Strategic Action Consultant’s Report

The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate a firm’s Strategic Action considering its overall Strategy, the current competitive situation it faces, and the pros and cons the action may have on its future. Another purpose of this assignment is to test your knowledge of course terms and concepts and then translate company actions and press coverage into the language of Strategic Management. Your job is to first summarize the characteristics of industry that is being entered or exploited. Second, analyze the protagonist firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before the intended action. Third, uncover and analyze the benefits and risks of the action considering its strategy. You will need to articulate exactly what their main and secondary strategy is and what kind of action they are using to implement it. Forth, use a strategic tool from the course to highlight the benefits or shortcomings that you intend to use to justify or reject the action the firm is contemplating. Finally write a recommendation that lays out the argument as to why you support or reject the action the company has contemplated. (N.B. So even if the action is complete you are putting yourself in the board room before the action is taken and giving your recommendation as to what think the protagonist should do).

You will first need to find an article in the library databases about a public firm that is currently engaging in (or just completing) a strategic action that we have covered (chapters 6 through 8) such as a merger, joint venture, internal start-up etc. The article should be no older than 3 months and the action should be current (so no article that covers a transaction that occurred a year ago). The Strategic Action topic must be approved for appropriateness and availability by the professor.

You will be required to use some of the tools we learn in the course to analyze the situation such as an Industry Attractiveness scale, Competitive assessment scale, Strategic Fit, 9 Cell, etc. In addition, identify any ethical or issues inherent in the implementation of the strategic action. If you recommend support for the action, what short and long- term implementation issues should they be aware of, or wary of to make the transition run smoothly. If you recommend against the strategic action, explain why.

The paper should have:

Approval for your idea is required from the professor prior to beginning work. This will insure the idea is appropriate for the assignment, and no one else has already taken the idea. Two individuals/teams may not cover the same topics, industries, or companies. So getting your idea approved earlier is potentially an advantage.

Recommended Outline

Instead of a cover page, I would like you to put the following information in the Header all on one line and use a Grey italic bold font.

Your Name,
Consultant Report 2-Main Company your paper is about
Date
It should look like this.
John Pearlstein Consultant Report 2 – Google April 10, 2019

Quick summary of the details of the article/situation. Think like a newspaper reporter. Just the facts and cover Who, What Where, When, Why, and How. No more than 3-4 sentences.

Dominant Industry Characteristics: A full section describing the Industry Characteristics (see directions for that section in CR1 and Appendix B). This section should also highlight any shifts in the Macro-Environment, which could be a motivator or benefit for the proposed strategic action. Since you will not be including a 5 Forces analysis you should address any of the forces that come to bear such as Buyer Concentration, Supplier Concentration, and Intensity of Rivalry.

Detailed SWOT analysis. At least 12 Strengths, 7 Weaknesses, 4 Opportunities including the one that is this proposed strategic action, and 3 Threats. These should include some financial Ratios that show aspects of the action that are possible considerations for the action. The firm’s 10-K is a rich source that must be used for at least some of this section as well as information gleaned from other sources. This analysis is a snapshot BEFORE the strategic action you are writing about. (usually done prior to deciding on which Opportunities to exploit. Therefore, aspects of the venture that are positive or negative should not be a part of the SWOT of the company. These positive or negative aspects of the deal should be left for the Pros and Cons Section. Bullet points are allowed and encouraged.
Strategic Motivation Section. In this section you will identify and name the strategy/motivation behind the strategic action the company is planning to implement. For example. why is this firm engaging in this Joint Venture or Acquisition? Why are they building this new division or engaged in this Strategic Alliance? CHOOSE ONE tool we learned this semester to use as a support for your recommendation for this proposed action (e.g. 9 Cell, 5 forces, Macro-environmental Analysis, Strategic Fit, Resource Fit, etc). Your goal should be to choose the tool that best supports your recommendation. And explain to the client how this tool reinforces your recommendation. If the tool is a graph, the graph should appear in the Appendix and not counted in your page limit. However, in the strategic tool section you should describe in detail what the chart is telling the reader. If you choose a strategic fit analysis be aware that it does not fit every situation well. In fact, using it some situations can end badly. If you are not sure, ask questions, or schedule an appoint (please don’t just send panic emails as I may not have time to get to your question in time). It is best left to verbal discussion to find the best tool. Every situation is unique. Another issue with Strategic Fit is the need to DEFINE what the appropriate value chain activities are for the companies you have chosen as well as the synergies they hope to achieve. DO NOT simply copy the chart from the example and plug in the new company names. This will lead to lost points.
A Detailed Pros and Cons analysis with at least 7 Pros and 5 Cons of the Strategic Action. This section should lead with statement that, describes what the strategic action is, what primary level or secondary level strategy the action is meant to achieve, and how that fits with the firm’s Generic Strategy. Then the Pros and Cons will help you evaluate how well the strategic action fulfills the strategy. The pros and cons should not be vague positives from the book or the article but specific to your understanding of the companies involved. Use of Numbers or Bullet points are also strongly recommended for each unique pro or con.

