9 requirement. Ensure to use 2-3 resources per week/requirement.
Strategic Management: Vision, Mission, and Stakeholders
To begin, please note that you are required to post each week (i.e., posting in Week 1 and Week 2 of Module 1 is a requirement of this course). We are going to have discussions on strategic management topics, as they apply to companies.
For this assignment, we will focus on General Mills, a multinational food manufacturing company: http://www.generalmills.com/
As you research General Mills, you may want to compare and contrast that company with the other food service retailers – such as Kraft Foods, Nestle, Tyson Foods, ConAgra, and Kellogg.
Please visit the General Mills site, and identify the company’s mission and vision, as well as their major stakeholders (you may need to interpret and/or make assumptions here, as all mission and vision statements are not crystal clear – nor are they always explicitly stated. You should note that the stakeholders aren’t simply the shareholders. “Stakeholders” include everyone and anyone who is affected by the success or failure of the company).
In consultation with your peers, analyze how General Mills represents and advances the goals of its stakeholders.
Note: I want you to reflect on the above—and I also want you to analyze critically though you will want to consult the library, some websites, and other resources. Cite your sources, and do not copy-and-paste material directly from those resources. Use direct quotations sparingly, if at all.
In Module 2, we focus on SWOT. In order to complete a SWOT, we are required to identify and analyze the key opportunities and threats in the external environment. Then, we need to identify and analyze the company’s key strengths and weaknesses (internal analysis).
During Week 1, you are asked to address the following:
a) Evaluate the operating industry of General Mills using a minimum of two forces included within Porter’s Five Forces model.
b) Using PEST, assess General Mills’ remote environment using a minimum of two PEST forces.
c) Conclude your assessment about the overall environment. Is it more or less favorable for General Mills? Give your ranking from 1-10 (in which 1 = vast gloom and doom for this company; 10 = huge bonus this year!). Where do you think General Mills fits on this 1-10 scale?
a) Assess what you believe to be the most important aspects of the internal environment at General Mills. Do not try to analyze every aspect of the internal organization — rather, identify a minimum of two internal strengths and/or weaknesses. Do your best not to repeat the observations made by your peers, although you are encouraged to build on each other’s observations (or to disagree).
b) Complete your SWOT by integrating the external environmental analysis you completed in Week 1 with your Week 2 internal analysis. Use your SWOT to conclude whether the organization’s overall outlook is more – or less – favorable.
It is very important for a company to assess its strengths so that it can use them to neutralize (or better yet, to eliminate) environmental threats and take advantage of opportunities. The organization must recognize (and it must work to shore up) its weaknesses so that opportunities are not missed, and such that threats are much less likely to put the company at risk.
Be sure to respond to the conclusions of your classmates.
Using the framework discussed in the background readings, critically analyze General Mills’ strategic choices at the Corporate level (remember that “corporate” level is the very highest level of the organization, with lower levels being the “functional” and the “business” levels).
What are General Mills’ corporate-level strategies? What generic Porter strategy does the company follow? Are General Mills’ strategic choices aligned with the Porter generic strategy you believe the company follows?
Using the Grand Strategy Selection Matrix, or GSSM (the GSSM can easily be found via a Google search), decide which one of the four quadrants General Mills fits best within? Defend your decision!
Strategy Implementation and Strategic Control
In order to properly implement a strategic plan, organizations use structure, various control systems (budgets, variance analysis, policies and procedures, company rules), and culture.
Let us revisit General Mills and determine the relative effectiveness of the company’s strategic controls. Choose twoimplementation controls, and discuss whether or not you believe the controls you’ve selected effectively support the company’s strategic choices. Be sure to defend your answer (critical thinking is required)!
Be sure that you respond to the postings of your classmates.
Respond to the following:
As you’ve learned from the background readings, a key strategic control is that of organizational culture. Culture must fit with an organization’s strategic choices. Poor alignment between culture and strategic choice is a sure-fire way to doom any strategic choice.
Of course, some organizational theorists would assert that an organization’s culture cannot be “managed” in the truest sense of how one “manages” the processes and activities and things that exist within an organization. David Campbell (2000, p. 28) says that an organization
Is being constructed continuously on a daily, even momentary [italics added], basis through individual interactions with others. The organization never settles into an entity or a thing that can be labelled and described, because it is constantly changing, or reinventing itself, through the interactions going on within it. [At the same time, an organization] does have a certain character to it, such that, like driving on the motorway, not just anything goes (p. x).
Do you agree or disagree with the above? That is, can culture really be “managed”? What might this interpretation mean in the context of our current discussion related to “strategic controls”?
A few comments on the above: Many individuals believe that, while the notion of “culture” can be defined, no single individual (irrespective of his/her legitimate power) is capable of single-handedly moving an organization’s culture in one direction or another. These individuals suggest that the sheer number of formal and informal groups, structures, tasks, functional operations, and individual interactions that exist and occur within organizations (even moderate-sized ones) render the “management” of culture impossible (consider the potential number – and combination – of individual to individual, individual to group, and group to group interactions that are likely to occur within an organization at each and every moment (and then, there are endless numbers of contacts / interactions with external stakeholders as well). The possibilities are seemingly infinite — or at least they are indefinite. In this view, an organization’s culture is abstract, fragmentary, fluid — and even relative and momentary – how can such a thing be “managed” in the same sense that we “manage” people and organizational processes?
Campbell, D. (2000). The socially constructed organization. London: Karnac Books.
Module 4 Reflective Discussion
Course Integration and Reflection
In this final Discussion thread, please address the following:
- What concepts were most interesting to you?
- What concepts and ideas will be most useful to you?
- How do you believe you will use the concepts you have learned in MGT599 in the future?
- What actions will you take in the future to improve yourself and your abilities in these two areas?