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Unit 3: The General Manager’s Role: Strategic Decision Making and Integration PrintDownload

18 Mar

Unit 3: The General Manager’s Role: Strategic Decision Making and Integration
PrintDownload

This unit is designed to give you the more macro perspective of the strategic decision-making process.

In this unit, you will consider how enterprises may develop a strategic position statement. You will review how creating a position statement leads to strategic decision making. This involves choosing among alternative interpretations of issues, their significance and preferred strategic response. You will also consider the role of key decision makers in the strategic decision-making process. It is important to note that specific techniques for undertaking the various elements of internal and external analysis which support the development of the strategic position statement are examined in the next two units.

Photo Credit: AnsonLu/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Learning Objectives
Students will:
Analyse constraints on strategic decision making
Analyse leadership in strategic decision making
Evaluate a general management team relative to strategic decision making
Analyse a firm’s strategic position statement
Learn
In this unit, the main focus will be on strategic decisions and strategic decision processes, which drive organisation action.

Strategic decisions are non-routine decisions which are closely related to the internal and external environment of the organisation. (You will be doing extensive analysis of each of these environments in future units.) Making effective strategic decisions is not an easy task. Perceptions of the environment, as well as top management team’s characteristics, are important considerations in their effectiveness. Any decision which can affect the potential long-term health of the organisation is a strategic decision. Depending on the specific internal and external array of competitive and cooperative forces, even ‘small’ decisions could have an impact, cumulatively, on strategic choices.

The management team of every organisation is involved in strategic-issues diagnosis through, which it identifies, interprets and prioritises significant issues in the organisation’s internal and external environment. This procedure results in a strategic position statement ************pass************ issues in the internal and external environment which require special attention and strategic focus. The organisation should have a realistic position statement before making strategically sound decisions. The steps that produce an enterprise’s strategic position statement are discussed in Pitt and Koufopoulos (2012:Chapter 6).

Issue diagnosis and a strategic position statement lead to strategic decision making. This involves choosing among alternative interpretations of issues, their significance, priority and preferred strategic responses. Decision making aims to facilitate decision taking by formulating options and examining their advantages and drawbacks.

The basic dimensions of strategic decision-making processes that have been underlined in the literature and presented by Papadakis et al. (1998) and others include the following:

Comprehensiveness (depth versus breadth)
Rationality, bounded rationality and irrational behaviours
Centralisation versus decentralisation
Formalisation versus self organisation
Standardisation versus experimentalism
Political and problem-solving dissension
Dynamic factors, forcing and duration
Keep in mind tha******deal******strategic decisions should be based on rationality and a step-by-step logic (and you will examine such logical frameworks in other units). However, this is not always possible, and top management teams should also embrace intuitive forms of decision making. The factors affecting the strategic decision ma************pass ************ categories:

Top management characteristics
Nature of strategic decision
Decision process characteristics
Internal and external environmental characteristics
The role of the management team and board of directors in the decision-making process is of paramount importance. Executives should make strategic decisions about the socio-political, economic, ecological and technological environments in order to determine the viability of their organisation. Many researchers have underlined the effect of the composition of top management teams and characteristics of boards of directors on strategic decisions.

As Pitt and Koufopoulos (2012) describe, the starting point for strategic analysis is the development of a strategic position statement, which frames leadership’s understanding of their current situation and which outlines issues that may affect future performance. Once a strategic position statement has been developed then the next stage is the exploration of alternative strategies that could be feasible and implemented to respond to strategic issues raised in the analysis. At this point, a strategy should be formulated to address all the relevant issues.

Remember, strategy is how the senior decision makers intend to match the internal activities of an organisation to its external environment – with the caveat that such matching may be insufficient, in which case the concept of Hamel and Prahalad’s (2005) strategic intent or Kim and Mauborgne’s (2004) blue ocean development becomes imperative.

