Tag: Strategic Management

Innovation and Strategic Management Annotated Bibliography

Assignment Instructions

Write an annotated bibliography of three references on innovation and strategic management. Your annotated bibliography must complete the following:

  • Include three APA-formatted references that are not from the same author.
  • Contain an abstract of at least 200 words for each reference.

Focus on the relationship between innovation and strategic management, specifically on the way innovation is shaping traditional strategic management.

Sample Answer

Casadesus-Masanell, R. (2010), Open Versus Closed Innovation: A model of Discovery and Divergence. Academy of Management Review; Vol. 35 Issue 1, p27-47. Retrieved from Ebscohost

This article by Casadesus-Masanell examines the difference between open innovation and closed innovation in terms of superiority. The researchers carried out some very detailed research that sought to find out the importance of having new ideas in a growing organization. They developed a model that depicts how fresh ideas in relation to open innovation can initiate the growth of any business and the approach to which such ideas can be implemented. Additionally, the study showed the importance of executives working in line with the new ideas and the drawbacks that may occur when executives overlook the new ideas. Another fundamental issue that the researchers found out from their studies is that when a business is run by individuals whose ideas are divergent, open innovation paralyses growth as well as profitability. This is because open innovation usually attempts to restrict and upward technological trajectory. In essence, the study focused on the importance of open innovation in comparison to closed innovation and the results showed that open innovation brings on board several new ideas that can be implemented to improve a business as opposed to closed innovation that is restricted.


Barsh, J., Capozzi, M., & Davidson, J. (2008), Leadership and Innovation. McKinsey Quarterly; 2008, Issue 1, p36-47. Retrieved from Ebscohost

These researchers carried out a study with an objective to determine the impact of new ideas on the development of any business. This study attempted to focus on other factors such as dividends, profits, revenues, etc. that a new business idea would bring on board. More often than not, researchers have always limited their studies to profits, revenues and dividends to determine the suitability of adopting a new business idea. These researchers, however, looked past the ordinary and researched into the adaptability of business to the dynamic local and international markets. There studies show that for any business to foster, trust, develop more links and clearly understand the standard principles of operations there is need to incorporate fresh ideas into such a business. Additionally, there is need for companies to embrace technology by innovating management practices so that they can successfully compete in the dynamic business landscape that is improving and advancing day by day. The authors of this article talks about the shortcomings of traditional management practices in the current business world and how they cannot cope with the today’s demands. In a developed environment that places emphasis on talents and collaboration, the traditional ways of managing businesses are just but obstructions to innovation and creative strategy.


Sánchez, A., Lago, A., Ferràs, X., & Ribera, J (2011) Innovation Management Practices, Strategic Adaptation, and Business Results: Evidence from the Electronics Industry. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation; 2011, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p14-39. Retrieved from Ebscohost

This research contributes to the general understanding of how various innovation management practices relate to the mid and long-term growth and development of a business. Similar studies have previously showed that government and regional development agencies have always supported small and medium scale enterprises to embrace innovation. The idea has always been to offer the small and medium scale enterprise the opportunity to advance and improve their management practices so that they can successfully compete in the market. This research by Alba Sanchez alongside his colleagues have proposed a model that is primarily meant to audit and classify innovation management practices and assess the impact of these practices to the overall financial performance of firms. In developing this course, the researchers studied various types of companies and employed the model. The companies were found to have a lot in common. For example, size, position in the value chain as well as the ownership structure. The results of the study however showed that a systematic approach to innovation is critical because it leads to growth in revenue despite insignificant growth in profits and productivity.

Today organizations are becoming not only spatially distributed but also organizationally distributed. The trend is such that work is no longer concentrated in an individual. Instead, workspaces are not confined anymore as collaborative activities gain significance. Additionally, businesses are more concerned at lowering costs and in that effect dispersion is taking center stage where functions are outsourced and businesses are relocating to areas where production cost are low. Technological aspects of innovation play a significant role in shaping strategic management. Today, information technology has completely transformed the data management processes in businesses and organizations as well.

Leadership is another critical aspect that equally plays a significant role in shaping strategic management. While manager and senior executives cite the importance of innovation as a pointer to growth, very few of them take responsibility to manage and drive innovation. It is therefore important for managers and senior executives to put innovation a priority in case they want to transform and improve their businesses. The current world, given the global requirements and standards of practice demands that businesses and organizations should focus on innovation as far as improving management practices is concerned. Additionally, businesses should also embrace flexibility in adapting to the ever changing technology (McKinsey, 2008).

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Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness – Apple Inc

How Globalization and Technology Changes have Impacted Apple Inc.

Globalization is driven by the technological advances and the increased interaction between people and nations through trade (Baffour Awuah & Amal, 2011).  It is defined as the interaction and continuous integration among governments, companies and people. Globalization has great influence on how ideas are developed and how they are delivered through technology. This influence on how ideas are conceived created and delivered impacts on the operational models of the organizations that operate in the global arena.

The conception of business ideas often happens in one place, while its execution happens at some other part of the world for the delivery of the final product (Shiu, 2011). Apple Inc., through its smart thinking, has become one of the top ranked multinational companies in the world owing to its ability to capitalize on the impact of globalization. An analysis of the various Apple products such as iPod, iPads, iPhones and Apple TV, reveals how the company owes the success of each of these items on the impact of globalization. The ideas about these Apple products were conceived, designed and executed largely due to the impact of globalization. The iPod for instance, is supplied by the Samsung Electronics for flash memory, Toshiba for hard drive and Broadcom Corp., U.S, for its multimedia processor.

The iPod provides a perfect example of impact of globalization on Apple Inc. (Shiu, 2011).  The components of iPod are manufactured in different parts of Korea, Taiwan and China, while a Taiwanese firm, Inventec Corp., located in China assembles the components for final product.  Thus globalization has enabled the company to outsource the manufacture of its device components, reaping on the economies of scale. Moreover, it has allowed the company to manufacture its products closer to where the raw materials are located, in Asia.

Application of the Industrial Organization Model and the Resource-Based Model to Determine how Apple Inc. could Earn Above-Average Returns

The resource-based (RBV) and industrial organization (I/O) models could be applied to determine how Apple Inc. could earn above-average returns. According to (Bower & Gilbert, 2005), the industrial organization model is based on a five step place, which includes external environment, attractiveness of an industry, formulation of strategy, skills and assets, strategy implementation and superior returns, to assist companies to meet their goals. The resource-based model refers to an approach of achieving competitive advantage through the use of existing resources to exploit external opportunities.

Apple possesses a lot of strengths, for example the company has strong marketing and advertising capabilities (Johnson et al., 2012).  This can help the company to increase its brand awareness and thus elicit stronger demand for its products. The company has achieved great public awareness, having made itself a household name. Therefore, Apple Incl. should commit less money on advertising to achieve greater returns than its major competitors in the market. Moreover, if the company can have greater knowledge about its competitors in the market, they can better assess the overall market.

The core competencies and skills such as the design of product, key security issues of its devices and the hard to copy products can be employed by the company to gain a competitive advantage and thus increase its returns. Apple products are known for their authenticity, durability, security and great design. It is hard to hack or bridge the security system in Apple products. Moreover, it would be so expensive and hard to imitate Apple devices. All these form key aspects that the company can exploit to earn above-average returns.

How the Vision Statement and Mission Statement of Apple Incl. Influence Its Overall Success

The vision statement of Apple Inc. is “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings”. The company’s mission statement is “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad” (Johnson et al., 2012).

The company’s vision statement is an epitome of the company’s success to which Apple Inc. has lived to it.  Through its vision statement, Apple Incl. has been able to meet the needs of consumers, who include students, educators, creative professionals and general users of its merchandise through quality and innovative devices. A look at the company website reveals that Apple truly provides devices that meet all the consumers identified in its vision statement. Therefore, the vision of the company has worked to influence the company’s overall success.

However, the company vision statement is too broad and lacks in company values, does not tell who the company is and what it does, which fails to provide the necessary inspiration. The company mission statement does little to influence its overall success. Perhaps it is the compelling statement from the company vision, which has propelled the company to the greatness it enjoys. Apple Inc. should reconsider redesigning its mission statement in order to contribute towards its overall success.

How Each Category of Stakeholder Impacts the Overall Success of Apple Inc.

            A stakeholder can be defined as an individual with an interest in a company and wants that specific entity to prosper. At Apple Inc., there are several types of stakeholders who impact and contribute to the overall success of the company. The following is a breakdown of the company stakeholders and their impacts.

  • Lenders- These are individuals and institutions who provide the needed funds for the operations of the company. Lenders include financial companies and individuals who buy preferred stock when issued by the company.
  • Employees and manufacturers- These are the core categories of stakeholders, whose operations ensures the existence of the company. Employees contribute skills in design and assembly of products while manufacturers provide device parts.
  • Customers- The customers are the reason Apple exists, to serve their needs. The customer purchases, products reviews are important in enhancing company bottom line and development of excellent products.
  • Suppliers- These provide the raw materials and other components that are necessary for the Apple product design and distribution.

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Why Strategic Management is Important to Human Resources

How and Why Strategic Management Is/Could/Should Be Relevant and Important For Human Resources

The human resources are a vital component of the organization towards its achievement of goals and objectives (Mello, 2014). Owing to its importance, the human resources management has becomes a common place for many successful companies such as Verizon, CVS pharmacy and Apple among others. The concept has evolved over the years, from personnel management to strategic human resource management. Strategic management has since become an important aspect of human resources.

The development of strategic plans always ensures that plans for each organization resource are planned in conjunction with each other (Mello, 2014). This should be done because organization resources are interdependent. Whatever is planned for and acted upon often has a bearing on the other organization resources. Therefore, it is pertinent that the human resources professional have a good understanding of strategic management in order to allow them to develop strategic plans for each resource.

The success of human resources depends on the type of strategy choice adopted. Strategy defines how firms position themselves in the market to compete. Since human resources are vital component of an organization, development of good human resources strategy determines the competitive position of an organization in the market. Moreover, the shift into the resource-based RBV has necessitated the need for effective and efficient resource plans. Having the knowledge of strategic management can help the human resources personnel in developing effective human resources strategies that are consistent with organization’s overall strategy. This will go a long way in enhancing effective resource utilization, development of effective human resource planning, which ultimately influences organization internal environment to create competitive advantage in the market.

