any combination of the above.



The Instructors

Vassilis Papadakis holds a BSc and an MBA from the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and a Ph.D. from London Business School . He is currently a Professor at the AUEB and Head of the Department of Business Administration.

His main research and teaching interests are in the area of Business Strategy, Strategic Decision Making, Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Leadership. He has been published in such international journals as: Strategic Management Journal, Organisation Science, British Journal of Management, International Studies of Management and Organisation, Business Strategy Review, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, European Management Journal, Management Decision. He is the co-editor (with. Patrick Barwise) of an international book on 'Strategic Decisions (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998). Two of his papers (years 1996 and 2003) have been accepted and published in the best paper's proceedings of the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the American Academy of Management. A very recent paper (with I. Thanos and C. Miller) has been included in the shortlist for the best paper award of the 2010 Strategic Management Society Conference ( Rome Sept. 2010).

In recognition of his performance as an academic teacher he has been awarded 'Teaching Excellency Awards' by the following postgraduate programs at the AUEB: a) International MBA (ex Postgraduate Program in Decision Sciences) b) Executive MBA and c) MSc in Marketing and Communication with new Technologies, d) Full Time Interdepartmental MBA.

He has taught a number of executive training courses on Strategy and Management in various companies including: Vodafone, Abbott Laboratories, Alpha Bank, Eurobank, Germanos Group of Companies, Public Power Corporation, Praktiker, Gilead Sciences etc.

He is a member of the American and the British Academy of Management as well as the strategic Management Society. Finally, he serves as a regular reviewer for top international academic journals including: Academy of Management Review , Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies, British Journal of Management, and Organization Studies.

Helen Salavou holds a BSc in Business Administration, an MBA and a PhD from the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Business Administration of AUEB and member of the laboratories of 'business strategy' and 'strategy and entrepreneurship' at the AUEB.

Her main research interests involve innovation, entrepreneurship and small business research. She has published in several international journals including: Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing, European Business Review, Management Decision, European Journal of Innovation Management, Creativity and Innovation Management. She has authored a monograph, co-authored a monograph and published chapters in edited volumes. She has also presented her work in international conferences, such as EMAC ( European Marketing Academy ) and EIASM (European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management).

She has participated in various research projects both at a national and international level since 1997. She has also taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses, such as management, strategy and entrepreneurship at the AUEB, Agricultural University of Athens and Hellenic Management Association (EEDE). She also possesses consulting experience with public and private organizations in Greece .


ΑΡΧΙΚΗ ΔΙΔΑΣΚΑΛΙΑ ΠΡΟΠΤΥΧΙΑΚΑ ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΑ Erasmus Business Strategy Course description


  • Οικονομικό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών Πατησίων 76, 10434 Αθήνα
  • Γραφείο: Κεντρικό Κτίριο του Πανεπιστημίου, 1ος όροφος, απέναντι από την Πρυτανεία. 
  • Τηλέφωνο Γραφείου: 210-8203 272
  • Email: Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.


  • Οι ώρες γραφείου του κ. Παπαδάκη
    για το χειμερινό εξάμηνο είναι:
  • Τρίτη 12.00 - 13.00