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The Strategic Management Process

The importance of strategy and why it matters to organizations The key roles of vision, mission, and goals in shaping an organization’s future The four stages of the strategic management process The concept of a SWOT analysis The concepts of corporate and business strategies The central role of ethics in strategy The different stakeholders of an organization



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  1. The Strategic Management Process CHAPTER OUTLINE CASE: The Restaurant Industry Introduction The Strategy Concept The Basis of Strategy Charting a Direction: Determining WHAT YOU WILL LEARN and Setting Strategic Goals The Strategic Management Process • The importance of strategy and why Business and Corporate Strategies it matters to organizations Strategic Imperatives Responsibility for Strategic Management • The key roles of vision, mission, and Characteristics of Strategic Decisions goals in shaping an organization’s Who Are Strategic Managers? future What Decision Criteria Are Used? Key Stakeholders • The four stages of the strategic Difficulties in Accommodating management process Stakeholders Why Study? • The concept of a SWOT analysis Candidate Seeking Employment Employee or Manager • The concepts of corporate and Summary business strategies • The central role of ethics in strategy • The different stakeholders of an organization 3
  2. 4 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage (Case) The Restaurant Industry1 Ever since Ray Kroc purchased the rights to use the McDon- The second major trend defining this industry is that the ald brothers’ idea of serving fast-cooked, low-cost hamburg- average American family eats about half of its meals outside ers, french fries, and chocolate shakes to customers in 1955, of home. Although this trend would seem to suggest that the the restaurant industry has never been the same. Since that restaurant industry can continue to grow at a rapid pace, time, the McDonald’s restaurant chain has grown to become a Americans are becoming much more selective about what $11.5 billion business (1997 revenues). Its famous golden they want. Not only are people becoming more health con- arches are a familiar sight across the United States and scious, but they are seeking value from their meals as well. In increasingly much of the world. More broadly speaking, the response to these broader changes in population demograph- fast-food restaurant has become a high-growth industry in its ics and economic spending patterns, the more traditional fast- own right. Companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, food chains are continuing to devise new formulas for “value- Wendy’s, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Taco Bell, and based meals,” or “value pricing,” that seek to bundle different Domino’s Pizza are well-known American and global brand food offerings under one lower price. Many existing and names. All of these restaurant firms typically target customers newly entering restaurant chains find these changes in demand willing to pay for a low-cost meal with a minimum of service and tastes an opportunity, since it means that more health- and and maximum convenience. value-conscious customers are willing to try new types of leaner food, such as rotisserie-cooked chicken as opposed to The Fast-Food Restaurant Environment fried chicken. Thus, the numerous changes in the way people Despite its continued high growth, competition in the fast- choose their meals are having a significant impact on how food restaurant industry is increasingly fierce; newer rivals these restaurant chains formulate their strategies and compete enter the picture to serve both existing tastes and the rise of with new rivals. new segments. For example, restaurant chains such as Benni- gan’s, Chili’s, and TGI Friday’s are trying to capture cus- Sample Competitors tomers who want larger and more “deluxe,” gourmet ham- Let us now look at three different competitors in the fast-food burgers with table service and a more diversified menu. Other restaurant industry and see how they deal with both their firms, such as Boston Market, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s competitors and the larger changes taking place among their Pizza, La Madeleine, Au Bon Pain, Little Caesar’s, Sbarro, customers. and Taco Bueno are attempting to stake out positions in the nonhamburger segment of the industry, where they do not McDonald’s. McDonald’s is one of the oldest and perhaps the have to compete directly with industry giant McDonald’s and best known of all fast-food restaurant companies. Some of its other established hamburger-based chains with long-standing most popular food offerings range from small hamburgers to market positions. such market hits as the Big Mac, Quarter-Pounders, its great- Behind the rapid rise in the number of fast-food restaurants tasting french fries, and rich chocolate shakes. In many ways, are some important trends that may change the way the industry McDonald’s is considered the bellweather industry leader competes. Two key macroeconomic factors are redefining this because of its enormous reach within the United States and industry. First, most people are becoming more health-conscious around the world. McDonald’s competes by offering the same and selective about what and how they eat. In particular, newer basic types of food offerings in each of its restaurants, all pre- forms of “leaner” cuisine that emphasize balanced nutrition and pared to the same exact specifications of heat, time, weight, good taste are dramatically changing the way restaurants are size, and presentation. By requiring each restaurant to follow preparing and marketing their offerings. The baby-boom gener- certain procedures in cooking food and serving customers, ation that grew up after World War II powered the enormous McDonald’s can ensure a consistent level of quality and service growth of McDonald’s and other hamburger joints. As this gen- throughout its system. These procedures and guidelines also eration grows older, it is increasingly turning away from ham- help McDonald’s become a low-cost producer, since each burgers and more toward ethnic foods, such as Chinese, Italian, restaurant does not have to “relearn” how to cook its food and or Tex-Mex, or regular sit-down meals offering healthier fare at serve its customers. In effect, the procedures and basic menus places such as the fast expanding La Madeleine chain. used in each McDonald’s restaurant are interchangeable with
  3. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 5 outlets in other parts of the country. Thus, a customer eating a growing popularity of rotisserie-cooked chicken also threatens hamburger at a McDonald’s in San Francisco will notice little the high profitability of KFC’s traditional fried chicken meals. To difference from a hamburger served at a McDonald’s in New meet these competitive threats, KFC has now begun to offer York or elsewhere. To compete against rivals such as Burger value-priced meals that feature fried chicken with mashed pota- King and Wendy’s, McDonald’s focuses on providing fast serv- toes or biscuits for a new lower price. ice with consistent quality and generally low prices. This for- Tricon’s Taco Bell unit seeks to carve out a position in the mula has made McDonald’s the largest fast-food provider in the growing Tex-Mex fast-food segment. The higher population United States and one of the most consistently profitable. growth in the Southwest and the Sunbelt has contributed to making Tex-Mex food more popular throughout the United Chili’s. Chili’s, a fast-growing restaurant chain best known for States. In turn, Taco Bell has benefited by offering different its deluxe hamburgers, competes differently than McDonald’s types of tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and other similar foods in trying to win customers. Instead of copying McDonald’s for- through its convenience-oriented outlets. Taco Bell competes mula for low-priced, standardized food with no table service, with other Mexican-style food chains, such as Taco Bueno and Chili’s has taken the opposite approach. Founded by legendary numerous smaller Mexican restaurant chains found in the restauranteur Norman Brinker, Chili’s was designed to make Southwest. It is one of Tricon’s fastest growing