Strategy in Action and Contemporary Issues in Strategic Management

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Introduction

Change is described mainly from the point of view of those who determined the change strategy or those whose responsibility was to implement it in the program. In particular, we examine consequences both intended and unintended of the technological changes, implementation of the new contractual relationships in the “New Deal”.

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New ways of working, including working in teams and finally the impact all this has upon roles, attitudes, and relationships within the company. Roles and relationships flowed from the organization’s forms but at times people create change in organizations and modes of working through their preferences and actions meaning that the structures and procedures are determined by others such as senior managers and consultants.

A particular concern overlay many discussions referred to above be to determine whether or not any change took place in power and authority relationships as a result of the change program.

This paper will develop a position paper for enhancing an organization’s strategic capability by influencing the strategy in action. Furthermore, an evaluation of the organization’s strategic planning processes will be discussed and suggestions and justification of any improvements will also be tackled.

Exploring Hewlett-Packard organizational Strategy

Some of the most successful companies lately- in the likes of, Hewlett-Packard, are in force in intensely competitive industries. One of the reasons for Hewlett-Packard’s strange success is their attention to the details associated with strategy execution. The Hewlett-Packard (HP) example shows the importance of functional-level strategies in implementing a cost leadership strategy. Until strategies are put into practice, they are only ideas and objectives, with no actual effect on the organization’s direction. Hewlett-Packard has gained extraordinary infrastructure and processes. Mark Hurd has also influenced HP’s culture to get employees to support the company’s cost-cutting measures.

Strategy execution usually goes hand-in-hand with strategy formulation, and we have not attempted to create an artificial obstruction between the two activities. However, several topics are essential in understanding how strategies are implemented successfully in HP Company and any other organization. Nevertheless, innovation and entrepreneurship are so essential to success in today’s competitive environment.

Strategic Leadership of Hewlett-Packard

This is a new concept that explicitly relates leadership to the role of top management in Hewlett-Packard Company. We define strategic leadership as the capability to understand the complexities of both the organization and its environment and to lead change in the organization to Achieve and Maintain a superior alignment between the organization and its environment (Glanz, 2005, p.31). This definition reflects an integration of the leadership concepts.

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To be effective a manager needs to have a thorough and common understanding of the organization i.e its history, culture, strengths, and its weaknesses. A leader needs a firm grasp of the organization’s environment. This understanding must encompass current conditions and circumstances as well as significant trends and issues on the horizon. A strategic leader also needs to recognize how the firm is currently aligned with its environment. Looking at the environmental trends and issues, a strategic leader works to improve both the current alignment and future alignment (Salaman and Storey, 2010).

Cross-cultural leadership

Another new approach to leadership based on cross-cultural issues in Hewlett-Packard Company is that culture is used as a broad concept to encompass both International differences and diversity-based differences within a culture. The behaviors of top management are scrutinized more than ever and those responsible for hiring new leaders for a business are looking more and more closely at the background of those being considered (Bournois, Derr, and Roussillon, 2002, p.227).

Emerging pressures for stronger corporate governance models are likely to further increase commitment to selecting only those individuals with high ethical standards and to hold them more accountable than in the past for both their actions and their consequences.

Political behavior in organizations

Are the activities carried out for the specific purposes of acquiring, developing, and using power and other resources to obtain one’s preferred outcomes, may be undertaken by managers and their subordinates.

It may be directed upward, downward, or laterally, decisions ranging from where to locate a manufacturing plant to where to put the company coffee maker are subject to political action. In any situation, individuals may engage in any political behavior to further their ends, to protect themselves from others, to further goals they sincerely believe to be in the organization’s best interests, or simply acquire and exercise power whereby power may be sort by individuals, groups of individuals or by groups of groups.

Political behavior is sensitive; an early survey found out that many managers believed that politics influenced salary and hiring decisions in their firms (Mckenna, 2000, p.400).

Common political behavior

Research has identified four basic forms of political behavior widely practiced in organizations and especially Hewlett-Packard.

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One form is an inducement that occurs when a manager offers to give something to someone else in return for that individual’s support. For example, a product manager might suggest to another products manager that she will put in a good word with his boss if he supports a new marketing plan that she has developed. From most accountants, former World com CEO Bernard Ebbers made frequent use of this tactic to retain his leadership position in the company. Also, the first step in the change process occurs when strategic managers or others in the position take action, such as directors or takeover specialists recognize that there is a big gap between desired company performance and actual performance (Robbins, 2009, p.359).

Using measures such as the decline in profitability Return On Investment (ROI), stock prices, or market indicators that change is needed, managers can start looking for the source of the problem. To discover it they conduct a strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis (Dealtry, 1992, p.4).

Strategic managers examine the companies’ strengths and weaknesses, for example when they conduct a strategic audit of all functions and divisions and assess their contribution to profitability over time. Perhaps some divisions have become unprofitable thus innovation has slowed, without managers realizing it.