How to Apply the Strategic Planning Concepts and Ideas to be Successful in Human Resource in Verizon

Verizon, the largest fixed telephone line and wireless service provider was founded in 1983. The company has one of the best human resources owing to its use of balanced scorecard. The strategic concepts and ideas learned in class can be applied in order to be successful in human resource in the company. The concepts of strategic planning will be employed to create a link between the various departments in the company with the company production unit. The employee KSAs would be assessed and individual employee skills matched with job requirements. The strategy of creating a match in skills and particular job descriptions creates a satisfied workforce, which increase performance.

In addition, a forecast of the future human resource needs shall be done in line with the company strategic goals. Such forecasts involve the estimation of the human resources in the market, for example, having knowledge of the number of employees that would be required to allow the company to achieve its strategic goals, the skills that the workforce need, and the number of job to be filled. Also, the challenges of meeting the staffing needs based on the analysis of the external environment. All these human resource strategic initiatives will help to align the company’s human resource with its corporate and market strategic goals.

Michael Porter’s Generic Strategies – Strategic Management

Generic strategies

These are fundamental techniques in strategic planning, which any business organization can adopt in any industry or market to upgrade its viable performance (Pearce & Robinson, 2010, pp. 25). It is worth noting that the three basic strategies of marketing are low cost strategy, focus strategy, and differentiation strategy. Michael Porter is the man who developed these strategies way back in 1980, and insisted that business organizations required applying them in order for them to acquire a competitive advantage in the market (Rothaemel, 2012, pp. 122). It is, also, worth noting that, although, these strategies are different, there is no mutual exclusivity that exists among them.

Low cost strategy is a pricing technique that a business organization employs by offering relatively lower prices than its competitors in the industry (David, 2012, pp. 201). This technique enables the business firm to stimulate demand, therefore, making it easy for it to gain a large market share. In most cases, this strategy is effective in situations where the product lacks a competitive advantage (Pearce & Robinson, 2010, pp. 25). In addition, the company can, also, employ it if it has the capacity to achieve economies of scale with production volumes that are high.   According to David (2012, pp. 201), the pursuit of proprietary technology, economies of scale, and treatment of raw materials in a preferential way as well as other factors can act as sources of cost advantage (Mckeown, 2010, pp. 66). The business can moderate the price to the average industry level price whenever it has the capacity to attain and maintain inclusive management cost. In this manner, the low cost position of the business can change into attractive yields. Mckeown (2010, pp. 80) insists that, in order to achieve a competitive advantage in business, the leading position of the business firm is influential and affects it especially if it is the cost leader in the enterprise (Rothaemel, 2012, pp. 131). The product quality of the business is the main basis of comparison with competitors. Whenever the product quality is above average, the implication is that the business is more competitive than its competitors. This, therefore, implies that companies that are leaders in cost obtain more returns on their products than other companies that are dragging in cost leadership (Rothaemel, 2012, pp. 137). The most significant feature of cost leadership strategy is that the company requires being the leader of cost in the enterprise. This strategy enables the company to achieve a competitive advantage through two main approaches according to Mckeown (2010, pp. 91):

  • The firm can increase the market share by charging lower prices than its competitors. This enables it to maintain its profitability on every sale because of the low costs of production.
  • Through cost reduction, the firm can increase its profit while charging average prices in the industry.

Mckeown (2010, pp. 101), also, maintains that a company that achieves and remains successful in cost leadership should meet the following factors:

  • It should have low foundational cost in terms of facilities, materials and labor. This also implies that the company should derive an approach of sustaining lower costs than those of the competitors.
  •  It should have efficient logistics to advance business operations with ease.
  • It should, also, have sufficient capital to invest in the technology that should assist it in reducing the cost of production.

Focus strategy entails concentration of the business on a segment that is narrow within which it works to attain differentiation or cost advantage (Porter, 1998, pp. 72). The confines of this strategy require that management can achieve the needs of the business by having an entire focus on them. Whenever a firm applies this strategy to its business management, it stands to achieve desirable levels of customer loyalty, which, in turn, makes it hard for other companies to engage in direct competition with it (North & Frank, 2010, pp. 53). Companies that experience success by applying this strategy to their operations have the capacity to adopt development strengths of a wide product range in a narrow market segment that they are conversant with (Day & Moorman, 2011, pp. 78). This narrow market focus enables the company to lower volumes. They, also, have low bargaining capacity with the supplying companies. On the contrary, companies that depend on a differentiation-focused approach have a high likelihood of passing high costs to their customers (Porter, 1998, pp. 88). This is because of lack of existence of replacement products similar to them in the market. However, in applying focus strategy, it is worth noting that there are risks that associate with it. The first risk is that the competitors are always watching and can easily imitate the firm and reduce its competitiveness especially when the target segments experience some changes (North & Frank, 2010, pp. 66). Secondly, it is possible and easy for the cost leader commanding large market to adopt its product and, therefore, engage in direct competition with it (Day & Moorman, 2011, pp. 85). The third risk is that other firms applying focus strategy can take over some sub-segments, which can even be of better service than those of other competitors (Day & Moorman, 2011, pp. 87).

Differentiation strategy entails product and service development in a way that presents unique features, which customers can value and perceive as being different from or better than other products from competitors (Porter, 1998, pp. 99). In this regard, the firm may have the capacity to charge premium prices for the products because of their uniqueness. This way, the management believes that, by charging a higher price, it becomes possible to cover the excessive costs spent in adding unique features to the products (North & Frank, 2010, pp. 66). These unique features are, also, a resource to the firm because, if the supplies increase raw material prices, then customers of the firm, unknowingly, pay for the extra cost especially if they cannot access replacement products in an easy manner. However, for the firm to be successful through application of a differentiation strategy, Day and Moorman (2011, pp. 101) asserts that it requires having certain internal strengths as follows:

  • Its innovation and quality should have corporate reputation
  • It should have a fine-skilled team of sales people that have the capacity to communicate to customers about the strengths of the product in a successful manner.
  • It should have a creative and a fine-skilled team in charge of product development.
  • It should have the ability to find and implement significant scientific researches.

There are, however, a few risks that associate with differentiation strategy. Changes in taste among customers can affect the business in an adverse manner. Imitation by competitors can reduce the competitive advantage of the business. Rothaemel (2012, pp. 127) further contends that other companies, which adopt focus strategies, can have the capacity to attain great levels of differentiation in the segments of the market.

Choosing the correct generic strategy

In most cases, choices regarding the kind of generic strategy to implement and pursue settle above all other strategic decisions that a company can make (Mckeown, 2010, pp. 67). Therefore, it requires more time in order to make the correct decision. However, Porter warns that business companies do not have to make decisions regarding this issue. He advises against following more than one strategy. This is because, depending on the activities a company intends to perform, each strategy appeals to various types of customers (Mckeown, 2010, pp. 83). It is, therefore, advisable for a firm to evaluate its strengths and competencies when making a choice from the three strategies. According to North and Frank (2010, pp. 99), the following steps can be of great assistance in this regard:

Step one: in regard to each of the generic strategies, the firm requires performing a SWOT Analysis to establish its strengths and weaknesses (Magretta, 2011, pp. 121). This enables it to identify the opportunities as well as threats that will lay ahead for each generic strategy if adopted.

Step two: the firm requires applying Five Forces Analysis in order to comprehend the nature in which it intends to operate (Magretta, 2011, pp. 122). These tools are essential for identification of power position in a business situation. This enables the company to avoid taking steps in the wrong direction. These tools entail assessment of supplier power (North & Frank, 2010, pp. 122). This provides a clue of how easy it is for supplies to increase prices. Threat of any new entry, which may cost little time and money for competitors to join the industry requires assessment. The firm should, also, identify any threat of substitution that may cause customers to develop a different approach of doing what the firm does North and Frank (2010, pp. 123). Assessment of competitive rivalry is essential for establishing the capabilities and number of a firm’s competitors. Analysis of buyer power is essential because it enables the firm to understand how easy it is for buyers to push prices downwards.

Step three: the company should establish how it will use each strategic option to block new entries, eliminate substitution, be ahead of competition, manage the customer power and, finally, manage the supplier power (Magretta, 2011, pp. 124). Therefore, an organization has a responsibility of choosing the generic strategy, which offers it a set of options that are the strongest.

History and evolution of generic strategies

Michael porter is the founder and father of generic strategies. He discovered and launched them in 1980 leading to the age of generic strategies (Schaede, 2008, pp. 77). According to Magretta (2011, pp. 139), Michael Porter derived generic strategies from a well conventional theory that regarded profit and performance, firm strategy, and industry structure. As the case always is, it is only time that is the most crucial factor for evidencing the significance of any form of theoretical framework. Time, in most cases exposes the theory to criticism, acceptance, deployment, adjustment and development by different researchers with similar or varying interests (Mckeown, 2010, pp. 93). After Porter proposed the generic strategies, it became easy to comprehend and apply such a taxonomic work because they are the only generic strategies, which gained acceptance and became popular despite criticism. Porter proposed the name generic for these strategies because any company can adopt and apply them even if they belong to the same industry.  These competitive strategies as defined by Porter in the 1980s relate to the industrial structures within which most companies operate (Mckeown, 2010, pp. 98). He then developed an analysis model that would help in evaluating the profit potentialities of such companies. According to David (2012, pp. 223), porter developed the industrial structure analysis from his previous economic works about performance, corporate behavior and environmental relations. It is, therefore, worth emphasizing the significance of industrial analysis because companies can achieve high gains if they sustain generic strategies in relation to other competing companies within the same industry (David, 2012, pp. 226).

The relevance of generic strategies to today’s business challenges

Most companies that adopt one of the three generic strategies stand a high chance of performing well in the contemporary business environment. During the development of his model, Porter applied the assumptions of Chandler, which claimed that every structure follows a particular strategy Rothaemel (2012, pp. 181). This implies that every company requires varied sets of structural characteristics in order to accommodate either differentiation or low cost strategy. Therefore, by selecting one of the generic strategies, the management of the business acquires the capacity to lead the business into the right direction in the market (Schaede, 2008, pp. 80). This is significant for assisting the business to achieve internal steadiness between recruiting policy, reward system and management style. Another relevance of generic strategies is because the best strategy does not exist yet. Therefore, choices regarding a strategic position for a business are dependent upon circumstance and time (David, 2012, pp. 227). However, the company management should be consistent in implementation after the selection of the appropriate strategy. It is, also, worth noting that the generic strategies covered and solved the tension that existed between differentiation and cost (Rothaemel, 2012, pp. 150). In most cases, organizations base their operations on high costs especially when they embark on production of premium products to which customers attach a lot of value.

