Strategic Competitiveness Modern and Traditional Term Paper

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Then they can transfer them to all the business units and follow through. A best practice of an organization provides it with unique and distinctive competence and cost/benefit impact. Therefore the transfer and sharing of the best practice organization wide becomes necessary for attaining a competitive edge.

Benchmarking attempts to improve business processes by analyzing the top-notch approaches of others and adapting it to one's own organization to achieve a competitive lead. Best practices and benchmarking can give an organization strategic, operational, and financial advantage. Bench marking is an attempt by an organization to look for continuous improvement. Japanese concept of "Kaizen" or continuous improvement also considers benchmarking an important part of its philosophy. Benchmarking can also require management to think out of the box. For example, if someone wants to see the standards for team management in the steel industry they might look for the best practice in the same industry. However, in benchmarking apples can be compared with oranges as a Steel mill looking for team management standards actually looked up to McDonald's management of small teams and they benchmarked their standards. The main concerns in benchmarking therefore are about looking up to "best of the best" and reach that standard and go beyond to become "best in class."

TQM & CPR: Total quality management and core process reengineering are two most important concepts of the modern strategic management. TQM is about making incremental improvements in the processes and their flow is generally from bottom to top while CPR is regarding bringing about radical changes in the process designs and the flow is generally from top to bottom. Both TQM and CPR inculcate a strategic view at the operations level as the improvements in the processes can only be brought about if departments interact with each other. In the absence of this strategic interaction among departments, failed projects could be produced for example technological advancement brought about by the R&D department can be of no use if the firm does not have or cannot acquire the capabilities to produce or implement it. Hence, inter-organizational collaboration is one of the requirements of successful process improvement utilizing organizations resources and capabilities. Furthermore, both TQM and CPR should not be considered as ends instead of means to achieve overall strategic goal. Overall strategy should be the guiding force behind TQM and CPR because without overall strategy managers cannot decide which operations are important. Globe metallurgical Inc. is one company that actually worked on this concept of process improvement and ended up getting Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Decentralization of hierarchy and decision-making: Most organizations that we encounter today are vertical organizations. These vertical organizations are a bunch of departments huddled together, which in fact can be considered separate organizations unto themselves, as they do not communicate with each other and exist in complete ignorance of the other department. That's why the management of functions is now taking a back seat resulting in the importance of managing the processes instead. This process management view that we have discussed extensively in this paper requires a 90-degree shift in the organizational structure and decision-making process. The new management concept is about coming up with customer orientation of the organization that is how customer views an organization. The result is that most organization that consider process management, resources, capabilities and knowledge crucial for their survival and success in the times of rapid changes in technology and global economy have moved to decentralization and empowerment of group of employees for making decisions without wasting much time in red tape, bureaucracy and hierarchy. We have a number of examples of organizations that have moved successfully to process management and horizontal approach. Chrysler, for instance, set an example for all when they used process management to successfully launch Neon subcompact. Xerox is also known for making micro enterprise units instead of a matrix structure they used to follow.

Organizational culture is one of the most important factors in implementation of strategies that managers formulate to attain competitive edge. Organizations and their strategies fail because of this tangible yet crucial factor. Organizational values may hamper the implementation of strategies/techniques some of which are discussed above like learning, knowledge-based perspective, TQM, CPR etc. Cultural factors such as, "values, beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, myths, stories, legends, sagas, language, metaphors, symbols. Heroes and heroines" (David 1991, p.165) can make or break organizations in today's competitive environment. So, cultural evaluation becomes a feature of utmost importance. Managers must check whether they still adhere to age-old management practices or if they welcome the values that modern management supports.

Conclusion: The new strategies can lead organization in the right direction and so the managers must make a comparison of the new strategies required to achieve prominent position in the market and the values or culture prevalent in the organization. All the strategies, theories, techniques discussed in the paper cannot work out in the traditional management environment. The success of all these factors depends on the values flexibility, participation, empowerment et al.

In order to implement or make use of these theories, organizations must let go of their age-old practices and make room for modern management values. These values can only be inculcated if the workforce has involvement with the organization and its business and they own the mission of the organization. However, this can only take place in an environment that is flexible and a culture that encourages participation of employees at all levels.


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David, Fred R. 1991, Strategic Management. 3rd Ed. McMillan

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Dews, Gregory G, & Miller, A. 1993, 'Strategic Management'. McGraw-Hill International Edition.

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Fatima, M. 1995, 'How to create a strategy supportive culture', Dawn Economic & Business Review, 26 Aug- 1 Sept.

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