References
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C.K. (2005) Strategic intent. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/pl/*******9/*******5/a31c18d62feaf6c82b3236d275005a27 (Accessed: 10/07/17).
Kim, W.C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004) Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/pl/*******9/*******4/75fbc9b50bf01d27aa89dfe90d3dc3e8 (Accessed: 10/07/17).
Papadakis, V.M., Lioukas, S. & Chambers, D. (1998) Strategic decision-making processes: The role of management and context. Strategic Management Journal. 19(2) pp.115-147. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1************802)19:23.0.CO;2-5.
Pitt, M.R. & Koufopoulos, D. (2012) Essentials of Strategic Management, London: SAGE Publications.
Dig Deeper
Core Module Text
To access your module core text eBook use the ‘Module Home’ link below, then click on the textbook icon.
If you do not already have one, enter your Roehampton Online email address to create a VitalSource bookshelf account.
You can now access the book whenever you want to read it.
Read books offline by downloading the VitalSource bookshelf app for to your computer or mobile device HERE
To access module core text eBook, click on the icon in the ‘Bookshelf by VitalSource’ module on your class home page

To access Module Home, click here.

Read
The following readings are provided for you to dig deeper into the subject area.

Required
Book Chapters

Pitt, M., & D. N. Koufopoulos, (2012) Essentials of Strategic Management, London: Sage

Chapter 6, ‘Strategic Decision-Making’ (pp.161-183)
Chapter 7, ‘Enterprise-Level Strategy Frameworks’ (pp.184-207)
Online Journal Article

Collis, D.J., & Rukstad, M.G. (2008) Strategy and competition: Can you say what your strategy is? Harvard Business Review. 86(4) pp.82-90. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/*******8/*******4/0615712a003bc898fa80832d313ad8f2 (Accessed: 10/07/17).

How easy is it to explain your strategy? Once you finish explaining, will the ******ience be able to articulate your strategy well? In this article, the authors discuss why the answers to these questions are so important when implementing a strategy. They describe how to craft a strategy statement which communicates the aims of a strategy simply and succinctly.

Journal Article

Mitchell, J.R., Shepherd, D.A. & Sharfman, M.P. (2011) Erratic strategic decisions: When and why managers are inconsistent in strategic decision making. Strategic Management Journal. 32(7) pp.683-704. DOI: 10.1002/smj.905.

Online Journal Article

Reeves, M., Love, C. & Tillmanns, P. (2012) Spotlight on strategy: Your strategy needs a strategy. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/*******8/*******0/6a98c3f*******04d9ce9f2b*******9 (Accessed: 10/07/17).

The authors provide a framework to help strategists systematically match ‘strategy making style’ to the particular circumstances of their competitive ecosystem and stakeholder environment.

Optional
Journal Article

Bailey, B.C. & Peck, S. I. (2013) Boardroom strategic decision-making style: Understanding the antecedents. Corporate Governance: An International Review. 21(2) pp.131-146. DOI: 10.1111/corg.12008.

Journal Article

Hart, S.L. (1992) An integrative framework for strategy-making processes. Academy of Management Review. 17(2) pp.327-351. DOI: 10.5465/AMR.1992.4279547.

Journal Article

Ignatius, A., (2010) The HBR interview: ‘We had to own the mistakes’. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/*******8/*******0/ed1332dab735f5d34b*******2cdcfb6 (Accessed: 28/09/17).

Journal Article

Kahneman, D., Lovallo, D. & Sibony, O. (2011) The big idea: Before you make that big decision… Harvard Business Review. 89(6) pp.50-60.

Journal Article

Papadakis, V.M., Lioukas, S. & Chambers, D. (1998) Strategic decision-making processes: The role of management and context. Strategic Management Journal. 19(2) pp.115-147. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1************802)19:23.0.CO;2-5.

Watch
Deloitte Consulting, (2011) Understanding Strategic Direction, [Video, Online]

Ridout, Heather. (© 2011). Understanding strategic direction. [Books24x7 version] Available from http://common.books24x7.com/toc.aspx?bookid=43583.

 

Accessible player
‘Setting strategic direction is vital for an organisation’s health’, says Heather Ridout. She describes the process she undergoes in setting strategic direction for her organisation.

Demonstrate
In order to determine whether organisations have this synergistic relationship, it is important to understand the concept of marketing orientation.

Unit 3 Project: Business Strategy Report Part 1
This third unit offers one assessment – a ‘Project’, which is to be submitted by the end of the unit. This is worth 35% of the overall module grade.