The generic strategies also have a proper application to well established companies that have high costs of investment. In the current business environment; for instance, differentiation strategy enables the company to stand out of the rest through production of products that appeal to customers. This strategy enables companies to appeal to their customers and clients through product quality, customer support and functionality (Rothaemel, 2012, pp. 151). Focus strategy, on the other hand, enables companies to concentrate their efforts on certain market segments, and strive for popularity through provision of particular products and services to such segments (David, 2012, pp. 233). This enables them to acquire a competitive advantage by catering for market specific needs. Cost leadership strategy is relevant to a contemporary business company because it helps it to become the lowest producer of cost and distributor in the industry (Porter, 1998, pp. 123). This strategy creates a competitive advantage for the business through decrease of costs of production.

Application of generic strategies in Huawei Technologies

In most contemporary companies, a lot of changes exist in terms of growth and business views. Apart from the traditional visions and missions of wanting to make profits, most companies compete for an international player and market leader position. They, also, desire to develop the images of their brands to desirable levels. According to Helms (1997, pp. 689-703), exterior transformations in the world economics do have immense contribution to the stiff competition that most telecommunication firms face; however, Huawei Technologies continues to remain at the top. In most cases, avoidance of competition in business is inevitable due to the emergence of knowledgeable and demanding customers (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154). The adoption of generic strategies by Huawei Technologies came as a result of the challenges that the company faces in the telecommunication industry. The challenges, in this regard occur following the changing situations in competition such as the current financial crisis, an in the number of knowledgeable customers, globalization and economic liberalization (Helms, 1997, pp. 689-703). At some point, these changes appeared difficulty following the availability of forces that alter industrial competition. Competing rivals; however, remain as the main forces that influence competition in the industry within which Huawei Technologies operate. The presence of replacement products and the buyers’ bargaining power are, also, other challenges that affect Huawei Technologies (Nandakumar, 2011, pp. 222-251). Other challenges include poaching of well skilled staffs by competitors, communication challenges between customers and Huawei employees, and reduction of prices by competitors (Nandakumar, 2011, pp. 222-251).

Despite all these challenges; however, Huawei’s decision to adopt generic strategies enabled it to survive the competition. Cost leadership strategy, differentiation strategy, and customer focus strategy are the main strategies implemented by the company. Through focus strategy, for instance, Huawei decided to upgrade its function in market enterprise through targeting the ICT enterprise solutions as well as pursuing integration on a global scale (Low, 2007, pp. 138-144). In the strategic development plans of the company, the enterprise market continues remaining as an essential element for revenue increment in the near future. This idea provoked the company to invest in enterprise wireless technology, unified communication and collaboration, information technology, and enterprise markets (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154). As an established enterprise, it, also, has a commitment to ICT solutions due to its strong infrastructural focus in the main markets. According to Low (2007, pp. 138-144), Huawei implements focus strategy better than most telecommunication companies. It spends most of its resources in developing a single technology and product at a time. In this manner, it projects that high and intense investment levels will cause success in the areas of interest (Helms, 1997, pp. 689-703). Through differentiation strategy, Huawei acquired the capacity to develop a consistent production of differentiated products in wireless technology, router, intelligent network, transmission, and digital switch technologies (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154). In the past few years, Huawei embarked on fusion strategy in order to be able to work in close relations with its partners. This decision gave it the capacity to create realistic solutions that customers can appreciate as a way of upgrading business efficiency.

Through application of generic strategies Huawei Technologies overcame its challenges and started experiencing success due to the following factors:

Vibrant ICT industry-the University of New South Wales displays some of the main projects from Huawei Technologies (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154). In March 2012; for instance, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd in Australia was proclaimed as the main dealer partner following Optus release of a mobile technology known as 4G long-term-evolution across Newcastle and its environs (Helms, 1997, pp. 689-703).

Acquisition of a skilled labor force- the company focused its resource to acquiring skilled employees in order to counter the competition challenge (Nandakumar, 2011, pp. 222-251). Winning a contract with Vodafone, also, motivated the company to increase the number of its skilled staffs in order implement the contract within the set time frame (Nandakumar, 2011, pp. 222-251).

Through partnerships-Huawei consistently chooses to hire the brightest and the best students in technology in order to maintain its position as a global leader in modern patent applications (Helms, 1997, pp. 689-703). For instance, Huawei sought partnership with the Engineering department of Macquarie University to host students through experience process of the industry (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154).

Through application of generic strategies, Huawei Technologies endeavors to cater for the needs of end users of its products. Apart from applying cost leadership strategy, Huawei, also, ensures that the users are aware of their products and have access to them (Parnell, 2006, pp. 1139-1154). The company, also, continues to produce products that add value to the lives of people who use them. Besides, the company embraces the application of Software as Service (SaaS), which is more efficient than traditional business models (Nandakumar, 2011, pp. 222-251). This particular business model complies with the general needs of the industry. It, also, provides low costs to Huawei to offer better services and easy to use products.

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Strayer University bus499 Full Course – Discussions And Assignments – With Sample Answers

Below is a list of all the Strayer University bus499 Discussions And Assignments.  Need help on any of them? We are here for you.

discussions week 1

“Strategic Competitiveness” Please respond to the following:

  • From the first e-Activity, determine which of the two primary drivers of the competitive landscape is more influential. Explain your rationale.
  • Explain which model (I / O model or resource-based model) you believe will best help a firm in the industry you researched earn above-average returns.

“Management’s Responsibility” Please respond to the following:

  • From the second e-Activity, determine the level of responsibility management had for the business failure you researched. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Create a list of three best practices that not only would have helped the company you researched from failure, but would also apply to the rest of the industry your company was part of. Explain your rationale for selecting these best practices.

week 2

week 2 discussion

“Union Pacific Corporation” Please respond to the following:

  • Perform an analysis of the social / demographic, technological, economic, environmental / geographic, and political/legal / governmental segments to understand the general environment facing Union Pacific.
  • Describe how Union Pacific will be affected by each of these external factors.


“Five Forces of Competition Model” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, analyze the industry you selected using the Five Forces of Competition Model to determine the impact of each of the five forces.
  • Based on your analysis, determine if the industry is attractive or unattractive. Explain your rationale.

Week 3 Discussion

“Strong Brands” Please respond to the following:

  • Several companies use their brand as a competitive advantage. Given your knowledge about the global economy, identify three brands you believe have the strongest likelihood of remaining a source of advantage in the 21st Century and explain why.
  • Explain the effects you believe the Internet’s capabilities will have on the brands you identified in the previous discussion and what the owner of the brand should do in light of them.


“Internal Environment” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, analyze the internal environment of the company you researched to determine that company’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Based on the strengths and weaknesses you discovered, determine what steps the company could take to positively impact the company’s competitiveness. Explain your rationale.

Week 4 Discussion

“Business-Level Strategy” Please respond to the following:

  • From the first e-Activity, assess your satisfaction with the company you researched and make recommendations about how that company could modify its business-level strategy to both increase your overall level of satisfaction and to attract new customers. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Analyze the five business-level strategies discussed in Chapter 4 to determine which strategy the company you researched most likely applies. Determine how your experience with that company might change if it switched to one of the other four strategies (your choice). Explain your rationale.


“Apple, Inc: Keeping the “I” in Innovation” Please respond to the following:

  • From the second e-Activity and the case study, determine how market commonality and resource similarity impact Apple’s competitive standing in terms of its main rivals. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Determine what additional steps Apple’s competitors are likely to take and how Apple will most likely respond. Explain your rationale.

week 5 discussions

“Diversification” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, suggest one way the company you researched could increase its level of value-creating diversification. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Building on the topic above, determine how diversified the company you research could become before it created a negative impact on the company’s bottom line. Explain your rationale.

“Victory Motorcycles” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity and the case study, evaluate the business-level strategy of Victory Motorcycles to determine whether you believe the strategy is appropriate to offset forces in the industry. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Make recommendations for improving this strategy as well as describing any challenges you foresee in executing those recommendations. Provide specific examples to support your response.

week 6 discussions

“Executive Pay” Please respond to the following:

  • Some evidence suggests that there is a direct and positive relationship between a firm’s size and its top-level managers’ compensation. Explain what inducement you think that relationship provides to upper-level executives.
  • Recommend what can be done to influence the relationship so that it serves shareholders’ interests.

“Dr Pepper Snapple Group 2011: Fighting to Prosper in a Highly Competitive Market” Please respond to the following:

  • The case study outlines six specific strategies that the firm has chosen to support its strategic direction. Determine which strategy is most likely to benefit the firm. Explain your rationale.
  • Briefly outline at least one other strategy the firm could take to support its strategic direction. Illustrate why this new strategy would be successful.

week 7 discussions

“International Opportunities” Please respond to the following:

  • Determine why, given the advantages of international diversification, some firms choose not to expand internationally. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • As firms attempt to internationalize, they may be tempted to locate their facilities where business regulation laws are lax. Discuss the advantages and potential risks of such an approach, using specific examples to support your response.


“Cooperative Strategy” Please respond to the following:

  • From an ethical perspective, determine how much information a firm is obliged to tell a potential strategic alliance partner about what it expects to learn from the cooperative arrangement. Explain your rationale.
  • From the e-Activity, determine which type of cooperative strategy would most benefit the two companies you researched. Provide specific examples to support your response.

week 8 discussion 1

“Corporate Governance” Please respond to the following:

  • Analyze the three internal governance mechanisms (ownership concentration, boards of directors, and executive compensation) and recommend a possible fourth mechanism that would help align the interests of managerial agents with those of the firm’s owners. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • From the e-Activity, determine how U.S.-based corporations could incorporate elements of the corporate governance practices you researched to help top-level managers make better ethical decisions. Provide specific examples to support your response.


“Finding the Best Buy” Please respond to the following:

  • Corporate governance has become a hot issue in the U.S. over the past two decades. From your analysis of the case study, determine two possible corporate governance challenges that might be faced by Best Buy as a result of its rapid growth and why they could become corporate governance issues.
  • Make recommendations for how Best Buy can overcome these challenges. Provide specific examples to support your response.

week 9 discussions

“Domino’s Pizza” Please respond to the following:

  • Determine whether the current organizational structure at Domino’s is a good match for its corporate strategies. Explain your rationale.
  • Evaluate alternative structures to determine which one would be most appropriate for Domino’s to consider and discuss likely benefits Domino’s would realize from adopting that structure. Provide specific examples to support your response.

“Strategic Leadership” Please respond to the following:

  • Compare and contrast strategic controls and financial controls. Provide specific examples of how each may be used to best serve a corporation.
  • As a strategic leader, determine if you would feel ethically responsible for developing your firm’s human capital and state why. Discuss whether or not you believe your position is consistent with the majority or minority of today’s strategic leaders.

week 10 discussions

“Strategic Entrepreneurship” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, evaluate the lessons learned in this chapter to determine which single lesson would be most beneficial to the company you researched. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • From the e-Activity, identify one firm that you think would make a good strategic partner for the company you researched. Provide specific examples of why you think this firm would be a good partner.


