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Though a Degree holder in Bachelor of Commerce, I got an opportunity to work in Human Resource department in MNC in India due to my skill and knowledge and that inspired me to seek more education in the management field and grasp further higher opportunities to be successful. 'Corporate Management in Action' was one of my favourite as it provided me knowledge relevant to my interest and moreover because of a very enthusiastic professor Mr.Victor Murambiwa who was easy to access, well organised and an excellent communicator who provided brilliant teaching on the chapters that were new for me. The best part that he told us was 'to learn how to learn', so that we can cope with future challenges and engage in the contents of the chapter where we have interest to develop ourselves. Throughout the study the environment was collaborative which helped me to grow professionally and personally. We did discussions and Internet research on the topics taught and our deeper understanding helped us to implement the learning's in our personal and professional life by discussing and reading case studies, analysing the topics by thinking logically, workable revisions and implementation of the actions resulting into solutions. The professor maintained the eye contact with us that gave us confidence and I learned how to share the views and find the solutions because of group discussions. I understood various theories and strategies that should be implemented in the business. My professor was a guide and not a taskmaster as he ensured that we learn the content of the chapter and develop naturally.
3.International Business Environment:
The first day 'Corporate Management in Action' was introduced, we had our lecture notes on International Business Environment. I know that international business explains all trade between different countries involving cross border transactions, which include government and non-government, sales, logistics, transport and investments.
4.Globalisation: (example Coca-Cola case study)
Though I was aware about Globalisation in past studies, by sharing our views in-group discussions it helped more to know the areas that I did not knew. As Friedman(1999) says, 'Globalisation is the integrations of markets, nation states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before and the world to them as well.'
In a lecture Mr. Victor outlined that there are other things where a country open ups their borders with free import from highly subsidise countries which wipes out domestic production for domestic needs. It entirely affects the culture, political system and economic development and on human well being around the world. I understood that due to an increase in the competition for the survival of Global business market, countries have to upgrade their current products and technology. Globalisation resulting to the cultural issues has improved the behaviour and we have started selling local consumer products in our store and have seen a Londoner eating Italian meatballs, Australian eating Indian popular curry. People and business take undue advantage and Globalisation is blamed for international exploitation and so control the illegal immigrants, as even bribes have increased, the international criminal court and global administrative law are emerged. This gave me a well understanding to inform my colleagues and friends to follow the right way to enter and stay in the country, which will be beneficial to individuals, and country. This information on globalisation was explained in a case study of the Coca-Cola Company where we learned more about international business and its affects sharing the presentations and group discussions that resulted on how to manage a firm in corporate world. [http://www.globalization101.org/]
5.External and Internal Environment of Business and Strategy Formulation:
Moreover we were given education on the external and internal environment of the business and its strategy formulation. I learned that thinking strategically a manager has to think about where the organization is and where it wants to be, by utilising most of the available resources, looking at competitors keeping in mind the goals to achieve, which will result in growth and stability. If I am promoted further it will be helpful to me.
6.Marks & Spencer Case Study:
A case study was provided on Marks & Spencer, where our professor guided to read and make notes on the various issues linked to the business using the business models. As a current employee of M&S I shared information on its contribution in fair trade policy, responsible fishing and its social responsibility by example of brand building. This case study taught me about various business theories as:
Mintzberg 5P model defines strategy in 5 different ways - PLAN is made in advance to deal with the situation so it helped me to plan the guidelines to deal at my workplace where I controlled the affected areas. PLOY means when a firm threatens to establish new product in new area to discourage its competitors, the threat itself is a strategy. I came to know that, the techniques we are using in the business. Inspired by this theory I suggested my organisation to follow a specific PATTERN to do the manufacturing and work, means the repeating way of doing that specific job. I was explained here that POSITION means, the strategy should take a position between internal organisation and external environment. It was essential that common thinking unite the group of individuals with different thoughts, so the strategy in an organisation is the PERSPECTIVE shared through the members' actions and intensions.
