The leadership style at McDonald's relies on the three legs of the stool. For the most part, the innovation and vision part of the leadership process is with McDonald's head office, while the more autocratic style comes through the suppliers and the owner/operators, whose job it is to undertake the actions that will allow the company to implement strategy. The company has its own leadership school that helps to ensure all senior managers -- and many lower-level managers as well -- are trained in the leadership functions. Thus, there is a high level of congruence between the leadership training that different McDonald's leaders receive. This allows for the managers to work together better, but it also facilitates management at McDonald's all adhering to the same culture, and the same values.
McDonald's is a pioneer in control. The company believes strongly in measurement as a means of helping to make managerial decisions. For example, the company times how long it takes to fill each order, and the store managers then record and chart this information. This allows head office to set targets that are realistic and represent improvement, and it allows for all levels of the company to engage in benchmarking. By gathering information at minute levels, McDonalds is able to constantly monitor its current state, and its progress towards the objectives, improving overall organizational control.
McDonalds takes each of the four functions of management seriously, which is why it excels at them. By focusing on each, and developing strategies for each that work well with each other, McDonalds has become a management leader, and that has allowed it to succeed to a very high level.
List of References
Capell, K. (2008). A golden recipe for McDonald's Europe. Business Week. Retrieved May 26, 2012 from http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jul2008/gb20080717_293203.htm
McDonalds.com, website, various pages. (2012). Mission and values. McDonalds.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012 from http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com
No author. (2012). Management concepts -- the four functions of management. Buzzle.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012 from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/management-concepts-the-four-functions-of-management.html
Module 2: Case Assignment
Google is a highly successful company, with a multitude of strengths from which to draw. It has few weaknesses. As a result, Google is well-equipped to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace and can easily fend off most threats. This paper will illustrate how.
Google has a lot of strengths from which it draws competitive advantage. The company has the most traffic of any website in the world. This gives it a very recognizable brand, and the company draws its revenues from that traffic. The Google Annual Report outlines how the company's business model works, in that it also sells its customer management services to third-party sites and draws advertising revenues from that as well. The company's outstanding financial health - $49 billion in cash as of Q1 2012 -- allows it to indulge in long-term projects that do not have immediate profitability. Two good examples are Android and Chrome, neither of which makes much money for Google right now, but both of which are key components in a broader strategic plan.
In order to ensure that the different elements of Google's strategy fit into the broader strategic plan, the company holds meetings with its key executives in order to coordinate the strategies of the different product groups (Stone, 2011). The coordination provides another competitive advantage, because Google has been able to attract top talent to its company by virtue of its reputation as an innovator and a place where top talent goes to work. The company also relies on a grand vision, something that is driven by its leadership group. For example, it purchased Android in 2005 and at the time nobody was sure what the company's strategy was. Google already envisioned at that point in time that it was going to be a player in mobile, and in the smartphone industry in particular, and was already putting pieces together. This long-term vision allows Google to be an innovator, rather than a follower, something that allows it to capture significant market advantages.
There are few weaknesses to be found at a company that has risen from nothing to global domination in a dozen years. With $38 billion in revenue, $9.7 billion in profit and $49 billion in cash on the balance sheet, there is little to argue with financially. The company does remain dependent on its online advertising business. For as many products as Google has its name on, it is the online marketing space that provides almost all of the company's revenues. The company has also struggled to capture market share in some key overseas markets, most notably China where it trails the home-grown Baidu and has faced significant resistance from the central government (Levy, 2011).
There are a number of opportunities in the marketplace. For a company with the financial and human resources of Google, almost anything is an opportunity, but a few stand out. The company is becoming a dominant player in mobile, besting rival Apple, but does not yet have an operating system to compete with Windows in the non-mobile space. Google also has opportunity to build out share in overseas markets as the developing world becomes increasingly wired. The company can tap into these opportunities if it starts to view its business more as computing or facilitating the flow of information rather than seeing itself as an advertising business or a search business.
The company has few serious threats, having taken over the mobile space. It remains threatened in broad terms by government intervention, such as occurs in China or other places where there is Internet censorship. Legislators in the United States have threatened numerous new laws that would curtail elements of Google's current business model. The more powerful Google becomes, the more likely it will see an increase in the scope and intensity of these laws. Beyond government, the company has basically been immune to threats from other businesses or from recession.
Discussion and Conclusions
Google is one of the most powerful companies in the world. It draws strength from the dependence that consumers have on its services and advertisers have on its traffic flow. Google has leveraged these strengths to eliminate threats to its business and has also leveraged these strengths to eliminate internal weaknesses and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. It enters new businesses where it sees opportunity and becomes dominant, pushing out even strong players like Apple. Google faces threat at this point mainly from sovereign governments.
Google is well-positioned for the future. From a strategy perspective, the company has a vision of what it wants, and the resources to achieve this vision. There are few obstacles that it cannot overcome. This is a company that has all the power in the world, but it needs to develop alternate revenue sources, because its power remains tied to its traffic and cash flow, and new superior technologies could disrupt that, forcing Google to abandon aspects of its long-term plans. The balance between strengths and weaknesses is tilted very strongly to strengths, and there are near limitless opportunities balanced against very few credible threats. Google has worked its way into a very envious position through a combination of vision and an exceptionally robust service, along with a significant amount of ambition.
Google has a number of different products, two prominent ones are the Chrome browser and Android. In terms of market share, Android is now the undisputed market leader. Chrome appears to have surpassed Firefox as the number two browser and it closing in on Internet Explorer for market leadership in that field. Thus, in terms of market share Google has enjoyed considerable success with both of these products. However, the company has thus far failed to monetize this success. The latest annual report shows that advertising revenues accounted for 96.77% of Google's total revenues, meaning that neither Android nor Chrome makes any money for the company. If success is measured in market share, these products are highly successful; if success is measured in profit then these products have failed.
List of References:
Anonymous (2005). Google's Grand Ambitions. Business Week, September 5, 2005. Retrieved May 27, 2012 from: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_36/b3949050_mz011.htm
Burrows, P. (2010). Apple vs. Google. Business Week, Jan 14, 2010, retrieved May 27, 2012 from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_04/b4164028483414_page_4.htm
Google 2011 Annual Report. Retrieved May 27, 2012 from http://investor.google.com/pdf/2011_google_annual_report.pdf
Levy, S. (2011). Inside Google's China misfortune. CNN Money. Retrieved May 27, 2012 from http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/15/googles-ordeal-in-china/
MSN Moneycentral. (2012). Google. Retrieved May 27, 2012 from http://investing.money.msn.com/investments/stock-balance-sheet/?stmtView=Qtr&symbol=GOOG
Stone, B. (2011) Larry Page's Google. Business Week, January 12, 2011, retrieved May 27, 2012 from: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_06/b4214050441614.htm
Module 2: Dell
The key to the turnaround at Dell is that the company needs to make more than just incremental changes. Its core business has suffered tremendous losses, and part of that relates to the fact that its traditional core customer base of large businesses either has moved to competitors or has reduced…