“Innovation Applied” Please respond to the following:

  • Analyze the different approaches to innovation discussed in this chapter to determine which approach you think would be the greatest value to the greatest number of organizations. Explain your rationale.
  • Create one innovative approach that is not discussed in the textbook for increasing the amount of innovation within a large company. Describe this approach in detail and explain how companies could benefit from it.

week 11 discussions


“Summation” Please respond to the following:

  • Create a metaphor or analogy that captures the essence of the major lessons learned in the BBA program (e.g., business administration is like . . .).
  • Discuss the single most interesting or surprising thing you learned in the BBA program, as well as what made it so.


Looking Ahead” Please respond to the following:

  • Discuss how you will use the lessons learned in your BBA program to be more productive in your current (or future) career. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  • Predict what major issues this program will be addressing 10 years from now. Explain your rationale.

Assignment 1: Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness

Choose one (1) public corporation in an industry with which you are familiar. Research the company on its own Website, the public filings on the Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml), in the University’s online databases, and any other sources you can find. The annual report will often provide insights that can help address some of these questions.

Write a four to six (4-6) page paper in which you:

  1. Assess how globalization and technology changes have impacted the corporation you researched.
  2. Apply the industrial organization model and the resource-based model to determine how your corporation could earn above-average returns.
  3. Assess how the vision statement and mission statement of the corporation influence its overall success.
  4. Evaluate how each category of stakeholder impacts the overall success of this corporation.
  5. Use at least two (2) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Determine ways in which the vision, mission, and stakeholders of a firm impact that firm’s overall success.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in business administration.
  • Write clearly and concisely about business administration using proper writing mechanics.


Download a sample answer to this assignment or order a plagiarism free answer at an affordable price. 


Assignment 2: External and Internal Environments

Choose an industry you have not yet written about in this course, and one publicly traded corporation within that industry. Research the company on its own Website, the public filings on the Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml), in the University’s online databases, and any other sources you can find. The annual report will often provide insights that can help address some of these questions.

Write an eight to ten (8-10) page paper in which you:

  1. Choose the two (2) segments of the general environment that would rank highest in their influence on the corporation you chose. Assess how these segments affect the corporation you chose and the industry in which it operates.
  2. Considering the five (5) forces of competition, choose the two (2) that you estimate are the most significant for the corporation you chose. Evaluate how well the company has addressed these two (2) forces in the recent past.
  3. With the same two (2) forces in mind, predict what the company might do to improve its ability to address these forces in the near future.
  4. Assess the external threats affecting this corporation and the opportunities available to the corporation. Give your opinions on how the corporation should deal with the most serious threat and the greatest opportunity. Justify your answer.
  5. Give your opinion on the corporation’s greatest strengths and most significant weaknesses. Choose the strategy or tactic the corporation should select to take maximum advantage of its strengths, and the strategy or tactic the corporation should select to fix its most significant weakness. Justify your choices.
  6. Determine the company’s resources, capabilities, and core competencies.
  7. Analyze the company’s value chain to determine where they can create value using the resources, capabilities, and core competencies discussed above.
  8. Use at least three (3) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Identify how the six segments of the general environment affect an industry and its firms.
  • Identify the five forces of competition.
  • Analyze the external environment for opportunities and threats that impact the firm.
  • Analyze the internal environment of a company for strengths and weaknesses that impact the firm’s competitiveness.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in business administration.
  • Write clearly and concisely about business administration using proper writing mechanics.

Assignment 3: Business-Level and Corporate-Level Strategies
Due Week 6 and worth 300 points

Choose an industry you have not yet written about in this course, and one publicly traded corporation within that industry. Research the company on its own Website, the public filings on the Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml), in the University’s online databases, and any other sources you can find. The annual report will often provide insights that can help address some of these questions.

Write a six to eight (6-8) page paper in which you:

  1. Analyze the business-level strategies for the corporation you chose to determine the business-level strategy you think is most important to the long-term success of the firm and whether or not you judge this to be a good choice. Justify your opinion.
  2. Analyze the corporate-level strategies for the corporation you chose to determine the corporate-level strategy you think is most important to the long-term success of the firm and whether or not you judge this to be a good choice. Justify your opinion.
  3. Analyze the competitive environment to determine the corporation’s most significant competitor. Compare their strategies at each level and evaluate which company you think is most likely to be successful in the long term. Justify your choice.
  4. Determine whether your choice from Question 3 would differ in slow-cycle and fast-cycle markets.
  5. Use at least three (3) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Identify various levels and types of strategy in a firm.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in business administration.
  • Write clearly and concisely about business administration using proper writing mechanics.


Assignment 4: Merger, Acquisition, and International Strategies

Choose two (2) public corporations in an industry with which you are familiar – one (1) that has acquired another company and operates internationally and one (1) that does not have a history of mergers and acquisitions and operates solely within the U.S. Research each company on its own Website, the public filings on the Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml), in the University’s online databases, and any other sources you can find. The annual report will often provide insights that can help address some of these questions.

Write a six to eight (6-8) page paper in which you:

  1. For the corporation that has acquired another company, merged with another company, or been acquired by another company, evaluate the strategy that led to the merger or acquisition to determine whether or not this merger or acquisition was a wise choice. Justify your opinion.
  2. For the corporation that has not been involved in any mergers or acquisitions, identify one (1) company that would be a profitable candidate for the corporation to acquire or merge with and explain why this company would be a profitable target.
  3. For the corporation that operates internationally, briefly evaluate its international business-level strategy and international corporate-level strategy and make recommendations for improvement.
  4. For the corporation that does not operate internationally, propose one business-level strategy and one corporate-level strategy that you would suggest the corporation consider. Justify your proposals.
  5. Use at least three (3) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Identify various levels and types of strategy in a firm.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in business administration.
  • Write clearly and concisely about business administration using proper writing mechanics.

View a Sample Answer to this assignment based on  P & G And Gillette or order a unique answer based on companies of your choice at an affordable price. 

Assignment 5: Capstone

Select a publicly traded corporation for which you would like to work or are currently working.Research the corporation on its own Website, the public filings on the Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml), in the University’s online databases, and any other sources you can find. The annual report will often provide insights that can help address some of these questions.

Write an eight to ten (8-10) page paper in which you:

  1. Determine the impact of the company’s mission, vision, and primary stakeholders on its overall success.
  2. Analyze the five (5) forces of competition to determine how they impact the company.
  3. Create a SWOT analysis for the company to determine its major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  4. Based on the SWOT analysis, outline a strategy for the company to capitalize on its strengths and opportunities, and minimize its weaknesses and threats.
  5. Discuss the various levels and types of strategies the firm may use to maximize its competitiveness and profitability.
  6. Outline a communications plan the company could use to make the strategies you recommend above known to all stakeholders.
  7. Select two (2) corporate governance mechanisms used by this corporation and evaluate how effective they are at controlling managerial actions.
  8. Evaluate the effectiveness of leadership within this corporation and make at least one (1) recommendation for improvement.
  9. Assess efforts by this corporation to be a responsible (ethical) corporate citizen and determine the impact these efforts (or lack thereof) have on the company’s bottom line. Provide specific examples to support your response.
  10. Use at least five (5) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not quality as academic resources.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required page length.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Determine ways in which the vision, mission, and stakeholders of a firm impact that firm’s overall success.
  • Identify how the six segments of the general environment affect an industry and its firms.
  • Identify the five forces of competition.
  • Analyze the external environment for opportunities and threats that impact the firm.
  • Analyze the internal environment of a company for strengths and weaknesses that impact the firm’s competitiveness.
  • Identify various levels and types of strategy in a firm.
  • Predict ways in which corporate governance will affect strategic decisions.
  • Assess the relationship between strategy and organizational structure.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in business administration.
  • Write clearly and concisely about business administration using proper writing mechanics.
  • Download Sample Answer

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Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness – Ford Motor Company

One of the leading multinational manufacturers of automobiles is the Ford Motor Company, commonly christened Ford. Its head office is in Michigan, USA. Henry Ford found, as well incorporated, Ford in mid-1903. Presently, Ford sells both commercial vehicles and automobiles under own brand. As well, it sells Lincoln-branded luxury cars. Besides, it owns Troller, a Brazilian manufacturer of SUVs and the Australian FPV. FPV produces performance cars. Previously, Ford as well produced vehicle components along with tractors (Williams, Haslam & Williams, 1992). Presently, Ford’s production operations are based in several countries: South Africa, China, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, and Germany. There is a structured cooperative agreement between GAZ, one of the leading Russian automakers, and Ford (Brinkley, 2003). This paper examines Ford’s strategic management along with strategic competitiveness.

Effects of Technology Changes and Globalization on Ford

            Ford operates in an industry that presents unique views on globalization owing to its massive capacity for employment and the fact that automakers are usually large corporations. Most of the corporations are seen as representing particular national identities, with Ford seen as reflecting the US identity on the global stage. Globalization has over the years impacted markedly on every established automaker. The automakers that have over the years survived particular historical happenings like the two world wars and global financial meltdowns are considered to be the setters of the standards followed by the other companies that venture into the industry (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008; Hoffman, 2012). Despite the challenges that typify globalization, Ford has managed to remain highly competitive.

It has maintained its competitiveness through the innovation of novel technologies, adopting global quality standards, and focusing on its brand’s core values. Notably, the desire to maintain and where possible bolster the competitiveness has been fueled by globalization. As well, globalization has motivated Ford to engage in varied CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs to create remote societal value from its customers’ viewpoint (Brinkley, 2003).

Globalization has allowed Ford to explore new business horizons internationally via value-creating strategies and value-capturing strategies. The company has always held that expanding its business to developing economies is essential in building own corporate profitability along with its shareholders’ returns. Besides, the expansion has seen the Ford provide lots of employment openings in the economies, helping build the economies. Globalization has assisted Ford to acquire several of its competitors over the years to remain competitive. Besides, globalization realities have seen Ford adopt safe production practices that support the greening of the environment according to Hitt, Ireland and Hoskisson (2008) and Hoffman (2012).

Technological changes saw Ford adopt and further develop the assembly line production technique. Over the years, the company has continued to refine the method to increase the quality of its products, reduce worker effort, and reduce staff turnover. Ford has adopted the recently developed technologies for reducing pollution and waste production. The company is keen on employing the technologies to produce quality products, build goodwill towards it in the market, retain its extant clients, and attract additional clients. For instance, when the US government enacted a rule requiring automakers to use technologies that guarantee that their products are fuel-efficient in 2005, Ford committed itself to having at least 50% of the vehicles it would be selling by the end of 2015 would be based on the six-speed automatic transmission technology according to Hitt, Ireland and Hoskisson (2008) and Hoffman (2012). The technology is well-liked by vehicle owners since it increases vehicle mileage.