and most prof- eating out a fun and warm experience. Although people pay itable businesses. more to eat at Chili’s, customers receive friendly table service Pizza Hut has traditionally competed by offering restaurant- with a menu that highlights the many different ways a ham- style, sit-down pizza meals. Pizza Hut’s most distinctive food burger can be cooked and served. Its famous gourmet hamburg- offering is its specialty pan pizza, which has a special taste and ers are offered with various cheeses, mushrooms, and sauces, texture. In recent years, Pizza Hut has been a strong performer generous french fries, and other extras that make for a distinc- for both previous owner PepsiCo and current owner Tricon. Its tive, satisfying, but reasonably priced meal. A customer’s selec- famous Big Foot Pizza brought the restaurant chain consider- tion is not limited solely to hamburgers; large salads, small able market recognition in the pizza segment. Although Pizza steaks, grilled chicken dishes, seafood, pasta, and other fare are Hut retains the largest market share in this segment, it faces also available. These offerings cater to more health-conscious fierce competition from new companies such as Domino’s customers who still want the fun of eating at Chili’s without the Pizza and Little Caesar’s. Domino’s Pizza competes against high calories or fat content of hamburgers. Generous portions of Pizza Hut by offering only home delivery of pizza, rather than desserts are also offered to round out the meal. Chili’s wants to sit-down service. Little Caesar’s, on the other hand, competes make its customers feel that eating out can be a fun and relax- primarily through innovative advertisement and specially ing experience. The company emphasizes customer service by priced pizzas for both pickup and delivery; it does not offer sit- training its people to be extremely responsive to customer needs down service either. To meet these competitive challenges, and to get to know their regular customers better. Pizza Hut has begun home-delivery service and offers free salad, breadsticks, and even soft drinks to sit-down restaurant Tricon Global Restaurants. Tricon is best known for the three customers. In spite of these responses, Pizza Hut’s once-high different fast-food restaurant chains it owns: Pizza Hut, KFC, profitability has begun to plateau in recent years. and Taco Bell. Once a part of PepsiCo, Tricon became an inde- For both McDonald’s and Chili’s, restaurants are their pri- pendent firm in 1997 when PepsiCo decided to exit from the mary business. When Tricon was part of PepsiCo, restaurants fiercely competitive restaurant business. Although Tricon is a were just one portion of a larger company that also includes new company, it has long experience competing with McDon- Frito-Lay snacks and its traditional soft drinks. Thus, PepsiCo ald’s and other restaurant chain giants. Instead of competing did not actually compete in the restaurant industry; its various directly with McDonald’s or Chili’s, Tricon’s three different units (KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) did. Consequently, se- businesses—KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut—target three non- nior management at PepsiCo were asking themselves how their hamburger segments of the restaurant industry. various restaurant businesses fit with their other snack food For example, KFC offers its traditional, distinctive-tasting and soft drink units. Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, fried chicken recipes, along with its new golden rotisserie-cooked the restaurant business was an important part of PepsiCo’s chicken to serve both the conventional fast-food and the growing overall strategy. Increasing competitive pressures and slowing health-conscious segments. Although KFC is a leader in the of the restaurant industry’s overall growth rate, however, made chicken segment of the restaurant industry, it faces consistently it increasingly difficult for PepsiCo to compete effectively in tough competition from Chick-Fil-A, Boston Market, Church’s, the industry. The strategic benefits that PepsiCo could once Popeye’s, and other smaller chicken-based restaurants. The bring to the restaurant industry—marketing prowess, low-cost
  4. 6 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage source of beverages, shared advertising expenditures, and made it increasingly difficult for PepsiCo to compete effectively shared management—became difficult to sustain when Pep- in both businesses simultaneously. Deciding that it needed to siCo’s beverage business began to lose significant market share sharpen its competitive focus and to raise capital for its beverage to arch-rival Coca-Cola, especially in markets outside the United business, PepsiCo’s senior management decided to sell its States. By the mid to late 1990s, severe competition and declin- restaurant assets under the newly created Tricon unit as a way to ing profit margins on both fronts—beverages and restaurants— exit the restaurant business. INTRODUCTION As the preceding examples illustrate, firms must compete with each other to gain their cus- tomers’ business. Yet, not all firms will necessarily compete with one another in the same way. Each firm is likely to devise its own strategy to deal with its competitive rivals, to serve its particular base of customers, and to act upon the changes that impact the way it operates. Each firm’s strategy needs it to develop a competitive advantage that enables it strategy: the ideas, plans, to compete effectively. Strategy refers to the ideas, plans, and support that firms employ and actions taken by firms to compete successfully against their rivals. Strategy is designed to help firms achieve and people to compete competitive advantage. In the broadest sense, competitive advantage is what allows a successfully in their firm to gain an edge over its rivals. Competitive advantage enables a firm to generate suc- activities. cessful performance over an extended period of time. Throughout this book, which focuses competitive advantage: on the concepts of strategy and competitive advantage, you will learn how firms from a allows a firm to gain an variety of different industries, settings, and situations develop strategies to achieve com- edge over rivals when petitive advantage. Activities undertaken to achieve this end form the basis of the strategic competing. Competitive advantage comes from a management process. firm’s ability to perform Competitive rivalry characterizes economic activity not only in our own country, but activities more distinctively throughout the free world as well, and is rapidly replacing government planning across or more effectively than most of the globe. Much organized activity outside the realm of business and commerce is rivals. also highly competitive. Nonprofit enterprises such as colleges, churches, and charities, for example, generally face numerous rivals eagerly seeking the same students, parishioners, and contributors. Because rivalry is such a pervasive aspect of so many different kinds of activity, the concepts developed in this text will be useful to managers operating in a wide range of settings. How to deal with competitive rivalry is the primary question addressed in this book. In this first chapter, we show how strategy can help a firm deal with competition in an industry. We examine the concept of strategy and introduce the notion of strategic imper- atives. We then examine the basic ingredients that make up the strategic management process and show how different situations will influence the strategic imperatives facing firms. In the later sections, we identify the various responsibilities of senior management in the strategic management process, along with the issues of stakeholders and ethics. THE STRATEGY CONCEPT From a traditional or historical perspective, the term strategy reflects strong military roots. Military commanders employ strategy in dealing with their opponents. Throughout human history, numerous military theorists Sun Tzu, Alexander, Clausewitz, Napoleon, Stonewall Jackson, Douglas MacArthur—have contemplated and written about strategy from many different perspectives.2 The fundamental premise of strategy is that an adversary can defeat a rival—even a larger, more powerful one—if it can maneuver a battle or engagement onto terrain favorable to its own capabilities.
