Strategic Management in Action Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Strategic Management Action: Strategic Position, Choices, And Strategy Implementation

Strategic management is stated to be the "process by which an organization formulates its objectives and manages to achieve them. Strategy is the means to achieve the organizational ends." (Thomas, nd) Managers are required to have a strategic vision in order to become strategic managers and implement strategic management initiatives. The strategic vision of the manager is inclusive of the following elements:

(1) The ability to solve complex and more complex problems;

(2) The knowledge to be more anticipatory in perspective and approach, and (3) The willingness to develop options for the future. (Thomas, nd)

The work of Peter Drucker states that the primary task of strategic management is the focus on the business overall mission and states:

"…that is, of asking the question What is our Business? This leads to the setting of objectives, the development of strategies, and the making of today's decisions for tomorrow's results. This clearly must be done by a part of the organization that can see the entire business; that can balance objectives and the needs of today against the needs of tomorrow; and that can allocate resources of men and money to key results." (Thomas, nd)

The work of Henderson is reported to note that due to the "accelerating rate of change today…" the business world is such that "customary managerial habits in organizations are increasingly adequate. Experience alone was an adequate guide when changes could be made in small increments. But intuitive and experience-based management philosophies are grossly inadequate when decisions are strategic and have major irreversible consequences." (cited in: Thomas, nd)

The following illustration depicts the strategic management paradigm.

Figure 1

Strategic Management Paradigm

Source: Thomas (nd)

This work will examine the strategic management areas of strategic position, strategic choice, and strategy implementation.

There are reported to be five tasks of strategic management including those as follows:

(1) Development of a strategic vision and business mission;

(2) Setting of objectives;

(3) Creating a strategy to achieve the objectives;

(4) Implementation and execution of a strategy; and (5) Evaluation of performance, monitoring, new developments, and initiating corrective adjustments. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

Task 1 and Task 2 are such that can be revised as the need arises. Task 3 and task four may be changed or improved as the need arises and Task 5 may involve recycling and returns to tasks 1, 2, 3, or four as the need arises. There are various approaches that a company may take for the preparation for future conditions in the market including the reactive/follower approach with rapid revolutionary change which means the company is in a rush to catch up or the proactive/leader approach which means rapid revolutionary change through aggressive altercation of the strategy which results in the company making waves and driving change. The company may also be a reactive/follower with gradual evolutionary change characterized by a revisement of strategy to catch the waves or proactive/leader with gradual evolutionary change involving the anticipation of change and initiation of strategic actions riding the wave's crest. The strategic-making Pyramid I is described as a diversified company which the following levels:

(1) Corporate strategy -- responsibility of corporate level managers which both influences and is influenced by the second level;

(2) Level two is comprised by 'business strategies' or the responsibility of business-level general managers. Business strategies influenced and are influenced by the third level in the pyramid;

(3) Functional strategies is the third level of the pyramid and this is comprised by R&D, marketing, manufacturing, finance, human resources, etc. And responsibility of heads of major functional activities in the business unit.

(4) Operating strategies is the fourth level of the pyramid and is the responsibility of plant managers, geographic unit managers, and lower-level supervisors. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

In a single-business company there are three levels in the strategic making pyramid including those of:

(1) Business strategy -- reasonability of executive-level managers;

(2) Functional strategies -- responsibility of heads of major functional activities within a business;

(3) Operating strategies -- responsibility of plant managers, geographic unit managers, and lower-level supervisors. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

There are various factors that serve to shape the choice of company strategy including those stated as follows:

(1) Economic, social, political, regulatory and community citizenship considerations;

(2) Competitive conditions and overall industry attractiveness;

(3) Company opportunities and threats to the company's well-being. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

There is a mix of considerations that assist in determining the strategic situation of a company including:

(1) Conclusions concerning how internal and external factors stack up;

(2) Identification and evaluation of strategy alternatives; and (3) Crafting a strategy that fits the overall situation. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

Internal factors that shape a company's strategy are reported to include:

(1) Company resource, strengths, weaknesses, competencies and competitive capabilities;

(2) Personal ambitions, business philosophies, ethical principles of key executives; and (3) Share values and company culture. (Strategic Management models and diagrams, 2011)

I. Strategic Position

Strategic positioning is reported to be the "positioning of an organization in the future while considering the changing environment. Strategic positioning includes "the devising of the desired future position of the organization on the basis of present and foreseeable developments and the making of plans to realize that positioning." (OD Toolkit, 2003) The method of strategic positioning is one with the aim of making sure of the organization's continuity. The organizational content and character of its activities are determined by the organization's strategy. Questions that beg addressing in the strategic positioning initiative include those as follows:

(1) How does the future look like?

(2) How could the organization be roughly positioned in the future?

(3) How are things in the organization at present?

(4) How can opportunities be seized and how can threats be met?

(5) How can this be put into practice in a systematic way? (OD Toolkit, 2003)

Aspects that must be dealt with in strategic positioning include:

(1) the future;

(2) information collection;

(3) analysis;

(4) choice of strategy; and (5) implementation. (OD Toolkit, 2003)

It is reported that trends research "is based on small shifts which announce future developments. If we can get hold of today's trends, we may perhaps extrapolate them into the future." (OD Toolkit, 2003) Information collection involves both "internal research and external research." (OD Toolkit, 2003)

Internal research asks where the organization stands and what internal factors are decisive for survival and/or failure or success, both in a positive and a negative sense." (OD Toolkit, 2003) It is reported as a good practice "to draw up a list of relevant criteria, which are applicable" to the organization for the purpose of determining the organizations' strong and weak points. External research asks what from the outside can influence and be importance in the organizational decision-making process and objectives.

II. Strategic Choice

Strategic choice involves "the options for strategy in terms of both the direction in which strategy might move and the methods by which strategy might be pursued." (Strategy Lab, nd) The work entitled "Strategic Management, Strategy Analysis and Choice" reports that the nature of strategy analysis and choice is such that the strategists never gives consideration to "all feasible alternatives that could benefit the firm, because there are an infinite number of possible actions and an infinite number of ways to implement those actions. Therefore, a manageable set of the most attractive alternatively strategies must be developed." (, nd) Identification and evaluation of alternative strategies may potentially involve many of the managers, employees who earlier own constructed the mission statement of the organization, and who performed both the external and internal audit. (, nd)

Alternative strategies that participants propose should be given due consideration and discussed in a group setting. It is additionally reported that important strategy-formulation techniques are such that can be "integrated into a three-stage decision-making framework which has three stages:

(1) the input stage;

(2) the matching stage; and (3) the decision stage. (, nd)

Within each of the three stated stages are phases, which are reported as follows:

The Input Stage

Included in this stage is the 'External Factor Evaluation (EFE) Matrix, the Competitive Profile Matrix and the Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE) Matrix. The input tools are such that make a requirement of strategists in quantifying subjectively during the strategy-formulation process early stages. In order to make good decisions during the input phase in regards to the importance of internal and external factors it is required that there is more generation and evaluation of alternative strategies and that this be done in an effective manner.

The Matching Stage

The matching stage is reported to include the following Matrices:

(1) TOWS Matrix (organizational threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths)

(2) SPACE Matrix (Strategic Position and Action Evaluation)

(3) BCG Matrix (Boston Consulting Group;

(4) The Grand Strategy Matrix; and (4) The IE Matrix (Internal-External). (, nd)

TOWS Matrix

Included in the TOWS Matrix are the following strategies:

(1) SO strategies --…

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