Application of Resource-Based and Industrial Organization Models in Raising Returns

Ford can raise its returns to above-average levels through the adoption of either the RBM (Resource-Based Model) or the IOM (Industrial Organization Model). The RBM is founded on a company’s internal capabilities as well as resources. Based on the RBM, Ford can raise its returns to above-average levels by taking several actions. First, Ford should make out own internal resources together with relative weaknesses, as well as strengths, in the light of the resources held by competition. Second, Ford should make out the resources that can afford it particular unique capabilities relative to the extant competition. Third, Ford should establish its capability and resource potential for overcoming competition regarding returns and how the potential can be applied in gaining particular competitive advantages (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008; Hoffman, 2012). Fourth, Ford should locate and venture into industries or market segments with attractive returns given its resources, attributes as well as capabilities. Lastly, Ford should attain competitive advantages that are sustainable.

Based on the IOM, Ford can raise its returns to above-average levels by taking several actions. First, it should study its external environment in relation to its strategic alternatives. Second, it should locate and venture into industries or market segments with attractive returns given its structural attributes (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008; Hoffman, 2012). Third, Ford should select, as well as implement, strategies for building its returns paying due regard to the industry’s attributes. Fourth, Ford should develop or acquire the critical assets and competencies needed in the strategies’ implementation. Lastly, the company should implement the strategies in ways that help it to leverage own resources and skills to meet the industry’s constraints, pressures, and demands.

Ford’s Success Versus Its Vision Statement Along With Mission Statement

            The vision of Ford is closely tied to its success. Its vision statement’s global leadership position indicates that the company is keen on becoming the leading player in the global automotive market (Bartkus, Glassman & McAfee, 2006). The major points in the statement are lean business, keenness on stakeholder demands and contributions, and global leadership (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008; Hoffman, 2012). Currently, Ford is among the leading players in the market but still should put in extra efforts to be the market’s leader as opined by the vision statement. The statement pushes the company’s stakeholders towards working harder and harder by suggesting that they should see to it that the company becomes the market’s leader (Ford Motor Company, 2015; Mullane, 2002).

The Ford’s mission statement encourages its stakeholders to work as a team to ensure stakeholder satisfaction. The statement urges the stakeholders to restructure their practices aggressively to ensure increased profits for the company at the extant model mix and demand. Besides, the statement calls on the stakeholders to work towards a highly profitable, excitable, and viable Ford (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008; Hoffman, 2012).

Ford’s Success and the Impacts of Its Stakeholder Categories 

Each of the Ford’s stakeholder categories plays critical roles in ensuring the company’s success. The Ford’s capital market stakeholder category comprises of its lenders and shareholders. The category impacts on the success immensely through affording the company the resources and capacities it requires in working towards the realization of the vision. Ford’s product market stakeholder category comprises of its customers, suppliers, host communities, and unions. The company’s profitability is primarily dependent on the purchases made by the customers. The suppliers ensure that the company has the wherewithal to manufacture its products. The host communities supply the company with markets for its products and labor. The unions ensure that the company’s employees are satisfied and work hard by looking into their welfare.

Lastly, the company’s organizational stakeholder category comprises of its employees. The employees affect the success via diverse ways. First, they work hard towards the delivery of shareholder value. Second, they help maintain the company’s positive culture and delivery of strong products, growth, and innovations. Third, they continuously improve the quality of the company’s products. As well, they build goodwill towards the company by developing, as well as implementing, innovations that ensure that the products are safe to use by the company’s customers along with their families according to Ford Motor Company (2015).

Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation Business Environment and Strategic Management

1.0: Introduction

Corporations such as the Qatar General Electricity and Water Company need to understand the business environment in which they operate if they are to run successfully. This is because environmental factors have a major influence on every aspect of a corporation or business organization including its location, its personnel policies, the systems of distribution that it uses as well as the price that it charges for the service or products that it offers. The term ‘business environment’ connotes the various external institutions, forces, and factors that although being beyond the control of a corporation, nevertheless have a major impact on its operations. These include competitors, the government suppliers, as well as the environmental, technological, political, social, economic, and legal factors. Although some of this factor exert an indirect influence on the operations of a corporation, there are others that tend to exert a direct influence on corporations. Based on these observations, the business environment can be described as the total surroundings that happen to have an indirect or direct bearing on the operations of a corporation or business organization.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) takes into consideration external factors when analyzing its business environment. This paper will conduct a business environment analysis so as examine how these factors are taken into consideration by KAHRAMAA. In addition to this, the paper will also investigate the processes and systems that have been set in place by KAHRAMAA to help it in responding to the key stimuli affecting its business environment.

1.1: Company Profile of the Qatar General Electric and Water Corporation

Established in July 2000 with the passing of the Emiri Law Number 10, the Qatar General Electric and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) is charged with the responsibility of buying, selling and distributing electricity and water in Qatar. Some of the services that the company provides include the operation and construction of transmission and distribution networks for the water and electricity that it supplies to Qataris; the formulation and development of the various plans and programs that guide the development of electricity and water transmission and distribution networks; development of the codes and regulations that guide Qatar’s water and electricity supply practices to buildings and various facilities throughout the country; the provision of consultancy services in matters relating to its activities and business operations; and the provision of both technical and corporate support in respect to electricity generation and water desalination ventures (KAHRAMAA, 2017).

The strong government support that KAHRAMAA enjoys has allowed for it to maintain its position as the sole electricity and water distribution owner and system operator for not only Qatar’s electricity sector but also its water sector. Ownership of KAHRAMAA is at the moment divided between the private and the public sector. With a combined shareholding of 57.25% of the corporation’s shares, different entities within the private sector are observed to hold the majority of the company’s shares. The government is a minority shareholder as it currently holds only about 42.74% of the corporation’s shares.

The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation has experienced impressive growth over the years to now stand as the second largest electricity generation and water desalination corporation within the North Africa and Middle East region. KAHRAMAA enjoys a commanding 62% of the Qatar’s electricity supply market segment and 79% of its water supply market segment. To satisfy the demand in Qatar’s water and electricity market sectors, KAHRAMAA attained an output generation of 8755 Megawatts of electricity each day as at 2013 (KAHRAMAA, 2017a). In 2011 the company was able to reach its targeted distribution capacity of 325 million imperial gallons of water each day (KAHRAMAA, 2017b). The company’s rapid expansion is as a result of the rapid population growth in Qatar that has translated into a corresponding demand in the increase of electricity and water in the country.

2.0: Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) Business Environment Analysis

An environmental analysis is a strategic tool that provides business organizations and corporations with a process via which it becomes possible for them to identify all the internal and external elements affecting their performance. This analysis involves the assessment of the level of opportunity or threat factor that might currently be affecting the corporation. Using the data and results of this analysis, it becomes possible for a corporation’s management to make well-informed and effective decisions. In this regard, an environmental analysis helps to align an organization’s strategies with its environment. In a similar manner to all other markets, the electricity and water supply market is constantly undergoing new changes each day. While there are some factors that a corporation can be able to successfully control in its environment, there is however some factor that it is impossible for a corporation to control. As the operations of business organizations and corporation are greatly influenced by their environment, it is important for them to constantly analyze the market and the trade environment.

A number of frameworks are used in the evaluation of a corporation’s or company’s business environment. These frameworks are frequently used together and include the PESTLE analysis which provides an analysis of the corporation’s external environment, the SWOT analysis which provides an analysis of a corporation’s internal environment and Porter’s Five Forces analysis with provides an assessment of a corporation’s competitive environment.

2.1: Analysis of KAHRAMAA’s External Business Environment: PESTLE Analysis

A PESTLE analysis provides a corporation’s management with an overview of its business conduct as well as the current market situation. The analysis can help corporations to evaluate the future of their business. A PESTLE analysis is comprised of a number of factors that have a major impact on the overall business environment. Each letter in the term ‘PESTLE’ is an acronym that is indicative of a set of factors that affect the industry either indirectly or directly, these factors are:

2.1.1: Political Factors

Political factors are inclusive of all the various political conditions and activities undertaken by the government that can end up affecting the operations of an organization. One of the political factors that affects KAHRAMAA’s operations is the company has been able to offer cheap electricity due to the electricity subsidies that are afforded by the Qatari government. Kovessy (2016) argues that although electricity bills across Qatar experienced a marked increase in 2015, the government still covered about 45% of the cost of the country’s energy consumption. Kovessy (2016) points out that according to a recent report issued by the credit rating agency Moody, the typical Qatar household tends to pay about 2.3 cents for every Kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity that it consumes. This is despite the fact that it costs power companies in the country about 4.2 cents to generate a kilowatt hour of electricity. This essentially means that the Qatari government covers an average of about US1.9 cents for every kWh that is consumed by the country’s residential electrical power users. Using data from 2014, the report by Moody’s estimates that the cost of the government’s subsidies amounts to about $641.9 million.

By subsidizing the cost of electricity in the country, the Qatari government is able to make the cost of electricity more affordable and in the process encourage more households to get connected to the country’s electrical power distribution system. However, the recent scrapping of electricity subsidies by the government could negatively affect KAHRAMAA’s operations as the high cost of electricity might reduce the per person electricity consumption. Perumal (2016) points out that the global credit-rating agency, Moody’s, indicated that the Qatari government could potentially increase electricity tariffs in the country by 40% and 81% for commercial and residential connections respectively. This would have the effect of reflecting the actual cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) of this electrical power.

Another political factor affecting KAHRAMAA’s business operations is that the corporation receives some funding from the state that allow for the corporation to minimize its cost of operations (oxfordbusinessgroup.com, 2017). Qatar’s water and electricity sectors are structured on a split-sector model where while the production and generation of water and electricity is undertaken by various public and private sector industry player, the distribution and transmission of these resources is the responsibility of KAHRAMAA. Under this system of operation, KAHRAMAA is identified as the sole designated purchaser of all the desalinated water and generated electricity within Qatar. After purchasing the electricity and desalinated water, KAHRAMAA then proceeds to sell these products at greatly subsidized rates. While KAHRAMAA operates on commercial principles it is the funding that it receives from the Qatari government that allows for the corporation to keep the cost of operations considerably low.