  5. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 7 In this book, we use the term distinctive competence to describe those special capabili- distinctive competence: ties, skills, technologies, or resources that enable a firm to distinguish itself from its rivals and the special skills, create competitive advantage. Ideally, a firm’s competence or skill is so distinctive that oth- capabilities, or resources ers will not be able to copy it readily. Capabilities and skills that are valuable in business that enable a firm to stand out from its competitors; include such activities as innovative product design, low-cost manufacturing, proprietary what a firm can do technology, superior quality, and superior distribution. Thus, a firm may have several areas of especially well to compete activity or skill that lead to competitive advantage. Competitors in the restaurant industry, for or serve its customers. example, use a variety of methods for building competitive advantage, including warm and friendly service and gourmet hamburger recipes (Chili’s), consistent quality and low-cost operation (McDonald’s), and identification of new marketing segments (Tricon and PepsiCo). Terrain refers to the environmental setting in which an engagement with an adversary terrain: the environment takes place. In the military realm, terrain may be a plain, a forest, a marsh, or the moun- (or industry) in which tains. The characteristics of each of these settings influence which type of troops or competition occurs. In a deployments can be used most effectively. In the world of business, competitors do not military sense, terrain is the confront each other directly on a battlefield as armies do. Rather, they compete with each type of environment or ground on which a battle other in an industry environment by targeting market segments and attempting to win cus- takes place. From a tomers. It is customers who determine, each time they make a purchase, which competi- business sense, terrain tors “win” and which ones “lose.” The industry environment thus constitutes the ultimate refers to markets, segments, terrain on which business competition takes place. and products used to win Because most industries contain numerous customers displaying different needs, firms over customers. generally have many different possible terrains from which to choose. Consider the restau- rant industry, for example. It contains a number of different groups of customers: those want- ing low-cost meals, people desiring gourmet hamburgers, and individuals preferring ethnic or health-conscious menus. Each group thus constitutes a different segment or terrain upon which rivals compete. Furthermore, each of these groups can be further divided into smaller subgroups of customers with even more specific needs and characteristics. For example, eth- nic food runs the entire range from Chinese to French to Mexican. Each of these individual segments has somewhat different competitive characteristics that define the subterrain. The Basis of Strategy The essence of strategy is to match strengths and distinctive competence with terrain in such a way that one’s own business enjoys a competitive advantage over rivals competing on the same terrain. In the military realm, the strategic imperative for commanders is to select a bat- tlefield favorable to their force’s particular strengths and unfavorable to the adversary. A cav- alry force, for example, should try to fight on flat, open ground where its speed and maneu- verability can be put to good use. A force skilled in guerrilla tactics, by contrast, should try to encounter the enemy in dense woods or in the mountains, terrains that favor its hide-and- strike capability. Military strategy thus aims at achieving a favorable match between a mili- tary force’s internal strengths and the external terrain on which it operates (see Exhibit 1-1). Competitive strategy for organizations likewise aims at achieving a favorable match between a firm’s distinctive competence and the external environment in which it competes. However, the nature of this match is more complex in the business sphere. Unlike military conflict, competition in business does not always have to result in a win–lose situation. Industry rivals sometimes have the opportunity to improve their strengths or skills as com- petition unfolds. The value of their distinctive competences that lead to competitive advan- tage can also decline over time as a result of environmental change. Because of these possi- bilities, competitive strategy involves not just one but several different imperatives. The most important of these are to discover new opportunities, avert potential threats, overcome cur- rent weakness, sustain existing strength, and apply strength to new fields (see Exhibit 1-2).
  6. 8 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage e x h i b i t (1-1) Military Strategy Internal External Special Battle Match capabilities terrain e x h i b i t (1-2) Business Strategy Internal External Strength Opportunity Apply, Discover sustain Strategy Overcome Avert Weakness Threat Every firm faces the need to deal with these strategic imperatives on a continuous basis. However, some imperatives will be more dominant at a given point in time, depending on the individual firm’s particular situation. Before a firm can determine which imperatives are most important, it must have a strong sense of self-knowledge, purpose, and direction. Charting a Direction: Determining and Setting Strategic Goals Any organization needs an underlying purpose from which to chart its future. If organiza- tions are to compete effectively and serve their customers well, they need to establish a series of guideposts that focus their efforts over an extended time period. These guideposts will help the firm clarify the purpose of its existence, where it is going, and where it wants to be. Strategies are unlikely to be effective without a sense of direction. vision: the highest Vision. A vision relates to the firm’s broadest and most desirable goals. A vision aspirations and ideals of a describes the firm’s aspirations of what it really wants to be. Visions are important because person or organization; they are designed to capture the imagination of the firm’s people and galvanize their efforts what a firm wants to be. to achieve a higher purpose, cause, or ideal. Some of the most effective visions are those Vision statements often in which the firm seeks to excel or lead in some activity that bonds all of its people together describe the firm or with a common purpose. Visions should have a strong emotional appeal that encourages organization in lofty, even romantic or mystical tones people to commit their full energies and minds to achieving this ideal. (see mission, goals, Examples of powerful visions that have changed and redefined entire industries objectives). include that of Cable News Network (CNN), now a part of Time Warner. Founded in 1981 by Ted Turner to provide 24-hour, round-the-clock news coverage, CNN prospered by
  7. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 9 aggressively pushing forward its new television format that would ultimately become the fastest news source for corporations and even national governments. Even under new owner Time Warner, CNN’s vision remains to be the best and most reliable news source on any topic, anywhere, anytime. For example, during the Gulf War of 1990–1991, world leaders, including Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, reportedly tuned in to CNN to receive the most accurate and up-to-date coverage of Operation Desert Storm. In the restaurant industry example, McDonald’s and Chili’s have prospered by pursuing their own visions of what they think the restaurant industry should offer to consumers. The founder of McDonald’s Corporation, Ray Kroc, promoted a vision of McDonald’s as being the leading provider of moderately priced, quality food to anyone, anywhere. Chili’s, on the other hand, has prospered by pushing forward a different vision of restaurant service; it believes each meal should be a fun and exciting experience. In the beverage industry, Coca-Cola has a powerful vision that has galvanized the firm’s efforts in defining much of the beverage and soft drink industry. Coke wants to make sure that “a Coke is in arm’s reach” of any customer, no matter where that customer is around the world. This simple but mighty vision has defined the essence of Coke’s purpose and its strategy of entering and serving many markets around the world. No market is too small for Coke to carry out its vision. Corporate visions are often lofty and even surrounded by a high level of idealism or romanticism. They provide a consistency of purpose that gives the organization a reason to exist. However, visions do not lay out the actual strategies, steps, or methods by which the firm will pursue its purpose. Missions, on the other hand, are intended to provide the basis for fulfilling a vision. Mission. A firm’s mission describes the organization in terms of the business it is in, the mission: describes the firm customers it serves, and the skills it intends to develop to fulfill its vision. Visions that cap- or organization in terms of ture the organization’s purpose and ideals become more concrete and “real” in an organi- its business. Mission zation’s mission. Missions are more specific than visions in that they establish the broad statements answer the guidelines of how the firm will achieve or fulfill its vision over a certain time period. Firms questions “What business are we in?” and “What do will translate their vision into a mission statement that sets the firm’s boundaries and pro- we intend to do to succeed?” vides a sense of direction. Mission statements spell out in a general way the firm’s cus- Mission statements are tomers, the firm’s principal products or services, and the direction that a firm intends to somewhat more concrete move over a future time period. than vision statements but For example, the mission at McDonald’s can be summarized in four letters originally still do not specify the goals conceived by founder Ray Kroc and his earliest franchises: QSCV (quality, service, clean- and objectives necessary to liness, and value). The mission of McDonald’s (at both corporate headquarters and in indi- translate the mission into vidual restaurants) is to implement each of these four policies to satisfy its customers. High reality (see vision, goals, quality of food, fast and courteous service, clean restaurants, and affordable prices are objectives). guiding pillars that lay the foundation for all of McDonald’s Corporation’s strategies and organizational practices. By carrying out this simple mission statement, McDonald’s can translate its vision into reality. goals: the specific results to be achieved within a given time period (also Goals and Objectives. Mission statements are designed to make the organization’s known as objectives). vision more concrete and real to its people. However, mission statements still do not pro- objectives: the specific vide the tangible goals or objectives that must be met to achieve a firm’s broader purpose. results to be achieved Thus, goals and objectives are needed to provide a series of direct, measurable tasks that within a given time period contribute to the organization’s mission. Goals and objectives are the results to be (also known as goals). achieved within a specific time period. Unlike the mission statement that describes the Objectives guide the firm or firm’s purpose more generally, goals and objectives designate the time period in which cer- organization in achieving tain actions and results are to be achieved. Examples of goals and objectives include the its mission (see vision, following: achieving a 30 percent market share gain in two years, increasing profitability mission).
