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To analyse this concept, I have deeply learnt the concept of globalisation and the theories of international trade. Before attending this lesson, I had minor knowledge of this vast topic. The lecturer explained in detail what globalisation was by defining it as follows: globalisation is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and governments of different nations, this is a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. (http:www.globalisation101.org/What_is_Globalisation.html)
After clarity on this concept, my personal opinion is that because of globalisation, foreign investment, productivity and profits are increased in most of the nations, over the world thus improving the standard of living of people worldwide. In a way I do not understand the rational of anti-globalisation because I would embrace globalisation any time. Technologies, Communication, are drivers of globalisation. Because of them the world becomes a global village. We discussed that because of globalisation; behaviour under different circumstances, moral value, religion believes, languages, festivals, social, dress, food trade, art and music are become cultural issues.
3. BUSINESS PLAN OF THE ORGANISATIONS
The second lesson was on the components of a business plan, the lecturer highlighted the importance of formulating a business plan in an effort to solve M & S
What I learnt from a business plan should be that as a manager, you need a business plan that looks into all areas of business operations covering marketing, production, human resource, finance. If a business plan was formulated, implemented, effectively, that would give or provide a competitive advantage to the business.
I was interested to learn that business plan as important for the organisation. In that to start any business, organisations needs a realistic business plan. Business plan is an overview of the business which they are going to start. I have learnt from my lecturer that it should provide all the steps of business means how they would develop it, when they are going to start, who would be the suppliers, who would be the customers, why would they target that market, how they would manage the finance. In sort business plan is how to run business with optimize uses of resources, how to achieve corporation objectives of the organisation, and how to minimize threats. It is a very important if they want to manage finance from the out sources because the lenders, investors make judgements about their business after understanding the plan. Thus for any new comers in this field have to make business plan. To understand this concept also I referred material which was provided by my lecturer.
4. BUSINESS EXTERNAL INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT AND STRATEGY FORMULATION
This lecture was on analysis of the external environment it was of interest as it helped me to explore issues of scanning the business environment I learnt about the Internal and external environment assessment. The analytical tools or models were SWOT Analysis which was to analyse the internal envirnment, while PEST and Porter's Five Forces are to analyse external environment. McKinsey 7s Model is also a useful.
4.1 SWOT ANALYSE
SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This was the 2nd occasion to study this analysis tool. After learning these model, I understood that Strength and Weaknesses are internal for any organisation while Opportunities and Threats are external because organisations do not have any control over them, they come from outside. Organisations take advantages of opportunity and take steps to convert threats into the opportunity. I also do this analysis on myself to know my own strength and weaknesses. I try my best to convert my weaknesses into strength. [Porter, M.E. Competitive Advantage]
4.2 PEST ANALYSIS
PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. These are external factors which the organisations are always subjected but do not have control over. However those organisations who learn fast to adapt to the dictates of the external factors tends to do better and remain in business. Those organisations who fail to adopt finds themselves out of business.
( Johnson,G., Scholes, R. Exploring Corporate Strategy )
4.3 McKINSEY 7S MODEL
Strategy, Structure, Systems, Skills, Shared values, Staff and Style are inter connected in McKinsey Model. To analyses the organisations and to know the activities of them, this model provides the framework. Learn this model was eye opening because I found that this model could be useful to analyse organisations from a different angle. I was also vey happy to lean this model because I would use it as a consultant when I advise companies on change management issues. (McKinsey 7s model)
The fourth lesson was on business strategy. Strategies come out as a result of SWOT, PEST and other model analysis. I learnt that every organisation has its own strategy. Organisation takes `decisions; does activities which match to the internal and external environment are associated with strategy. The long term direction and scope of an organisation are likely affected by strategic decisions. Strategy helps to generate opportunities of organisation. Organisation's strategy is affected by environmental forces and resource availability. In additional it is also affected by the persons who have power, and connected with organisation inside or outside. Strategy defines the vision, mission of the organisation. [ Johnson, G. And Scholes, K. Exploring corporate Strategy ]
6. MICHAEL E. PORTER'S DIAMOND OF NATIONAL ADVANTAGE
This topic was also included in fourth lecture. After learning this theory I feel this diamond theory is very helpful to develop the business in nation and to take national advantages. In this theory Porter used a diamond shaped diagram as the basis. All four points of the diamond help me to increase knowledge about base, government support, and culture. In this theory Porter used a diamond shaped diagram as the basis.
