Project #49317 - Strategic Management M4S

Strategic Choices

Background

In this module, you will be learning how to apply and integrate the results of your SWOT (discussed in Modules 2 and 3) with the four generic business strategies discussed in this module. As in the past three modules, we will take you through the process step by step:

Note: Throughout this course, you should complete the SLP before you undertake the Case analysis. Before you begin the SLP, read the Background materials thoroughly.

Required Reading

If you are having trouble determining how to integrate the SWOT factors with different strategies, the following two readings may help.

  1. The first article includes some examples of how RBV variables can be used to leverage a cost or differentiation strategy:
    Competitive Advantage (2007). Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from: http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/competitive-advantage/
  2. The second reading demonstrates how a cost, differentiation, or focus strategy can help a company defend itself against Porter's Five Forces:
    Porter's Generic Strategies. (2007). Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from: http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/generic.shtml

Session Long Project

In this module, using the Kraft Foods Group, we will be integrating the results of our SWOT with our chosen strategy.

Keys to the Assignment

  • Step 1: Create a 5x5 table with the four strategies listed across the top and the four SWOT variables at left as follows:

     

    Low cost

    Differentiation

    Focus

    Preemptive

    Strengths

           

    Weaknesses

           

    Opportunities

           

    Threats

           
  • Step 2: Using your work in Modules 2 and 3 as it relates to the Kraft Foods Group, select one element from any of the analytical models we studied that contributes to each of the four SWOT variables. For example, for Weaknesses, you may want to choose an element from Porter's Value Chain (say, operations), while for Opportunities you may want to select something from the PEST analysis (say, sociocultural factors). Select one for Strengths and Threats as well.
  • Step 3: Enter the elements you have chosen with the corresponding SWOT variable. Below, "strong competitive rivalry" has been chosen for Threats. Note that other choices could have been high barriers to entry, high bargaining power of suppliers or customers, high substitutability (from Five Forces analysis), or a specific political, economic, social, or technological factor (from PEST). Complete this process for all four SWOT variables.

     

    Low cost

    Differentiation

    Focus

    Preemptive

    Strengths

           

    Weaknesses

           

    Opportunities

           

    Threats: Strong competitive rivalry

           
  • Step 4: This is potentially the most challenging part. Indicate the impact each strategy might have on each SWOT factor you have chosen by offering a business action that will address the SWOT. For example, follow the threat “strong competitive rivalry” across all four generic strategies. How would a low-cost strategy address an industry environment characterized by intense rivalry? What about a differentiation strategy? Focus? Preemptive? In other words, you are considering the same industry threat, but addressing it differently depending on the chosen strategy. See the example below:

     

    Low cost

    Differentiation

    Focus

    Preemptive

    Strengths

           

    Weaknesses

           

    Opportunities

           

    Threats: Strong competitive rivalry

    Undercut rivals on price through operational economies

    Brand loyalty attracts repeat customers

    Find an underserved market segment that rivals are unwilling to serve

    Beat rivals out of the gate, establish dominant position

Thus, the strategic action you choose to fill in a given blank should do two things: 1) offer a tactic for taking advantage of a strength or opportunity or for managing a threat or weakness, and 2) follow the basic thrust of the strategy in that column.

SLP Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated using the following five (5) criteria:

  • Assignment-Driven Criteria (Precision and Breadth): Does the paper fully address all Keys to the Assignment? Are the concepts behind the Keys to the Assignment addressed accurately and precisely using sound logic? Does the paper meet minimum length requirements? 
  • Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking and Depth): Does the paper demonstrate graduate-level analysis, in which information derived from multiple sources, expert opinions, and assumptions has been critically evaluated and synthesized in the formulation of a logical set of conclusions? Does the paper address the topic with sufficient depth of discussion and analysis?
  • Business Writing (Clarity and Organization): Is the paper well written (clear, developed logically, and well organized)? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are section headings included in all papers? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the Keys to the Assignment, or is justification/support instead conveyed through excessive use of direct quotations? 
  • Effective Use of Information (Information Literacy and References): Does the paper demonstrate that the student has read, understood and can apply the background materials for the module?  If required, has the student demonstrated effective research, as evidenced by student’s use of relevant and quality (library?) sources? Do additional sources used in paper provide strong support for conclusions drawn, and do they help in shaping the overall paper? 
  • Citing Sources: Does the student demonstrate understanding of APA Style of referencing, by inclusion of proper end references and in-text citations (for paraphrased text and direct quotations) as appropriate? Have all sources (e.g., references used from the Background page, the assignment readings, and outside research) been included, and are these properly cited? Have all end references been included within the body of the paper as in-text citations?

Tips and Suggestions

  • There are no right or wrong answers to this exercise, provided that your analysis is logical. That is, the factors you choose must align with the appropriate SWOT variable, and the business actions you choose must align with the proper strategy.
  • Take care to prepare a professional presentation of your table. It should fit on one page and be readable. (You will probably have more luck with a landscape layout than portrait layout.)
  • Include headings for all papers longer than two pages.
  • Cite and reference all sources, including those you paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than five words, and citations for information you have "borrowed" or paraphrased from other sources.
  • Follow TUI Guidelines for Well-Written Papers.
  • Submit your analysis by the end of this module.

Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/09/2014 12:00 am
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