Course description

Strategies for Industrial Competitiveness


The course explores the determinants of industrial competitiveness and successful economic development viewed from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective. While sound macroeconomic policies and stable legal and political institutions create the potential for industrial competitiveness, wealth is actually created at the microeconomic and firm levels. The sophistication and productivity of firms, the vitality of industrial clusters, and the quality of the business environment are the ultimate determinants of the productivity and innovation capacity of nations, regions and industries.

Course content

In this graduate course we will present the diamond model, the emerald model and the development of industrial clusters in advanced, emerging and developing economies. The model is extended to include current research on knowledge based competitiveness. The course will draw on recently completed research from the large national research project “A knowledge-based Norway” (

Strategies at both firm level, cluster level, regional and national levels will be discussed, integrating variables at the business, industry and societal levels. The course is targeting graduate students of business and strategy, but the course is also relevant for other specializations. The empirical approach is global, and the students are asked to analyse industries on all continents.

The course is offered in cooperation with Professor Michael E. Porter, Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School, and his highly successful, second year Harvard MBA course, Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC). The Harvard MOC Network now consists of more than 100 universities in 70 different countries.

BI students taking GRA 6829 will have free electronic access to lectures and case discussions at Harvard, and extensive net based data resources at Harvard Business School are available for project work. This also includes free downloading of the HBS cases used in the course.

1. Firms and Industries

Introduction to Competitiveness
The Drivers of Competitiveness
Industrial Contexts
Industry Competition, Strategy and Locations
Competing Across Borders
Globalization and Internationalization of Firms

2. The Microeconomic Business Environment

The Diamond Model: Advanced Economies
The Diamond Model: Transitional Economies
The Diamond Model: Developing Economies
Developing Cluster Charts
The Emerald Model: Knowledge-based Policies

3. Industrial Cluster Development

Clusters and Competitiveness
Natural Resource Based Clusters
Knowledge Based Cluster
Emerging, Mature and Declining Clusters
Transformations of Clusters
The Global Knowledge Hub Model
Institutions for Collaboration
Mechanisms for Cluster Upgrading
Innovation and entrepeneurship
Entrepreneurship Scale-up strategies

4. Economic Strategy for Industries, Regions and Nations

National Economic Strategies
Role of Government
Incentives and Regulation
Regional Economic Strategies
Stagnation, Transformation, Entrepreneurship accelerations
Economic Strategies: Emerging and Developing Economies
Asian Competitiveness, the Role of China, India and ASEAN
Increasing Role of Emerging Economies
Threats of disintegrations and deglobalization

Learning outcome knowledge

The main learning objectives are:

  • To make students understand how the competitiveness of firms is embedded in the external context of an industry and industrial clusters.
  • To enable students to use the diamond framework of Michael Porter's "On Competition" to assess and influence the potential of industries and economic regions.
  • To enable students to perform a strategic analysis of an industry, an industrial cluster or a region and drawing policy implications from the analysis.

Hence, the students should have a broad view on value creation in societies, understanding the role of knowledge and innovation, and they should be able to identify areas where collaboration among specific institutions is crucial to gain welfare effects.

Exam organisation

  • Class participation: 50%
  • Written assignment: 50%