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This paper interrogates all aspects of strategy: from terminologies to implementation. It is going to give the reader a brief description of important terminologies. Planning techniques for strategy will be looked into as well as the issues concerning strategic planning. There will be an environmental and an organizational audit of Sony Corp to better understand its position. A new strategy will be proposed to the company as well as possible alternative strategies as concerns substantive growth, limited growth and retrenchment being enumerated. The paper will look into the roles and responsibilities in strategic implementation, comparing them and bringing out the differences between the two. It will evaluate resources needed in the implementation of the strategy proposed. Targets and timescales that are concerned with the achievement of the strategies will also be monitored.
A mission is a statement of the key values which define the purpose of the organization and maybe its distinctive competitiveness. It extrapolates on what the organization considers its defining character and tells the world what the organization was set up to achieve (Abrahams 2007).
A vision relates to the future orientation of the organization and describes the kind of organization it should be. It paints a picture of an ideal organization. It is a statement on how the organization should be if it sticks to its plans and implements them religiously.
Core competencies can be defined as: ‘the distinctive skills that binds together the existing businesses, its product, service or technology, which can be used to create a competitive advantage. They are the engine for new business development; they form the key resources that assist an organization in being different from (and ideally superior to) its competitors. (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990, p.136). They are the distinctive skills that a corporate body possesses that give it a competitive advantage. These are the kind of skills that sets this organization apart. These skills should provide access to important markets or segments of the market. They should also make a significant contribution to the customer experience of the product or service provided by the organization. Equally important, these skills should be difficult for the competitor to imitate. They should be unique and their development and methodology highly guarded. Once these skills are developed they should be exploited completely while keeping them flexible enough to adopt o the changes in the market.
1.2 Issues involved in strategic planning
Strategy can be described as the setting of goals and objectives by an organization and the outlining of the methods to be used in their achievement. Planning is putting thought into and outlining activities required to achieve a goal or goals. Therefore, strategic planning is thinking about the goals of an organization and organizing what is to be done to achieve these goals and objectives. Since strategic planning involves the whole corporate body it can be referred to as corporate thinking.
Strategic plans have to be long term, comprehensive, based on a clear mission of the organization and developed and controlled by the top management because they determine the direction of the organization. These are very key issues and for any strategic plan to succeed all these have to be factored in.
Strategic planning also has a process. This process is broken down into three discernible stages. They are:
i) Strategic analysis – in this stage the corporate body is taken through a thorough assessment. Its objectives, resources, capabilities, whatever influences there are externally and if there is future potential are among the factors to be investigated.
ii) Strategic choice – at any particular time there must be several strategic options available. At this stage the management considers all these options and it settles on the best and most viable ones. This is the one to be implemented.
iii) Strategic implementation – after all the planning and the choice making comes another very important step. The plans developed have to be implemented and this is the stage where it happens.
1.3 Different planning techniques.
Planning can be and is done in various ways. In this part, the techniques are going to be described and any applications to the paper made clear. At the end the reader will have a deep understanding of the different techniques that organizations come up with their plans.
i) SWOT analysis. The initials stand for strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strength and weaknesses are internal matters while opportunities and threats are external. It is a very critical part of the entire planning process. All those involved in the planning process brainstorm on the issues. They go through what they consider the company’s strong points, their vulnerabilities. Opportunities to be exploited and any threats to be faced. The team then lists the items and reviews them. The items on the list are then prioritized in their respective categories and the top items identified. These items are then channeled into the development of objectives, goals, strategies and tactics.
ii) Nominal ranking. The participants in a planning session are given a specific number of votes. These votes are then used to prioritize items on the planning list. His enables the organization to identify and focus on the items that the team considers the most important.
iii) Team facilitation. The team is facilitated in the coming up of the plan. The facilitator ensures that the team gets input from all the members and ensures the smooth flow of the process. He/she handles any conflicts that arise productively and also provides a base for teamwork. He/she should have the skills required to take the team through all the stages a team goes through: forming, storming, norming and performing.
2.1 Organizational audits for Sony Corp
Top organizations in the world are organized in a vertical manner from the top to the bottom. From a starting point of evaluating and stating the mission, vision and values of the organization, a strategic plan with objectives, timelines and milestones is developed. There is also the development of a loop for quality improvement feedback that has to be continuous. An organizational audit is meant to indicate whether the organization is vertically aligned. It has to establish whether the objectives, staff and results are in alignment with the stated mission and vision. The audit also has the function of developing programs and policies that motivate the team to stay on course. It at the same time recommends any adjustment to the organization’s actions so as to achieve the aimed for alignment.