Please identify major implications, provide a comprehensive set of recommendations and action plans with supporting reasoning and evidence for all issues discussed in this part of your report. Moreover, be sure to support your Unit 3 Project with evidence from the Readings and other current literature from the University of Roehampton online library and other credible sources. Consult the Harvard Referencing Style Guide for proper citation and referencing information.

Part 1 of the Business Strategy Report Project consists of the following sections:

Section 1: Strategy and Sustainability: The Expression of Organisational Values and Vision
Section 2: Evaluating Strategic Approaches to Innovation on Performance Frontier
Section 3: Strategic Position Statement Analysis
Section 1: Strategy and Sustainability: The Expression of Organisational Values and Vision (800 words)
Before you begin to work on specific external, internal and integrative strategic thinking and analysis frameworks, it is important to take stock of the company you are studying from the perspective of its mission and vision of social responsibility (Kramer and Porter, 2006) and strategic intent (Hamel and Prahalad, 2005).

To prepare for Section 1 of the Unit 3 Project:

Examine the mission, vision and objectives of several organisations, and select the company that best meets the requirements described in the Unit 3 Project Guidelines. This may be the company that you work for, or another organisation with which you are familiar – and in which you are interested. To find an appropriate organisation, you may want to consider a publicly traded firm listed on one of your country’s stock exchanges, since their annual reports and other communications will be readily available. If you anticipate problems due to confidentiality or intellectual property concerns, select a different company.
Review the Unit 1 Readings.
Consider how strategic intent can lead to sustainable competitive advantage.
Also, consider how an organisation’s posture towards CSR can affect its long-term opportunities.
To complete Section 1 of the Unit 3 Project:

Briefly describe the company you selected, its products and services, market and niche.
Conduct a thorough and well-argued analysis of your selected organisation’s strategic intent posture that provides evidence that the organisation either has, or does not have, a strong strategic-intent posture.
Be sure to explain the strategic implications of your analysis and speculate on what this strong strategic intent posture could bring to the organisation in terms of future strategic direction and choices.
Evaluate the CSR and mission/vision and values of the organisation by conducting on-line research of secondary sources (annual reports, magazine and journal articles, etc.). Use the following questions to guide your analysis and summary:
What is the fundamental purpose of the organisation (apart from ‘making money’)? Why does it exist, and what problems does it solve in the world?
How would customers and other major stakeholders react if this company were to go bankrupt next year? Would it matter? Why, or why not?
Has the company been consistent and true towards it purpose and vision over the years? Is it consistent now?
Since ‘actions speak louder than words’, has the company said it valued its human resources and then cut back or laid off many workers in a time of retrenchment? Is this a historical pattern?
Has senior leadership demonstrated a willingness to give back in times of organisational stress?
How many CEOs, COOs and CFOs has the company had in the past 10 years?
Is leadership stable and forward looking?
Are organisation-wide goals stated merely in terms of market growth or financial outcomes for a year or two?
Does the organisation have a long term, ambitious strategic intent? (Note: Review and integrate the Hamel & Prahalad (2005) concepts into this answer).
Is it clear where the company would like to be in the long term?
What must the organisation do differently to achieve its long-term intentions?
Once you have conducted your research and have responded with detailed evidence and documentation, take a look at all your answers, and then identify the major implications, in terms of strategic analysis.
Remember, an implication is the conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated. In this case, you as the analyst should review all your answers to the questions and write a ‘What does it mean?’ summary. This summary will help you as you move into new areas of analysis – and eventually this summary along with others will be used to craft your Strategy Recommendations and Evaluation Summary.
Section 1 of this Project should be approximately 800 words in length.

Section 2: Evaluating Strategic Approaches to Innovation on Performance Frontier (800 words)
In this section of your Unit 3 Project, you will conduct a performance frontier analysis of the organisation you have chosen for your Project paper.

