Making Strategic Choices in Management Essay
Internal Evaluation, this is the “SW” of the SWOT analysis. Every organization has strengths and weaknesses. Give an example of a company you know or read up on who did not really develop their strength or deal with key weaknesses
“SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment” (marketingteacher.com, 2011, para 4). SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (marketingteacher.com, 2011). Strengths are positive internal factors that affect a business. On the other hand, weaknesses are negative internal factors that affect a business. For that reason, an organization uses its strengths and weaknesses to perform an internal evaluation.
One of General Motors’ main strengths is its worldwide presence. Nonetheless, General Motors has not been able to exploit this strength. For instance, although Toyota has been crippled by the tsunami, General Motors has not been able to re-establish its dominance. In addition, General Motors is yet to work on some of its weaknesses. For instance, the company is still producing gas-guzzlers such as the hummer despite the demand shifting to fuel-efficient cars.
Is it possible for a company or business unit to follow a cost leadership strategy and a differentiation strategy simultaneously? Why or why not? Use an example in your answer to illustrate your position
Attaining a sustainable competitive advantage over other firms is one of the main challenges of a firm’s marketing strategy (Riley, 2012). When a business offers greater value through lower prices or greater benefits that justify higher prices for goods and services, it is said to have a competitive advantage over its competitors (Riley, 2012). A business uses four strategies to achieve a competitive advantage. These strategies include cost leadership, differentiation leadership, cost focus, and differentiation focus (Riley, 2012). A business tries to acquire a competitive advantage in a large market or industry segment through differentiation and cost leadership strategies.
However, it is impossible for a firm to use cost leadership and differentiation strategies concurrently. The objective of cost leadership is to offer standard products at the lowest possible price (Riley, 2012). Therefore, goods and services offered in the cost leadership strategy have little differentiation. On the other hand, a differentiation strategy aims at selling differentiated goods at high prices (Riley, 2012). For that reason, the two strategies are not compatible. For instance, Apple cannot produce sophisticated iPhones and sell them at throw-away prices.
You are in charge of an organization (Profit, Non-Profit, volunteer, defense) of your choice. Describe the controls you would want to review to determine if the organization and the individuals are moving in the correct direction. List the top three measurement controls you would want to see
According to McNamara (n.d.), a business must review some of its controls to determine whether it is moving in the right direction or not. Management controls, therefore, constrain groups or individuals within an organization to certain actions in order to achieve set goals. There are a number of administrative controls in an organization. Some of these controls include delegation, evaluations, financial management, and performance management (McNamara, n.d.).
Other controls include quality control and operation management, policies and procedures and risks, safety, and liabilities control. The three most important controls include delegation, evaluation, and financial control. Delegation ensures that an organization’s leadership performs its duties in conjunction with its juniors (McNamara, n.d.). Evaluation entails collecting, sorting, and analyzing data in order to make decisions based on facts (McNamara, n.d.).
In addition, evaluations enable an organization to make corrections or change processes that are not yielding results. Financial controls are also a useful way of monitoring the progress of a business. Financial statements such as the income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet show the financial position of a business at a specific time.
Identify and briefly discuss two concepts that you believe are best applicable to your professional discipline
I am a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) working at PPD. A CRA must have certain competencies. For instance, he must be confident and influential, understand other people’s needs, and be able to manage budgets and people (docsglobal.com, 2012). Moreover, PPD assigns leadership responsibilities to some of its CRAs in some of the clinical studies. For that reason, a CRA gets an opportunity to manage people and resources. Therefore, the concept of management controls suits my carrier well. An understanding of delegation, evaluation, and financial controls is, hence, very important to me. Moreover, PPD operates in one of the most competitive industries. For that reason, an understanding of the various strategies of obtaining a competitive advantage is useful for my future carrier at PPD.
Some organizations utilize Agile/Scrum. Discuss your experiences with Agile/Scrum and how it affected a project. If you have not Agile/Scrum experience, leverage your initial reading, and describe what you feel could have helped in a project in the past
In project management, priorities and requirements change frequently, emergencies happen on a daily basis and sometimes projects overwhelm employees. For that reason, project managers must find ways of adapting to the changing needs of projects. Scrum is one of these ways. Scrum is an agile framework that ensures that there is continuous unit testing and the project has the capability to adapt to new changes (Mayer, 2008).
Therefore, scrum helps a project in many ways. Scrum ensures that a project is monitored and evaluated continuously. Consequently, scrum does not provide solutions to problems but helps the project management team come up with the solutions (Mayer, 2008). In addition, a project manager who utilizes scrum adapts everything, plans, and delivers as he goes on with the project and manages teams (Mayer, 2008). On the other hand, traditional project management follows a specific plan, plans in advance, delivers at the end of a project, and manages tasks. Therefore, traditional project management, unlike Scrum, does not adapt to the changing needs of a project.
Some organizations have implemented Six Sigma grams. Discuss your experiences with Six Sigma programs and if you have no Six Sigma experience, leverage your initial readings and describe how you feel it could have held in a project in the past or how you will use it in the future
Six Sigma is a method that attempts to measure the quality of project management processes to near perfection (Gack, 2010). Six Sigma, therefore, aims at achieving clear-cut results in project management. For that reason, Six Sigma’s tools and methods are the best ways of improving processes in project management. Most importantly, the implementation of the Six Sigma helps a project manager comprehend and improve the outcomes of a project. This makes Six Sigma one of the most important elements of project management as it uses a logical and fact based approach to identify root causes of problems (Rever, n.d.).
Subsequently, an organization’s management is able to devise ways of preventing the reoccurrence of these problems. Some of these ways include identification and communication with stakeholders and continuous monitoring and evaluation (Gack, 2010). In addition, Six Sigma enables a project manager to use statistical methods to understand variations in the variables measured in a project. Therefore, project managers who employ the Six Sigma, base their decisions on factual data.
Discuss what you found with your exploration of the concepts of PMP and PMI. What did you see of value? What do you question? What are you going to explore further?
According to the PMI website, the most important industry-recognized credential from the project management institute (PMI) is a Project Management Professional (PMP). A PMP ensures that a project manager stands out from the rest. For that reason, it accelerates his chances of securing gainful employment. However, a person accredited with the PMP must have the experience, education, and expertise to manage projects (pmi.org, 2012).
Therefore, one needs a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and three or more years of experience in project management to qualify for a PMP. Nonetheless, one can also qualify for the PMP with a secondary diploma or its global equivalent if he has a minimum of five years of experience in managing projects. However, a PMP exam is too expensive and it is very difficult to maintain the PMP certification as one has to accrue a certain number of Professional Development Units (PDUs). Despite these hindrances, I will pursue more certification by attending classes and PMI’s sponsored seminars to gain more recognition in this industry.
Gack, G. A. (2010). Six sigma and the project management body of knowledge. Web.
Docsglobal.com (2012). Job description – a clinical research associate (CRA). Web.
Marketingteacher.com. (2011). SWOT analysis. Web.
Mayer, T. (2008). Essential scrum: A short introduction to scrum and its underlying agile principles. Web.
McNamara, C. (n.d.). Management function of coordinating/controlling: Overview of basic methods. Web.
Pmi.org. (2012). Project management professional (PMP). Web.
Rever, H. (n.d.). Six sigma can help project managers improve results. Web.
Riley, J. (2012). Competitive advantage. Web.