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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Zbigniew M Bochniarz
PB AF 595
Seattle Campus

Topics in Environmental Policy and Management

Examines various topics of public importance in environmental policy and management. Integrates the political, managerial, and economic dimensions of these issues.

Class description

The course will respond to the basic question—why do we need a competitiveness course now, particularly at the Evans School of Public Affairs? A competitive economy is the core of economic sustainability—the basic foundation for prosperity. The financial crisis followed by economic recession clearly indicated the need for governmental intervention, including necessary regulations, facilitating public-private partnership, coordinating with NGOs. The problem is how to regulate the economy to enhance its competitiveness and put it on a sustainable path of development. The course will answer this basic question by providing a variety of successful cases from around the world. The basic idea of the course is to bring together students not only from public affairs but also from business and economics, from natural resources and political sciences to discuss the selected cases, resolve them, and apply their new knowledge and skills in resolving local and regional problems in Washington State. They will learn how to assess and mobilize local resources, create value propositions— a shared value for business, government, and society—that can attract investors here and now instead of outsourcing. This approach is taught by the Microeconomics of Competition (MOC) program adapted from M. Porter (Harvard Business School) by over 90 universities worldwide, including the University of Washington since fall 2008.

The course starts with the firm level, then move up to cluster, city, and regional/state level ending with national and supra-national level (European Union). Implementing the MOC requires partnership of academic, governmental, business, and nonprofit organizations. It enriches curricula of competitiveness and cluster concepts, builds new human and social capital, and helps turn the crisis into development opportunity.

Although Washington state was an early adaptor of the cluster concept and has identified the priority clusters, the background studies conducted for the state strategy are already 6–8 years old. They need to be updated and the policies designed to support cluster development analyzed at the present stage. Particularly, there is need to verify whether the cluster-based strategy was fully supported by appropriate policy measures and funding, and available local resources identified and allocated for cluster development and upgrading. It is expected that by the end of winter quarter 2011, there will be a new database for the WA major clusters. This would be a perfect situation for our graduate students to explore their abilities to apply new knowledge and skills to analyze and evaluate the new data on our major clusters.

Student learning goals

The main goal is to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and overcome the crisis and succeed in global competition, which are the most critical issues not only for business but for local, regional and national public sector leaders. According to M. Porter “The ultimate aim of the course is no less than to make a meaningful impact on the economic competitiveness of the countries in which it is taught.” This is particularly important issue for such state as Washington heavily dependent on trade. The course focuses on enhancement of professional development of participants and thus improvements in economic development at the firm, regional, state, and national levels by: 1. Explaining the new concepts of economic development based on competitiveness and innovation in very practical ways 2. Exploring the main economic factors influencing the competitive position, productivity growth and innovative capacity of firms, regions/states and nations 3. Introducing the cluster concept as a useful policy tool for strengthening the competitive advantage of a firm, regional/state specialization and national competitiveness, and thus sustaining economic growth and prosperity 4. Identifying both (successful and failing) cases of coordination support for cluster development

General method of instruction

1. This is an interactive and case-based course. The short lectures, guest and students presentations are followed by competitive case study discussions. There is always a brief summary at the end of class. The CFP will be delivered in an easy and pragmatic way by: 2. Studying and discussing practical case studies on U.S. and other competitive economies. Case studies taken from Professor Porter’s book On Competition and HBS cases 3. Elaborating conclusions and policy recommendations from each of the discussed cases applicable to the Washington State. 4. Identifying, evaluating (strength and weaknesses, threats and opportunities) and mapping existing clusters in the State of Washington and working in regional team cluster projects. 5. Designing appropriate strategies and action plans to enhance competitive position of selected clusters, closing major gaps, eliminating bottlenecks, and thus sustaining economic development and wealth in Washington State 6. Presenting the results of the field projects to the main stakeholders at the end of the program. 7. Registering at the special HBS websites with teaching materials and course assignments.

Recommended preparation

Include prerequisites and background necessary for success in the course: Students are expected to: (1) read the selected cases and chapters from M. Porter On Competition: Updated and Expanded Edition, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston 2008, (2) discuss the cases and make short presentations related to selected cases and team project, (3) prepare a team project. The prerequisites include at least Principles of Economics – preferable Microeconomics.

Class assignments and grading

(1) Do the reading assignments and participate in class discussion. The required reading includes: • Michael Porter On Competition: Updated and Expanded Edition, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston 2008 (selected chapters); • Selected HBS and other cases; • Michael Porter, Washington: Profile of the State Economy, HBS 2002; Students are encouraged to identify other readings related to industry clusters and economic development as well as their project states and industry clusters. (2) Contribute to the team project during the whole program. (3) Elaborate the Final Project Report with an analysis of the four components of the Diamond Model, cluster map, SWOT analysis, and appropriate strategies and action plans.

50%: Class participation, mostly resolving cases (individually and/or by a team with short presentation), and brief literature comments/overview; 50%: Team project (including 10% for a short power point presentation). The team (4-5 students) should produce the following deliverables to complete the project: Identification of significant regional clusters Identification of key businesses and stakeholders in the cluster Interviews with staff of key businesses within industry clusters in the region Identification of (1) factor conditions, (2) demand conditions, (3) related and supporting industries and (4) context for firm strategy and rivalry affecting the competitive position of the regional industry cluster Identifying, evaluating (strength and weaknesses, threats and opportunities) and mapping existing clusters in the State of Washington and working in regional team cluster projects Designing appropriate strategies and action plans to enhance competitive position of selected clusters, closing major gaps, eliminating bottlenecks, and thus sustaining economic development and wealth in Washington State; Presenting the results of the field projects to the main stakeholders at the end of the program.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Ellen Weinstein
Date: 03/24/2011