MB0052 - Strategic Management and Business PolicyQ.1. What is meant by „Strategy‟? Differentiate between goals and objectivesAnswer:The word strategy is derived from the Geek word ―strategia‖, and conventionally used as amilitary term. It means a plan of action that is designed to achieve a particular goal. Earlier, themanagers adopted the day-to-day planning method without concentrating on the future work.Later the managers tried to predict the future events using control system and budgets. Thesetechniques could not calculate the future happenings accuratelyThus, an effective technique called strategy was introduced in business to deal with long termdevelopments and new methods of production. The different concepts of strategy are: It is defined as a plan to direct or guide a course of action It is a pattern to improve the performance over time It is a fundamental way to view an organisation’s performance It is a scheme to out-maneuver competitorDifference between Goals and Objectives of BusinessGoals are statements that provide an overview about what the project should achieve. It shouldalign with the business goals. Goals are long-term targets that should be achieved in abusiness. Goals are indefinable, and abstract. Goals are hard to measure and do not havedefinite timeline. Writing clear goals is an essential section of planning the strategy.Example - One of the goals of a company helpdesk is to increase the customer satisfaction forcustomers calling for support.Objectives are the targets that an organisation wants to achieve over a period of time.Example - The objective of a marketing company is to raise the sales by 20% by the end of thefinancial year.Example - An automobile company has a Goal to become the leading manufacturer of aparticular type of car with certain advanced technological features and the Objective is tomanufacture 30,000 cars in 2011.Both goals and objectives are the tools for achieving the target. The two concepts are differentbut related. Goals are high level statements that provide overall framework about the purpose ofthe project. Objectives are lower level statements that describe the tangible products anddeliverables that the project will deliver.Goals are indefinable and the achievement cannot be measured whereas the success of anobjective can be easily measured. Goals cannot be put in a timeframe, but objectives are setwith specific timelines. The difference between organisational goals and objectives is depictedin table 1.
Table 1: Differences between Organisational Goals and ObjectivesGoals ObjectivesAre long term Are usually meant for short termAre general intentions with broad outcome Are precise statements with specific outcomeCannot be validated Can be validatedAre intangible – can be qualitative as well as Are tangible – are usually quantitative andquantitative measurableAre abstract Are concrete-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Q.2. Define the term “Strategic Management”. What are the types of strategies?Answer:Strategic ManagementStrategic management is a systematic approach of analysing, planning and implementing thestrategy in an organisation to ensure a continued success. Strategic management is a long termprocedure which helps the organisation in achieving a long term goal and its overallresponsibility lies with the general management team. It focuses on building a solid foundationthat will be subsequently achieved by the combined efforts of each and every employee of theorganization.Types of Strategies1. Corporate levelThe board of directors and chief executive officers are involved in developing strategies atcorporate level. Corporate level strategies are innovative, pervasive and futuristic in nature.The four grand strategies in a corporate level are:— Stability and expansion strategy— Retrenchment— Corporate restructuring— Combination strategies – concept of synergyStability strategyThe basic approach of the stability strategy is to maintain the present status of the organisation.In an effective stability strategy, the organisation tries to maintain consistency by concentratingon their present resources and rapidly develops a meaningful competitiveness with the marketrequirements.Further classifications of stability strategy are as follows:— No change strategy – No change strategy is the process of continuing the current operationand creating nothing new. Usually small business organisations follow no change strategy withan intention to maintain the same level of operations for a long period.