  8. 10 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage by 15 percent in three years, developing a new product in six months. Goals and objectives are powerful tools that break the mission statement into very specific tasks, actions, and results throughout the organization. Each part of the organization is likely to have its own set of goals and objectives to accomplish within a specified time period. When put together, all of these smaller goals and objectives should bring the organization’s mission into fruition. The Strategic Management Process strategic management process: the steps by which A management process designed to achieve the firm’s vision and mission is called a management converts a strategic management process. It consists of four major steps: analysis, formulation, firm’s values, mission, and implementation, and adjustment/evaluation (see Exhibit 1-3). goals/objectives into a workable strategy; consists Analysis. The strategic management process begins with careful analysis of a firm’s of four stages: analysis, internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. This effort is formulation, commonly referred to as SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and implementation, and threats). McDonald’s uses SWOT analysis on a regular basis to assess consumer desire for adjustment/evaluation. new types of foods. This analysis identified increasing customer desire for new types of food and hamburgers that are “healthier” or have a lower fat content as compared to SWOT analysis: McDonald’s current offerings. McDonald’s top management recognizes the rising health shorthand for strengths, consciousness of the American public as a potential opportunity to expand its service to weaknesses, opportunities, customers. To exploit this opportunity, McDonald’s developed, tested, and then offered a and threats; a fundamental step in assessing the firm’s new, fat-free hamburger (known as the McLean Deluxe), chicken sandwiches, and differ- external environment; ent salads that would be instrumental in meeting this need. Had McDonald’s not contin- required as a first step of ued its efforts to undertake these modifications, its sales would likely have suffered as a strategy formulation and consequence. Consumers’ rising health consciousness also represents a potential threat to typically carried out at the McDonald’s as well as a potential opportunity. Failure to respond to this development business level of the firm. could erode McDonald’s competitive position in the industry. e x h i b i t (1-3) Strategic Management Process Analysis Formulation Implementation Adjustment/ Evaluation External Internal Mission Policies environment environment Customers to be Goals, Organization (Cycle to Opportunities, Strengths, served guidelines structure, earlier steps) Threats Weaknesses Competencies for major systems, to be activities culture, etc. developed
  9. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 11 McDonald’s strengths are its fast, efficient service and its low-cost operations. These strengths give the company a well-known, commanding reputation among many segments of the U.S. population. Moreover, McDonald’s spans the entire nation with its golden arches and distinctive restaurant architecture, giving each outlet a special, recognizable presence. McDonald’s value-pricing policies instituted several years ago offer a combina- tion of large sandwich, french fries, and large drink for a lower price than if these items were purchased individually. They were designed to overcome a weakness that customers perceived McDonald’s food as becoming more expensive over time. These numerous sources of strength, together with aggressive pricing, allow McDonald’s to compete effec- tively with other national hamburger-based chains, such as Burger King and Wendy’s, and regional hamburger outlets, such as Carl’s Jr. in California and Sonic in the South. Formulation. Information derived from SWOT analysis is used to construct a strategy that will enable the firm to articulate and pursue a coherent mission. A strategy must be formulated that matches the external opportunities found in the environment with the firm’s internal strengths. For each firm, this matchup is likely to be different. To gain max- imum competitive advantage, individual firms need to identify the activities they perform best and seek ways to apply these strengths to maximum effect. Effective strategy formu- lation is based on identifying and using the firm’s distinctive competences and strengths in ways that other firms cannot duplicate. This is key to building competitive advantage. McDonald’s strategy has long been based on the firm’s distinctive competence in serving its customers quality food at reasonable prices. That has enabled McDonald’s to become an extremely formidable player in the restaurant industry. Chili’s, on the other hand, has for- mulated a strategy based on providing highly personalized and warm service to each cus- tomer. Its approach is designed to make each dining experience memorable with the hope that customers will return frequently. A sit-down meal at Chili’s is, however, more costly than a meal at McDonald’s. Yet, both firms are prospering in the industry by formulating strate- gies that use their strengths to pursue somewhat different opportunities in the environment. Implementation. A key aspect of an organization’s mission is a commitment to develop the distinctive competence and strengths needed to achieve the mission. Once an organiza- tion has made such a commitment, it must then take steps to implement this choice. Imple- mentation measures include organizing the firm’s tasks, hiring individuals to perform des- ignated activities, assigning them responsibility for carrying out such activities, training them to perform activities properly, and rewarding them to carry out responsibilities effec- tively. At McDonald’s corporate headquarters, implementation involves determining such issues as the franchising fees and compensation policies for its restaurants, hiring policies that individual McDonald’s restaurants will use, and an organizational structure that facili- tates efficient operations. In the case of individual McDonald’s restaurants within the net- work, implementation focuses on such matters as hiring able-bodied individuals, training employees to perform specific tasks, and motivating employees to perform tasks properly. Adjustment/Evaluation. The industry environment within which a firm operates inevitably changes over time. Also, a firm’s performance may fall below desired levels. Either event compels a firm to reexamine its existing approach and make adjustments that are necessary to regain high performance. Mechanisms must be put into place to monitor potential environmental changes and alert managers to developments that require modifi- cation of mission, goals, strategies, and implementation practices. For example, competition and growth in the restaurant industry may change signifi- cantly with the advent of an economic recession that limits people’s disposable income.