2.1.2: Economic Factors

In a PESTLE analysis, economic factors include all the factors that influence a country’s economy and subsequently the fiscal planning of a corporation. These include the fiscal policies, rate of inflation, the foreign exchange rate as well as the interest rates. These factors are useful to a corporation’s management as they suggest the direction in which an economy might move. Qatar was able to post a budget surplus that averaged 9.3 percent between the year 2000 and 2012. In 2015, the government claimed that it expected to experience a budget deficit for a period of at least three concurrent years due to the impact that low oil and gas prices on its revenue earning. Torchia (2015) points out that a long-term report on the Qatari economy that was issued by the Ministry of Development planning and Statistics forecasted a fiscal deficit of about 7.8 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016. This deficit was the first budget deficit that the country had experienced in 15 years. While approving its 2017 budget, Qatar projected a deficit of $7.8 billion, this was the second deficit in a row for the country.

The current economic condition in Qatar is critically affecting KAHRAMAA’s operations as it is thought to be partly responsible for the government’s decision to remove the electricity subsidies that it was offering to the country’s citizens. The increased cost of electricity can reduce the demand for this product which will, in turn, affect KAHRAMAA’s profit margins as well as its plans for expansion.

2.1.4: Social Factors

In a PESTLE analysis, social factors include aspects such as the social lifestyles, the cultural implications, domestic structures and gender of the market that is being targeted by a company or corporation. One of the main social factors that are affecting the Qatar General Electric and Water Corporation is the accelerated rate of urbanization that is straining the already over-stretched infrastructure in the country. According to gulf-times.com (2014), Qatar had a population that stood at just 540,000 as at June 2002, however, the country has since then experienced a rapid population growth that saw the country’s population rise to a high of 2,116,400 as at February 2014. Recent statistical results on Qatar’s population presented by Walker (2016) indicate that there were 2,559,267 residents in Qatar as of April 2015. Gulf-times.com (2014) argues that the population growth in Qatar has been primarily accelerated by the influx of expatriates that are moving to the country to work on its numerous infrastructure projects. There has been a recent surge in the number of expatriates moving to Qatar for work on the back of the government’s increase in infrastructural investment ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup (zawya.com, 2016).

Qatar’s rapidly increasing population has increased the country’s demand for water and electricity and this is in turn impacting KAHRAMAA’s operations. Driven by the country’s rapid population and economic growth as well as the low prices that had been caused by state subsidies, Qatar’s demand for electricity experienced rapid growth that saw it more than quadruple during the 12-year period leading to 2012 when it hit a high of 32bn KWh. This demand is reported to have grown to some 36.1bn KWh in 2014. On the other hand, the total demand for water in Qatar rose to some 535m cu meter in 2015, this is up from an initial 195m cu meters in 2005 (Oxfordbusinessgroup.com, 2017). the current per capita consumption of water in Qatar current averages around 5000 liters per day. The Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute’s research director, Adel Shariff, stresses that this consumption is noted to be well above that of other high income countries such as Australia with a per capita consumption of 290 liters of water each day, France with a daily per capita consumption of 164 liters and the United Kingdom with a daily per capita consumption of water that averages to 150 liters (Oxfordbusinessgroup.com, 2017). The high per capita daily consumption of water in Qatar places the country alongside another three Gulf Cooperation Council countries that are among the seven countries predicted to be at risk of experiencing extreme water shortage by 2040 (Oxfordbusinessgroup.com, 2017).

The high demand for water and electricity in Qatar that has been precipitated by the country’s rapidly increasing population growth rate is having a major impact on KAHRAMAA’s operations. This is because the corporation has been forced to place a lot of focus in expanding its water and electricity supply and distribution capabilities. To increase the volume of water that it supplies to the country’s residents, KAHRAMAA is currently working on a number of projects that include the construction of additional reservoirs in many of the existing water stations as well as the construction of additional water stations aimed at meeting the growing demand of water in the country (KAHRAMAA, 2017b). The growing demand for electricity in the country is affecting KAHRAMAA’s operation as the company was forced to invest in a strategy that saw it increase the number of distribution substations to over 10,000 substations by the first quarter of 2014. These were then increased to 12,000 substations by 2017. To increase the length of cables in its transmission networks as well as that of the overhead cable lines in-line with its expansion operations, KAHRAMAA allocated a budget of $9 billion in the 2009-2012 period. This amount is seen to have been considerably more than the $6 billion in total electricity sector investments that had been made by the company since its establishment in 2000 up until 2008 (KAHRAMAA, 2017a).

2.1.5: Technological Factors

In a PESTLE analysis, technological factors include all the various technological advances that might be affecting the company’s operations. It is important for corporations such as KAHRAMAA to integrate any new relevant technologies into their operations if they are to increase their effectiveness and remain competitive. A major technological factor affecting KAHRAMAA’s operations is that most of the power in the country is generated using fossil-fuel power stations (KAHRAMAA, 2017a). Fossil-fuel power plants generally electricity by burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, gas or coal to generate electricity. These power stations are designed on a large scale to sustain continuous operation. In most developed countries, fossil-fuel power plants are being gradually replaced by nuclear power plants that are able to generate a larger quantity of cleaner electrical power. KAHRAMAA should consider developing nuclear power stations in the country as not only will this reduce the corporation’s over-reliance on fossil-fuel to generate electricity, it will also help it in reducing its emission of greenhouse gasses.

Another technological factor affecting KAHRAMAA’s operations is in respect to the technologies that it employs in its water desalination plants. At the moment, there are only two major desalination processes that are employed in the large-scale desalination of sea-water, these are membrane-based desalination and thermal based desalination. The Water desalination processes that are employed by KAHRAMAA are primarily the Multiple-Effect-Distillation (MED) and the Multi-Stage-Flash (MSF) processes that work by first evaporating out the water before proceeding to re-condense it (Elimelech & Phillip, 2011). Due to its geographic location, the only available source of water for KAHRAMAA’s desalination is drawn from the Arabian Gulf. The semi-enclosed nature of the Gulf coupled with the region’s high evaporation rate of about 1.4-2.1 m/year is responsible for the Gulf’s shallow and hyper-saline nature (Nadim et al., 2008). The average surface salinity of the water in the Gulf is about 40ppt, while the average depth of water is only about 35m. The temperatures in the region range from about 22oC – 33oC (Sale et al., 2011). The physical characteristics of this region that include hyper-salinity, high temperatures, the presence of marine organism as well as turbidity have played a key role in influencing the choice by KAHRAMAA to use thermal based desalination technologies as opposed to membrane-based desalination technologies.

Recent advances in membrane-based desalination processes such as reverse osmosis that work by force feeding water through a thin semi-permeable membrane that not only dissolves ions but also serves to block out a range of particulates have helped to either reduce or completely eliminate the pre-treatment costs that had previously made the process unattractive for desalination companies such as KAHRAMAA (Misdan, Lau and Ishmail, 2012). At the moment, reverse osmosis desalination technologies enjoy a greater degree of energy efficiency as compared to the thermal based processes. KAHRAMAA should consider adopting reverse osmosis water desalination processes so as improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations as well as ensure that it is easily able to maintain the quality of drinking water as per the international standards. According to Kovessy (2015), KAHRAMAA recently announced that it has awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to a number of companies to construct new water storage tanks and desalination plants. When awarding such contracts in future, KAHRAMAA should consider asking the companies that it awards the contracts to install water desalination plants that utilize reverse osmosis processes.

2.1.6: Legal Factors

Legal Factors in a PESTLE Analysis pertain to legislation that affects the business environment. As it was established by the passing of an Emiri Law (Emiri Law number 10), KAHRAMAA was at first a government owned company before it was publicized and the majority of its shares came to be owned by private sector entities (KAHRAMAA, 2017). KAHRAMAA’s water desalination and electricity production activities are outsourced and this allows for the company to focus on distribution. The recent passing of a government legislation to discontinue the subsidization of oil and electricity in the country has affected the water and electricity sector’s business environment as it is now more expensive to desalinate water or generate electricity.

2.1.7: Environmental Factors

In a PESTLE Analysis, environmental factors include the impact of the company’s operations on the weather, climate, and environment. The generation of electrical power and the desalination of water using fossil fuels such as oil and gas has the effect of causing KAHRAMAA’s operations to have a range of negative environmental effects. The nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide gas emissions from plants such as the Ras Abu Aboud power and desalination plant that supplies KAHRAMAA with electrical power are harmful to the individuals living in the areas surrounding these power plants (KAHRAMAA, 2017a). These pollutants can create harmful smog that in turn causes the surrounding community to develop severe respiratory disorders. In addition to this, the emission of carbon dioxide by KAHRAMAA’s electricity and water desalination plants has the effect of contributing to global warming.

2.2 Analysis of KAHRAMAA’s Internal Business Environment: SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an analytical tool that is commonly used by corporations and other business enterprises to aid them in the assessment of themselves in respect to other competing corporations. A SWOT analysis provides a quick way of examining the prevailing business environment as well as determining the changes that might affect this environment in future. A SWOT analysis examines the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a business organization or corporation.

2.2.1: Strengths

One of the main strengths that are enjoyed by KAHRAMAA is that the corporation was set up by the passing of Emiri Law number 10 to be Qatar’s sole electricity and water distribution owner and system operator. As such, the company faces little to no competition in the distribution of water or transmission of electricity within Qatar. An associated-strength to this is that KAHRAMAA enjoys significant support from the Qatari government in the form of financial support.

Another strength that KAHRAMAA enjoys is that as the company does not involve itself directly in the desalination of water and generation of electrical power, it is easy for it to expand its operations as it will only need to give out more contracts for the supply of water and electricity. The corporations existing facilities can as such be harnessed to support the generation of more power without the company necessarily having to secure more land and human resources. Another strength that is enjoyed by KAHRAMAA is that the company has been able to significantly reduce the costs it incurs in the transmission of electricity and distribution of water by employing a strategy of encouraging the companies that it contracts generate electricity and desalinate water on behalf of KAHRAMAA to locate their plants in the main load centers. This is seen to be the case with the location of the Ras Abu Fontas power plant within the Ras Abu Aboud industrial district in Doha.

A key strength displayed by KAHRAMAA is that it has embarked on a project of working to diversity its energy sources. While KAHRAMAA has traditionally relied on the use of steam turbine power plants to support the generation of electrical power, recent advances have seen it diversify its sources of power by increasing its investment in solar power. According to Varghese (2016), KAHRAMAA is on record as having committed itself to deploying a minimum of 200MW of solar energy by 2020. At the moment, the corporation has planned several significant projects including the setting up of a 100MW solar farm that the will comprise of an estimated 800,000sqm of photovoltaic panels. This project will go a long way towards helping Qatar in attaining its goal of producing at least 20% of its electricity from solar power by the year 2030 (Varghese, 2016).

