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Ms-11 Question bank

Ms-11 Question bank (11)

Ms-11 Question bank

MS-11   June, 2009


1. a) What do you understand by a mission statement' ? Give two examples of

organizations having a well-formulated 'mission statement'.

(b) Suppose an organization does not have a well stated mission statement. Explain how will the firm be affected ? What is your opinion on the characteristics of Good Mission Statement ?

2. Take the example of Telecom industry and critically evaluate the impact of Porter's Five Forces that drive competition in that industry.

3. How does an organization expand by applying an 'integration strategy' ? Discuss keeping in mind the vertical and horizontal integration. Give Suitable examples.

4 a)   Discuss how 'corporate culture influences the behaviour of the employees in the organisation. Illustrate with the help of examples.

(b) How manager as a header taking Corporate Culture into account handles people

effectively ? Explain.

5. Write short notes on any two of the following :

a) Balanced Score Card

b) Leadership in Indian context

c) Differentiation Strategy

d) Ansoff's product-market expansion grid

6. Read and analyze the case nnd finswer the questions given at the end.

Dell Computers aims to stretch its way of business In an interview with the Financial Times in November 2003, Kevin Rollins, the CEO of Dell Computers, explained how he was putting his job on the line by leading a major strategic change in the company.

The US company famous for selling PCs is planning a big push into consumer electronics. If things go according to plan, Michael Dell could eventually become the Henry Ford of the information age

For a maker of desktop personal computers who founded his company, famously, in a University of Taxas dormitory 20 years ago, this may sound unlikely. But the ambitions of Dell Inc are boundless and thanks to a simple business idea that has proved highly adaptable, and a fearsome relentlessness... Consumer electronics

are about to proaide what could well be the biggest test of the Dell way of doing business. Until now, the company has sold mainly to corporate customers : only a fifth of its sales in the US are to consumers, and much less than that elsewhere.

...Dell's simple but effective idea has been to sell standardised electronic products direct to customers, usually over the internet. That removes most of the research and development that is normally required, while also cutting out retailers and other middlemen. Armed with the information it gets from taking orders directly from customers. Dell has gained two other powerful advantages. One is the ability to build products to match orders as they come in, slashing its inventory costs. The second is a highly efficient marketing machine that can adapt its message based on real-time results as orders arrive.' With its lower costs, Dell sets out to undermine profits in the markets it enters and destroy the margins that sustain its more entrenched competitors.

'Our goal is to shrink the profit pool and take the biggest slice,' says Mr Rollins. Consumer electronics companies, often with gross profit margins of more than 30 per cent, make an obvious target for this ruthless approach. 'Our gross marigins are in the L8-19 per cent range : we don't need 40 per cent' he says. A former partner from Bain (management consultants), the Dell president applies the cool analystics and familiar jargon of the strategy consultant to this relentless expansion : search out the markets with the biggest 'profit pools' to be plundered; pick ones with close

'adjacencies' to those DeIl already serves to reduce the risk of wandering into unknown territory; and apply its .'core competences' to conquering new ground. As

a textbook case of applying a proven and repeatable formula, Dell takes some beating. It used the formula to move from selling PCs to businesses to selling them to consumers. Next it followed its businesses customers into servers, then into storage hardware. Now it wants to follow consumers into other areas of electronics as well. Lt has started with products closely linked to the PC. Such as MP3 digital music players and l-7-inch flat-panel television sets that resemble computer monitors. According to Dell’s rivals, success in the PC business in the US has disguised the fact that the company has found it harder to break into other products and new geogaphic regions.

'Dell's success is backward-looking' , claims Jeff Clarke, head of global operations at Hewlett-Packard. According to Steve Milunovich, technology strategist at Merrill Lynch, not all markets are as susceptible to all aspects of the Dell approach as the PC business. Yet he adds that the company has shown great discipline in attacking only those areas where its strengths still give it a clear economic and operational advantage.

   Even most of the company's competitors concede that the shift in consumer electronics from analogue to digital technology plays to Dell's strengths. It is already the biggest purchaser of Iiquid crystal display screens and computer hard-drives, for instance, putting it in a strong position as these components come to play a bigger role in television sets and other household items.

When you combine monitors and LCD televisions, we will blow away the consumer electronics grys,'says Mike George, chief marketing officer. More importantly, Dell also benefits from the standardisation that brings down the cost of components and removes the advantage once enjoyed by companies that invest in their own technology. As more of a product's functions come to reside in standardized components such as microprocessors and hard drives, the differentiation that comes from making new versions declines The contrast with others is stark. Sony chief Nobuyuki ldei, for instance, told the FT that the Japanese company was putting a growing emphasis on proprietary components to differentiate its products. In the past four years, 70 per cent of Sony's investment has been in

silicon chips. While the digitisation of consumer electronics may have played to Dell's core strengths, though, there are at least three things about the market that are likely to test its business model. One is the fact that it will rely, at least for now/ on manufacturing by other companies,

reducing its ability to drive down costs. Also, the consumer electronics business is based on comrnon products that are not configured individually for different customers : according to Mr Clarke, that removes one main advantages of Dell's build-to-order model, the ability to customise products for each buyer. Using outside manufacturers is also likely to mean the company 'will not be able to operate on inventory that is as thin as it is in PCs,' says Charlie Kim, a consultant at Bain. Company executives suggest that once manufacturing volumes reach a high enough level, Dell is likely to start production itself. Also, while the cost advantages may be less in 'back-end' activities such as production and sourcing, the real opportunity for Dell in consumer electronics lies in the 'front-end' marketing and sales area, says Mr. Milunovich. 'There's a big chunk of money to be taken out of distribution' he says.