— Pause/Proceed with caution strategy – Pause/Proceed with caution strategy provides anopportunity to halt the growth strategy. It analyses the advantages and disadvantages beforeprocessing the growth strategy. Hence it is termed as pause/proceed with caution strategy.— Profit strategy – Profit strategy is the process of reducing the amount of investments andshort term discretionary expenditures in the organisation.Expansion strategyThe organisations adopt expansion strategy when it increases its level of objectives muchhigher than the past achievement level. Organisations select expansion strategy to increasetheir profit, sales and market share. Expansion strategy also provides a significant increase inthe performance of the organisation. Many organisations pursue expansion strategy to reducethe cost production per unit.Expansion strategy also broadens the scope of customer groups, and customer functions.Example – Prior to 1960’s most of the furniture industry did not venture into expanding theirindustry globally. This was because furniture got damaged easily while shipping and the cost oftransport was high. Later in 1970’s a Swedish furniture company, IKEA, pioneered towardsexpanding the industry to other geographical areas. The new idea of transporting unassembledfurniture parts lead to minimizing the costs of transport. The customers were able to easilyassemble the furniture. IKEA also lowered the costs by involving customer in the value chain.IKEA successfully expanded in many European countries since customers were willing topurchase similar furniture.The further classification of expansion strategy is as follows:— Diversification - Diversification is a process of entry into a new business in the organisationeither marketwise or technology wise or both. Many organisations adopt diversification strategyto minimise the risk of loss. It is also used to capitalise organisational strengths.Diversification may be the only strategy that can be used if the existing process of anorganisation is discontinued due to environmental and regulatory factors.The two basic diversification strategies are:° Concentric diversification The organisation adopts concentric diversification when it takes up an activity that relates to the characteristics of its current business activity. The organisation prefers to diversify concentrically either in terms of customer group, customer functions, or alternative technologies of the organisation. It is also called as related strategy.° Conglometric diversification The organisation adopts conglometric diversification when it takes up an activity that does not relate to the characteristics of its current business activity. The organisation
chooses to diversify conglometrically either in terms of customer group, customer functions, or alternative technologies of the organisation. It is also called as unrelated diversification.— Concentration – Concentric expansion strategy is the first route towards growth in expandingthe present lines of activities in the organisation. The present line of activities in an organisationindicates its real growth potential in the present activities, concentration of resources for presentactivity which means strategy for growth.The two basic concentration strategies are:° Vertical expansion The organisation adopts vertical expansion when it takes over the activity to make its own supplies. Vertical expansion reduces costs, gains control over a limited resource, obtain access to potential customers.° Horizontal expansion The organisation adopts horizontal growth when it takes over the activity to expand into other geographical locations. This increases the range of products and services offered to the current markets.RetrenchmentRetrenchment strategy is followed by an organisation which aims to reduce the size of activitiesin terms of its customer groups, customer functions, or alternative technologies.Example – A healthcare hospital decides to focus only on special treatment to obtain higherrevenue and hence reduces its commitment to the treatment of general cases which is lessprofitable.Different types of retrenchment strategies are:— Turnaround – Turnaround is a process of undertaking temporary reduction in the activities tomake a stronger organisation. This kind of processing is called downsizing or rightsizing. Theidea behind this strategy is to have a temporary reduction of activities in the organisation topursue growth strategy at some future point.Turnaround strategy acts as a doctor when issues like negative profits, mismanagement anddecline in market share arise in the organisation.— Captive company strategy – Captive company strategy is a process of tying up with largerorganisations and staying viable as an exclusive supplier to the large organisations. Anorganisation may also be taken as captive if their competitive position is irreparably weak.— Divestment strategy – Divestment strategy is followed when an organisation involves in thesale of one or more portion of its business. Usually if any unit within the organisation isperforming poorly then that unit is sold and the money is reinvested in another business whichhas a greater potential.
— Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy is a legal protective strategy that does not allow others torestructure the organisation’s debt obligations or other payments. If an organisation declaresbankruptcy with customers then there is a possibility of turnaround strategy.— Liquidation – Liquidation strategy is considered to be the most unattractive process in anorganisation. This process involves in closing down an organisation and selling its assets. Itresults in unemployment, selling of buildings and equipments and the products becomeobsolete. Hence, most of the managers work hard to avoid this strategy.Corporate restructuringCorporate restructuring is the process of fundamental change in the current strategy anddirection of the organisation. This change affects the structure of the organisation. Corporaterestructuring involves increasing or decreasing the levels of personnel among top level, mid-level and lower level management. It is reorganising and reassigning of roles andresponsibilities of the personnel due to unsatisfactory performance and poor results.Combination strategies – concept of synergyCombination strategy is a process of combining - stability, expansion and retrenchmentstrategies. This is used either at the same time in various businesses or at different times in thesame business. It results in better performance of the organisation.The effect towards the success is greater when there is a synergy between the strategies.Synergy is obtained in terms of sales, operations, investments and management in theorganization.Example – Levis & co, a jeans manufacturing company suffered corrosion in market share in1990. This was due to the manufacture of jeans that did not attract the younger generation.Hence there was a change in strategies laid at the corporate level with diversification ofproducts. This led to the change in acquiring new resources, selling the current resources,changing the personnel at various levels of management and analysing the competitors in themarket. With these changes the company was able to make profits and achieved success.2. Business levelBusiness level strategy relates to a unit within an organisation. Mainly strategic business unit(SBU) managers are involved in this level. It is the process of formulating the objectives of theorganisation and allocating the resources among various functional areas. Business levelstrategy is more specific and action oriented. It mainly relates to ―how a strategy functions‖rather than ―what a strategy is‖ in corporate level.The main aspects of business level strategies are related with:— Business stakeholders— Achieving cost leadership and differentiation— Risk factors
