In Week 6 we discuss strategic positioning which attempts to achieve sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company.
Three key principles underlie strategic positioning:
(1) strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position,
(2) strategy requires trade-offs in competing, and
(3) strategy involves creating a “fit” among activities.
The three levels of strategy are described: corporate, business level, and functional. Watch the Fortune video https://fortune.com/2018/09/24/weight-watchers-name-change/ This approximately 2-minute video profiles the company’s efforts to retool itself as a wellness organization that goes beyond weight loss. After watching the video discuss the following questions:
Discuss how the company’s changes in strategic positioning can help the firm to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Considering either your current company or one for which you want to work after graduation, discuss in what ways the company performs different activities from its rivals or performs activities in different ways from its rivals.
Describe the strategic position of either your current company or one for which you want to work after graduation, and discuss how this contributes to competitive advantage.
QUESTION 2 In Week 7 we discuss two kinds of decision making: rational and nonrational. Four steps in making a rational decision are
(1) identify the problem or opportunity,
(2) think up alternative solutions,
(3) evaluate alternatives and select a solution, and
(4) implement and evaluate the solution chosen. Satisficing and intuition are two examples of nonrational models of decision making. In this week’s discussion analyze Starbucks’ decision to open its first coffee shop in Italy. You will need to read the Wall Street Journal article https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/TDuYIgINr5CCzT4v6J4pO2EhqwJ9DUlb/italians-react-to-country-s-first-starbucks-location/ and watch the CBS video https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/TDuYIgINr5CCzT4v6J4pO2EhqwJ9DUlb/italians-react-to-country-s-first-starbucks-location/ The article and the approximately 2-minute video discuss decisions Starbucks made about how to best serve this international market.
After yo watch the video answer the questions below.
1. Apply the four steps of the rational decision-making process that Starbucks could apply when deciding international markets to which it would like to expand.
2. Discuss why it can be so hard to be purely rational in the decision-making process.
3. Describe a time you used satisficing when making a decision. Why did you just make a decision that was good enough rather than searching for a better decision?
4. Describe a time you used intuition to make a decision. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of having used intuition to make this decision.
In Week 9 we are discussing human resource management, which consists of the activities managers perform to plan for, attract, develop, and retain an effective workforce. Planning the human resources needed consists of understanding current employee needs and predicting future employee needs. In order to complete this activity watch Wall Street Journal video https://www.wsj.com/articles/i-needed-a-college-degree-for-this-why-companies-are-failing-at-hiring-1490706000
This nearly 4-minute video, how companies may be doing a poor job with the strategic human resource planning process for entry-level positions. By preparing job descriptions that overvalue the need for a college degree, employers may create a situation where new employees feel like the skills and competencies they gained through their college education are not being used.
This may cause increases in employee turnover.
Topics and Tips for Discussion: Discuss what companies should do to make their employees feel like they are the firm’s most important assets. Discuss the challenges firms are likely to face when planning their future HR needs.
Manage U: How Can I Be More Creative at Work? Creativity is a talent regularly sought by organizations and the career readiness competencies of proactive learning, positive approach, problem solving, and self-motivation can help foster creativity. By focusing on proactive learning, whether about work-related issues or not, your curiosity will foster creative thinking. Positive feelings like gratitude, hope, joy, and empathy have been shown to build creative thinking.
Using problem-solving skills will help you to see issues with new perspectives. You should establish creativity goals to direct your attention and efforts at finding creative ways to approach situations. Discussion: Which of the above recommendations interest you? (proactive learning, positive approach, problem solving or self-motivation) In what ways can you improve your creative skills, and what specific activities are you willing to commit to in order to increase your creativity?
Manage U: Effectively Managing Team Conflict The career readiness competencies of oral communication, teamwork/collaboration, leadership, and social intelligence can be applied to deal with team conflicts. Your first step in working to resolve a conflict between group members is to ask a lot of questions. This allows you to get the information you need to determine what the disagreement is about and to identify many possible solutions for resolving the conflict.
Next, frame the conflict around behavior, not personalities. Behaviors are more easily changed than someone’s personality. If you established appropriate group norms while forming the group, it is important to encourage team members to follow those norms. Choose your words with care when dealing with a conflict. You want to avoid absolutes such as always or never, and use specific, descriptive words rather than evaluative statements. Finally, it is important to remember that conflict can be productive.
Functional conflict can foster new ideas and innovative thinking. Discussion: Think back to a conflict that occurred in a group or team to which you belong. What was the real cause of the disagreement, and how was it resolved? Would you do anything differently if you could? Discuss how HR practices can contribute to employee engagement and make a workplace great.