Executive Program in Strategy and Organization

Stanford Graduate School of Business

How long?

  • 2 weeks
  • in person

Stanford Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • Senior executives with 10 to 15 years of experience
  • Senior functional leaders transitioning into general management
  • Division-level managers who will soon assume corporate-level positions
  • Individuals from larger global organizations — from any industry and any country

About the course

Effectively diagnose and solve problems using proven frameworks for executing change in this multidisciplinary strategic management course.

Strategic management. Organizational theory. Personal leadership. The Executive Program in Strategy and Organization focuses on all three. Through pioneering multidisciplinary research from Stanford GSB faculty, you’ll learn how to create a strategy that aligns with your organization, culture, and the environment in which you compete. Experience two academically rigorous weeks packed with lectures, hands-on exercises, case studies, and discussion groups.

At Stanford, we focus on frameworks that help you think in new ways about the strategic challenges and opportunities you face. Rather than getting a checklist of best practices, you’ll come away with the skills you need in order to create powerful, winning action plans.

It’s a unique opportunity to learn things you won’t find in the news or business books, and immerse yourself with fellow executives in a learning environment that cultivates an innovative mindset to bring back to your organization.

Key Benefits

Gain the necessary skills to design and build winning action plans that align with your company culture and sustain competitive advantage.

  • Explore how your organization’s shortcomings and competencies translate into strategic challenges and opportunities.
  • Identify and improve alignment between the competitive environment and your company’s strategy and organizational structure.
  • Use analytical tools to identify and evaluate a business’s strategy and its position in the industry.
  • Develop effective frameworks for executing change-management initiatives.


Why do some organizations fail while others succeed? How do you create a strategy that aligns with your competencies and culture? How do you sustain a competitive advantage?

Winning strategies are required. But they won’t be generated in a planning group. They’ll develop at the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization, a two-week comprehensive program designed to help you “do the right thing” rather than “do things right.” The program gives you a unique opportunity to diagnose and solve strategic problems and create action plans for implementing real change.

Program Highlights

Below are just a few of the sessions you’ll experience as part of this program.

The Ambidextrous Leader

To be adaptive requires managers and companies to be ambidextrous — that is, to consciously adopt different strategies and organizational alignments for different businesses. This session will illustrate how some companies have been able to develop the dynamic capabilities needed to do this.

Capability-Based Strategy

Company capabilities are strategic advantages that derive from things that your business does that others cannot do, or cannot do as well. For instance, your company might be more innovative than others, deliver consistently better service, or produce goods with fewer defects and greater reliability than anyone else can. As a strategic leader, you should always be concerned with developing and strengthening your business’s capability-based advantages. In this session, we will explore the role of organization in generating capability-based advantages, and introduce a framework for analyzing organizational design and strategic alignment.

Design Thinking and Strategy

This module offers participants the chance to learn design thinking: a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applied to products, services, and even business and organizational design. We believe that innovation is necessary in every aspect of business, and that the required skills can be taught. Thus, you will walk away from the workshop with a strong understanding of the key tenets of design thinking, and you will be able to execute them within your organization.

You will first have the opportunity to rapidly experience how the design process works through a hands-on exercise. Then, you will be introduced to a framework for thinking about the organizational ecosystem, and how we can use a human-centered design process to effectively identify the roots of common managerial and organizational problems (such as lack of coordination between units, lack of time for creative thinking, lack of trust between units, loss of top talent, and so on).

Financing Innovation

A key step in leading innovation within your enterprise is obtaining the resources needed to fund that innovation. To do so, it is usually necessary to convince others of the financial and strategic merits. In these sessions, we will see how to build a financial model that will allow you to make a decision about whether to fund a new investment in a product, project, or business. As we will see, a financial model is a critical tool that enables you to estimate both the resources needed and the return that can be generated by a new opportunity. Moreover, you can use the financial model to better understand both the risk and the opportunities that the project represents.

Industry Analysis

One of the most important determinants of a company’s performance is the attractiveness of the industry in which it competes. This session will provide practical tools for conducting an industry analysis and for evaluating a business’s position in its industry.

Leadership in Crisis Management

What should management do when a crisis focuses the harsh spotlight of public opinion on their organization? Whether it results from a company’s own missteps (think BP) or from strategic activism or media action (think Greenpeace), dealing with crisis is increasingly on the agenda for today’s executives. In this session, we will explore the skills and organizational structures that enable leaders to prepare for and productively manage a crisis, and prevent lasting damage to an organization’s reputation.

Crafting Strategy Through Strategic Arguments

Oftentimes, managers and leaders in a company lack an effective way of engaging with each other on strategic issues. Despite the fact that many people have important and valuable insights, the crafting of a company’s strategy is reduced to a set of broadly stated goals in a slide presentation. Changing this process and the articulation of strategy requires that those in the business develop a set of skills for engaging in constructive strategic arguments. In this session, we focus on sharpening strategic acumen by illustrating and applying a framework for constructive strategic arguments.

Strategy Beyond Markets

For a company to achieve superior overall performance, its strategy beyond markets must be integrated with its market strategy. This series of sessions considers companies’ strategic interactions with important constituents, organizations, and institutions outside of markets. Topics of discussion will include boycotts, legislation, and enforcement of intellectual property rules, all of which can substantially impact performance and profitability.


Francis Flynn

Research Statement Professor Flynn’s research focuses on three topics of interest: (1) How employees can develop healthy patterns of cooperation; (2) How the negative impact of racial and gender stereotyping in the workplace can be mitigated; and (3) How people can emerge as leaders and assume po...

Jesper Sørensen

Research Statement Jesper B. Sørensen specializes in the dynamics of organizational and strategic change, and their implications for individuals and their careers. His research on firm outcomes has focused on the impact of organizational structure and culture on organizational learning, performan...

William Barnett

Research Statement William Barnett studies competition among organizations and how organizations and industries evolve globally. He is conducting a large-scale project that seeks to explain why and how some firms grow rapidly in globalizing markets. His prior research includes studies of how stra...

Steven Callander

Research Statement Steve Callander’s research interests lie at the intersection of business, politics, and society. As a researcher, he uses the tools of game theory to build models of political and economic institutions (legislatures, bureaucracies, markets, etc.) to understand how they work, ho...

Glenn Carroll

Research Statement Glenn Carroll’s research addresses questions about organizations, strategic management, and industrial evolution. His most recent project studies socially constructed authenticity – how consumers and others value authenticity, how consumers search for authenticity in products a...

Sarah Soule

Research Statement Sarah A. Soule's research examines state and organizational-level policy change and diffusion, and the role social movements have on these processes. She has recently published papers on how protest impacts multi-national firm-level decisions regarding divestment in Burma, and ...

Stefanos Zenios

Bio Stefanos Zenios is the Investment Group of Santa Barbara Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Operations, Information, and Technology. He is also the faculty codirector of Stanford GSB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. An innovative teacher and researcher, Zenios is the main arc...

Charles O'reilly

Research Statement Professor O’Reilly’s research spans studies of leadership, organizational demography and diversity, culture, executive compensation and organizational innovation and change. Teaching Statement Professor O’Reilly has taught courses for MBAs and executives in organizational innov...

Katherine Casey

Research Statement Katherine Casey is an Associate Professor of Political Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research explores the interactions between economic and political forces in developing countries, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. She is particularly interested i...

Amir Goldberg

Research Statement Amir Goldberg’s research lies at the intersection of cultural sociology, data science and organization studies. He is interested in understanding how social meanings emerge and solidify through social interaction, and what role network structures play in this process. The co-di...

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Executive Program in Strategy and Organization at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

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