Formal Recommendation/Executive Summary of what you think the firm should do (we are both making the assumption that the firm is only considering the action in your article). Use the data and tools in the report to back up your recommendations. Consider the potential action’s ability to enhance the firm’s Strategy and competitive advantage over competitors (or if you are again the action the reasons it will backfire). This recommendation should not simply parrot what the article author or the cited CEO’s are saying. It should include the benefits to the business that we discuss in class an in the text. Your recommendation section should be a full page, single spaced in length and written in a persuasive 5 paragraph essay format. Persuasive arguments: https://www.inc.com/john-baldoni/deliver-a-great-speech-aristotle-three-tips.html
Tell them what you are going to tell them.
Tell them
Tell them what you told them.
See this website for more information. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html. In this essay you should be referring to actions, strategies, and rationale in bolded course terms. It should persuade the reader (the client) to follow your recommendations for the reasons you laid out.

Your pages should be numbered
Identify any potential ethical issues, if applicable.
Use boldface to highlight course terms from the Terms List.
Refer to the grading rubric to make sure you have addressed all the requirements.
Create a Reference section to list all cited publications
No more than 5 single spaced pages, Times New Roman font, 12 point, Use Headings and Subheadings. After 6 pages I will stop reading.
Submit Microsoft Word Document to Turnitin via Blackboard. Be sure to title your file appropriately. Lastname1_Lastname2_Lastname3_CR2_Alphabet

For both Consultant Report assignments:

No articles or sources will be permitted that did not come through the Library Databases
Organize your paper using headings, sub-headings, and when appropriate numbers or bullets.
Use course terms in the correct context and emphasize these terms in bold.
Utilize proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
Any charts, graphs, or tables should be put in an Appendix of the paper and will not be counted as part of the final page limit.
Signal the reader when you are going beyond the facts to make an assumption or offer an opinion.
Opinions are only appropriate in the Recommendation sections. All other sections should just be facts.
Absolutely, avoid all cliché and hyperbole. They are not appropriate in a Consultant’s Report. Clichés are normally a short-cut but can also be misleading. I it much better to just give the facts. Instead of “this strategic action left competitors in the dust”, you should instead say “this strategic action created an increase in market share of 4 points”. Clichés can also mean different things to different people. Did you mean competitors were left far behind, or competitors were left choking on dirt? Hyperboles can get you in trouble by over promising. If the reader can find an example that disproves the hyperbole, then they discount a part or all of the statement and call the rest of the paper into question.
Topic areas that will NOT be accepted are Movie Streaming, Electric Cars, Postal Services, Wholesale Warehouses, or Airlines.
Cite all authors that you use within the text of your report and list the articles in a Reference Section at the end of your report using APA Guidelines. (Note: Try to identify all of course concepts that are in the article. The goal is NOT to summarize the article, but to interpret the events based on your knowledge of Business Policy. I want to hear your voice, not the author of the original article or some other writer.)
Turnitin Final Originality Score should be below 5%. Scores above will be flagged for review or penalty to determine:
Lack of proper attribution
Lack of proper sourcing
Lack of originality
Potential plagiarism
Appendix A Grading Rubric
Appendix B Dominant Industry Characteristics
Appendix C Course Term List