Sony Corp is by and large in alignment as per the audit conducted. The seminars and regular sensitization of the workers has ensured that the staff understands the mission and vision and that they are working in line with the said vision and mission.
2.2 Environmental audit of Sony Corp
An environmental audit is primarily an assessment of the impact the company’s actions have on the environment. It analyses the organization’s compliance with environmental legislation and provides an external opinion on the same. It informs the company whether it has created an environmental policy that is efficient and also whether there is a favorable environmental attitude. It has been expanded in the modern times to include recommendations on the best and most cost effective way of reducing the damage of the environment by the company’s actions and how to make savings in the long run by adopting ‘green’ technology.
For some time all of Sony Corp products have been produced with their impact on the environment in mind. Most of their products consume less energy than the competing products. The energy savings are achieved even in production through the use of ‘green’ technology at the factory. Additionally, there is an effort to make as many components as possible biodegradable. These features, plus sensitization of the staff about the environment, make the company be on a very good footing environmentally.
2.3 The significance of stakeholder analysis
A stakeholder in the most basic sense is anyone who will make use of, develop or impact the project in any way and impact any of the project’s aspects. There are two types of stakeholders. They are:
i) Direct stakeholders – these are those people like developers and customers who have a direct impact on the project. They are involved in the life cycle of the project and are affected by it.
ii) Indirect stakeholders – these are the people who affect the project politically or those interested in the outcome of the project.
By conducting an analysis of the stakeholders the management gets a sense of how to deal with them. The stakeholders are analyzed on their interest level and on the amount of influence that they have on the project (Cadle et al, 2010, p98). By conducting this study the project managers are able to determine how much time, effort and resources can be expended in the dealing with the various stakeholders. A proper analysis coupled with an effective communication will optimize the chances of achieving goals as concerns deadlines and budgets.
3.1 Possible alternatives strategies relating to substantive growth, limited growth or retrenchment
Alternatives that can be used to deal with limited growth are:
i) Market development – this can be achieved through modifications and changes to a product or service to increase its appeal to new segments or niches of the market. Alternatively the company can device new uses for the products they have or tailor their products to different countries considering their particular tastes and requirements.
ii) Market penetration – this is achieved by aggressive marketing and pushing of the product to a new market or a segment of it.
During substantive growth the overwhelming need is to maintain the momentum and keep growing while consolidating gains made. The strategy here would be sustained marketing of the product and constant evaluation through feedback from customers.
Retrenchment is a strategy that corporates use to reduce its size or diversity. It is often used to cut the overall size of a company or to reduce the diverse operations of the company. As a strategy it is used to reduce costs and produce a more financially stable company. It has to be noted though that it is a strategy fraught with challenges (Mingle, 1981, p16).
3.2 An appropriate future strategy for Sony
The strategy to be proposed is derived from the five ‘P’ of strategy (Mintzberg 1994, p.235). Sony can exploit position in the market as its strategy. The company has particular core competencies in the electronic sector that they can exploit to corner a niche of the electronics market. By being unique and producing distinctive products the company can grow and remain competitive in the market. His strategy will work best if the company focuses on products that they are market leaders in.
4.1 Roles and responsibilities in strategic implementation
In implementing a strategy we have the people responsible who are more often upper management. Responsibility denotes being answerable or accountable for the implementation of the specific strategy. Those responsible then assign roles to others to perform in the implementation process. Roles are functions that a person or company has.
4.2 Evaluate resource requirements to implement a new strategy for Sony Corp
To implement the position strategy the company must make some investments. At the top are the innovation and marketing departments. More money will be needed by the Research and Development people so as to get better technologies and provide bonuses as motivation. The marketing department will require additional funds so as to communicate the uniqueness and superiority of the products to the market.
4.3 Targets and time-scales for achievements in Sony Corporation to monitor a given strategy.
The strategy when properly implemented should lead to a substantial increase in the sale of the products focused on. They should have the lion’s share of that niche market. This rise in market share should be noticeable and measurable in the twelve months after the implementation of the strategy.
All the points that were set out at the beginning have been covered. It is hoped that the reader now has a better knowledge of strategies, their planning and implementation. The two types of audits covered: environmental and organizational, are also detailed in a bid to ensure understanding. The importance of analyzing the stakeholders is also made clear as are the alternative strategies to limited growth, substantive growth and retrenchment. The strategy to be employed by Sony Corp is also discussed and the roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the strategy. Finally the resources needed in the implementation of the new strategy are laid down and the targets and timescales for the achievements to be monitored discussed.
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Mintzberg, H. 1994, The rise and fall of strategic planning: reconceiving roles for planning, plans, planners, New York, Free Press.
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