There are four individual points of the diamond. The effect of one point depends on the others. [Porter, The competitive Advantage of Nations]
7. BUSINESS SURVIVAL ISSUES OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE BUSINESS
To understand this vast topic on competitive advantage, I was taught Models of Porter's 5 Forces and Value Chain Analysis. I am going to reflect both in details.
MICHAEL PORTER'S FIVE FORCES
I learnt about the important of Michael Porter Five Forces in terms of how existing companies in the business for difficult to new people to come into industries, is put up barriers to entry and also how strong bargaining power of buyer can get margin or profit from suppliers. My lecturer pointed out how a company like Asda manages to get lower prices from suppliers then develop cost leadership strategy.
Where these Five Forces are high, then industries are not attractive to compete in. There will be too much competition and too much pressure to allow reasonable profits. The Five Forces are: the threat of entry into an industry, the threat of substitutes to the industry's products or services, the power of buyers of the industry's products or services, the power of suppliers into the industry and the extent of rivalry between competitors in the industry. [Porter, M.E. Competitive Advantage]
VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS
Through Value Chain Analysis model, Michael Porter identified a set of interrelated generic activities common to a wide range of firms. Through this model I understand that the organisations are to be achieved competitive advantage by delivering value to customers. They need to understand how that value is created or lost in terms of the activities undertaken by organisations.
The organisation is split into primary and supporting activities. Both activities are related with each other.
8. MODEL OF REFLECTION
This was my fifth lecture. Simple meaning of reflection is to give our opinion and views after learning new theories or learning from experience. During the learning process, we are getting the vast knowledge in particular subject.
Gibbs Reflective Cycle (1988) :-
After learning this model, I have become to able to take action plan if situation arose again. If any situation arose, so firstly understand the situation, create feelings and thinking for it, then evaluate good and bad about the experience and analysis to make sense of the situation, then give the conclusion. The last step is Action plan which helps to explain situation if it arose again. [http://www2.hud.ac.uk/hhs/staffsupport/lqsu_files/Gibbs_Reflective_Cycle.pdf]
9. a. BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP MATRIX
This matrix helpful to me to understand the right time of investing in the market, also warns that high growth demands heavy investment for instance to expand capacity or develop brands. There are also some limitations like sometimes Dogs can earn more than Cash Cows, success factor is not depend only on high market share of this BCG matrix. [http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_bcgmatrix.html]
The Ansoff Growth Matrix is a tool that helps businesses decide their product and market growth strategy. [http://tutor2u.net/business/strategy/ansoff_matrix.htm]
This matrix suggests that a business' attempts to grow depend on whether it markets new or existing products in new or existing markets.
10. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS
In this topic, I have known more about the social responsibility of Multinational Corporations. I think, Multinational Corporations should participate and try their best to solve social needs of communities. Some of them do charity works like to donate the hospitals, old age homes, orphan houses; through these works they serve society. Also they do some stage shows for sick people. CSR is about responsibility to all stakeholders whereas Ethics is about morally correct behaviour. Ethics vary based on the cultural value system in each country or society. Today many organisations do ethical practice.
11. CASE STUDY OF MARKS AND SPENCER
The third lesson was on how to analyse case studies M&S was selected for this exercise. What I found beneficial was the use of various frameworks like SWOT, PEST Porters 5 Forces etc in analysing the case study. It really opened my eyes as I have begun to understand the meaning learning them.
This case study is about how M & S refocusing its strategy and came out from loses. Significant changes to the group strategy and structure helped to gain confidence among customers. M&S group continued focus on its Products, Services and Environment. The company highlighted the various ethical and environmentally friendly aspects of the production which helped to get the goodwill.
On reflection, I would like to mention that I learnt a lot in terms of analysis and evaluation of business environment and the development of corporate strategies by companies in order to maintain a competitive advantage. I was able to contribute to class discussion as my lecturer encouraged every student to contribute to the class discussions. We were divided into groups to solve and analyses different business related scenarios; I must admit I was initially shy and reserved however I managed to improve and gain confidence thus contributed positively to group discussions. I feel that the skills I acquired during studying this unit will be useful for my academic and work environment.
Porter, M.E. Competitive Advantage (2004)
Johnson, G., Scholes, K., and Whittington, R. Exploring Corporate Strategy
Mintzberg, H., Lampel, J.B. and Ghoshal, S. The Strategy Process (2002)
Lynch, R. Corporate Strategy (2005)
Marks and Spencer Case Study Material