Tesco importance of management strategies to achieve advantage

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With more and more retail giants trying to enter into international markets; I am particularly interested in finding out the threat they face and the ways they can differentiate their products on the basis of management strategies. Management strategies have always been an area of particular interest for me, especially in the international market. Competitive advantage and sustainable development is something that every business is running behind. Tesco's slogan "Every Little Helps" has been the motivating factor to create this dissertation on the Tesco PLC.


The word strategy comes from the Greek word 'strategos'. In the earlier days this was a military only concept that how armies would progress and conquer. In the business world this concept was introduced in the late 1950's and the early 1960's. This term was used to mean a long term and broad concept of the overall scheme of operations. According to Goldsmith (1995) [1] the birth of management strategies happened because the orthodox economic theories could not explain the anomalies of business. The example he has given us in his book is as follows: "several companies might do well in one line of trade by strategies of pursuing different market niches. Other companies might fail with similar strategies because the strategies did not match the unique assets and talents these other firms brought to bear." According to Schendel & Hofer (1979) [2] the officers responsible of the company learnt the importance of having a strong management base and hence spent most of their time and energy in strategizing. In their book they have explained this strategizing to be "with the general direction and long term policy of their enterprises." According to others like Hunt (1972) [3] and Newman (1978) the concept of strategic management was introduced to account for the differences present in the profitability of firms which compete within the same industrial sector.

Company profile


In 1919 Jack Cohen founded TESCO when he began to sell surplus from a grocery store in the east end of London. Believe it or not his day profit was £1 from sales of £4. In 1924 the first own brand product sold by Jack was tea. This is also the origin of the name TESCO, which comes from the initial of the tea supplier T.E.Stockwell. But only a decade later in 1929 did Jack Cohen open the first store in Burnt Oak, London. In 1932 TESCO became a private limited company. From then the expansion was massive but only in 1995 did TESCO manage to go overseas by opening its first store in Hungary. Sooner in the following year stores were opened in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Later that decade Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea also saw TESCO enter their markets. With the advent of the new millennium in the year 2000 for the first time TESCO started a website and sold products over the electronic medium. Constant ventures have continued since then in Malaysia, Japan, Turkey and China. (www.tescoplc.com)

TESCO today is considered as the largest retailer in United Kingdom with the highest market share. These figures are according to the TNS World panel report of 2009 [4] 


Market share (2009)

Change from 2008













There are current approximately 440,000 employees of TESCO PLC working at over 4811 stores just in the United Kingdom. The businesses of TESCO spread over the following sections:


Banking and insurance

Entertainment and books



Phone shop

According to the official website www.tescoplc.com [5] some of the Countries in which TESCO PLC operates are as given below:

United Kingdom

United States of America


Czech Republic



Republic of Ireland





South Korea




Dissertation structure

My dissertation shall be divided into chapters, each one adding a bit more to the understanding of my topic and together I shall aim at achieving a justification of my hypothesis. The layout of my dissertation that I propose is as follows:

Chapter 1 - an introduction to my topic and why I have chosen this topic. This chapter shall also include the company profile on which I base this dissertation.

Chapter 2 - a complete literature review. Most of this data shall be secondary data i.e. published data which shall be referenced wherever possible.

Chapter 3 - the methodology and methods used for obtaining research shall be mentioned in this chapter.

Chapter 4 - an analysis of data collected from primary as well as secondary sources with an attempt to get a step closer to satisfy my hypothesis.

Chapter 5 - a conclusion on whether or not the hypothesis has been successfully tested.

References and Bibliography


The literature review is an integral part of the dissertation. All secondary research and data will be collated together through this platform and analyzed to test a given hypothesis. The literature review I propose will include the following topics so as to test the hypothesis.

International Markets

An international market can be defined as in the words at e.mimi.hu [6] as "A graphical model used to analyze the trade between two nations based on the domestic markets for a particular good in each nation." Moreover we can say that an international market is a way in which trade occurs over a common platform between organizations in two or more countries. Since our entire dissertation is based on a study with international markets, I propose to discuss this concept and the problems involving international trade. Also under this heading the concept of the company's internal as well as external environment will be discussed. The internal environment is a phrase to describe the "Conditions, entities, events, and factors within an organization which influence its activities and choices, particularly the behavior of the employees. Factors that are frequently considered part of the internal environment include the organization's mission statement, leadership styles, and its organizational culture."(http://www.businessdictionary.com) [7] The external environments on the other hand are the factors that affect a business from outside the business. For example the political happenings in a country. Various theories like the PEST Analysis and Porters Five Force model will be used to understand this concept in greater detail.

Competitive advantage

According to referenceforbusiness.com [8] "Competitive advantage can be viewed as any activity that creates superior value above its rivals. A company wants the gap between perceived value and cost of the product to be greater than the competition." There are various theories of how to achieve competitive advantage; the most famous is as shown below in the diagram. In the dissertation I wish to study these theories as a means to achieve competitive advantage.


(http://tutor2u.net) [9] 


Cost Leadership

Differentiation Focus

Cost focus

Apart from these traditional theories, newer theories such as service differentiation, people differentiation, image differentiation, quality differentiation, innovation differentiation etc will also be discussed.

