Strategic Management

High School ・Business ・MLA

Question one

In the Input Stage, strategists creates the input information needed to formulate the strategies. Earlier, the strategists quantify subjectivity, and this calls for good sensible judgement. It entails the IFE, EFE Matrix, and CPM. The Matching Stage is where managers match the organization's internal skills and assets and the perils and opportunities originating from the external conditions. It based on the generation of the possible alternative strategies through the accordance of the internal and external factors. The strategies in this step include BCG Matrix, SWOT Matrix, Grand Strategy Matrix and SPACE Matrix. The Decision Stage shows a relative attractiveness of the alternative strategies. Hence, it gives the objective basis for selecting the specific strategies. The technique used is the QSPM.

The two Matching Stage techniques include SWOT Matrix & Grand Strategy Matrix. In SWOT Matrix, there are four types of strategies which include Strengths-Opportunities (SO), Weaknesses-Opportunities (WO), Strengths-Threats (ST) and Weaknesses-Threats (WT). The matrix helps in improving current situation by identifying the factors that can impact performance. The strategies aim at utilizing the firm’s internal strengths and taking advantage of the external opportunities to help in coming up with the defensive tactics aimed at the reduction of the internal weaknesses as well as avoiding the environmental threats. Grand Strategy Matrix is a tool for formulating the alternative strategies and is based on two dimensions that include market growth and the competitive position and has four quadrants. Each quadrant in the matrix contains various sets of strategies which help in determining where a firm and its divisions fall by keeping in mind attractiveness in each quadrant. There are four important elements in this strategy matrix that include rapid market growth, strong competitive position, low market growth and weak competitive position.

Question two

The competition over the scarce resources such as money, time, materials space and equipment result in conflict. Such competition leads to both interdepartmental and interpersonal conflicts. The different objectives being set to compete for the scarce resources as well as trade-offs that are necessary for optimum utilization. For example, the marketing department may prefer to increase the product line to enhance the provision of a variety of goods to meet the needs of the market segments while the finance may insist that the resources are not enough and it can lead to interdepartmental conflicts. The different expectations and perceptions among individuals result in disputes as some may want to achieve a particular or may want a given technique to make appropriate objectives where their colleagues are thinking from a different ground. Miscommunication can drive the conflict underground and can lead to misunderstandings as well as hostility. Conflicts of interest contribute to objective setting disputes as individuals may prefer to fight for their goals and put fewer efforts on the organizational goals. Time pressure can lead to conflicts during objective-setting activities since some of the participants may want to complete a process as fast as possible while others may want the procedure to be slow but sure to enhance effectiveness in the formulation of appropriate strategies. Personality incompatibility also contributes to conflicts.

The organization should design its structure in a way that it allows close cooperation between all parties, effective communications in all the directions, and clear documentation of the roles and responsibilities of every member involved in the objective-setting. Therefore it should be a matrix organizational structure that is dynamic and facilitates the sharing of resources between the functional units and the project managers or those tasked with the responsibility of generating and selecting attractive strategies.

Question three

Motivation through incentives is the best way as it drives individuals to perform better in the organization as they focus on the accomplishment of the set goals. It is because, incentives, whether monetary or non-monetary increases productivity, drive a stimulus work, enhances commitment, facilitates psychological and job satisfaction, shape a behavior of a person, inculcates zeal towards work and maximum utilization of the capabilities. In the self-direction, an employee selects outcomes that are desirable and puts more effort towards achievement of a given task. Self-directed workers will tend to come up with results that improve an organization. Despite self-direction being a powerful motivator in an organizational setup, it is not the best when comparing it to incentives where employees work efficiently knowing that there is a reward for working harder. A self-directed person may be motivated to perform better in areas of interest and underperform those tasks that may not be interesting.

In creating a work-friendly environment, one has to develop a positive attitude that leads to a more comfortable workplace as well as treating everyone with respect which results to trust and teamwork despite the different opinions of individuals. Also, it is crucial to be an active listener to enhance effective communication to foster a work environment in which people feel that they have a voice. There is need to connect on a personal level by developing meaningful bonds that encourage the exchange of ideas. Developing relationships outside of work enhance sharing of interests and working together with the common goals and objectives of improving the productivity and performance of the organization. Furthermore, the establishment of a healthful workplace such as proper ventilation, office furniture, and temperature level may motivate and stimulate employees. Other ways include team building, establishing mentoring programs and career plans and investing in the employees.

Question four

The first reason behind the difficulty in the successful strategy implementation includes failure to articulate it in a way that engages all the implementers and linking it to the team, departmental and the individual objectives. The strategy may not be well known or understood as implementers were not involved during the formulation stage. Poor communication channels resulting from the business structure makes an individual remain confused on what roles and responsibilities to play in the plan to enhance coordination of the activities. Also, mostly, the time periods become unrealistic as people tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in a given period, for instance, a year. Changes in leadership before execution of a strategy may lead to inconsistencies in implementing it. Another reason includes the inability to put the necessary structure and systems that can help in making the implementation process tangible and inaccurate reflection of what is on the ground. If the organizational culture is in a way that people have conflicting opinions regarding the strategy, then the degree of resistance will be high which results to internal sabotage about the process. The inadequacy of resources such as labor and capital also contribute to difficulty in the execution of a strategy.

An example of a failed strategy includes that of Kodak which designed the first digital camera. The company had a plan for adapting to the digital world but failed in implementing it due to product cannibalization. Kodak management failed to make right strategic choices thus lost opportunities in the digital photography they had invented. Apple's business strategy to gain a technological advantage over the competitors is an example of the successful strategy. It implemented it successfully through acquisition and retention of key employees as well as product differentiation.

Question five

The first step to best position a company includes determining the current positioning of the enterprise. Here, it is crucial to define the brand's attributes and values, the target customers and their needs and wants, how to meet such needs and to understand the competitors. The second step shall involve competitor analysis which aims at knowing their strategies and how the company's strategic actions can influence the industry behavior to gain a competitive advantage. The elements to consider involves competitor objectives, assumptions, marketing strategy and capabilities which help in understanding where more efforts should be placed to enhance the best position of the firm.

Next, there is need to carry out competitor positioning analysis using Porter's five forces that include buyer and supplier power, competitive rivalry, the threat of substitution and new entry. It will assist in knowing the factors that impact profitability in the market and how to develop competing strategies. The other step will be comparing and contrasting the company’s version with those of the competitors. It will help in the determination of where the positioning strategy should focus. Development of a unique positioning idea shall follow that should be impressive in the minds of customers and should be specific and desirable regarding the brand. The last step involves drafting the best position statement that shall become a basis for the subsequent communication and advertising initiatives.

Coca-Cola Company is well positioned in the soft drink market through the strategic positioning. It is perceived in the minds of customers as part of daily life everywhere. Such consumer perception of company’s brands resulted to a high degree of the customer loyalty and thus making purchasing decisions to be more automatic. When the word Coke is mentioned, all that comes into the minds of consumers involve fun and entertainment.

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