We also learned the 3 types of strategies like:
a)Corporate Strategy that made me understood about what business are we in including the acquisition of new business, joint ventures and addition of new plant or products. This Strategy focused on the corporate planning ensuring that high revenues are generated. In 1965, Ansoff's book Corporate Strategy; explains Ansoff's Matrix. I realized that it focuses to understand the external environment, and then gain the potential to develop a profitable business within and strategy for doing so. Its growth strategies are market penetration, market development, product development and diversification; which explains it not only identifies and analyse the growth and opportunities of the business but also encourages planners to consider returns and risks. Further taught was 'The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix' which assesses the value of different business units as per business growth and market share. The 4 categories are Stars- high growth and market share, Cash Cows- low growth high market share, Dogs- low growth and market share, and Question Mark-high growth low market share. BCG matrix allows portfolio approach to managing the business.(Scott A, 1997 Strategic Planning)
b)Business Strategy decides about competing with the competitors by changing products, expansion, advertising, buying new equipment and giving more facilities to increase the sales. Later on the environmental assessment scanning was explained in two parts, where the external factors explained PESTEL(Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technology, Ecological, Legal)Analysis and Porters 5 Forces and the Internal environmental scanning was done by SWOT(Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats)Analysis of an organisation. I understood and analysed on how my company performed in the past and it helped to identify the direction that will predict the future, and know its important elements for the business.
c)Functional Strategy Decides how to support the business strategy to succeed by playing important role in production, distribution and financing the business.
8.Business Survival issues:
I learned that to run a business specific strategy has to be implemented.
a)Michael Porters Five Forces model helped me developing business level strategy assessing the whole structure of the industry and dynamics in it and they are:
The threat of new entrants to the market - I will take extra care in my business as now am aware if market is more attractive more efforts business will make in trying to enter and threat will be some barriers to entry like branding, economies of scale, distribution channels, experience.
The threat of substitute products - All products compete with each other, for example mail service under threat of fax service and electronic mail technology so I used the best one.
The bargaining power of suppliers - The more the business is purchasing the more the power it will have.
The bargaining power of buyers - I made my suppliers to rely on business so they have little choice and he has to buy the high quality products at lower cost much faster.
Competitive rivalry in the industry - I co-operated with competitors for strategy of survival, as they are the real threats to business performance. Taking advantage of new market created, as the barriers to entry are low I have seen many small fast food outlets have been started. Porters Five Forces taught me to be more specific on what I want and how from suppliers.
b) Value Chain Management:
The value chain management in McKenzie's 7S model(for initiating change process) made me understood that it's a map of firms' activities in attempt to find where costs are incurred and where value is created in the unique allocation of resources. Further approaching to operations with help of value chain analysis I know that all the organisations operate in an environment of increasing complexity and global competition. As a Supervisor I have understood that the operation function area is involved with daily delivery of the product or service to the customer. This helped me to be more energetic and enthusiastic in serving customers so they keep on visiting our store and they get attracted by the way we operate and buy from us. By adapting the new technologies & operating systems by utilizing resources and workforce employed it resulted into major impact on my organisation and its survival. I learnt that the productivity and quality both are very important for a company to hold its current customers. I was made aware of the Japanese supply philosophy 'Just-in-Time concept' by giving a good example. It relies upon excellent relationship between buyer and suppliers to ensure that the goods will be delivered at the right time to reduce the stock holding costs and increase the production efficiency. As we are in hot food sector at my work place I also implemented the same theory by ordering every 2 days and that helps me to work less in expiring wastes or storing the food for another day.
Further I understood that culture within organisation could have a strong impact on the organisational performance and member satisfaction. According to Edgar Schein (6), the organisational culture consists of the shared beliefs, values and assumptions existing in an organisation. We shared an example considering the U.S culture where people think that hard work leads to success and if not than employment can be ended and the environment is changeable. Whereas another example said that wisdom and luck are also needed for achieving success. And people adjust to the environment and the employment; for example government job is for lifetime. As I learned that cultures could be developed, I have implemented that at my workplace; as a core group we hold the same vision and beliefs and we act together to create an organisation. We recruited new employees trained them as per our organisational culture and history began to build.