Management strategy

According to Alkhafaji (2003) [10] ; "Strategic management is the process of assessing the corporation and its environment in order to meet the long term objectives of the organization." This means that it is a series of decisions that the management makes to determine the long term objectives and means to achieve these objectives. This concept is going to become the core of the dissertation. The framework, shown by the author and by me below will be explained in great detail in the dissertation. Each section of this framework would be assessed individually and theories and models which have been designed for the purpose will be shown in the dissertation. The framework is as follows:

Environmental scanning

The concepts of scanning the internal as well as the external environment would need to be studied as a part of this dissertation. For this purpose I intend the use of PEST analysis, SWOT analysis, Porters 5 force etc.

Strategy formulation

The process of strategy formulation will be included in the dissertation along with its different parts i.e. objective establishment, establish mission, planning, determining policy etc.


How strategies are to be implemented will be discussed in this dissertation. The organization design, culture, leadership, budget program etc affect the implementation of the strategy would also be mentioned.

Evaluation and control

We are all well aware of the importance of evaluation and proper control. The ways in which management strategies can be evaluated and controlled will form a part of this dissertation. We will also look at the feedback and revision required if any.

Why Strategic management?

It is very important to understand why strategic management is required for successful completion of this dissertation. Some of the aspects that I would like to cover in this dissertation are as follows:

As a framework for organizational activities

Direction for the organizational mission

Dealing with a dynamic environment

Focus resources on key areas

To anticipate problems before they arrive

Make appropriate decisions

Minimize surprises

These are some of the reasons I have looked at, at the present moment. (www.authorstream.com) [11] These and more will form a part of the final dissertation.

Ways to achieve competitive advantage

The final stage in the literature review for my dissertation; I propose to study the ways in which competitive advantage can be achieved by a firm in the international market. This study would be based on management strategies. Various human resource strategies, retrenchment policies etc would be studied as ways to achieve competitive advantage.


The aim of this dissertation is to understand the importance of management strategies for an organization to achieve competitive advantage in an international market. The objectives are as discussed below:

To understand the concept of an international market

To gain technical knowledge on strategic management and their purpose in business

To establish a link between competitive advantage and management strategies in an international market.


According to the Webster's Dictionary [12] research is "a careful, patient, systematic, diligent inquiry or examination in some field of knowledge undertaken to establish facts and principles". So in such a way we can say that research basically is an addition to the already existing knowledge on a particular subject for advancement. On the other hand research methodology can be defined as in the words of Kumar (2008) [13] as "a way to systematically solve the research problems." He goes on to say that it is a science that helps us to understand how research can be performed in a scientific manner. Research methodology is a wide concept and a research method only constitutes one part of the methodology. Methodology can either be qualitative or quantitative, for my dissertation I propose to use both types of these methodologies to arrive at my goal.

Quantitative research

The dictionary of all business [14] quotes "research that deals with the quality, type, or components of a group, substance, or mixture, whose methods are applied to advertising audience research in order to determine the quality of audience responses to advertising. Qualitative research is exploratory in nature and uses procedures such as in depth interviews and focus group interviews to gain insights and develop creative advertising tactics." is quantitative research. At encyclopedia.com [15] quantitative research can be known as "research based on traditional scientific methods, which generates numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships." The main ways of sourcing quantitative research are questionnaires and data sampling of a large group. In this assignment I propose to use questionnaire so as to achieve all my quantitative data.

Qualitative research

On the other hand qualitative research "provides us with an understanding of why and how situations are" (marketresearchworld.com) [16] . Such research is generally not quantified and tabulated into forming a solution. The most commonly used forms of qualitative research are in depth interviews, focus groups and groups discussions. In my dissertation I propose to carry out a number of interviews so as to gain a clearer picture towards my hypothesis. All of the matter discussed will be confidential and for academic purposes only. Permission shall be sort before publishing such information.


The methods I propose to use for the purpose of my dissertation are as follows:

Books, academic journals and magazines - one of the most significant sources of information in education are books written by eminent persons in this field. Books from authors all over the world will be used as references for this dissertation. Academic journals obtained from Emerald and various other journal publishers will be obtained and used as a source of information. Magazines such as Business Today and Outlook will also be used to obtain data.

Company Annual reports - Annual reports are a good source for gaining an insight as to the business and its functioning. All data relating to the case study would ideally be based on the annual reports and other published books by the company.

Questionnaires - a very important form of collecting the quantitative data would be questionnaires. I propose to use this method. A questionnaire is a document to obtain information from a target group on the basis of the same questions. I am going to through the electronic medium publish a questionnaire and distribute it to get back replies.

Interviews - interviews as we all are familiar with can be of various types. I intend to through a semi-structured interview pattern obtain information from industry giants. Contacts for this purpose will need to be set up so as to get time. All information will be published with the prior permission of the personnel interviewed.

Internet - various search engines like Google and Bing will be used to gathered secondary data on the subject. All data obtained from such sources will be referenced to particular website.











1st week

2nd week

3rd week

4th week

Read Literature













Finalize Aims and Objectives













Review Literature













Finalize secondary data













Organize and conduct Interviews













Develop questionnaire












Send out questionnaires













Analyze secondary & primary data













Evaluate data













Draft Findings













Submit to tutor


























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