Business stakeholdersBusiness stakeholders are a part of business. Any operation which is affected in business alsoaffects the business stakeholders along with profit or loss of the business. Businessstakeholders include employees, owners and customers. Other indirect business stakeholdersare competitors, government etc. They play a very important role in ups and downs of theorganisation.Cost leadership and differentiationCost leadership strategy is adopted by the organisations to produce a relatively standardisedproducts or services to the customer. It must be acceptable to the characteristics as mentionedby customers. Customers value the company if it adopts cost leadership strategy.Differentiation strategy mainly deals with providing the products or services with unique featuresto the customers. Differentiated products satisfy the customer’s needs. The unique features ofthe product attract the customers more when compared to the traditional features of theproducts.But cost leadership must be pursued in conjunction with differentiation strategy to produce acost effective, superior quality, efficient sales and a unique collection of features in the productor services.According to Porter’s generic strategy, the organisation that succeeds in cost leadership anddifferentiation often has the following internal strengths:— The company possesses the skills in designing efficient products— High level of expertise in the manufacturing process— Well organised distribution channel— Industry reputation for quality and innovation— Strong sales department with the ability to communicate successfully the real strengths of theproductRisk factorsRisk is the probability of ―good‖ or ―bad‖ things that may happen in the business. Risk will impactthe objectives of the organisation. The risk factors in the business strategies include two types -external and internal risks.— External risks – External risk includes various risks experienced externally like competitionwith companies, political issues, interest rates, natural hazards etc.— Internal risks – Internal risks include issues of employees, maintenance of processes, impactof changes in strategies, cash flows, security of employees and equipments.
3. Tactical of functional levelThe functional strategy mainly includes the strategies related to specific functional area in theorganisation such as production, marketing, finance and personnel (employees). Decisions atfunctional level are often described as tactical decisions.Tactical decision means ―involving or pertaining to actions for short term than those of a largerpurpose‖. Considering tactical decisions in functional level strategy describes involving actionsto specific functional area. The aim of the functional strategy is ―doing things right‖ whereas thecorporate and business level strategy stresses on ―doing the right thing‖.The different types of strategies at functional level are:— Procuring and managing— Monitoring and directing resources towards the goalProcuring and managingProcuring basically means purchasing or owning. In the management field procuring is theprocess of purchasing goods or services which includes ordering, obtaining transport, andstorage for organisation use.Most of the individual organisations set procurement strategy to obtain their choice of products,methods, suppliers and the procedures that are used to communicate with their suppliers.Steps involved in procuring strategy are:— Identify the need of purchase and the required quantity.— Plan the cost budget of the goods or services being purchased and the procedure ofcontracting by checking the cost and requirements with various sellers.— Select the seller who is matching the cost and requirement criteria as per the organisation.— Perform the contract deal with selected seller and monitor the contract.— Close the contract once the goods or services are acquired.Managing is the process of monitoring the strategies that are implemented in the business.Many strategies are implemented at various levels of the business. Hence catering thesestrategies is termed as managing.Managing includes completing the task effectively in every sector of the organisation. It can bemanaging employees, the external and internal factors of organisation, and the equipments.An effective managing process strengthens the critical activities in the business such asmarketing, manufacturing, human resource planning, performance assessment, andcommunications.Monitoring and directing resources towards the goalMonitoring and directing is the essential part of management. Monitoring means knowing ―whatis going on‖. Monitoring is also called as measuring. In an organisation monitoring includes
measuring the performance of the organisation to check whether the strategy implemented isachieved or not.Monitoring the resources includes monitoring the employees, the equipments, and the activitiesbeing performed in the organisation.It leads to risk if monitoring of the resources show a deviation from the true path as expected bythe organisation. The directing process will make path to ensure a relevant action is performedto remove the deviation and lay all the resources on the right track. Directing process usesprinciples and statement of the objectives to solve the problem which was identified duringmonitoring process.Monitoring and directing process of resources sets the organisation to work on the right track byremoving all hurdles and produces effective outcome in reaching the goals of the organisationefficiently.4. Operational levelOperational level is concerned with successful implementation of strategic decisions made atcorporate and business level. The basic function of this level is translating the strategicdecisions into strategic actions.The basic aspects in operational level are:— Achieving cost and operational efficiency— Optimal utilisation of resources— ProductivityAchieving cost and operational efficiencyAchieving cost deals with achieving greater profits by reducing the cost for various resourceswithin the organisation to balance the expenditure and investment. Organisations mustimplement cost achievement in targeted operational areas like HR, supply chain, andprocurement.The operational efficiency comes into picture once the cost reduction is achieved with greaterprofits. It deals with minimising the waste and maximizing the resource capabilities.Optimal utilization of resourcesOptimal utilization of resources includes usage of resources in a planned manner. The usage ofresources must be cost effective. Usually the board of directors ensures that the process ofoptimal utilization of resources is implemented and monitored on a regular basis.Planning and scheduling activities in business plays a major impact on the utilization ofresources. The systematic planning and scheduling of activities result in utilization of lessbudgeted resources for greater profits in an organization.