  10. 12 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage diversification: a strategy Although fancier restaurants are more likely to suffer from an economic downturn than that takes the firm into new McDonald’s, such a change will also affect McDonald’s, though in different ways. More industries and markets (see people may initially be inclined to eat at McDonald’s because of its value-pricing policies. related diversification; However, a prolonged recession may lead to a reduction in volume, causing McDonald’s unrelated diversification). to slow down expansion of new restaurants. multibusiness firm: a firm The issues that managers confront when conducting the strategic management process that operates more than one will differ according to the competitive environments their firms face, the internal line of business. strengths and weaknesses they possess, and the number of other businesses their firms Multibusiness firms often operate across several operate. Consequently, each firm needs to tailor its strategic management process in ways industries or markets, each that best suit its own specific context and situation. Firms such as PepsiCo, which operate with a separate set of other businesses in addition to restaurants, face strategic issues beyond that of McDonald’s customers and competitive and Chili’s, which compete only in the restaurant industry. In addition, each firm’s strat- requirements (also known as egy is likely to change as its environment and industry evolve over time. Thus, firms need a diversified firm). Firms can to remain constantly attuned to developments and changes in the environment that may possess many business units warrant further adjustment of their strategies. in their corporate portfolio. single-business firm: a firm that operates only one Business and Corporate Strategies business in one industry or To appreciate the comprehensiveness of the analytic approach we will take, consider the market (also known as an organizational chart in Exhibit 1-4. It shows the organizational arrangement used by many undiversified firm). firms that operate multiple businesses, as PepsiCo did before it divested its restaurant busi- undiversified firm: a firm ness. These types of firms are known as diversified or multibusiness firms. In contrast, that operates only one firms such as McDonald’s and Chili’s are known as single-business or undiversified business in one industry or market (also known as a firms. As indicated in Exhibit 1-4, the major subunits of a diversified, multibusiness firm single-business firm). e x h i b i t (1-4) Multibusiness Enterprise Corporate Managers Chairman, President, Exec. VPs Business Managers Business Business Business #1 #2 #3 Research Manufacturing/ and Marketing Operations Development
  11. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 13 are entire businesses. Each individual business generally operates in its own specific com- petitive environment and thus requires a separate business strategy. Business strategy business strategy: plans attempts to answer the question: How do we build competitive advantage for this particu- and actions that firms lar business? For example, the business strategy pursued by KFC, previously a division of devise to compete in a PepsiCo and now part of Tricon, is to provide different types of food based on its famous given product/market scope chicken recipes. By limiting itself to offering primarily chicken-centered recipes, KFC or setting; addresses the question how do we does not compete directly with McDonald’s in the larger restaurant industry. Thus, KFC compete within an can focus its efforts on competing for an attractive but distinct segment that matches its industry? mission and distinctive competences. Some ways that KFC builds competitive advantage include its highly memorable advertising (“finger-lickin’ good”), its proprietary recipes (original, extra crispy, skin-free, rotisserie golden chicken), and its ability to share mar- keting expenses and skills with its sister units Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Diversified, multibusiness firms also need a higher-level strategy that applies to the organization as a whole. Strategy at this higher level is known as corporate strategy. Cor- corporate strategy: plans porate strategy deals with the question: What set of businesses should the organization and actions that firms need operate? PepsiCo’s decision to sell its restaurant business in 1997 is an issue of corporate to formulate and implement strategy. Thus, corporate strategy was a dominant issue in the minds of PepsiCo’s senior when managing a portfolio management when it considered and acted on such questions as: Should PepsiCo even be of businesses; an especially critical issue when firms in the restaurant business? If so, what new restaurant (or other) businesses should PepsiCo seek to diversify from their enter? If not, how should PepsiCo exit the restaurant business to sharpen its focus on its initial activities or beverage and Frito-Lay snack food businesses? PepsiCo’s managers are still asking them- operations into new areas. selves many of the same corporate strategy questions as related to their current businesses. Corporate strategy issues What resources can PepsiCo’s various businesses usefully share to apply and sustain com- are key to extending the petitive advantage? How can the marketing skills developed at Frito-Lay be used to help firm’s competitive the beverage unit and vice versa? advantage from one business to another. Strategic Imperatives Firms facing different strategic situations must generally deal with quite different strategic imperatives. Three common strategic situations and their corresponding strategic impera- tives are summarized in Exhibit 1-5. Different Strategic Imperatives e x h i b i t (1-5) Internal External (1) Apply or Extend Advantage (Strength/Opportunity) Strength Opportunity (2 )S ni ty) us rtu ta in p po Ad s/O va nt n es ag ak e We ( e (S tag tre ng an th Adv /T hr ld ea ui t) )B (3 Weakness Threat
  12. 14 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage Sustain advantage. In many industries, large established firms possess substantial knowledge, highly refined distinctive competences, and considerable experience in com- peting in their respective industries and individual segments. However, changes in the environment can seriously erode these advantages. Consequently, environmental change represents a potential threat to established firms. A major strategic imperative facing such firms is to sustain advantage in the face of environmental threat. In recent years, McDonald’s (as well as its larger rivals, such as Burger King and Wendy’s) has had to deal with this kind of strategic imperative. First, the growing health consciousness of American consumers means that McDonald’s cannot rely solely on its traditional hamburger-centered menus for sustained growth. Second, the rise of new com- petitors makes McDonald’s expansion difficult without considering their response. These developments compel McDonald’s to devise alternative strategies to sustain high perfor- mance and profitability in the fast-food restaurant industry. These include offering salads and lower-priced “value” meals to halt the erosion of its market base. Build advantage. Chili’s situation is very different than McDonald’s. As a much smaller competitor, it lacks McDonald’s enormous size, pervasive market presence, and extensive operating experience. The strategic imperative it faces is to build advantage to overcome this initial weakness. To satisfy this imperative, a firm must generally seek market oppor- tunities that do not force it to compete directly with its larger and more powerful rivals. It will generally need to achieve some type of distinction in the eyes of customers by offer- ing unusual product features, providing superior service, using novel distribution channels, or promoting an unusual image. Such an approach may enable it to satisfy some customers without triggering massive retaliation from well-established rivals. Chili’s has adopted this approach by focusing on sit-down customers who want fun, friendly service, and good food. Although its restaurant menus initially had a strong hamburger-oriented focus, Chili’s now offers alternative meals—such as grilled chicken, salads, and other foods— designed to appeal to different tastes and health-conscious consumers. Chili’s has also dif- ferentiated itself from McDonald’s by offering superior customer service. These modifi- cations enable it to operate without subjecting itself to head-on competition from McDonald’s for the same customers. Extend advantage. Some firms discover that the capabilities they have developed in one business can be used in another. Entry into the new area enables them to extend advantage beyond their original domain. PepsiCo found itself in this situation when it concluded that the capabilities developed in its beverage and snack food businesses could be usefully applied to restaurants. These capabilities include extensive knowledge of cus- tomer buying habits, market segmentation skills, and market research and advertising prowess. Acting on this belief, it acquired such well-known restaurant chains as KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. Over time, PepsiCo, like many other firms that diversified into new areas, discovered that transferring skills from one business to another is a very complicated organizational endeavor. Oftentimes, senior management cannot implement the sharing of skills or capa- bilities from one business to another very effectively or quickly. PepsiCo suffered from this difficulty. Also, by the mid-1990s competition in the restaurant industry had become much fiercer and required a new set of skills such as fast product innovation and franchising expertise to compete effectively. These skills were significantly different from those pos- sessed by PepsiCo. Having concluded that it was unable to provide its restaurant busi- nesses significant assistance, PepsiCo ultimately spun off its restaurants to shareholders as a separate corporate entity.
