This document outlines the five-stage plan around which this course is designed, and which will be used as a general template for your strategic analysis for your final project. You are encouraged to review this document in each module to reflect on how that module’s material will apply to your paper, and make this a work-in-progress. The notes in each section should serve as a guide to you as you apply the concepts learned to your paper.
Step I. Corporate Mission and Goals
Introduction – Give a brief history of the background and evolution of the organization and provide its mission, vision etc. Include a discussion of the general structure, leadership style, culture, hierarchy, etc. (~2 pgs.)
Statement of Issues – If there are any strategic challenges the organization faced recently, is facing now, or might face in the very near future identify them here. Also consider whether or not it has it reached any significant milestones. If there is a specific “problem (or opportunity) statement” that can be stated, do it in this section. You can then wrap the paper up by addressing how you feel the problem (or opportunity) should be addressed in your recommendation(s) to conclude the paper. (1-2 pgs.)
Step II. External Analysis (total 2-3 pages)
Consider factors such as:
What is the competitive structure of the industry?
What is the rivalry like?
What is the industry like at this time?
Is this a global industry, and if so, are we a global competitor?
Two “tools” will be utilized to accomplish this: the SWOT analysis and the Porter 5-Force models.
The Porter 5-Force Model consists of:
1. Potential Competitors
2. Rivalry Amongst Competitors
3. Bargaining Power of Buyers
4. Bargaining Power of Suppliers
5. Threat of Substitute Products
Remember that the stronger any force is, the more difficult it is to raise prices and increase profits.
Step III. Internal Analysis (total ~2-3 pgs)
Consider factors such as:
What are the organization’s resources?
What are the core competencies?
Are they helping the organization achieve a competitive advantage?
Again we will utilize two “tools” for this analysis: the SWOT analysis and consider the 4-building blocks of competitive advantage to accomplish this.
The four building blocks of competitive advantage consist of:
Step IV. Strategy Formulation (four strategic decisions) (total 3-4 pgs)
How can the organization build on its strengths to take advantage of its opportunities?
How can it mitigate threats by minimizing its weaknesses?
There should be 4 components to this section:
A. Functional strategy—How does the organizational behavior, structure and culture play a role in the success (or lack of success) of the organization? How good is the synergy between the “functional” operations (e.g., manufacturing, marketing, operations, R & D, HR, etc
B. Business-level strategy—What is the organization’s competitive “theme”?
C. Corporate strategy—How has the organization survived (assuming its been around awhile!) and what needs to be done to exist and remain stable or reach its growth plans long term? Consider factors such as:
D. Global strategy—Is the organization part of a global industry and if so is it a global “player”?
Consider whether or not the organization has pursued:
Step V. Strategy Implementation
In a true strategic plan managers would, at this point, be challenged to make decisions pertaining to building (or rebuilding) and structuring (or restructuring) the organization and making sure it is pursuing core competencies in order to maximize its chances of succeeding (basically this means taking the “decisions” made in Step IV and executing them) allocation and deployment of resources. Decisions must be made regarding integration and control systems, etc.
While we will touch on these concepts in Modules VI and VII for the purpose of your paper (since you are tasked with a strategic analysis format) we will substitute a Recommendation for Step V, as outlined below:
Recommendation(s) (total ~1 page)
Based on what you have learned and applied this to the analysis of your organization, what do you feel the organization does well and what needs improvement? Do its goals seem realistic? Does the organization need to change (structure, leadership, control functions, product(s) etc)?
This is a chance for you to get “personal” based on your understanding of the organization and by utilizing the concepts learned in the course.
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