ProductivityProductivity basically means a relative measure of the efficiency of production in terms ofconverting the ratio of inputs to useful outputs. Productivity is a key to success of anorganisation. Productivity growth is a vital factor for continuous growth of the organisation.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Q.3 Describe Porter‟s five forces Model.Answer:Porter’s Five Force modelMichael Porter (Harvard Business School Management Researcher) designed various vitalframeworks for developing an organization’s strategy. One of the most renowned amongmanagers making strategic decisions is the five competitive forces model that determinesindustry structure. According to Porter, the nature of competition in any industry is personified inthe following five forces: i. Threat of new potential entrants ii. Threat of substitute product/services iii. Bargaining power of suppliers iv. Bargaining power of buyers v. Rivalry among current competitors
FIGURE: Porter‟s Five Forces modelThe five forces mentioned above are very significant from point of view of strategy formulation.The potential of these forces differs from industry to industry. These forces jointly determine theprofitability of industry because they shape the prices which can be charged, the costs whichcan be borne, and the investment required to compete in the industry. Before making strategicdecisions, the managers should use the five forces framework to determine the competitivestructure of industry.Let’s discuss the five factors of Porter’s model in detail:1. Risk of entry by potential competitors: Potential competitors refer to the firms which are not currently competing in the industry but have the potential to do so if given a choice. Entry of new players increases the industry capacity, begins a competition for market share and lowers the current costs. The threat of entry by potential competitors is partially a function of extent of barriers to entry. The various barriers to entry are- Economies of scale Brand loyalty Government Regulation Customer Switching Costs Absolute Cost Advantage Ease in distribution Strong Capital base2. Rivalry among current competitors: Rivalry refers to the competitive struggle for market share between firms in an industry. Extreme rivalry among established firms poses a strong threat to profitability. The strength of rivalry among established firms within an industry is a function of following factors: Extent of exit barriers Amount of fixed cost Competitive structure of industry Presence of global customers Absence of switching costs Growth Rate of industry Demand conditions3. Bargaining Power of Buyers: Buyers refer to the customers who finally consume the product or the firms who distribute the industry’s product to the final consumers. Bargaining power of buyers refer to the potential of buyers to bargain down the prices charged by the firms in the industry or to increase the firms cost in the industry by demanding better quality and service of product. Strong buyers can extract profits out of an industry by lowering the prices and increasing the costs. They purchase in large quantities. They have full information about the product and the market. They emphasize upon quality products. They pose credible threat of backward integration. In this way, they are regarded as a threat.
4. Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Suppliers refer to the firms that provide inputs to the industry. Bargaining power of the suppliers refer to the potential of the suppliers to increase the prices of inputs( labour, raw materials, services, etc) or the costs of industry in other ways. Strong suppliers can extract profits out of an industry by increasing costs of firms in the industry. Suppliers products have a few substitutes. Strong suppliers’ products are unique. They have high switching cost. Their product is an important input to buyer’s product. They pose credible threat of forward integration. Buyers are not significant to strong suppliers. In this way, they are regarded as a threat.5. Threat of Substitute products: Substitute products refer to the products having ability of satisfying customers needs effectively. Substitutes pose a ceiling (upper limit) on the potential returns of an industry by putting a setting a limit on the price that firms can charge for their product in an industry. Lesser the number of close substitutes a product has, greater is the opportunity for the firms in industry to raise their product prices and earn greater profits (other things being equal).The power of Porter’s five forces varies from industry to industry. Whatever be the industry,these five forces influence the profitability as they affect the prices, the costs, and the capitalinvestment essential for survival and competition in industry. This five forces model also help inmaking strategic decisions as it is used by the managers to determine industry’s competitivestructure.Porter ignored, however, a sixth significant factor- complementaries. This term refers to thereliance that develops between the companies whose products work is in combination with eachother. Strong complementors might have a strong positive effect on the industry. Also, the fiveforces model overlooks the role of innovation as well as the significance of individual firmdifferences. It presents a stagnant view of competition.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Q.4. What is strategic formulation and what are its processes?Answer:Strategy formulation is the development of long term plans. It is used for the effectivemanagement of environmental opportunities and for the threats which weaken corporatemanagement. Its objective is to express strategical information to achieve a definite goal.The following are the features of strategy formulation: Defining the corporate mission and goals Specifying achievable objectives Developing strategies Setting company policy guidelines