To prepare for Section 2 of the Unit 3 Project:

Review the Unit 2 Readings and, in particular, examine the articles by Eccles and Serafeim (2013) and Kim and Mauborgne (2004) and the case studies for the unit.
Search the University of Roehampton online library for scholarly sources and the online business press for articles on the company you selected for your Unit 3 Project that are related to its strategic innovation and sustainability strategies (including ESG issues).
To complete Section 2 of the Unit 3 Project:

Conduct a brief, well-argued analysis of the past 5 to 10 years of strategic innovation actions by your selected company (particularly relative to core competitors), which explains the evolution of the company through the lenses of both traditional and blue ocean innovative strategy frameworks.
Based on your analysis, provide a convincing argument on how well prepared you think your company is to create new strategic innovation actions or to respond to competitor’s innovations. Be sure to clearly argue how you’ve reached your conclusions and why you think they are appropriate. (Note: approximately 250 words)
Conduct a thorough and well-argued ‘performance frontier’ analysis, which evaluates how well the company, you selected for your Unit 3 Project, has done in the past 5 years in terms of ESG sustainability innovations and organisational improvements. Consider an in-depth examination of the company through the core questions that Eccles and Serafeim (2013:53) outline:
Have they identified which ESG issues are most critical in their business?
Have they quantified the financial impact that such improvements would have (had)?
Have they undertaken major innovation in products, processes and business models to achieve the improvements? Which ones, and which stakeholders benefited?
Have they communicated with stakeholders about those innovations? Who were the winners and/or losers that the innovations impacted?
Did the company break down barriers to change or change its incentive systems? Did it exhibit ‘strategic intent’ on these issues, as Hamel and Prahalad (2005) treat the topic?
Be sure to identify the implications for future competitiveness, based on your analysis above.
Section 2 of this Project should be approximately 800 words in length.

Section 3: Strategic Position Statement Analysis (800 words)
For this section of your Unit 3 Project, you will ‘deconstruct’ what you think is the current strategic position of your selected organization. You will also do a rough-cut evaluation of that strategy and related strategic position statement.

In Unit 5, you will use the responses to these strategy evaluation questions again to guide you in developing a detailed set of strategy recommendations that address the future.

To prepare for Section 3 of the Unit 3 Project:

Review the Unit 3 Readings; in particular, examine the articles by Collis and Rukstad (2008), Mitchell et al. (2011) and Reeves et al. (2012).
Search the University of Roehampton online library and the business press for scholarly sources and articles on the company you selected for your Unit 3 Project. Review resources that are related to its strategic position statements, any inferential information on its recent strategies and current strategic plan.
To complete Section 3 of the Unit 3 Project:

Conduct a thorough and well-argued strategy and strategic position evaluation, which evaluates your selected company’s recent and current strategy – either based on explicit information directly addressing strategy or based on inferential and circumstantial analysis of general information. Use the following questions to guide your analysis and summary:
Is your organisation’s strategy – and the specific action plans it has put in motion – consistent, and do all the elements align to support each other? How, and why?
Are the activities, s******s, competencies and capabilities of your company tailored to support its strategy? How, and why?
Is the organisation’s strategy, and the specific action plan steps it has taken, consonant with the current and future needs of the external ecosystem and stakeholder needs? How, and why?
Is the organisation’s strategy – and the specific action plan steps it has taken – feasible, given current and future investments? If not, what would make it feasible, and how can the company reach the stretch goal (intent)?
Does your company’s strategy lead to incremental change within the industry or more fundamental change within the industry, or does it establish new positions outside the industry or in blue ocean spaces? How and why is the scope of your company’s strategy the most appropriate?
Does your company’s strategy preserve any advantages of the company? Which advantages, and how and why?
Does your company’s strategy position the company to perform activities differently than rivals do? How, and why?
Has the company identified trade-offs and limitations of its strategic action plan? What are they, and why?
Be sure to identify the implications for future competitiveness, based on your analysis above.
Section 3 of this Project should be approximately 800 words in length.

Presentation
Organise the three sections of your Unit 3 Project into a coherent report you could submit to a senior leadership of your selected company.

Appendices
Include any supporting documentation that you believe is required in this report. This documentation may include organisational data, historical information, additional information on tools or any other information that would be pertinent in support of your analysis and proposed recommendations.

References
All citations in your report should be supported with appropriate literature sources.

All references should appear with appropriate formatting in the Harvard referencing style, both in the main body of your report (where applicable) and in the References section at the end of your report.

Word count: the suggested word count for this assignment is 2,400 words, excluding References and Appendices.

Advice on word count: Submissions that range from 10% below to 10% above the recommended word count are acceptable.issions.

Assessment and Grading

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2018 in academic writing, Academic Writing

 

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