MBA Program_ Dynamics of Strategy


ARAB OPEN UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF BUSINESS STUDIES

 

MBA Program_ Dynamics of Strategy

 

BB835-TMATwo – Second (Spring) Semester_ (2017 – 2018)

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Introduction

Please read these instructions carefully, and contact your tutor if you require any further clarifications. You should submit your completed assignment to your tutor to arrive no later than the cut-off date: May 12, 2018.

Please use standard A4 size paper for submitting the hard copy of your TMA. Your name, personal identifier, course and assignment numbers must appear at the top of each sheet. A soft copy of your TMA must be uploaded to the university Moodle within the indicated cut-off date. The hard & soft copies must be identical. Please leave wide margins and space at the end of each sheet for tutor comments. It is better to use double spacing so that you can easily handwrite corrections to your drafts and tutors have space to include their feedback on the script. Start each question in the assignment on a new page. Any extended text should ideally be word-processed, but, diagrams and accompanying notes may be hand drawn and hand written and on an A4 paper.

TMA02 Brief

This TMA has a 30% weight in the overall assessment of the module. It is based on realistic situations, taken from real businesses and case studies, so as to gain an understanding of the business world. You will get a chance to look at how businesses develop and choose their competitive strategy, and how the organisation is managed in terms of its structure. You should show an extensive reading that relates to the concepts in the questions.

Please note that regurgitating course material only is not acceptable and may get you a failing grade. You need to critically think and answer questions, do your own research and additional reading, documented library research is a must, and illustrative supportive examples expected.

Question One (1150 words):   (34 Marks)

 

Case Study: Frederick Cooper Lamp

 

Frederick Cooper Lamp Company was founded in Chicago in 1923 by Frederick Cooper, an artist specializing in sculpture and watercolor art. The firm was launched in response to requests from clients that Cooper incorporate his works of art into lamps.

 

Relying on hand labour alone to make its lamps, chandeliers, and sconces, Cooper’s company quickly became recognized as a manufacturer of high-quality, distinctive products. Throughout its history, one of Cooper Lamp’s signature treatments was “the use of silk and other fine and exotic materials to produce unique hand sewn lampshades, many of which are adorned with distinctive bead and fringe treatments.” The firm used the focused differentiation business-level strategy, which essentially means that Cooper Lamp made expensive products that provided unique value to a small group of customers who were willing to pay a premium to purchase uniqueness (we fully describe the focused differentiation strategy later in the chapter).The words of a company official reflect Cooper Lamp’s strategy: “We offer a very high quality product. Our shades are hand-sewn, using unique fabrics. We use unique materials. We put things together in a unique fashion and as a result we have a very good name among the designers and decorators, and the stores. We sell to very high-end stores, [including] Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, [and] Horchow.” Thus, Cooper made “really expensive lamps for a niche market.” Cooper’s cheapest lamps sold for $200, while its crystal chandeliers cost upwards of thousands of dollars.

 

The reason we use the past tense to describe Cooper’s strategy is that the firm as it was known changed in August 2005. At that time, Cooper left its historic Chicago manufacturing facility, as required by the terms of its sale to developers who intend to convert its historic 240,000- square foot building into residential condos. The four-story building was sold and workers were laid off because the firm had to reduce the costs it incurred to manufacture its high-quality products. Some of the dismissed workers had been with the company for over 40 years. Other changes were in play as well, as indicated by the following comments from an employee: “We’ve sold the name but we can’t say who bought it. That was part of the deal. But we can say Frederick Cooper will not be who it was before. But we’re not going out of business. The new name will be Frederick Cooper Chicago.”

 

What caused the demise of Frederick Cooper Lamp Company? The answer is perhaps familiar: declining demand for high-quality handmade products; inefficient, high-cost manufacturing facilities; and cheap imports from other nations that offer customers a reasonable degree of quality at a substantially lower price. From a strategic perspective, the firm’s demise resulted from its below-average returns, which was a direct result of its not successfully implementing its business-level strategy.

 

 

Sources: R. Berg, 2005, Frederick Cooper workers to strike, Chicago Indymedia, http://www.chicago.indymedia.org, June 9; M. Brown, 2005, We can shape ‘progress,’ or let it punch our lights out, Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com, June 1; C. W. Ingram, 2005, Frederick Cooper sells building, plans to relocate, Home Accents Today, http://www.homeaccentstoday.com, March 1; P. Sherrod, 2005, Let there be light, Chicago Tribune, www.chicagotribune.com, June 19; N. Steinberg, 2005, Fancy lamps, Granta, 89: 136–150.

 

 

Competitive strategy is about formulating a strategy that enables your organisation to compete with other organisations within your industry or sector, based upon identifying potential realizable sources of competitive advantage for your own organization.

 

Using the case example of the Frederick Cooper Lamp, Identify evidence of the different types of generic strategies being pursued by the company (20 marks). Then, explain what factors are influencing the choice of strategies that you identify? (14 marks).

 

 

Question Two (1000 words):   (33 Marks):

 

Analysis of corporate strategy depends upon understanding the options available to each organisation for each business unit, and the related question of why that particular option might be selected.