Strategic formulation involves effective strategic decision making and strategic choice, whichare discussed in the following sections.Systematic approach to strategic decision making processStrategic decision making is a tool to do business in a smarter way. It enhances a manager’sabilities to obtain insight of strategic decision making problems and to do justice by extractingtheir decision making skills. Individual takes the first step towards decision making by dividingdecision problems into more manageable fragments and explicitly considering the possibleoptions.Effective decision making involves the following six steps;Steps of Strategic Decision As a strategist, you must do the following to create aMaking Process constructive environment:1) Creating a constructive i. Establish the objectives – Define what you want toenvironment achieve. ii. Agree on the process – You must focus on the final decision, which is made after establishing the objective. iii. Involve the right people – Make sure you have the right team of people. iv. Allow opinions to be heard – Encourage participants to contribute in discussions, debates and analyse. v. Need to ask the right question – Ask yourself whether you are questioning the right issue or not. vi. Use creativity tools from the beginning – Apply creativity by thinking from a different perspective and angle. When you generate alternatives, you force yourself to2) Generating good alternatives view the problem from different angles, which in turn gives you effective results. Some of the techniques are as follows: i. Brainstorming – It is an effective process which develops creative solutions to problems and enhances the productivity of the organisation. ii. Generating ideas from a large number of people – Everybody’s ideas must be heard and given equal weightage, irrespective of the person’s position or power within the organisation. iii. Inviting others – Asking outsiders to join the discussion. When you are satisfied with your collection of realistic3) Exploring the chosen alternatives, you can evaluate the feasibility, risk and thealternatives implications of each choice. Few factors that need to be considered when the alternatives are explored are as follows: i. Risk – In decision making, there is usually some degree of uncertainty, which leads to risk. By evaluating it, you can determine whether the risk is manageable or not. ii. Implications – Another way to look at your options is to
consider the potential consequences of each alternative. iii. Validation – Exploring the resources leads to a validity check of the product.4) Choosing the best alternative After you have evaluated the alternatives, choose the best among the available choices. Take your valuable time to do so. You must be sure that common errors have not crept into5) Checking and confirming your the decision making process, so check your decisionsdecision properly. This includes methodical testing of the assumptions and thoroughly reviewing the same. After you have made your decision, it is important to6) Communicate your decision explain it to others and start implementingand move to actionIssues involved in taking difficult strategic decisionsTaking strategic decisions is not an easy task all the times. There could also be scenarios whenwe are not confident about the positive result of the decisions being made. Few examples of theissues involved in taking difficult strategic decisions are: Uncertainty - A problem occurring in the production and distribution planning of a product for a series of time period due to uncertain probability distribution of future sales of the product Complexity - You are a jury member and must decide the guilt or innocence of an accused. Due to complexity in your decision making, you become emotionally attached to irrelevant opinions, rather than listening thoughtfully to the fact and deciding the case on its merits High-risk consequences - In 1984, Gavilan Computers faced bankruptcy due to strategic decision failure Irrelevant alternatives - In 1987, the owner of the Shoreham plant located at Long Island Sound, New York, had wasted $5.5 billion on bricks, mortar, fuel rods and interest as the operating license had not been granted Interpersonal issues - An individual is not interested in playing a business game and ignores playing with the team as he has an out of game disagreement with a fellow member, then it affects the whole team to take a proper strategic decision. Effective decision making process has the following merits: A broadened perspective of managing complex decisions Designing more effective decision processes Transforming risk into opportunity and thinking strategicallyYou will not miss the important factors which help you to make better decisions by taking anorganised and right approach. The next section deals in outlining a process that will help youimprove the quality of your decisions.Strategic choice approachStrategic choice is an ongoing process in which planned management system plays asignificant role. The main objectives of any management are survival, growth and profitability,which it achieves through effective strategic choices.
The features of strategic choice are as follows: Focusing on decisions and judgments made in a particular planning situation Highlighting judgments involved in handling uncertainties Creating a framework which explicitly balances present and future decisions Creating a framework for communication and collaboration between different people with different backgrounds and skillsProcess in Strategy FormulationIn this section, we will discuss about the strategy formulation process. The main processesinvolved in strategy formulation are as follows: Stimulate the identification - Identifying useful information like planning for strategic management, objectives to achieve the goals of the employees and the stakeholders. Utilisation and transfer of useful information as per the business strategies - A number of questions arising during utilisation and transfer of information have to be solved The questions that arise during utilisation and transfer of information are the following: Who has the requested information? What is the relationship between the partners who holds the requested information? What is the nature of the requested information? How can we transfer the information?Henry Mintzberg‟s contribution to strategic planningWe will learn about Henry Mintzberg’s contribution to strategic planning in this section. HenryMintzberg is a well-known academician and generalist writer who has written about strategy andorganisational management. His approach is broad, involving the study of the actions of amanager and the way the manager does it. He believes that management is about applyinghuman skills to systems, but not systems to people. Mintzberg states certain factors as thereason for planning failure. The factors are as follows: Processes - The elaborate processes used in the management such as creation of bureaucracy and suppression of innovation leads to strategic planning failure. Data - According to Mintzberg, hard data (the raw material of all strategists) provides information whereas soft data (the data gathered from experience) provides wisdom which means that soft data is more relevant than the hard data. Detachment – Mintzberg says that effective strategists are people who do not distance themselves from the details of a business. They are the ones who immerse themselves into the details and are able to extract the strategic messages from it.In 1993, Henry Mintzberg concluded that planning is a formalised procedure to produce acoherent result in the form of an integrated system of decisions. The objectives must beexplicitly labeled by words after being carefully decomposed into strategies and sub-strategies.