9. Five Cultural Hofstede dimensions:
Later the 5 Cultural Hofstede dimensions I learned had the explanation with the difference/value perspectives between national cultures. [http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_greece.shtml]
The power distance that's the degree of inequality among people, Individualism vs collectivism that I have used at my work and at home by caring.
Masculinity vs femininity here I learned to balance the dominance and assertiveness with the people and their feelings.
Uncertainty avoidance and Long-term vs short-term orientation that explains savings and persistence versus respect to tradition and social obligations.
10. Corporate Social Responsibility & Ethics:
During a study I observed that despite the apparent ruthlessness of business today, consumers and managers are creating an agenda that goes beyond the profit to broader ethical consideration about society and environment. As Philip Kotler and Nancy Lee (2005)says ,"We have a common agenda. We all want a better world and are convinced that communities need corporate support and partnerships to help make that happen". Society in general is aware about the bad practices of oil companies and media exposing the clothing manufacturers exploiting child labour in poor countries like Africa, India, Caribbean, Arab. I would never exploit a child to work in his age of study. As per my belief the Ethical behaviour can go further than Cultural Social Responsibilty(CSR). At basic level it involves obedience to the laws of the countries within which they operate with transparency. At higher-level CSR involves policies and actions, which are driven by ethics and values. My classmate shared the ethical issue of false accounting in order to boost the share price of the company found to be present in cases like Worldcom & Enron.
Communication among us helped me to improve and move forward with good learning's. My professor motivated me and then the mock examination was conducted. The feedback was given about what we did correctly and where I lack.
At the end of this essay I came to know that how strategy has to be implemented and how organization works throughout the cutthroat market by executing these actions in management. I would like to execute my learning's from CMIA subject when I will open my own business by firstly conducting SWOT & implementing the PESTEL Analysis and then one by one all the theories I learned. Knowledge about the base of managing a business makes me confident. It gave me the broader idea about the competitive environment in management field.
I have started conducting SWOT on myself and utilising the skills I acquired in my personal and work environment.
My whole reflection is an outcome of the class notes and lectures Mr.Victor supported explaining in the lectures. Being a previous employee of DuPont MNC and currently with M&S helped me to gain vast knowledge personally. Further research at home was done and added to the same matter.
Porters, M.E.(1980), Competitive Strategy: Techniques of analysing industries and competitors, New York: Free Press.
Johnson, G. and Scholes, K. (2002), Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text Cases, 6TH Edition,
Ansoff, H.I (1965) Corporate Strategy, McGraw Hill, New York
John Kotter & Kohen, D.(2002), Heart of change: Real-life stories of how people change their organization
Kotler, P. and Lee, N.(2005), Corporate social responsibility: doing the most good for your company and your cause.
Schein. E.H, Organisational Culture and Leadership, (1992) 2nd Edition.
Lecture notes by Professor Mr.Victor Murambiwa Globalisation for all other units as per logbook.
Lynch, R. (2005) Corporate Strategy , Prentice Hall.
Thomas L. Friedman (1999)
Center for Global Development - Independent Washington-based research
What is Globalisation? [Online] available at: http://www.globalization101.org/
[29 Apr 2010]
Globalisation and the Environment [Online] available at: http://fora.tv/2007/07/06/Globalization_and_the_Environment#fullprogram [27th Apr 2010]
World of trade, service sector globalisation [Online] available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6279679.stm [30th Apr 2010]
Cultural dimension [Online] available at: http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_greece.shtml [27th Apr 2010]
GIBBS REFLECTIVE CYCLE: http://www2.hud.ac.uk/hhs/staffsupport/lqsu_files/Gibbs_Reflective_Cycle.pdf
[26th Apr 2010]
Business Ethics [Online] available at http://ethics.iit.edu/indexOfCodes.php?cat_id=4 26th April 2010