 

Show your understanding of various strategies by classifying the actions below indicating the type (name) of strategy that best describes each action and why in details? Then, explain your choice of strategy by providing additional similar examples to support and show your understanding and your choice of strategy.

 

Consider the following seven actual strategies by various firms:

 

  1. Microsoft developed a new video camera for its Xbox 360 console that allowed players to control games with the movement of their bodies, rather than by holding a plastic wand in their hands, as required with Nintendo’s popular Wii game console.

 

  1. Wells Fargo and Bank of America began to “tweet”—post messages of 140 characters or less on Twitter.com, so customers could see product features. Banks are also putting marketing videos on YouTube.

 

  1. The United Kingdom’s huge telecom firm, BT Group PLC, cut 15,000 more jobs on top of the 15,000 the prior year.

 

  1. Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp. acquired Osaka, Japan-based Sanyo Electric Company.

 

  1. News Corp. sold off many of its television stations.

 

  1. More than 1,000 Chrysler dealers closed their doors and ceased doing business.

 

  1. Germany’s Metro AG, the world’s fourth-largest retailer after Wal-Mart, Carrefour SA, and Home Depot, is expanding aggressively into China.

 

What type of strategy best describes the 7 actions cited? Explain your choice of strategy by analyzing your answer.

 

 

Question Three (1150 words):    (33 marks):

Simons (1994, 1995) advocates a comprehensive approach for establishing control systems in organizations faced with continuous change.

  1. Discuss the four ‘levers’ of control suggested by Simons (which when used collectively can reconcile the conflict between flexibility and control). (20 marks). Then, Illustrate using a suitable example how Simon’s control levers can be useful in assessing the corporate failures. (13 Marks).

 

Marks distribution: This assignment will be graded out of 100 marks, which will be allocated to your answer for the different questions. 20% will be deducted based on the following criteria:

  • 10% for proper referencing (5% in-text referencing and 5% end-text references)
  • 5%   for adherence to specified word count
  • 5%   for the use of the E-library/External resources.

 

  100
Letter Grade Description Min Grade Max Grade
A Excellent Pass 90 100
B+ Good Pass 85 89
B Clear Pass 75 84
C+ Pass 70 74
C Weak Pass 60 69

 

 

Evaluation
The project will be evaluated on:

  • The degree of insight offered (as compared to description)
  • The link to concepts presented in the course (the quality of the link is critical, not the number of concepts used)
  • Whether the recommendations are valuable, realistic, and well supported

Word count for TMA submissions

Maximum word count of 1150 words for each question  (+/- 10%) (Excluding references)

Excess words over the stated limit may not be assessed.

 

Authenticating your coursework

You must be able to demonstrate that the course work you submit for assessment is your own. You must therefore keep all working documents (electronic and paper) that you used or created while preparing the assignment, such as photocopies of sources and internet pages, your own notes on your reading and preparation and where primary research has been conducted, completed questionnaires or interview schedules, details of the process of analysis, field notes and so on. Most importantly, you should keep the early developing drafts of your coursework as evidence of the originality of your work by saving each revision to a file with a different name. This material should be kept until after the module results have been published on AOU-LMS. Please note that you are required to submit an electronic version of your work there.

Completing and sending your assignments

When you have completed your TMA, you must fill in the assignment form (PT3), taking care to fill all information correctly including your personal identifier, course code, section & tutor, and assignment numbers. Each TMA and its PT3 form should be uploaded on the AOU branch Moodle within the cut-off date. Late submissions require approval from the branch course coordinator and will be subject to grade deductions. All assignments are treated in strict confidence.

If you feel that you are unable to meet the cut-off date of the TMA because of unusual circumstances, please contact your tutor as soon as possible to discuss a possible extension to the cut-off date.

Plagiarism

The Arab Open University Definitions of ‘academic misconduct’ and plagiarism

According to the Arab Open University By-laws,

“The following acts represent cases of cheating and plagiarism:

  • Verbatim copying of printed material and submitting them as part of TMAs without proper academic acknowledgement and documentation.
  • Verbatim copying of material from the Internet, including tables and graphics.
  • Copying other students’ notes or reports.
  • Using paid or unpaid material prepared for the student by individuals or firms.
  • Utilization of, or proceeding to utilize, contraband materials or devices in examinations.”
  • Penalty on plagiarism
  • The following is the standard plagiarism penalty applied across branches as per Article 11 of the university by-laws:
  • Awarding of zero for a TMA wherein more than 20% of the content is plagiarized.
  • Documentation of warning in student record.
  • Failure in the course to dismissal from the University.

 

Examples of Plagiarism

Copying from a single or multiple sources, this is where the student uses one or more of the following as the basis for the whole, or a good part, of the assignment:

  1. Published or unpublished books, articles or reports
  2. The Internet
  3. The media (e.g. TV programs, radio programs or newspaper articles)
  4. An essay from an essay bank
  5. A piece of work previously submitted by another student
  6. Copying from a text which is about to be submitted for the same assignment

 

Good Luck!

To get your Assignment/Homework solutions;

Simply Click ORDER NOW and fill your paper details. Our support team will review the assignment(s) and assign the right expert whose specialization is same to yours to complete it within your deadline. Our Editor(s) will then review the completed paper (to ensure that it is answered accordingly) before we email you a complete paper

 

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