Q5. Explain strategic evaluation and its significance.Answer:Strategy EvaluationThe core aim of strategic management succeeds only if it generates a positive outcome.Strategic evaluation and control consists of data and reports about the performance of theorganisation. Improper analysis, planning or implementation of the strategies will result innegative performance of the organisation. The top management needs to be updated about theperformance to take corrective actions for controlling the undesired performance.All strategies are subject to constant modifications as the internal and external factorsinfluencing a strategy change constantly. It is essential for the strategist to constantly evaluatethe performance of the strategies on a timely basis. Strategic evaluation and control ensuresthat the organisation is implementing the relevant strategy to reach its objectives. It comparesthe current performance with the desired results and if necessary, provides feedback to themanagement to take corrective measures.Strategic evaluation consists of performance and activity reports. If performance results arebeyond the tolerance range, new implementation procedures are introduced. One of theobstacles to effective strategic control is the difficulty in developing appropriate measures forimportant activities. Strategic control stimulates the strategic managers to investigate the use ofstrategic planning and implementation. After the evaluation, the manager will have knowledgeabout the cause of the problem and the corrective actions.The five step process of strategic evaluation and control is illustrated in figure 5.1.
Retrieved from Concepts in Strategic Management and Business Policy by Thomas L.Wheelen,J.David Hunger (2002), Pearson Education, New Delhi. Recognise the activity to be measured – Top management including the operations manager has to specify the implementation processes and the results that are to be evaluated. The processes and results must be compared with the organisation‟s objectives in a consistent manner. The strategy of all the important areas must be evaluated irrespective of the difficulty. However, focus should be on the most significant elements in a process. Example – The process that accounts for the highest proportion of expense, the greatest number of problems etc.Create the pre-established standards – Strategic objectives provide a crystal view of thestandards to measure performance. Each standard defines a tolerance range for acceptabledeviations. Standards can also be set for the output of intermediate stages of production alongwith the final output. Measure actual performance – Actual performance must be measured on a timely basis. Status of actual performance – If the results of the actual performance are within the tolerance range, the evaluation process stops here. Take remedial action – If the actual performance result exceeds the tolerance range, corrective actions must be taken to control the deviation. The following questions must be answered: i) Is the variation, a minor or temporary fluctuation? ii) Are the procedures being implemented appropriately? iii) Are the procedures appropriate to the achievement of the desired standard?Requirements of strategic evaluationInformation of strategic evaluation activities needs to be economical, crisp, clear and concise. Itshould be directly related to the organisation‟s objectives. It should provide valuable informationto the managers about the activities over which they have control and authority. Strategicactivities should provide well-timed information. At times, managers need this information on aregular basis.Strategic management should provide an accurate picture of the current activities of theorganisation. Example – In a severe financial dip, profit ratio will fluctuate irrespective of thehard work of the employees and the managers. Strategic evaluation should deliver actionoriented reports rather than information oriented. These reports should be directed to thoseindividuals who are influenced to take corrective measures.This process should not dictate the decision but rather promote reasonability, faith and mutualunderstanding between the personnel and the organisation. Strategic evaluation needs activeparticipation and cooperation of all the departments in the organisation. Strategic evaluation
should be simple, manageable and encourage to achieving the common goal. Strategicevaluation is rewarding only when it is effectively used.It is more difficult to organise and develop cooperation between different departments andfunctional areas in large organisations. So, they need highly structured and in depth strategicevaluation system. Small companies just need a brief report of evaluation as their familiarity andinternal communication within the organisation to gather and evaluate information from localenvironment is at ease. The key to an effective strategic evaluation lies in the manager‟s abilityto convince participants. Strategic evaluation system differs for every organisation depending onits objectives, strengths, challenges, size, management style etc.Importance of effective strategic evaluationThe strategic-evaluation process with constantly updated corrective actions results in significantand long-lasting consequences. Strategy evaluation is vital to an organisation‟s well-being astimely evaluations can alert the management about potential problems before the situationbecomes critical. Successful strategists combine patience with a willingness to take correctiveactions promptly, when necessary.The process of evaluating the implemented strategy is explained in Figure.