  13. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 15 Text Overview: The Key Challenge of Competitive Advantage. These three chal- lenges provide the primary organizing framework for this text. These strategic imperatives apply to all firms in all industries. See Exhibit 1-6 for a summary of how the different chapters in this book fit into this framework. Chapter 2 begins as the first of four chapters that focus on building advantage. It exam- ines the issue of the business environment. Firms compete in two basic types of environ- ment: the general environment and the more specific, industry-competitive environment. We discuss the five forces that determine an industry’s structure and how that structure influences the potential for profitability. In Chapter 3, we present tools to analyze internal strengths and weaknesses. The con- cept of the value chain is presented, and we also discuss some generalized sources of com- petitive advantage that apply to firms well established within an industry. In Chapter 4, we consider how firms develop their competitive strategies. While each firm must formulate its own set of competitive strategies that best match its situation, most business is developed using one of the three basic strategies: low-cost leadership, differ- entiation, and focus. The crucial role of quality and how the product/market life cycle influences these generic competitive strategies are also presented. Chapter 5 examines the impact of environmental changes and driving forces on sources of competitive advantage. Potential changes in technology, distribution channels, govern- ment regulations, and other factors require firms to formulate strategies to deal with change. Chapter Organization e x h i b i t (1-6) Strategic Challenge Key Strategic Management Issues Building Advantage Ch. 2 The Competitive Environment: Assessing (Business Strategy) Industry Attractiveness Ch. 3 Firm Capabilities: Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses Ch. 4 Opportunities for Distinction: Building Competitive Advantage Ch. 5 Shifts in Competitive Advantage: Responding to Environmental Change Applying/Extending Ch. 6 Corporate Strategy: Leveraging Resources to Advantage Extend Advantage Ch. 7 Global Strategy: Harnessing New Markets to Extend Advantage Ch. 8 Strategic Alliances: Teaming and Allying for Advantage Organizing for Advantage Ch. 9 Strategy Implementation (I): Organizing for Advantage Ch. 10 Strategy Implementation (II): Achieving Integration Sustaining and Ch. 11 Cooperation and Autonomy: Managing Renewing Advantage Interrelationships Ch. 12 Managing Strategic Change: Building Learning Organizations Ch. 13 Redefining Advantage
  14. 16 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage Chapter 6 is the first of three chapters that focuses on extending advantage. It introduces the three basic routes firms can take to expand their scope of operations: vertical integra- tion, related diversification, and unrelated diversification. This chapter stresses the point that diversification strategies must be based on the extent to which the firm’s distinctive competence can be used to enter new lines of businesses. Chapter 7 presents the crucial topic of global strategy. Firms can expand their opera- tions abroad by using global strategies. The economic basis of global strategies and their benefits and costs are analyzed. Chapter 8 focuses on strategic alliances. In many industries, firms can no longer afford to assume all the risks of developing new products or entering new markets on their own. Strategic alliances enable firms to share the risks and costs of new commer- cial endeavors. Chapter 9 is the first of two chapters that focus on strategy implementation. Strategy implementation is concerned with building an organization to achieve desired advantage. In this chapter, we examine the basic dimensions and types of organizational structure. A well-formulated strategy needs a well-designed structure to support it. Chapter 10 also covers strategy implementation. Topics covered in this chapter include staffing policies, reward and performance measurement systems, and shared values and corporate culture. These organizational practices, or support mechanisms, strongly influ- ence and even constrain the implementation of a firm’s current and future strategy. Chapter 11 is the first of three chapters focusing on sustaining and renewing advantage. Sustaining advantage means being able to generate high performance consistently over an extended period of time. Chapter 11 focuses on developing distinctive competence by promoting internal interrelationships among different business units. Crucial in this equa- tion is a balance between cooperation and autonomy of the firm’s various subunits. Chapter 12 examines how firms can become learning organizations. Learning organi- zations use change as an opportunity to create new sources of competitive advantage, espe- cially as industry environments become faster moving. The concept of a learning organi- zation is still evolving. Since most companies find organizational change a difficult process to manage, we present some steps senior management can take to make the change process easier. Chapter 13 presents some of the latest developments that are helping firms to sustain and redefine their sources of competitive advantage. Total quality management (TQM), continuous improvement programs, and building quality cultures are vital steps in helping firms renew their competitive advantages. In addition, we consider how firms can redesign their business processes through reengineering and examine some of the benefits and costs associated with it. We also discuss how the latest advances in manufacturing and distribu- tion (Internet) technology are enabling firms to become nimbler and more responsive. Finally, we look at the emerging “horizontal” organization and how it is different from structures found in most firms today. RESPONSIBILTY FOR STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT Lower-level employees in an enterprise often possess considerable specialized exper- tise about such issues as technology, customers, and marketing. This gives them an excellent vantage point from which to identify opportunities and threats and to assess a firm’s strengths and weaknesses. One might therefore expect senior managers would turn over to them considerable responsibility for conducting the strategic management process. In fact, senior managers do share such responsibility with employees, at least in part. However, top managers generally must play a primary role because of the large
  15. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 17 financial outlays associated with strategic decisions, the long-term impact of such deci- sions, and the considerable controversy that such decisions often provoke. Characteristics of Strategic Decisions Large Financial Outlay. Decisions reached through the strategic management process often commit a firm to significant investment of funds. For example, in the high- technology semiconductor (chip) industry, the decision to build a new factory can cost a firm up to $3 billion. In the next few years, a new chip plant will likely cost upwards of $5 billion. Other industries face similar situations where high capital expenditures are required to compete in the industry. With its decision to build the Saturn manufacturing plant in Tennessee, General Motors (GM) committed as much as $5 billion over a 10-year period on factory equipment, training, new tools and dyes, robotics, etc. Now, GM is try- ing to use what it learned from the Saturn experience to revolutionize automobile man- ufacturing in its other divisions; Saturn may in fact become the “teacher” that shows how other GM divisions, such as Chevrolet and Pontiac, can build small cars effectively. Rolling out a new advertising campaign to promote a new pizza brand at Pizza Hut could cost well over $300 million over several years, with little guarantee that the promotion will be successful. Decisions by Procter and Gamble, Cisco Systems, Intel, Microsoft, American Express, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo to develop new products, launch advertis- ing programs, and acquire other companies often involve very large sums. These are therefore critical strategy issues that fall within the realm of top management. Long-Term Impact. Decisions reached through the strategic management process are often difficult to reverse. Strategic decisions therefore commit an organization to a partic- ular course of action for an extended period of time. A decision to build a manufacturing facility, for example, involves choices about location, size, manufacturing technology, training programs, and choice of suppliers. Many factors are difficult to alter once a facil- ity has been built. Considerable time is generally needed to make changes; during the interim a firm may not be able to supply customers and thus lose competitive position. For example, IBM’s initial inability to quickly expand capacity to produce its highly popular Think Pad notebook laptop computer gave Japanese competitors easy entry into this extremely profitable segment. Unsuitable facilities are also often so specialized that they cannot be sold except at a substantial loss. For example, oil companies such as Exxon, Tex- aco, Royal/Dutch Shell, and Arco are saddled with numerous refinery operations that are quickly becoming obsolete because of new technology and numerous environmental reg- ulations introduced throughout the 1990s. Cleaning up these refineries will add tremen- dous costs to these firms, thus raising the cost of gasoline for consumers. While these firms might like to liquidate some of their facilities, doing so may be difficult; few buyers are likely to be interested in these specialized and increasingly obsolescent assets. Not all strategic decisions are irreversible, but most exert a long-term impact on the organization. Top managers become involved in strategic decisions to avoid costly mistakes. Controversial Nature. Strategic decisions often engender controversy among the firm’s managers and employees. Consider a decision by Olympus Optical to customize camera products to meet the needs of individual customers. Sales personnel are likely to favor such a policy since customization improves their ability to meet customer needs and thereby increases sales volume. It would enable customers to buy different types of cameras with different types of lenses and other features according to their experience level, personal budgets, and color or model preferences. Manufacturing personnel at Olympus would