Whether Dell can take advantage of this opportunity with its direct sales system will be the second big challenge. Retail stores suit consumer products best because they bring an instant mass market and let users test the look and feel of products, says Mr Clarke. That is particularly important for products such as television sets, which buyers want to see, or handheld devices, which they want to pick up, say rivals.

   Dell executives retort that similar doubts were once expressed about its efforts to sell PCs online, and that its early sales of personal digital assistants suggest that consumers familiar with the quality and style of the company's PCs are willing to buy other items online too. The third test will be whether the Dell brand and marketing approach can be adapted to suit the new market. High name-recognition helps, but will get Dell only part of the way. 'Everyone knows who Dell is-but it's still a PC-focused brantd,' says Mr Kim at Bain. For a company that still relies heavily on selling to corporate customers this will pose a big challenge. 'I,we're very humbled by the fact that there are virtually no other companies that are both consumer and enterprise brands,' says Mr. George. He adds, though, that the basic attributes of the Dell brand-with its connotations of a certain level of value, quality and service-should extend across both types of market. Overcoming obstacles such as these will stretch the Dell model in ways that it has never been stretched before.


(a) why were the issues facing Dell Computers described as strategic ?

(b) Identify examples of issues that fit each of the different levels of strategy ?

MS-11   June, 2010


1. Explain the process of strategy formulation. Illustrate your answer with the help of examples.

2. Explain different types of resources involved in Internal Analysis and discuss their strategic importance. Also explain the relationship between resources, competencies and competitive advantage with suitable examples.

3. Discuss various techniques used in strategic control systems. Analyse the importance of each giving examples.

4(a) What do you understand by 'survival strategy' ? Discuss its various types and explain them with the help of suitable examples.

(b) Explain the Retrenchment Strategy as a Strategic Alternative with suitable examples.

5. Write short notes on :

a) Hofer's Product/Market Evolution. Matrix

b) Shell's Directional Policy Matrix

Case study

6. What are Mergers and Acquisitions as a part of Strategic Alliance ? Discuss

the concept in the light of the case given above ?

7. How Mergers and Acquisition helped the organisation in becoming global leaders ? Discuss.

MS-11   June, 2011


1. What are the different steps involved in the implementation of strategy ? Discuss each of them in brief giving examples.

2. Explain the concept of Critical Success Factors (CSFs). Take a firm of your choice, which is into consumer durables. Select any two products the firm manufactures and list out the critical success factors that are important for tleP.- firm's success.

3. (a) Explain in brief different types of differentiation, giving examples.

(b) Explain the difference between a niche - low cost - differentiation strategy and a

low-cost differentiation strategy. Support your answer with the help of examples.

4. Differentiate between Vertical integration and Horizontal integration under which   conditions each would be advisable ? Discuss.

5. Write short notes on any two.

(a) GE's strategic business planning grid

(b) Mission and vision

(c) Global Product structure

(d) Balanced Score Card (BSC)

6. Read the following illustrations and answer the questions given at the end.

Culture and strategy

Newspapers are about news

the top management team of a newspaper business had spent the morning in small groups analysing the changes in the business environment they faced. They concluded that they faced many major challenges, including changing demographics, electronic media and the growth in free newspapers. Also over 70 percent of their revenue was from the sale of advertising space rather than the newspaper itself. Indeed there seemed

to be so many threats that one group decided that ' the end of the world is night'

In the afternoon they turned their attention to the future strategy of the organisation. This quickly became a series of proposals about how they could improve the coverage of news and sport and the physical presentation of the newspaper itself.

One of the younger members of the team suggested that they might consider a more fundamental question '.... whether we are really in the news business or if we are an advertising medium ?' He was met with astonished silence from his colleagues.

So, in the morning, these managers were quite able to undertake a 'rational' analysis which raised questions about the traditional role of a newspaper. But, in the same afternoon, when it came to what they should do, the paradigm 'newspapers are about news' drove their thinking.


In the mid - 2000s the Swedish company IKEA was the leader in the European 'flat-pack' householder furniture business. It had a presence in some 30 countries and was famous for its good -quality products marketed at low prices. This had been achieved

by the vision of the founder, Ingvar Kamprad, and an almost obsessive attention to every item that would add to cost -so much so that cost reduction became ingrained in the company culture. Kampard himself drove an old Volvo and bought fruit and vegetables in the afternoons at markets when they were cheap. IKEA staff always travelled economy class and took buses not taxis. There were wall stickers urging staff to turn off lights, taps and computers. There were prizes for the store or office that saved most electricity.

Cross-border mergers

French and British companies approach business in different ways -strongly shaped by

the different national cultures. This can be an important impediment to successful mergers unless managers are aware of these differences and able to manage their impact

within the merged companies. The impact of national culture is seen in the day -to -day ways that companies function. The French are much more committed to rational, analytical approaches to decision making whereas the British tend to get straight to the point and rely more on 'gut feel'. Meetings in France are held mainly to rubber stamp what has already been decided by 'the boss'. The British expect to go to meetings to influence decisions. The membership of meetings tends to reflect these different purposes. The French have more people involved - since it is part of the education and communication process. In Britain the membership is usually confined to those who have a 'right' to influence the decision.


(a) For each of the three illustrations make lists of advantages and disadvantages of the (four) corporate cultures described.

(b) Imagine that you work for a French company that is considering a merger with a British company. Write a short executive report to your CEO listing the cultural clashes that might arise and how they could be handled.

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