Once the problem is identified via (SWOT) analysis, strategic managers must determine the desired future state of the company –that is, how it should change its strategy and structure to achieve the new goals they have set for it.

Determining The Obstacles To Change At Hewlett-packard

Strategic change is frequently resisted by people and groups inside an organization. Often, for example, the decision to re-engineer and restructure a company requires the establishment of a new set of role and authority relationships among managers in different functions and divisions. Because this change may threaten the status and rewards of some managers, they resist the changes being implemented (Feltham & Dryden, 1994, P.69).

Many efforts at change take a long time and many fail because of the high level of resistance to change. The obstacles of change that can be found at four levels in the organization are: corporate, divisional, functional, and individual.

At the corporate level changing strategy in even trivial ways may significantly affect a company’s behavior. For example, suppose there is a need to reduce costs a company decides to centralize all divisional purchasing and sales activities at the corporate level. Such consolidation could severely damage each division’s ability to develop a unique strategy for its market. Alternatively, suppose that in response to low-cost foreign competition, a company decides to pursue a strategy of increased differentiation (Rainey, 2009).

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This action would change the balance of power among functions and could lead to problems as functions start fighting to retain their status.

There are many obstacles to change, such as structural inertia, where the culture of the organization resists change or the existing power structure, within which current managers or leaders may feel threatened by the prospect of change. Resistance from the workgroups is one of the greatest barriers to change, as individuals (including leaders) feel threatened by proposed changes Jones (1996).

Reasons for resistance to change might include

  • For Individuals: habit, inconvenience, fear of loss of security.
  • For the Organisation: Culture, investments in resources, existing contracts, threats to influence, or market position.

Other reasons: Self-interest, misunderstanding or lack of communication, and lack of trust.

If an organization is to survive and incorporate change smoothly, leaders have to tackle internal problems whilst responding to the requirements of the external environment.

Leadership and successful change in Hewlett-Packard

Organizational change can be brought about for reasons arising from within the company, or be required in response to, or be forced by, external factors such as increased competition, legal changes, or technological advances. One sign of a successful company is that it can respond to pressure with the ability to change.

External changes will affect the internal culture of an organization and to change successfully organizations need proactive, knowledgeable leaders to introduce and oversee necessary changes (Higgs and Rowland, 2009, p.118).

The success of these leaders in implementing change will depend on their ability to nurture and maintain employees throughout the organization and in successfully communicating the need for, and process of change to those employees. Whilst any external changes could affect the internal culture of an organization, the existing culture will quite probably determine the way change is introduced and just how extensive that change will be.

According to Lewin (1951) and Thomas (1985) in Hassan, McAllister, and Dowrick’s (2003) book titled The Cambridge handbook of the social sciences in Australia. The authors stated that successful change involves three stages:

Unfreezing the existing situation: this involves reducing habitual behaviors and recognizing the need for change.

Movement or changing: this means developing new attitudes, implementing changes and adapting to the new attitude, implementing changes, and adapting to the new organizational culture.

The approach of strategic management on traditional and emerging approach

The strategy used in both public and private sectors towards optimizing quality and productivity is total Quality management. In organizations like Hewlett-Packard which have embraced and utilized it successfully there is often an experience of vibrant creativity. The empowered experience usually yields more optimal results and access to other innovative management strategy alternatives becomes possible.

Among those in the public sector with a more interparental orientation and re-engineering government, reinventing government, and privatization. Usually viewing a more reactive than a proactive alternative, Privatisation can be thought of as more probable if re-engineering and re-inventing have not been successful (Martin, 1993. Pp. 30).

The traditional view of leaders in organizations is that they set direction, make important decisions, and rally the followers (usually the employees). According to Peter Senge; this traditional view is particularly common in the West leaders often equated with heroes. It is common for organizations to incorporate stories about their great leaders in the myths and rituals that form their organizational culture.

In the traditional model of leadership, the CEO decides where to go and then, through a combination of persuasion and edict, directs others in the process of implementation.

The strategic management process is concerned with the decisions organizations make about their future direction and the development and implementation of strategies that will enhance the competitiveness of organizations. There are many different approaches to strategic management but essentially they all have the aim of establishing the purpose of the organization, guiding managers on how to implement strategies to achieve organizational goals (St. John & Harrison, 2009).

We also emphasize the need for integrity in the strategic planning process, as well as the design of marketing programs that are both ethical and socially responsible (Hill & Jones, 2009). We also strain the combination and management of marketing choices with other practical business decisions as to the means to achieving an organization’s general mission and vision.

Throughout the text, we offer examples of successful planning and implementation to illustrate how firms face the challenges of marketing strategy in the present day’s economy.