  16. 18 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage likely resist this move, however, since customization of products significantly complicates the production task, thereby increasing manufacturing costs. Senior managers must over- see and manage controversies of this sort to prevent disagreements from escalating into time-consuming arguments and to ensure that decisions ultimately reached reflect the needs of the overall enterprise. WHO ARE STRATEGIC MANAGERS? There are two kinds of senior managers most directly responsible for strategy: business business managers: managers and corporate managers. Business managers are in charge of individual busi- people in charge of nesses. In a diversified, multibusiness firm (such as IBM) the executives in charge of indi- managing and operating a vidual businesses (such as electronic commerce, semiconductors, personal computers, net- single line of business. working systems) are business managers. These executives go by a variety of titles including Business Manager, General Manager, Division Manager, and Strategic Business Unit Manager. The president and chairperson of a single business enterprise (such as Chili’s or McDonald’s) are also business managers. corporate managers: Corporate managers are responsible for portfolios of businesses. Consequently, corpo- people responsible for rate managers exist only in multibusiness firms. The president and chairperson of a multi- overseeing and managing a business enterprise are corporate managers. Multibusiness firms containing large numbers of portfolio of businesses businesses often assign executives to positions midway between individual businesses and within the firm. these senior executives. Each such individual oversees a subset of the firm’s total portfolio of businesses. Since each of these individuals has supervisory responsibility for several busi- nesses, these executives are considered corporate managers as well. They go by a variety of titles including Group Vice President, Executive Vice President, and Sector Executive. Both business and corporate managers play pivotal roles in the strategic management process. They are the key people who bring all other assets into play when competing with other firms. They also represent the highest levels of authority within the firm or subunit. As a result, they exert enormous influence over the company’s capital expenditures to build new plants or to acquire other companies, chart the future direction of the firm’s growth, and direct the firm’s efforts toward new businesses and product or global market opportu- nities. Top managers often serve as the spokespersons for their firms when dealing with the media over such issues as breakthrough technologies, new product rollouts, or poten- tial allegations against the company by shareholders, customers, or communities. Thus, top managers perform multiple tasks at the highest level of an organization and bear the high- est responsibility for their firm’s strategies and actions. WHAT DECISION CRITERIA ARE USED? The strategy concept helps managers deal with competitive realities. However, competi- tion is not the only factor managers must consider. They must also weigh the needs of stakeholders when making strategic decisions. In the chapters that follow we will explore some of the dilemmas managers face when attempting to consider the needs of various stakeholders. By way of introduction to this material, let us briefly identify key stake- holders of business organizations and the difficulties senior managers often face when attempting to accommodate stakeholders’ needs. Key Stakeholders Among the most important stakeholders of any business organization are shareholders, cus- tomers, workers, the communities in which firms operate, and top managers themselves.
  17. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 19 Shareholders. Shareholders provide the equity capital to finance a firm’s operation. Therefore, they have a vital stake and say in its welfare. Although most shareholders are interested in earning a return on their investment, individual shareholders may have dif- fering preferences for the timing of returns (some being interested in immediate bene- fits, others in long-term returns) differing tolerances for risk taking (some preferring to strictly limit risk, others to assume more risk to reap potentially higher returns) and dif- fering needs for maintaining control of the firm. Feasible strategic alternatives often will have a different impact on these different dimensions. Senior managers must strive to select an approach that reflects the relative importance shareholders attach to each dimension. How top managers deal with shareholders’ concerns is becoming increasingly impor- tant to the fate of companies and to the careers of top managers. Chief executive officers (CEOs) at leading firms such as General Motors, IBM, Westinghouse, Eastman Kodak, and Sears have been dismissed in recent years because of their inability to generate suffi- cient return to their shareholders. Louis Gertsner, IBM’s CEO, is currently in the midst of a careful balancing act that seeks to build new sources of competitive advantage for “Big Blue” in the wake of a changing computer industry, while ensuring that the company remains responsive to its shareholders’ needs for steady dividends. Shareholders exercise important powers, enabling them to oblige top executives to take the necessary steps to maintain or restore profitability of the firms they manage. Senior management owes a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. A fiduciary responsibility means that they fiduciary responsibility: must act in the financial interest of shareholders, since shareholders directly or indirectly the primary responsibility hire the top management of a company. facing top management—to make sure the firm delivers Customers. As noted above in the discussion of the concept of strategy, competition value to its shareholders, the owners of the firm. requires that firms satisfy the needs of customers or go out of business. A firm’s responsi- bility to customers does not simply end there, however. Customers are often unaware of many aspects of the products and services they buy. Product quality, integrity, and safety are absolutely essential issues that managers must consider when designing and selling products or services to the buying public. A firm failing to consider such factors risks loss of reputation, potentially onerous legislation, costly liability litigation, and even imprison- ment of managers. To avoid such risks, senior managers must keep their broader responsi- bilities to customers in mind when making strategic decisions. Employees. Employees typically seek a wide range of benefits that managers must consider when making strategic decisions. These include adequate compensation, bene- fits, safe working conditions, recognition for accomplishment, and opportunity for advancement. Careful attention to such needs can sometimes produce spectacular results. Leading high-technology firms such as Cisco Systems, Intel, Microsoft, Dell Computer, EMC, and Apple Computer, for example, treat their employees exceptionally well by giving them generous benefits, flexible work hours, and even day-care for their children. These progressive companies have achieved considerable success producing state-of-the-art products and technical solutions that are consistently in high demand. By contrast, many U.S. airline companies (TWA, Continental, Delta Air Lines, Pan Ameri- can, Eastern Airlines) have experienced difficult relations with their employees. High labor costs severely eroded the long-term profitability of almost every major U.S. air- line. Over time, management’s initiatives to cut labor costs resulted in decreased employee morale, shoddier service, and poor management–labor relations. Workers crippled some airlines—specifically Eastern Airlines—with protracted strikes costing the company millions of dollars.
