BUS599 :: MBA Integrative Project

Question
module 4

Modular Learning Objectives
By the end of this module, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes expectations:

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Case
Describe how a firm achieves Sustained Competitive Advantage through strategic choices.
Assess how strategic choices align with firm strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
SLP
Demonstrate how different strategies prescribe different firm actions to address the same external and internal contingencies.
TD
Assess how strategic choices align with firm strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Describe how a firm achieves Sustained Competitive Advantage through strategic choices.
Module 4 -Case

Strategic Choices

Background

The Case in this course is an ongoing exercise, meaning that we will be taking an intensive look at one company over the course of our five modules. This session, we will be conducting a strategic analysis of the Kraft Foods Group. The best preparation for doing well on the Case Assignments is to complete the Background information reading and the SLP before writing the Case.

For this case, you will be identifying the primary business strategy employed by the Kraft Foods Group. You will also be providing a critical analysis evaluating that strategy in the context of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you identified in Modules 2 and 3.

Required Reading

Refer to the required and optional reading on strategic choices, the theme of Module 4.

Assignment

In a 5- to 7-page paper, respond to the following:
1) Which of the four generic (Porter) strategies does the Kraft Foods Group follow, and how do you know?

2) Integrate the strategy you’ve identified above with the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you identified in Modules 2 and 3. Doing so should give you some specific actions the company is taking relative to its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These actions are referred to as “strategic choices.” Do the Kraft Foods Group’sstrategic choices align with the firm’s generic strategy? If not, what are the points of disconnect? Think critically about this step, as no company achieves perfect alignment of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with its chosen strategy. It is your job to uncover the discrepancies and problems.

3) How can the Kraft Foods Group leverage its strengths and shore up its weaknesses by altering its strategic choices? How can the company take advantage of environmental opportunities and minimize environmental threats by altering its strategic choices?Be specific.

4) Complete the paper by commenting on how your view of the Kraft Foods Group’svision and mission has changed or has been reconfirmed by this process of strategic analysis. Would you make any suggestions to revise the company’s mission or vision statements, or any of its goals/objectives?

5) Consider the Case as a formal business report that you are developing for the Board of Directors and CEO as the Kraft Foods Group’sconsultant. This is a professional document. Follow the format below:

Executive summary: This is a synopsis of the main points, conclusions, and recommendations made in the longer report. If you would like a refresher on writing an executive summary, check this website:.highendfinance.com/CommercialLoans/Docs/07-4%20ES%20Guidelines.doc”>http://www.highendfinance.com/CommercialLoans/Docs/07-4%20ES%20Guidelines.doc
Introduction:State the main purpose of the paper (thesis statement), what you hope to accomplish, and how you will go about doing it.
Main Body: The “meat” of the paper. Emphasize analysis, not just description. Delineate separate topics or sections with headings.
Conclusion: Summarize your paper in light of your thesis statement.
Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated on the following seven points:

Precision – Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
Breadth – Is the full breadth of the subject (i.e., the Keys to the Assignment) addressed?
Depth – Does the paper address the topic in sufficient depth and include the Background readings and other Background resources as references?
Critical thinking – Is the subject thought about critically, that is, accurately, logically, relevantly, and precisely?
Clarity – Is the writing clear and are the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the questions or are points conveyed through excessive use of quotations?
Organization – Is the paper well written? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are headings included in all papers longer than two pages?
Referencing (citations and references) – Does the paper include citations and quotation marks where appropriate? Are the references from the Background reading and assignment present and properly cited? Are all the references listed in the bibliography present and referred to via citation?
Tips and Suggestions

Business school case-study assignments are meant to offer practice opportunities for future businesspeople who are earning their MBA degrees. Consider yourself a consultant hired by the company to make these critical assessments. There are no right or wrong answers to the Case question, as long as your position is well defended.
Study the theoretical concepts provided in the Background materials section of the module, and identify main strategy concepts.
Include a cover page and reference page, in addition to the 5-7 pages of analysis described above.
Include headings for all papers longer than two pages.
Cite and reference all sources, including those that you paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than five words, and citations for information you have “borrowed” or paraphrased from other sources.
Follow TUI Guidelines for Well-Written Papers.
Submit your analysis by the end of this module.
Module 4 -SLP

Strategic Choices

Background

In the Module 4 SLP, you will be learning how to apply and integrate the results of your SWOT (discussed in Modules 2 and 3) with the four generic business strategies discussed in this module. As in the past three modules, we will take you through the process step by step:

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

Required Reading

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

1) The first article includes some examples of how RBV variables can be used to leverage a cost or differentiation strategy:

Competitive Advantage (2007). Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from: .quickmba.com/strategy/competitive-advantage/”>http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/competitive-advantage/

2) The second reading demonstrates how a cost, differentiation, or focus strategy can help a company defend itself against Porter’s Five Forces:

Porter’s Generic Strategies. (2007). Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from: .quickmba.com/strategy/generic.shtml”>http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/generic.shtml

Assignment

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

Keys to the Assignment

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

Differentiation

Focus

Preemptive

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

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

Differentiation

Focus

Preemptive

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats: Strong competitive rivalry

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

Differentiation

Focus

Preemptive

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats: Strong competitive rivalry

Undercut rivals on price through operational economies

Brand loyalty attracts repeat customers

Find an underserved market segment that rivals are unwilling to serve

Beat rivals out of the gate, establish dominant position

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

Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated on the following points:

Precision – Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
Breadth – Is the full breadth of the subject (i.e., the Keys to the Assignment) addressed?
Depth – Does the paper address the topic in sufficient depth and include the Background readings and other Background resources as references?
Critical thinking – Is the subject thought about critically, that is, accurately, logically, relevantly, and precisely?
Clarity – Is the writing clear and are the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the questions or are points conveyed through excessive use of quotations?
Organization – Is the paper well written? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are headings included in all papers longer than two pages?
Referencing (citations and references) – Does the paper include citations and quotation marks where appropriate? Are the references from the Background readings and assignment present and properly cited? Are all the references listed in the bibliography present and referred to via citation?
Application – Are the concepts of the module appropriately applied to the subject?
Tips and Suggestions

Click the link to access Dr. Flaschner’s recommended search engines: E:\modules\module0\resources.html .
There are no right or wrong answers to this exercise, provided that your analysis is logical. That is, the factors you choose must align with the appropriate SWOT variable, and the business actions you choose must align with the proper strategy.
Take care to prepare a professional presentation of your table. It should fit on one page and be readable. (You will probably have more luck with a landscape layout than portrait layout.)
Include headings for all papers longer than two pages.
Cite and reference all sources, including those you paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than five words, and citations for information you have “borrowed” or paraphrased from other sources.
Follow TUI Guidelines for Well-Written Papers.
Submit your analysis by the end of this module

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