2.2.2: Weaknesses

One of the main weaknesses affecting KAHRAMAA is that the company has not been quick to replace its electricity transmission and water distribution technologies with new modern equipment. In addition to this, the companies that KAHRAMAA has contracted to generate electricity and desalinate water on its behalf are also observed to be using relatively dated technologies. This has proven to be a significant weakness for the company as it has reduced the efficiency of its operations. KAHRAMAA is affected by operational issues as it does not directly control the desalination of water or the generation of electricity. It’s lack of control of the water desalination and electricity generation plants is a weakness that limits the control that the company has in respect to the operations of these plants. In the event of a technical breakdown, KAHRAMAA has no control over how soon normal water and electricity supply will resume.

2.2.3: Opportunities

One of the main opportunities available for KAHRAMAA is that it can participate in various long-term investment initiatives. Some of these include the plans to expand its solar power generation capabilities by 2020; the development of new electricity substations; and the expansion or upgrading of the old electricity substations. In respect to the distribution of water in the country, KAHRAMAA has embarked on a long-term project that will see it increase its reservoir capacity. At the moment, the amount of water that can be held in Qatar’s reservoirs will be enough for only 48 hours. However, KAHRAMAA is working to increase the number of water reservoirs in the country such that they will be able to hold at least a week’s worth of water supply based on the 2026 water demand forecasts. Once this objective has been attained the project will then move on to its second stage of increasing its water storage capabilities to a week’s worth of water based on the 2036 water demand forecasts (Kovessy, 2015).

Another opportunity that can be taken advantage of by the company is that there have been positive trends in Qatar’s water and Energy sectors. The demand for water and electricity in the country is growing at a relatively exponential rate and this is driving KAHRAMAA to support projects that serve to increase the volume of water and amount of electricity that it supplies in the country and as a direct result also increase its profit margins.

2.2.4: Threats

KAHRAMAA is threatened by the operational issues that result from its having little control over the electricity generation and water desalination plants that supply it with water and electricity for distribution. KAHRAMAA needs to develop a system that will allow for it to enjoy more control over these plants. Another threat that is affecting the corporation is the recent fluctuation affecting the price of electricity. The removal of the government subsidies on electrical power in the country triggered a sharp increase in the price of electricity in the country (Kovessy, 2016). This fluctuation in the price of electricity has negatively affected the demand for the product.

2.3: Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of the Level of Competition within KAHRAMAA’s Electricity Transmission and Water Distribution Industry

The Porter’s five forces is an analytical tool that provides a framework that can be used in the evaluation of the intensity of the competition that exists within a given industry. By understanding the level of competition that exists within an industry, it is possible for companies and corporations that plan on venturing into a new industry to determine the attractiveness of that industry. Companies that already operate within a given industry can conduct Porter’s five forces analysis to determine the degree of threat that might be offered by any new competitors that happen to venture into their market.

2.3.1: Competitive Rivalry: Low

As KAHRAMAA was set up by the passing of Emiri Law number 10 to operate as the sole electricity and water distribution corporation in Qatar, the threat of competitive rivalry that the corporation is exposed to is relatively low (KAHRAMAA, 2017). As the sole water and electricity distributor in the country, KAHRAMAA enjoys the loyalty of all its customers.

2.3.2: Threat of New Entrants: Low

While the electricity and water distribution industry are relatively attractive as a due to the exponential growth that it has experienced on the back of the influx of expatriates in the country, the threat of new entrants into this market is low. This is because not only would the setting up of a power supply and water distribution network be prohibitively expensive, there is little to no possibility that the Qatari government will enact a new Emiri law to allow for the operation of a corporation that would compete with KAHRAMAA.

2.3.3: Threat of Substitution: Low

Electricity and water are basic necessities and as such there are no substitute products that can be used to replace them. However, the recent fluctuations in the cost of electricity coupled with the government’s drive to promote the use of solar energy might drive some Qatari’s into installing their own solar electricity panels so as to substitute the power that they receive from KAHRAMAA with cheaper solar power (Varghese, 2016).

2.3.4: Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Low

The companies that supply KAHRAMAA with the water and electricity that it distributes have low bargaining power as they rely on obtaining contracts from KAHRAMAA so as for them to find an outlet for the water and electrical power that they produce (Kovessy, 2015). In addition to this, KAHRAMAA’s powerful position allow for it to be able to negotiate for the best prices with its suppliers.

2.3.5: Bargaining Power of Buyers: Low

The bargaining power of buyers in the market in which KAHRAMAA operates in is low. This is because KAHRAMAA is the sole supplier of the water and electricity that is used by people in the country. The electricity and water distribution market in Qatar is served by only one company, KAHRAMAA. As such, KAHRAMAA’s customers (buyers) do not have any other company that they can possibly turn to so as to obtain similar products to those which they are able to obtain from KAHRAMAA.

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Target Corporation Strategic Management Analysis

Company Mission Statement

Target Corporation is a retailing American company which was established in 1902. Target is the second biggest United States’ discount retailer after Wal-Mart Stores. The company main mission is to make Target the customers’ preferred destination for shopping in all channels by providing exceptional value, remarkable guest experiences, and continuous innovation by fulfilling the company’s brand promise of “Pay Less. Expect More”, consistently.  The company’s mission statement focuses on making the company useful in the globe and treasured by the society by assisting in lifting the humanity level (Makingafortune.biz, 2015). The mission statement guides the company’s employees in providing quality services that attracts its customers to come back for more. It also guides the company in developing modern technologies of reducing the operation cost to ensure that they are able to provide more to the customers at a lower cost. This assists in attracting higher revenues in the company and thus, enhancing its level of valuation among investors, and also enhancing its competitive advantage among the company’s competitors (Farfan, 2016).

Corporate Governance

Analyzing Goals

Corporate governance refers to the set of techniques employed to manage the association among stakeholders and to control and establish the strategic performance and direction of organization. Target corporate governance has a number of goals which guide them in their daily operations. The first goal is to safeguard the interest public investors, upholding confidence in the company listed firms and facilitating is international reputation as a trusted retail store. The company governance fulfill this goal by ensuring that the company demonstrates a high level of accountability by defining various committees which include finance, audit, and compensation committees among others as a way of enhancing a high level of accountability and transparency in the company operation. The second corporate governance goal is to permit flexibility in the duties and rights enforcement of various corporate constituents.

Corporate governance ensures proper implementation of the country laws defined to govern corporate companies in the United States. This include the according laws that governance on how to present financial information to the shareholders, and other laws governing committee formations, committee membership and all other in corporate companies in the united states.  The third corporate governance goal is to approve the board of directors and to acknowledge the need for directors’ independence. This goal focuses on tightening the independence director definition where the shareholders and management relationship as well as the relationship between the CEO and the chairman, tenure length and multiple directorship (Target.com, 2017).

Board of Directors

Board of Directors refers to a group of voted persons whose prime responsibility is to act in the best interest of the owners by formally controlling and monitoring the top level managers of a company.  The company has a total of 12 members of board of directors which include five women and eight men. Among them only one; the chairman of board and chief executive officer in Target corporation is an employee of the Target company. The rest works in different place, while others are former employees of other companies.  The company majors on independent members of directors with business and professional background that will be important to the company’s operation.

The board of director can thus be said to source most of its members outside the company. This is anticipated to assist the company in developing new and innovative ideas of handling problems in the company. All committee members of the company also comprises of independent director only. The board of directors participates effectively to their responsibilities to the company. So far the company has not experienced any issue with its board of directors. On the contrary they have proved to be very beneficial to the company. A high number of external directors may be of great benefit in the company; however, it can as well initiate conflict of interests among them.

The Company’s Ownership Structure

Target Company is highly owned by institutions. Mutual funds and institutions account for 88.40% of the company ownership, with institution with the highest percentage ownership being State Street Group with 9.11% and Vanguard Group Inc with 7.23%.  The rest own less than 5% of the company’s shares each. Target is owned by 1230 institutions that hold shares in the company. The company insiders own 0.11% of the company shares, where most of these insiders are executive officers of the company who include Timothy R. Baer, Kathryn A. Tesija, and Brian C. Cornell (Yahoo Finance, 2017).

The Top Management Team

The company has twelve executive officers and 40 other senior officers. The company executive officers have academic qualification equitable to their specific position of operation in the company. Most of them possess bachelor degrees from reputable universities in the United States. They also have previous experiences from different companies where they worked at equal position or slightly lower position in other companies in the past. Although most of the executive officers are considerably young and hence do not have wide range of previous experience, they at least have a history of working in one or two previous position before their current role in the company. They also have a good performance track in the past. Their young age gives them an opportunity to employ new modern technology and to be innovative and flexible in the company management. In this regard, they have the ability of taking the company into greater length in the future. Their great vigor will definitely give the company a chance work into taking the company through its future success.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths & Weaknesses

The company main strength is its brand. Target is among the oldest and biggest discount retail company to function in the United States. Thus, the company contains a big store footprint and benefits from substantial brand recognition. The portfolio of the company exclusive and owned brans is in addition a main strength, permitting the retailer a prized differentiating tool in a very competitive retail setting. The company also has programs of marketing that include Cartwheel and REDCard which are main opportunities and strength for Target. The penetration of REDCard is increasing and it is currently provides cardholders a discount of 5% in each card made purchase. Another major company’s strength is the application of Omni-channel model. About three-quarters of customers targeted by the company start their searches of item on their mobile devices. The target website has online assortment which provides extra choices to customers, part of which are only stocked in specific stores.

The store network of the company permits for greater options of fulfillment that include store pickup and delivery. The store pickup can also create higher traffic at physical stores, stimulating sales. Another major company’s strength is the use of the company is the selection of external, independent board of directors who add value to the company especially in enhancing its effective methods of operation and ensuring accountability and transparency. The employment of young, vibrant, and well skilled and knowledgeable executive officers also assist in enhancing effective and innovative business operation and management techniques. This assists in enhancing its competitive advantage (Soni, 2016).


The main company weakness is that the products of Target frequently fall under the category of consumer discretionary. Consequently, the results of the company are susceptible to macroeconomic aspects that include growth rate of the gross domestic product (GDP), sending trends of consumer, as well as income and employment. Operations of Targets are restricted to the market of the United States. This makes the financial performance of the company to be extra vulnerable to the United States economic cycles. Target has just recently employed aggressive move to online retail. Nevertheless, it still lags behind in ecommerce compared to its competitors that include Walmart and Amazon.com.

