Macfarlane Solutions Competitive Strategy Business Essay


MacFarlane Solutions a company well known for its high quality, personalized service, care and pride that can be visibly seen by its leadership. This analysis draws a competency framework approach based on two main components Strategy and strategy in action together with leadership and strategic leadership development.

It looks at alternative ways of addressing these issues, range of materials detailing approaches to leadership the changing nature of work and society, new approaches that encourage a more collective and emergent view of leadership.

Over the years MacFarlane Solutions developed a cooperate culture around the way it did things and how it built upon its competences together with a degree of certainty even arrogance in so doing, using a conservative approach in its business operations indirectly discouraging collective pathway for innovation and new ideas from its own leadership. Bill MacFarlane used a classical management approach to run his company as an engineer by profession presumably he did not have much management training. Bill was more interested in innovation in a way he thought that was best without much consultation with co workers. According to Hersey and Blanchard (1977) working groups that develop interpersonal relationships are the real power centre of the organization.

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Large corporations search better conditions to become competitive. Smaller companies don´t have the same economic potential and cannot compete in the same conditions. In the past, competitive advantage could be reached through price, brand or differential factors (Mintzberg, 1994).

There are few definitive ways to prevent that these competitive factors being duplicated by competitors. The only resource that cannot be duplicated is tacit knowledge embedded in process

and in the minds of the employees (Millmore et al., 2007). Bill exhibits an authoritative type of leader in where he sets the pace, makes all the decisions for the group without their input, and seeks little approval from team members. This style of leadership simply would not work in every organization and in particular with some of the employees in today's generation, but it seems to have worked well for MacFarlane Solutions.

It was also noted that employees in this organization are clearly comfortable with an authoritarian style of leadership, this was clearly indicated by Jonathon Blaeley who was haired 25 years ago by Bill in reality no decisions were made unless he made them (Johnson et al., 2011), Bill was good at it. In some sense he removed much of the responsibility from them because he created the rules, told them how to implement them, and took responsibility should something go wrong.

Focus in structure will be on strategic business units, analysis will be on the macro environment and how this influence SBU.

As MacFarlane Solutions was based on a narrowly structured company where people work in departments which are organized into divisions there is no ongoing, collective learning means to share knowledge, problem-solve, and quicker capacity for action. Instead they wait for Bill to make the decision and they would implement it, this was based on organization's design which can influence the success of strategy implementation (Johnson et al., 2011),

According to Jon Warner (2008) one must know how to pull the weeds before you plant the flowers. Therefore, keeping to the classical norms organizations will eventually struggle to remain competitive

This type of hierarchy works best when the company is small you don't have much different behavior between the organization structures. But as organizations get larger then you tend to see a number of different kinds of links between the parties (Stace and Dunphy, 2001).

Power is defined as the capacity to produce effects on others, or the potential to influence others and

Looking at the structure of a company one will be able to identify the background of how the company is run; this can be noted by formally defined roles, responsibilities and lines of reporting with regard to strategy (Johnson et al., 2011).

MacFarlane Solutions structure reflects the struggle for priority between internal efficiency, control, flexibility and external responsiveness. As stated by Jason (2011) the more preoccupied an organization is with internal control, efficiency and stability the more likely it will have a functional structure.

Responsibilities are divided according to the organisation's primary specialist roles such as production, research and sales in a functional structure (Johnson et al., 2011),

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Innovation will not be possible in a functional structure so there is no room for a strategic change such organisation should be realigned to implement strategy. Integrating strategic change a deliberately coordinated process to develop multiple strategic development processes using several approaches this will be to exploit existing capabilities while exploring new capabilities.

MacFarlane Solutions Competitive strategy will be based on Uniqueness (possess a unique bundle of resources and processes .Value (unique resources and processes can be arranged in a certain way to achieve a higher value high price/low cost). Difficult to Imitate (unique and valuable resources/processes are difficult to imitate) this will be the competitive advantage the company possesses. The strategy is how to exploit these resources based on competitive advantage (Waddell et al.,2011).

Innovation is the key word removing the traditional barriers between functional areas, involving able employees at all levels of the organisation in the planning and decision-making processes, encouraging the cross-fertilisation and sharing of ideas among different business areas and a stop to silo mentality.Strategy development is influenced by the systems and routines with which managers are familiar in their particular context but over time consistency locks an organization into inertia (Salaman et al., 2005).

One of the most important responsibilities of strategic managers is to constantly evaluate whether or not their firm's resources and capabilities continue to add value, despite changes in the competitive environment (Barney, 1995).

Some of the issues of functional structure are senior managers overburdened with routine matters and neglect strategic issues, failure to adapt to changes and coordination is difficult between functions. (Johnson et al., 2011)

The emergence of network organizations has been linked to the state of the environment in recent decades, turbulent, unstable, in flux, kaleidoscopic, are some of the words used to describe this environment. The question is upon the successful implementation of business strategy to address internal and external issues does the organization stands out in its capabilities? having a classical structure indentifying and implementing strategy is not easy. Technological advances and the rapid accumulation of knowledge appear to have pushed many organizations beyond the limits of what they consider to be bounded rationality.


The history and culture of an organisation may contribute to its strategic capabilities, but may also give rise to strategic drift as its strategy develops incrementally on the basis of such influences and fails to keep pace with a changing environment (Johnson et al., 2011). Bill was so embedded in his own culture that was invisible to him but was aware that he needed to learn how to delegate or die! But there are ways to get a better picture of your own culture and determine how it might be supporting or hindering the development of leaders.(Campbell,2012)

Deal and Kennedy (1982) argue that culture is the single most important factor accounting for success or failure in organizations. MacFarlane Solutions corporate culture has many powerful attractions as a lever for change. The problem is how to get a hand on the lever. Strategic drift is the tendency for strategies to develop incrementally on the basis of historical and cultural influences but fail to keep pace with a changing environment. Historical, path-dependent processes play a significant part in the success or failure of an organisation and need to be understood by managers. There are historical analyses that can be conducted to help uncover these influences in the form of strategic business drivers of the organisation, elements such as quality, innovation, results, speed, and agility.

Corporate culture is really a kind of image for the company which top management would like to project there is the vexed question of whether or not organizational culture can be managed.

An understanding of the culture of an organisation and its relationship to organisational strategy can be gained by using the cultural web.

The pros and cons of autocratic leadership are clear for certain situations For example, emergencies require a strong leader to keep order. However, in less stressful circumstances, it may be better to debate an issue before proceeding. Autocratic leaders may not be good at communication, but they sometimes have the best ideas. On the other hand, autocratic leaders must take full responsibility for the results. This last part does not usually occur, and this leaves many employees unhappy and feeling undervalued. Therefore, the dynamic of the relationship in the professional environment must change to become more equal. Otherwise, you may a have strong leader with no followers or employees who have no direction. Implementation of incremental change will align well in a strong embedded culture in a organization, Building on successful strategies used in the past built around core competences and Gradual change in alignment with environmental change. These will avoid asking 'what if' questions based on past success can be used as evidence to support specific strategies. In an effort to achieve goals and manage change successfully, organizations must be equipped with competent and talented workforce alongside perseverance to embrace and share the change process. Surveys show that a growing number of organizations are implementing self-managing teams in order to lower costs and improve decision-making (Ron Todnem, 2005). Organization should not let past successes to dominate their present strategic thinking.

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