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Situation analysis focusing on the key internal factors

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Task: For the organization where you work (or an alternative approved by your professor) complete a situation analysis focusing on the key internal factors that impact strategy. In Week One you looked at your organization’s mission, vision, values and key objectives and began the process of evaluating strategic alignment. Now you will take this a step further and examine more systematically the resources, systems and processes, and other internal factors that are important for successful strategy implementation. Later in the semester, (in week 10) you will have another opportunity to apply what you have learned to your own situation but your focus will then be on external factors and forces and their implications for both your industry and your organization. For this week 5 paper, submit your work in your assignment folder in the form of a 2,500 word (approximate) double-spaced APA formatted paper. The title page, abstract, reference list, and appendices are not included in this word count.(Note: Supplementary information should be placed in Appendices rather than in the body of the paper.) 

Perspective: To tackle this week’s assignment, assume you are in the role of an independent management consultant who can couple basic knowledge about strategy with the excellent research skills needed to fill any gaps. In this role you have been tasked with helping identify sources of current and/or potential strength within your organization as well as those that are or may qualify as weaknesses. This said, your actual “client” for this paper is your professor and it is therefore important to include and cite sources to relevant scholarly and professional work.

Things to include in your analysis:

  1. Begin your research process by clarifying your organization’s current strategy, something you began thinking about in week one.
  2. Identify the internal resources that are critical for implementing this strategy and analyze the extent to which they are recognized as such. Identify the organization’s strengths and potential (or currently verifiable) competitive capabilities. Also identify the organization’s weaknesses. (Note: You will have an opportunity to revisit and complete a full SWOT analysis, including threats and opportunities, as part of your week 10 paper.) 
Some potential sources of strength Some potential sources of weakness
Note: View these as partial and generic lists, requiring adaptation for those working in the public and non-profit sectors.
o    A powerful strategy

o    Core competencies in _______

o    A distinctive competence in _______

o    A product that is strongly differentiated from those of rivals

o    Competencies and capabilities that are well matched to industry key success factors

o    A strong financial condition; ample financial resources to grow the business

o    Strong brand name image/company reputation

o    An attractive customer base

o    Proprietary technology / superior technological skills / important patents

o    Superior intellectual capital relative to key rivals

o    Cost advantages over rivals

o    Skills in advertising and promotion

o    Product innovation capabilities

o    Proven capabilities in improving production processes

o    Good supply chain management capabilities

o    Good customer service capabilities

o    Better product quality relative to rivals

o    Wide geographic coverage and/or strong global distribution capability

o    Alliances / joint ventures with other firms that provide access to valuable technology, competencies, and/or attractive geographic markets

 

o    No clear strategic direction

o    Resources that are not well matched to an industry’s key success factors

o    No well-developed or proven core competencies

o    A weak balance sheet; burdened with too much debt

o    Higher overall unit costs relative to key competitors

o    Weak or unproven product innovation capabilities

o    A product/service with ho-hum attributes or features inferior to those of rivals

o    Too narrow a product line relative to rivals

o    Weak brand image or reputation

o    Weaker dealer network than key rivals and/or inadequate global distribution capability

o    Behind on product quality, R&D, and/or technological know-how

o    In the wrong strategic group

o    Losing market share because…

o    Lack of management depth

o    Inferior intellectual capital relative to rivals

o    Subpar profitability because…

o    Plagued with internal operating problems or obsolete facilities

o    Short on financial resources to grow the business and pursue promising initiatives

o    Too much underutilized plant capacity

 

Source: Thompson, Table 4.2
  1. Identify the organization’s core and distinctive competencies, applying appropriate tests to help support your conclusions.
  2. Examine the two critical elements of the organization’s “business model,” its customer value proposition and its profit proposition.
  3. Evaluate whether the organization has the required resources and systems to deliver its products/services and to meet its goals.
  4. Identify your organization’s current competitive strategy and discuss risks and advantages associated therewith.
  5. Evaluate the extent to which the core activities of the organization appear to align with and support the strategy and goals.
  6. In your conclusion, include things you might suggest for the leader’s “worry list” based upon your analysis. Also include your preliminary assessment of whether your organization’s strategy passes these three critical tests:
  1. Finally, include and appropriately support a set of preliminary recommendations for action. These should be shared only with your professor. You will have an opportunity to revisit these recommendations again in your week 10 paper.

 

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