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15.903 Strategy and Organization

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Organizational capability is increasingly believed to be a critical—perhaps the critical—source of competitive advantage. The new internet firms are held up as models for the “old” economy, and firms everywhere are advised to use aggressive incentives, to be fast, to be flexible, and to be networked. At the same time we are in the midst of the largest merger wave in history. The large firms are getting larger. Their CEOs talk of “building small-company spirit in large-company clothing” but the analysts talk of scale, routine, and regularity.

What is going on? When should organizations outsource and when should they produce internally? How can one maintain the creativity and enthusiasm characteristic of a small firm inside a large one? When should one even try? How do the answers to these questions change as one manages across boundaries, across industries, and over time?

This course attempts to provide the tools necessary to answer such questions. To do so, we utilize, deepen, and integrate three courses from the first-year fall core: microeconomics (15.010), organizational processes (15.311), and strategy (15.900). For example, from microeconomics we take the ideas of incentives and game theory, from organizational process power and culture, and from strategy industry structure and core competence.


Professor Robert S. Gibbons
Office: E52-590
Tel: 617-253-0283

Professor Jesper Sorensen
Office: E52-581
Tel: 617-253-7945

Course Assistant

Adriana Mihal
Office: E52-580
Tel: 617-253-0575

Teaching Assistants


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