Moreover, Target is not as big as its competitors and it is also less diversified compared to them. This makes the company to be more susceptible to economic challenges compared to its competitors. Target has also been unable to tap some probably lucrative retail areas which include financial services and filling stations, unlike Kroger and Walmart which provide extra services to add value to their services. The company has also been unable to modify its business model with time. People currently prefer shopping in small store and the company has just managed to open eight while its competitor Walmart is targeting 300 such stores to address the customers change in preference (Soni, 2016).


The company still has a large distribution area to cover and thus it has an opportunity to grow even further by increasing its stores in the regions it has not covered. This can be done by creating more small stores like the customers prefer. The company also has a chance to expand internationally even further, particularly in western regions. This will help the company to expand its distribution area even further and gain more market shares. The company has a chance of expanding its business further by strengthening on its e-commerce business, particularly on fashion section. The reputation of Target as a retailer for fashion contains strong appeal to its online customers. Extra effort on this section would attract a big traffic to the company’s website.

Target is highly preferred by middle class individuals in the United State and declining incomes for middle-class individuals in the United States could augment the company’s customers since individual with less cash are highly probable to do their shopping at discount stores. The company has a chance to expand extra services provided to add value to its services, the company can expand on its current services that include Visa Card and Red Card financial services, and super target. Expansion of these services can increase customers’ preference to shop in this particular store.  The company also has a chance to diversify its technology even further by employing cellphone apps such as Cartwheel that allows coupons and discounts. The company can also increase its sales through exclusive deals to Target.com, and being active via social media. The company can also opt to employ social media to enhance customer services and products promotion and marketing (Target Corporation, 2014).


The company competitors have a larger distribution area and stores across the world and hence they are able to acquire more market shares compared to Target Company. Another threat is that competitors such as Walmart have in their prices managed to eliminate the negatives by giving price matches for similar products. Another major threat is the security issues experienced in the online cards transactions where credit card information and social security information has been intercepted by hackers. Another major threat is economic challenges which have resulted to inflation, aspect that affects people spending especially on luxurious products.  This affects the volume of sales and hence the company productivity (Pestle Analysis, 2015).

Strategic Posture

Target Competitive Position and Cooperative Strategies

Target main competitor in the market is Walmart. The two are the main retail chain industry players and they do share high market commonality levels. Although their target customers and strategies are different, they however provide similar services that include express outlets, pharmacy centers, and discounted products. Moreover, the two companies compete globally with each other in countries such as Canada and India. Despite massive size of Walmart, Walmart and Target contain similar resources that include location, equal quantity of human capital, and equitable recognition of brand.

Nevertheless, they are inclined to vary in principle that target workers are dexterous in leadership skills and project management while staff of Walmart concentrates on creating its pharmacy retail knowledge and sales. Target in addition places a higher focus on product quality and innovation in contrast to lowest price strategy of Walmart. Moreover, Target contains superior practices of advertising. Thus, they have moderate level of resource similarity. Walmart and Target contain high market commonality levels and a moderate resource similarity level. Therefore, their each other awareness is temperately high. The level of competitive actions consequences and one response will highly contain an effect on the other as witnessed when Walmart Express met with City Target later rebuttal (Brown, 2015).

It is important to note that Walmart and Target contain comparatively similar resources and they are both big players in the retail industry. Therefore they contain the aptitude to attack competitors including each other if need be. However, Walmart threat is clearly felt internationally by all competitors due to its large size. With regard to comparative strategies, the two companies consider building more powerful store to enhance their extensibility in the market. Walmart initially began protecting its competitive advantage by constructing Walmart express stores that were considerably small compared to supercenters.

These kinds of stores are constructed in urban regions. Since then, Target has constructed a number of City Target or Target Express, though these are located directly in cities focusing on city goers. However, Walmart is considerably big compared to Target and thus, Walmart has managed to employ a number of strategic actions such as constructing new stores in various regions compared to Target without much strain. Nevertheless, Target appears to have the control with regard to quality. Target partners with designers every year to provide high end product at good prices. However, Walmart is not recognize for its quality, though it is known for little rollback prices (Target.com, 2017).

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Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness – Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks Corporation is a coffee outlet in the United States of America several years ago when no one had ever thought of running such a business in such a developed nation. The organization has currently grown beyond the borders of America. It currently has its branches in Mexico and other nearby countries. In the beginning, people used to pass by for the sake of taking morning coffee so that they would consume caffeine to last them the whole day. Apparently, that mentality changed with time, and the current generation of coffee consumers does so for purposes of enjoying the drink. Young youths form the majority of the customers for the Starbucks Corporation. Most of the customers flock the outlets every hour of the day to have fun in taking the coffee (Hart, 2011). What starbucks has managed to do over the past years is to change the mentality from taking caffeine for official reasons to consuming the caffeine as part of the people’s lifestyle. The coffee provided at starbucks has been proved by the customers to be quite different from what the consumers get from other places. The customers say that they not only consume coffee at starbucks but they get to enjoy the experience that comes with it as well. For instance, the strong nature of the coffee smell keeps the customers coming back for more and more of it. Additionally, the customers enjoy the laid-back atmosphere that is normally present at starbucks. Furthermore, the most important thing that keeps bringing the customers to the corporation is the variety that they tend to get from the corporation. Such a variety is what normally lacks at other outlets and that is what the customers prefer to get. What the customers are offered is not just any ordinary coffee; it is ranked as an extra-ordinary coffee.

Any business, be it a small scale or a large scale business, must always think and work to go beyond the borders of its mother country. That is the same way that starbucks managers had to think about their strategies when it comes to the expansion of the company. Since the organization became successful in its own yard, it had to expand beyond its borders and capture new markets (Hart, 2011). As a result of globalization, the institution expanded beyond operating in a confined region. The leaders saw it wise for the corporation to move into international and foreign markets. The primary purpose for such a move was to enable the corporation achieves its maximum potential that it was not utilizing by then. The globalization effect first caught up with the corporation in the year 2013 when it made a move to new territories. The company made a quick evolution and turned into the world-wide company that is currently known all over. The countries where the organization made an entry started feeling the starbucks effect as soon as the organization started launching its operations. One effect that starbucks managed to bring with itself is the ripple effect where indigenous companies were forced to reconsider their strategies afresh. Companies had to reconsider what they were initially offering the ir customers. The kind of quality of coffee that starbucks brought with it was of a higher quality than those offered by the indigenous companies. Such high quality services forced the other providers to consider changing their strategies so that they could serve what matched the quality offered by starbucks. The kind of competition that was created by starbucks was one of a kind. The other companies knew that if they failed to match the new standards created by starbucks then they could easily run out of business.


Starbucks encountered difficulties when attempting to enter the European market.  What Americans find exotic doesn’t translate well to Europe.  Europe has been the trading center for some of the world’s most exotic goods from far-flung locales for centuries.  While beans from foreign locations were viewed as somewhat of a delicacy for Americans, Europeans thought differently.  Initially Starbucks in Europe started with the US approach, as a coffee shop/restaurant offering the Starbucks experience.  Over time however, Starbucks evolved to fit the demand of the European citizens.  Starbucks employees on the sidewalk would educate passersby on how to “create your own coffee,” attempting to appeal to a classically French sense of artistry and creativity.  The Starbucks strategy in Paris “promotes purchases of its coffees as an endorsement, and economic support, of the foreign producers of the coffee beans that capture the unique characteristics of the soil and light…which blends the classic French concept of pride in one’s skill as an artisan or professional, land-specific produce, with a green and sustainable brand promise.”

The industrial organization model is normally concerned with the manner in which markets tend to work in different ways within different industries. The model also takes a look at how firms create competition for one another and with each other. The competition strategies come in various forms. There are those compete in terms of their pricing strategies while others compete in terms of the quality of either goods or services that they offer their customers. For the case of starbucks, the corporation has constantly used quality as a weapon through which they win competition with their rival companies. The quality of the coffee that they offer cannot be matched by any of their closest rivals. Additionally, starbucks has over the years engaged the customers by educating them on the best methods that they can use to make their own coffee from the comfort of their kitchens. Such techniques and strategies are rarely offered by the rivals who fear that the customers will cease to get coffee from their outlets.

The mission and vision statement of the corporation has over the years played a role in the success of the organization. First, the mission statement has always been used to explain the reason of the existence of the company and the aims it has in serving its esteemed stakeholders (Bart and Baetz, 1998). The stakeholders in this case refer to the customers, the employees and the investors who fund the organization. All the stakeholders therefore remain intact and loyal to the organization because they know that the organization has something good for them in store. Since the statement echoes the values of the firm, the stakeholders find it relevant to stick by those values since they also share in the same.

The vision statement on the other hand relays the message of what the corporation expects to do and create in a future period. Such a statement keeps the stakeholders focused since they know what the future holds for them. When the future seems bright, then everyone involved will work extremely hard to achieve that success.



Strategic Management – Non-Alcoholic Beverage Company

Vita Nova Agave Company

The name rationale:  A Non-Alcoholic Beverage Company with the utmost recognition of the social welfare and the general health status of its customers.

Vita Nova Agave, the San Francisco, California headquartered NAB Company offers a large base of both retail and wholesale services to its customers with supplies in a multi-flavored non-alcoholic beverages. The top participants of the non-alcoholic beverage (NAB) industry scales the bar high by producing, branding and supplying a blend of beverages that cut across the ages, the social set-ups and the ethnic affiliations in which at least everyone will always find a fit of its products. Apart from the Columbus Avenue base headquarter outlet, the company has several production and supply outlets across the California City and beyond.

The Vita Nova Agave Philosophy

The Vita Nova Agave manufacturers produces their non-alcoholic beverages from the agave nectar as a sweetener for its products of non-alcoholic beverages. The company uses the agave syrup as a sweetener of the non-alcoholic beverages and is commercially produced from various species of agave, which includes the Agave salmiana, and Agave tequilana. The various species and the difference in blending techniques during the production process results to a number of flavors of the agave products to catch a greater market and varied consumer tastes and preferences (Witcher, & Chau, 2010).

The mission of Vita Nova Agape is to provide to their customers the best soft drinks that refresh, nourishes and replenish their clients and the world in entirety. The company has been heightening the scale of Non-Alcoholic Beverages production in pursuit of meeting the changing customer demands and the highly dynamic and competitive beverage industry. Such a great and vibrant mission statement the company inspires and makes its stakeholders fizz with fresh idea and full of creativity over business incentives across the globe. This difference impacts largely on along the traces from bottlers trucking to outlets of retail distribution, from suppliers and creditors, to investors and clients- thereby making every party involved to feel like a team that is in sync with the customers’ taste and preferences, for instance, low sugar or tea drinks.

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