Appendix A

Consultant’s Report 2 – Analysis Grading Rubric
Little or no credit Partial credit Full Credit Total Actual
Industry Characteristics Characteristics poorly represented or mostly missing Many represented some incorrectly, or not well explained, or poor metrics Numerous characteristics represented and properly explained 10 0
SWOT Elements missing poorly reported, explained or incorrectly identified Complete with explanations, but with conceptual mistakes Complete and accurate 10 0
Additional Analysis

(depends on the type of Strategic Action)

None identified
Complete with explanations, but with conceptual mistakes

Or use of inappropriate tool

Complete and accurate 15 0
Pro and Cons No Analysis offered Superficial analysis and or lacking in course concepts Comprehensive analysis in course terms and concepts 10 0
Final Recommendation Little no recommendation was offered or was not well connected to analysis Incomplete conclusion or Introduced new concepts not supported in sections above Full recommendation that is thoughtful and a logical outcome of previous points, well supported 20 0
Clear and Concise

Writing

Writing is overly verbose, redundant, and not succinct. Sentences are unclear or clumsy Writing is parsimonious but sentences, are clumsy and unclear Writing is concise and efficient. Communicates clear information in as few words as possible. 10 0
Use of Bold Little or no use of Bold mostly on heading but not so much on strategy terms in the body of analysis. Moderate use of Bold mostly on heading but less than 25 unique terms in the body of analysis Course terms/concepts are consistently used boldfaced to highlight importance more than 25 unique terms not counting headings 10 0
Grasp of

Concepts

Consistently Does not Grasp the meaning of course terms being used Uses some course terms and concepts but at times, the term/concept does not fit the context it is being used for Course terms/concepts are consistently used in the proper context 20 0
16 No Reductions Partial Reductions Full Deductions 0 0
Originality

Or Poor attribution

Enough attribution to bolster arguments but not too many to detract from your voice.

Other Authors Properly

ß—-In-between—à Paper is overloaded with quotes from other authors and or poor attribution -30 -0
Using Outside Sources All Sources from Library Databases ß—-In-between—à Articles, blogs, papers, websites from outside the library database are used to form arguments. 20 points per abuse. -60 0

Grammar, Punctuation,

& Spelling

Well Written – No errors More than a few Errors Consistent pattern of errors -10 -0
TOTAL 105 0
P = Good Point.

Ð = Something in your logic is incorrect.

??? =You may be making a good point (or not) but regardless; I don’t understand what you are trying to say here.

Appendix B

Industry’s Dominant Characteristics

Market Size and Growth Rate
• How big is the industry and how fast is it growing?

• What does the industry’s position in the life cycle reveal about the industry’s growth prospects?

Scope of Competitive Rivalry • Is the geographic area over which most companies compete local, regional, national, or international?
Industry Concentration and Structure
• Is the industry fragmented into many small companies or concentrated and dominated by a few large companies? (Do the top 3-5 companies control 80% of sales?)

• Is the industry going through a period of consolidation into a smaller number of companies?

Is there just one group of competitors following similar strategies or are their two or three industry groups and compete separately? Major brewers versus Microbrewers.

Supplier Power/

Concentration

Do the top 3-5 companies control 80% of the supply? DeBeers, Boeing and Airbus
Buyer Power/ Concentration Is there a presence of many large powerful buyers? Walmart, Amazon, DOD
Degree of Product Differentiation
• Are the products of rivals becoming more differentiated or less?

• Are increasingly look-alike products of rivals causing heightened price competition?