Retrieved from Concepts in Strategic Management and Business Policy by Thomas L.Wheelen,J.David Hunger (2002), Pearson Education, New DelhiFrequent strategic evaluation activities can control the negative consequences of theenvironmental complexity and instability issues. Success today does not guarantee successtomorrow! However, the frequencies of strategic evaluation performed were surprisingly foundto be vice-versa in stable and unstable industries. Management in dynamic industries seems tohave performed fewer strategic evaluation activities when compared to those in stableindustries. Lindsay and Rue concluded that forecasting is more difficult under complex andunstable environmental conditions. So, strategists may see less need for frequent evaluation oftheir long-range plans.Barriers of strategy evaluationThe critical part of strategic evaluation is the measurement of actual performance. The twonoticeable barriers of effective strategic evaluation are lack of clear objectives and incapabilityof the management to provide well-timed and justifiable information. It is very difficult to takeoperational decisions without clear objectives and well-timed and justifiable information.However, the use of well-timed and justifiable standards does not guarantee efficientperformance. The most common negative side effects of strategy evaluation are: Short term arrangement – Most of the top executives reveal that they neither analyse the long term implications of current strategic operation nor the current operational impact of the strategy on the organisation. The reasons behind this sort of behaviour are: The top management don‟t realise its importance. They believe that short term considerations are sufficient and more important. Lack of time to conduct a long term analysis.No real justification is available for the first and last reasons for not conducting long termevaluations. Short term strategy evaluation is always good; however certain strategies can beevaluated only on a long term basis. Example – Strategies based on the financial position of thecompany requires information about annual turnover of the company and profit and lossstatements of the past years. Goal displacement – Improper analysis and measurement of performance can result in the decline of the overall corporate performance. The term goal displacement is given when the activities to achieve the goals gain more importance when compared to the actual goal. The two types of goal displacement are: Behaviour substitution – It is used when wrong activities are being rewarded. This phenomenon refers to replacing the activities that do not contribute to the goal with the activities that lead to goal accomplishment. Managers tend to pay more attention to the behaviours that are clearly measureable.
Sub-optimisation – This phenomenon is about the situation when a unit optimises its goal accomplishment which detriments the performance of the organisation as a whole. One division‟s attempt to accomplish its goals might cause other divisions to fall behind and results in a negative effect on the performance of the organisation as a whole. Example – An organisation has limited time to submit an order for 500 refrigerators. It informs the employees to work extra hours to submit the order in time. At the end of the project, the organisation is able to submit the order in time. However, it hampered the quality of the product with a direct impact on the quality control system of the organisation.The three most widely used techniques for international performance evaluation are return oninvestment, budget analysis and historical comparisons. Most corporate companies still followthe same evaluation methods for their foreign and domestic operations. However, return oninvestment may create issues when it is applied to foreign operations due to factors like foreigncurrencies, variations in prices and tax laws etc. International transfer pricing is mainly used tominimise taxes that varies for different countries.Strategy evaluation methodsThe methods to evaluate strategies through Return on Investment (ROI) and Earnings PerShare (EPS) are becoming outdated these days. Analysts recommend a broad range ofmethods like stakeholder measures; shareholder value and the balanced score card approachto evaluate the performance of the strategy. The current trend supports increasing use of non-financial and complicated financial measures of corporate performance.Stakeholder measuresStake holders have their own set of criteria to determine the performance of the organisation.These criteria have a direct or indirect impact of the corporate activities on the stake holder‟sinterests. The top management should establish measures to keep a track of their concerns. Itis mandatory to analyse and meet the needs of stake holders to maintain the legitimacy andsustainability of the business.Share holder valueIt is difficult to measure an organisation‟s economic value with accounting numbers like returnon investment, return on equity and earnings per share as they are never stable. Share holdervalue can be defined as “The present value of the predictable future stream of cash flows fromthe business plus the value of the company if liquidated.” The value of a corporation is the valueof its cash flows discounted back to their present value, using the business‟s cost of capital asthe discount rate.The most popular methods to measure the share holder‟s wealth are: Economic Value Added (EVA) - EVA measures the difference between the pre-strategy and post-strategy value of a business. It is the difference between the after-tax operating income and the total annual cost of capital. The total cost of capital is the multiplicative amount of total investment in assets of an organization and the weighted average cost of capital.