Purpose

Strategic marketing planning is viewed not only as a process for achieving organization goals but also as a means of building long-term relationships with customers (Werner, Jackson, & Schuler, 2008, p.314). Creating a customer’s orientation takes imagination, vision, and courage, especially in today’s rapidly growing changing economic and technological environments. To help meet this challenge, marketing strategy is approached from both “traditional” and “cutting-edge” practices. Topics such as segmentation, creating a competitive advantage, marketing program development is covered, and the implementation process with a solid ground in traditional marketing but to emerging practices. Lessons learned from the rise, fall, and re-emergence of the dot-com sector illustrate the importance of balancing the traditional and emerging practices of marketing strategy. This text never loses sight of this balance.

Although this approach allows for the use of sophisticated research and decision-making processes, a practical perspective that permits marketing managers in any size organization to develop and implement a marketing plan has been employed.

Esoteric, abstract, and highly academic material that does not relate to typical marketing strategy decisions in most organizations has been fully avoided. Many marketing plan framework that is utilized throughout the text has been used by several organizations to successfully plan their marketing strategies. Many companies report great success in using this approach, partially due to the ease of communicating the plan to all functional areas of the business.

In conclusion, the strategic options facing management are numerous, what markets to operate in, what resources to deploy, how to organize procurement, production, distribution, and how to complete, etc. In all these respects, management faces not only the problem of identifying options, but also evaluating each of them and then implementing the chosen ones. Strategic options are considered at the business level unit, where a company or business unit focused on a particular market or groups of similar markets (related with either geographical proximity or product/service similarity). We look to see how the business can gain strategic success at this level measured in respect of building a competitive advantage over industry rivals to gain long-term superior performance. This calls for an understanding of competitive strategies and deciding the basis on how the firm will compete in its chosen market (York, 2009).

Evaluation of Hewlett Packard strategic planning processes

The planning committee of Hewlett Packard Company plans a meeting to commemorate its accomplishments and evaluate its work. This meeting is an opportunity to bring back the process of setting the stage for future successful plans. Therefore, the committee evaluates both the planning process and the planning documents that have been developed. However, in a slightly more formal evaluation process, the planning committee of Hewlett Packard might evaluate both the planning documents and the planning process. The strategic plan should be assessed in terms of whether it fulfills the following:

  • Provide management to both short-term and long-term Status established in order of importance or urgency.
  • Helps the organization to distribute resources.
  • Is comprehensible by people who have not participated in the development of the plan.
  • Is approachable to the organization’s best understanding of its internal and external environments.
  • Is the product of a consensus and commitment-building process.
  • Has been officially adopted by the board of directors.

Consequently, for an organization to meet these measures of success it must be developed by a staff that is responsible for the implementation of the goals and objectives, thereby providing an easy implementation, monitoring, and reference tool.

Reference List

Bournois, F., Brooklyn, C. Sylvie Roussillon, D., 2002, Cross-cultural approaches to leadership development. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Dealtry, T. R. 1992. ‘Dynamic SWOT analysis’: developer’s guide. United Kingdom, UK: Intellectual Partnerships.

Dransfield, R. 2004. Business for Foundation Degrees and Higher Awards. Jordan Hill, Oxford: Heinemann.

Feltham, C. & Dryden, W., 1994. Developing the practice of counselling. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.

Glanz, J., 2005. What every principal should know about strategic leadership. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Hassan, R. McAllister, I. & Dowrick, S. 2003. The Cambridge handbook of the social sciences in Australia. Cambridge University Press.

Higgs, M. & Rowland D., Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, 2009.

Jones, G. 1996. The evolution of international business: an introduction. New York, NY: Routledge.

Jones, G. & Hill, Charles., 2009. Strategic Management Theory: An Integrated Approach. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Lewin, K. 1951. ‘Field Theory in Social Science’, New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Martin, J. “Re-engineering Government.” Governing, 1993.6 (6), 26-30

McKenna, E. F., 2000. Business psychology and organisational behaviour. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Rainey, H. G., 2009. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Remenyi, D., 2007. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning. Dublin, Ireland: Academic Conferences Limited.

Robbins, S. P., 2009. Organisational behaviour: global and Southern African perspectives. Cape Town, SA: Pearson South Africa.

Salaman, G. & Storey, J., 2010. Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting Paradox for Strategic Leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

St. John, C. H. & Harrison, J. S., 2009. Foundations in Strategic Management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Thomas J. (1985) ‘Force Field Analysis: A New Way to Evaluate Your Strategy’, Long Range Planning, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 54-59.

Werner, S. Jackson, S., & Schuler, R., 2008. Managing Human Resources: Through Strategic Partnership, 10th Edition. Mason, OH: South-western Publishing.

York, K. M., 2009, Applied Human Resource Management: Strategic Issues and Experiential Exercises. California. SAGE Publications Inc.

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