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I started the journey with the theories of competitive positioning a firm in the business landscape. In this context we were introduced the concept of five-force analysis which shapes the strategy. Next interesting topic was the resource-based view of the firm in the form of VRIO analysis, which helps in competitive advantage as scholars argue. Consequently we observe that only VRIO can't provide a firm sustainable competitive advantage - it requires an organisational routine [in the form of dynamic capabilities] to obtain the edge of competitors over time. We saw how strategies could be of different types based on context and business landscape- deliberate approach [traditional one where business environment was conceptualized at constant, controllable, predictive], the modern complex and rapidly changing business-environment introduced the need of an emergent approach where predefined strategy is flexible and responsive to the external-factors and can be enhanced/reshaped based on external-input. At the end we observed how globalization and technical innovations are shaping the business-landscape and in this modern age of temporary-advantages how strategy need to be formulated to cope with this divergence..
What was covered that you, other stakeholders, or your business can generally benefit from?
Different strategic approaches introduced in this module and the tools would help - ) Five-force analysis of an industry would help me/my stakeholders to analyze a specific industry and to determine entry/exit to that industry; it can also evaluate the threats [e.g. strong buyers/buyers, rivalry and new entrants] of my firm in an existing industry and identify core areas to invest, b) a VRIO analysis is aiming an internal analysis of my firm to identify the core-competencies, it helps me identify my resources which needs investment [and/or de-investment], SWOT analysis provides strategic areas which needs improvement and to identify threats which we could turn to opportunity. In recent complex, turbulent, globalised business environment the strategy needs to be deliberately emergent, where we can shape/reshape our approach in response to changing market need. Organisational dynamic capabilities are of much interest in respect to my practical experience [in IT domain] - this [e.g. sharing, learning] combined with VRIO resources can provide sustainable competitive advantage. Flexible, responsive approache which is vigilant to business landscape [e.g. diverging technology, customer choices] and formulate/reshape itself is another pivotal aspect for my business.
How will what you have learned impact you personally and professionally?
Different strategic approaches and tools [e.g. five force analysis, VRIO, SWOT] etc would enrich me in my future-engagements. I now have a wide spectrum of theories/approaches which I can apply based on the context and situational need. During organisational change, now I am aware the common mistakes which create wrong perceptions among stakeholders, not involving all stakeholders distance them from the change and how introduction of a shared decision making instills pride and responsibility among workforce. I learned to respect organisational culture and regional culture during decision-making. The impact of globalization [e.g. rapidly changing technology and increasing threats] is much related to affects IT domain; now I know how to formulate flexible strategy to cope with it. Temporary advantage which is predominant in today's business landscape would help me. Lastly the ways of strategy formulation during crisis times and how to collaborate with all stakeholders is an crucial aspect that would impact me infuture.
How can you link the topics you learned previous module?
The correlation between managing strategic changes [in this module] with the concepts of leadership [in module1] during organizational changes was mutually comprehensive and helps to fully understand the complex subject of organisational-change. We have studied the organisational culture and the impacts of culture [of workforce, region] on the organisational routines in both these modules. Leadership need to be tolerant to such cultural diversities and keep careful attention while devising change/strategy. We learned in the module1 about perception [of management-message by workforce] and how to devise communication carefully to share the right message. Different types of organisational structure and leadership-approaches [introduced in module1] were much useful in this module - to devise strategies in difficult time we can full use of those theories. The effect of globalization [in both the modules] was covered extensively and we noticed in this module how globalization affects firms. Rapid technological changes introduce a volatile business landscape where firms are challenged by intense competitions, changing customer choice- a crisis time/turbulent environment. In the Module1 we learned how to manage crisis situation; we can apply those techniques.
Additional relevant personal notes and observations
How many days did you visit and participate in the classroom each week (the 3 of 7 rule)?
I visit the classroom on 1stday to understand the study-material and expectations. On 3rd day I submit the initial response and until 5th day I visit to participate in the group discussion. I find 3-day time is inadequate to analyze the materials, conduct research and develop the response; instead the 7-day rule could have been better, where we have discussion in the classroom first and at the end we submit our discussion response.
Did you submit all of the graded assignments for the week? If not when did or will you complete the work?
I prefer to follow the rules and hence I submit all my submissions before the due-date/time. Uncertainty-avoidance is in my nature, helping me posting all due matters well-ahead to avoid last-minute technical difficulties. To prepare for the initial response, first I understand the question, analyze the module text and other materials, I conduct research on UoL Library, Sage pubs to find material supporting my writings. I prepare a skeleton of my response; lastly I populate that with my research stuff and module references. My ICT background helps me in organizing research and developing the response- similarity with SDLC approach.
Did you have any personal problems getting the Module project done on schedule?
Professional schedule and duties can't be compromised I had to sacrifice my time spent on personal matters - hobby, entertainment, playing with kids. I knew beforehand that I had to make some personal compromises and hence it was expected to me and my family. I had enjoyed my studies after a long gap and above all my kids enjoyed a lot for seeing me study and kept a close observation whether I am studying well. This was the best part, when you see your kids act like grownups and punish you for not studying enough.
What did you like or dislike about the Module-or what would you change?
The 3day study and submission is not appropriate, it should be converted to a 7day, I believe that submission and then discussion may not be fruitful to fully understand the subject, instead first discussion and then submission - the mode in which universities work should be implemented here. Interaction to professors is what should be included apart from the chances of attending business workshops/seminars [webinar or web meeting] should be included in future modules. Recorded lectures of the professors [form UoL or other] need to be included in the module-material. Laureate should provide more interaction - in the form of frequent seminars [e.g. academic, business] to its students. This module didn't provide textbook which is bizarre as organisation strategy being such a crucial subject without any textbook I find it difficult to navigate.
How do you feel about your progress, both here and through your degree? Are you satisfied with your performance?
I am now satisfied with my performance, with constructive feedback from instructor [in this module], I know my gaps and areas where I need to improve. I will keep the lessons learnt in this module in mind for the next modules. The instructor is kind, patient, experience and knowledgeable in answering the queries that I had. I believe the study time is much less the 3-day format is insufficient to analyze and conduct research; we need more time to read the module-text and develop the initial post.
What can I do to make things better? Be specific about the 'personal' aspects of your Module in this section.
Precise, unambiguous instructions are essential. The feedback was constructive and specific to individual, which would cater for each individual need aiming to his/her improvement. Feedback need to be included with specific examples from student's submission pinpointing his/her mistakes. Live lectures need to be included in the module study-matter.
It was a nice journey considering the teething problems which is expected in any new environment, entire Laureate team has done a great job in terms of availability of all facilities, classroom, library and prompt support during technical difficulties. The access to the rich UoL library and Sage Publication library is an envying asset of this course.