EVA = after tax operating income – (total cost of capital) Positive EVA indicates that the strategy is generating positive value for the shareholders and vice versa. Market Value Added (MVA) – MVA is the difference between the market value of an organisation and the capital contributed by the shareholders and lenders. The process to calculate MVA is as follows: Calculate the total amount of capital that is invested in the organisation. Reclassify the investments that are made for the future earnings of the organisation (e.g., R & D). This provides the firm‟s total capital. Using the current stock price, sum up the value of all the outstanding stocks that adds to the company‟s debt. This is the company‟s market value.The firm‟s MVA is positive if its market value exceeds the total capital. This means that themanagement is creating wealth. Negative MVA means that the management is destroyingwealth.Balanced scorecard approachRobert Kaplan and David Norton‟s approach of balanced scorecard is especially useful whenthe non-financial assets contribute 50 to 80 percent of a firm‟s value. The balanced scorecard isalso a collection of procedures used to analyse difficulties. This approach focuses on four majorareas of performance to avoid information overload. These four areas are as follows: Financial Customer Internal business perspective Innovate and LearningIn addition to measuring the current financial performance, the balanced scorecard evaluatesthe organisation‟s efforts for future development with process, customer, and learning andgrowth metrics. The term„ scorecard ‟indicates quantified performance measures and„balanced‟ indicates that the system is balanced between: Short term objectives and long term objectives Financial and non-financial measures Lagging and leading indicators Internal and external performance perspectivesThe balanced scorecard illustrates, communicates and aligns the strategy throughout theorganisation, along with measuring the strategic performance.
Q6. Define the term “Business policy”. Explain its importance.Answer:Definition:Business policies are guidelines-statements (guide to plans & decision making) to facilitatepredetermined objective on the mode and manner in the structural & functional aspects toachieve the objective formulated as plans at all levels of management in the businessorganisation.Overview of Business PoliciesBusiness policies are the instructions laid by an organisation to manage its activities. It identifiesthe range within which the subordinates can take decisions in an organisation. It authorises thelower level management to resolve their issues and take decisions without consulting the toplevel management repeatedly. The limits within which the decisions are made are well defined.Business policy involves the acquirement of resources through which the organisational goalscan be achieved. Business policy analyses roles and responsibilities of top level managementand the decisions affecting the organisation in the long-run. It also deals with the major issuesthat affect the success of the organisation.Features of business policyFollowing are the features of an effective business policy: Specific- Policy should be specific and identifiable. The implementation of policy is easier if it is precise. Clear - Policy should be clear and instantly recognisable. Usage of jargons and connotations should be avoided to prevent any misinterpretation in the policy. Uniform – Policy should be uniform and consistent. It should ensure uniformity of operations at different levels in an organisation. Appropriate – Policy should be appropriate and suitable to the organisational goal. It should be aimed at achieving the organisational objectives. Comprehensive – Policy has a wide scope in an organisation. Hence, it should be comprehensive. Flexible – Policy should be flexible to ensure that it is followed in the routine scenario. Written form – To ensure uniformity of application at all times, the policy should be in writing. Stable – Policy serves as a guidance to manage day to day activities. Thus, it should be stable.Importance of Business PoliciesA company operates consistently, both internally and externally when the policies areestablished. Business policies should be set up before hiring the first employee in theorganisation. It deals with the constraints of real-life business.
It is important to formulate policies to achieve the organisational objectives. The policies arearticulated by the management. Policies serve as a guidance to administer activities that arerepetitive in nature. It channels the thinking and action in decision making. It is a mechanismadopted by the top management to ensure that the activities are performed in the desired way.The complete process of management is organised by business policies.Business policies are important due to the following reasons: Coordination – Reliable policies coordinate the purpose by focusing on organisational activities. This helps in ensuring uniformity of action throughout the organisation. Policies encourage cooperation and promote initiative. Quick decisions – Policies help subordinates to take prompt action and quick decisions. They demarcate the section within which decisions are to be taken. They help subordinates to take decisions with confidence without consulting their superiors every time. Every policy is a guide to activities that should be followed in a particular situation. It saves time by predicting frequent problems and providing ways to solve them. Effective control – Policies provide logical basis for assessing performance. They ensure that the activities are synchronised with the objectives of the organisation. It prevents divergence from the planned course of action. The management tends to deviate from the objective if policies are not defined precisely. This affects the overall efficiency of the organisation. Policies are derived objectives and provide the outline for procedures. Decentralisation – Well defined policies help in decentralisation as the executive roles and responsibility are clearly identified. Authority is delegated to the executives who refer the policies to work efficiently. The required managerial procedures can be derived from the given policies. Policies provide guidelines to the executives to help them in determining the suitable actions which are within the limits of the stated policies. Policies contribute in building coordination in larger organisations.