Product Innovation
• Is the industry characterized by rapid product innovation and short product life cycles?

How important is R&D and product innovation?

Supply and Demand Conditions
• Is a surplus of capacity pushing prices and profit margins down?

• is the industry overcrowded with too many competitors?

Are the short supplies creating a seller’s market?

Pace of Technological/ Model Change
• What role does new technology play in this industry?

• Are ongoing upgrades of facilities/equipment essential because of rapidly advancing production process technologies?

• Do most industry members have or need strong technological capabilities?

How often is the industry introducing new models? Autos every 5 years. Fashion every 3 months.

Vertical Integration
• Do most competitors operate on only one stage of the industry, or do some competitors operate on multiple stages?

• Is there any cost or competitive advantage or disadvantage associated with being fully or partially integrated?

Economies of Scale
• Is the industry characterized by economies of scale in purchasing, manufacturing, advertising, shipping, or other activities?

• Do companies with large scale operations have an important cost advantage over small scale firms?

Capital Intensity Are industry rivals required to put up enormous amounts capital to continually compete or purchase tremendous quantities of advertising dollars to compete
Industry Stage Introduction, Growth, Maturity, or Decline
Macro Environment Are there any Driving Force shifts occurring in the industry that would be a major motivation for the strategic action being considered? List only those shifts that apply.

Appendix C

Term List & Study Guide

Competitive Advantage
Business Model
Vision Statements
Mission Statements
Mantra
Strategic Intent
Strategic Plan
Shareholder Value
Return on Equity
Financial Objective
Strategic Objective
Balanced Scorecard
Proactive strategies
Reactive Strategies
Stretch goals
Inflection points
Competence
Core Competence
Distinct Competence
Macro-Environment
Societal Shift
Population Shift
Legislative Shift
Technology Shift
Economic Condition Shift
Driving Forces
Key Success Factors
Industry Characteristics
Industry Structure
Concentrated Market
Fragmented Market
Economies of Scale
Economies of Scope
Capacity Utilization
Cost Amortization
Elasticity of Demand
Learning Curve
Outsourcing
Five Force Analysis
Supplier Power
Buyer Power
Industry Rivalry
Substitutes
New Entrants
Barriers to Entry
Switching Costs
Capital Intensity
Advertising Intensity
R&D Intensity
Pace of Innovation
Scope of Rivalry
Strategic Groups
Strategic Maps
SWOT Analysis
Strength
Weakness
Opportunity
Threat
Resources
Internal Processes
Benchmarking
Gap Analysis
Competitive Assessment
Industry Attractiveness
Industry Life Cycle
Introductory Stage
Growth Stage
Maturity Stage
Decline Stage
Differentiation Strategy
Low Cost Leader Strategy
Niche Strategy
Best Cost Strategy
Market Share
Roll-ups
Spin-offs
Divestiture
Retrenchment
Diversification
Related and Unrelated
Integration
Horizontal Integration
Vertical Integration
Forward & Backward
Holdouts/Moral Hazard
Balancing Demand
Supply Chain
Value Chain
Value Chain Activities
Strategic Fit
Synergies
Resource Fit
First Mover/Second Mover
Real Options
Channel Conflict
Foreign Direct Investment
Entry Modes
Export
Licensing
Franchising
Joint Venture
Strategic Alliances
Mergers & Acquisitions
Greenfield (internal start-up)
Fluctuating Exchange Rates
Cultural Distance
Customization
Standardization
Think Global, Act Local
Think Global, Act Global
Think Local, Act Local
Input Control
Centralized Management
Decentralized Management
Matrix Management
Corporate Culture
3 Types of Costs of Unethical Behavior Visible, Internal, and Intangible
Five Components of Social Responsibility Strategy
Charter Corporations
Corporation: What they originally couldn’t do vs now.
Externalities
Complimentaries
Boycott
Matrix
Top – Down
Bottom – Up
Cross training

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