  18. 20 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage Communities. Communities rely on firms for tax revenue, employee income to sustain the local economy, and financial and other support for charitable and civic organizations. They are also adversely affected when a firm’s facilities pollute the air, burn down, or close down. Thus, communities have a vital stake in the health and integrity of firms operating within their borders. Since communities have legislative authority, they are in a strong position to enforce their wishes. Senior managers must therefore keep community needs in mind when formulating strategies. Cummins Engine, a leading manufacturer of diesel engines for trucks and construction equipment, has paid careful attention to community needs. It works closely with the city of Columbus, Ohio, the site of its corporate head- quarters. Cummins is a leading contributor to many civic activities in Columbus; it also is one of the few companies that does not avoid paying a high level of taxes to the city to fund numerous municipal programs. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream works with neighboring communities in its home state of Vermont to promote a clean environment and social pro- grams. Eastman Kodak works closely with government officials in Rochester, New York, the site of its corporate headquarters, to design community self-improvement programs that enable people to learn skills through education. Corporate and city/state managers often meet together to discuss vital economic and social issues that affect the needs of workers and people in the larger community. Senior Managers. To lead their organizations and implement strategy effectively, senior executives must be personally enthusiastic and committed to the direction of their firms. Managers often have varying preferences for goals such as a firm’s size (over $100 mil- lion in annual sales), growth rate (at least 20 percent per year), the areas in which a firm competes (high-tech businesses only), and location of facilities (global operations). Top managers need to consider their own personal skills and experiences in developing strate- gies so that they can feel committed to the course the firm is pursuing. Above their own needs, of course, must come needs of shareholders when evaluating and developing strate- gies that affect the long-term value of the firm. Difficulties in Accommodating Stakeholders The task of accommodating stakeholder needs is complicated by several factors. First, as even this cursory overview indicates, stakeholders have a great variety of needs. Second, the relative strength of such needs is often difficult to determine. The willingness of share- holders to accept risk, for example, or a community’s tolerance for pollution is often exceedingly difficult to judge. Third, individuals within each stakeholder group often have conflicting needs. For example, as noted above, individual shareholders may have differ- ent risk–reward preferences: some desiring a risky strategy with high potential returns, oth- ers preferring a more conservative approach, even if it offers lower returns. Perhaps most difficult of all are conflicts that arise between stakeholder groups. Shareholders, for exam- ethical dilemmas: difficult ple, may favor reducing water pollution control expenditures to increase short-term prof- choices involving moral, itability, while the community in which a firm operates disapproves of such a step because legal, or other highly of its increased risk of water contamination. delicate issues that Conflicts such as these are often called ethical dilemmas because they pit the needs of managers must weigh and one stakeholder group against those of another. Ethical dilemmas can occur during the balance when considering the needs of various strategy selection process and pose some of the most troublesome strategic issues man- stakeholders. Ethical agers confront. To resolve them, managers must carefully weigh the claims of contending dilemmas work to shape parties, a complex task requiring great sensitivity, balance, and judgment. It is not our pur- and sometimes constrain a pose here to provide definitive guidance in this area. However, it is useful to mention three firm’s ability to take certain criteria managers must consider when assessing conflicting stakeholder claims: legal obli- actions. gations, expectations of society, and personal standards of behavior.
  19. CHAPTER 1 The Strategic Management Process 21 Legal Obligations. At the very minimum, managers must devise strategies that are within the law. Failure to do so can lead to severe consequences such as fines, public cen- sure, and even imprisonment. For example, bond traders at several investment banking and securities firms in the United States, Japan, Singapore, and elsewhere engaged in a wide range of speculative illegal activities to corner various commodity markets during the 1990s. Many of these traders eventually found themselves imprisoned, while the firms (e.g., Daiwa Securities, Barings, Sumitomo) themselves came under extreme scrutiny by different governmental agencies in the United States and abroad. Societal Expectations. Managers must also strive to meet the broader expectations of the communities in which they operate, even when such expectations are not explicitly codified into law. Failure to do so can lead to costly litigation. The numerous lawsuits that confronted Dow-Corning over the safety of its silicone breast implants emphasize to all firms the importance of prioritizing such issues as safety, health, due diligence, and other social responsibility matters. Dow-Corning spent hundreds of millions of dollars and pre- cious time in court defending its reputation and safety practices, and paying fines. Repeated failure to meet societal expectations often inspires the public to take correc- tive action in the form of additional legislation. All too frequently, such regulation imposes an even greater burden on firms than socially responsible behavior would have imposed in the first place. These regulations often subject firms to more detailed disclo- sure requirements, time-consuming paperwork, and stricter product safety and testing practices. Personal Standards. Senior executives can implement strategy effectively only if they feel comfortable with the actions that the strategy entails. A final ethical criterion for judg- ing strategic decisions is thus managers’ own personal standards of behavior. Such stan- dards are generally influenced by the laws and the expectations of the communities in which organizations operate; however, they also reflect many personal factors, such as each manager’s upbringing, religious convictions, values, and personal life experiences. These, too, must be brought to bear on strategic decisions. The task of resolving ethical dilemmas is complicated by changes in ethical criteria that occur over time. Legislation governing child labor, worker safety, and job discrimination, for example, has changed markedly over the years; so have societal expectations about such issues as air and water pollution, treatment of minorities, and sexual harassment. To avoid adopting strategies that will soon be obsolete, managers must anticipate rather than simply react to such changes. Standards of behavior also vary widely across geographic boundaries. German law, for example, requires firms to provide workers formal representation on the board of directors; U.S. law imposes no such requirement. Test requirements for new pharmaceuticals are very onerous in the United States but are significantly less rigorous in many other coun- tries. As a result, drugs whose efficacy and safety have not been fully established by U.S. standards can be legally sold in many other locations. Payoffs to managers and key gov- ernment officials are illegal in the United States but are common business practice in other locales. Managers operating abroad must decide which standards to apply in resolving eth- ical dilemmas: those prevailing in their home country or those of the countries within which they operate. The need to consider such differences will be even more critical over the next decade as industries and firms become more global in scope. Meeting the laws, societal expectations, and cultural traditions of regions around the world will be as impor- tant to corporate success as meeting the needs of individual communities at home. Becom- ing a successful global competitor compels firms to think carefully about their actions and the reputations they project in other lands.
  20. 22 PART 1 Building Competitive Advantage WHY STUDY? What benefit can you derive from studying strategic management? If you are currently a senior manager, the benefit is clear: you can immediately apply the knowledge you will gain. Individuals on track to move into senior management positions will likewise benefit. For many readers, though, that eventuality may be a long way off. However, there are two roles that most readers will soon assume for which an understanding of strategic manage- ment can be useful: a candidate seeking employment and an employee or manager within an organization. Candidate Seeking Employment Someone seeking employment must assess the long-term career opportunities offered by potential employers. Strategic management can assist in this task by enabling a candidate to evaluate a prospective employer’s competitive position, the soundness of its strategy, and its future prospects. This knowledge can help a candidate avoid employers that may soon be forced to retrench because of competitive difficulties. It can also provide an edge in the recruitment process; candidates can distinguish themselves from others by showing an interest in and a deep understanding of a company’s strategic situation. Demonstrating an awareness of the competitive dynamics of the industry in which a prospective employer operates, the environmental changes affecting its industry, and the challenges these devel- opments pose improves an individual’s chances of employment success. This book will provide a foundation for this kind of awareness. Employee or Manager Entry- or lower-level employees and managers are often closer to the action in the spe- cialized areas of a firm’s operations than top managers. Consequently, they are in a better position to detect developments with potential implications for strategy. By keeping abreast of such matters, understanding the implications of new developments, and com- municating their judgments upward, lower-level employees can provide valuable service to their superiors and senior managers. An understanding of strategic management will help lower-level employees and managers fulfill this function. Lower-level employees and managers need to understand strategic management for a second important reason. They are critically responsible for implementing company strat- egy within their own particular spheres of activity. While superiors will normally provide some guidance on how to do this, their directives cannot anticipate every possible contin- gency. As a result, lower-level employees and managers must make many decisions on their own. To do so in a way that reinforces rather than undermines what top management is trying to accomplish, lower-level employees need to understand a company’s strategy and the requirements it imposes for their particular activities. SUMMARY • Strategy is a powerful concept designed to help firms gain a competitive advantage over rivals. It involves two key choices: the customers a firm will serve and the competences and strengths it will develop to serve customers effectively. • A firm’s choices must reflect its strengths and weaknesses relative to rivals and the opportunities and threats presented by its external environment. Analysis of these four elements is referred to as SWOT analysis.

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