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Strategic Management Project


Strategic Management Project

Word Count 4491


Strategic Management Project

The purpose of the strategic management project is to apply the concepts and techniques learnt in the module to the analysis of real-world situations or problems, and to critically evaluate different approaches to addressing managerial problems.


At the managerial level, strategic organisational failures are due to a combination of failures in one or more of the 4Cs – Communication, Collaboration, Coordination, and Control.

Your task is to identify a major area of weakness in a unit of your organisation (not the whole organisation). This can be either in your own department or unit, or your boss has asked you to look at another part of a business, as in internal consultant.

The task has to be organisation design related and cannot be to do with corporate strategy, strategic planning, change management nor generic issues such as falling performance, falling sales etc. The lack of focus is likely to result in a failed task.

The unit of analysis MUST be for a unit of the company you work for. (If your company is a large one, then focus on a strategic business unit or department. The structure will be aimed at your designation level ie supervisor, team leaders, unit head, head of strategic business unit, CEO etc. Frame the issue at your level so that you are familiar with the issues. For example if you are a supervisor it would be inappropriate for you to look at International diversification but this might be something for the CEO. Also this would be about corporate strategy and not part of your remit anyway for this assignment.

If you are not employed currently, use your previous employer. Exceptionally if this not possible, (permission from the module leader will need to be sought) select a well-known local company and use the same criteria. Delve down to the lowest level commensurate with your designation. 

The organisation must give signed consent to the project as you will need detailed information/data.

Under no circumstances are you allowed to choose multinationals about which you have no connection. Doing so will result in a failed assignment.

Your remit, in the form of a strategic management project will be to examine what the problem(s) is/are (you must provide evidence of this via board or team meetings, internal records etc), identify the likely causes and the reasons for it (in light of your understanding from this module) and propose a new design, approach (solution) that would overcome that strategic failure. You then justify and explain how your design will overcome the failure and put in place appropriate monitoring system to evaluate outcomes.

Also note, this module and assessment is DIFFERENT from change management and transformation literature which relates to “how” change should be undertaken, what is good practice, what to avoid, role and types of leadership ie the psychology of change. What students are looking in this module is the physiology and sociology of organisations ie design for strategic effectiveness. If you turn this into a change management assignment you will likely fail.

The project is to be undertaken in a number of formative phases, culminating in a final written report. 

In phase 1 you will write proposal for your tutor to set the parameters and scope of the project. You will discuss this with your classmates in seminars and get feedback. In this phase you will state what the organisation is and what your designation is, what the strategic failure is. Your tutor will record all this information in a table and supply it to the module leader for approval. 2-3 pages maximum.

Phase 2 will be a critical literature review.  Your task will be to review research from a range of scholarly articles that relate to organisational structure design issues you are addressing. This is an opportunity to strengthen the project rigour with further theoretical insights. The core text book and supplied articles will form the backbone of the literature review but other strategy literature can supplement this too. This informs your thinking on and about the restructure before, during and after the redesign.

You will have learnt from the research methods classes in the module 7MG001, a literature review is a critical discussion of the published information on your topic area. It is also a critical, evaluative synthesis, showing the relationships between various writings and how they relate to your own work. A literature review is not a simple summary of a series of articles. A good literature review will look at the research that has been done and synthesise or pull together those elements that are similar or most pertinent to the themes you have chosen. The alignment of literature to issues looked will form a key part of the grading for this part.

Phase 3 will be the analysis/redesign. First you will give a pen portrait of the business unit under investigation (only write one paragraph on the company itself) by analysing your chosen unit’s internal structures and its external environment using some of the frameworks studied that you consider most relevant to your particular situation e.g. Daft’s structural dimensions, Daft’s contingency framework, Porter’s five forces model or any other model, such SWOT etc.  Don’t do these just for the sake of it. The tools need to be relevant to the issues explored. 

If the issue is/are wholly internal for example it would not make sense to use porter’s 5 forces because that is about the external industry analysis. If the issues arise due to forces in the external environment or is boundary spanning than the 5 forces may be suitable or perhaps stakeholder analysis or any other similar tool but each tool needs to be pertinent to the issues of the restructure. Grading will reflect if you have seriously thought about the tools you are using.

All the tools you used must go in the appendices and NOT in the main body. Only take a paragraph or two of what each tool is showing.

Your tutor will ask you to present your findings at interim points during the seminar sessions (details will vary depending on iteration and delivery format. The presentations will not be part of the assessment.

Phase 4 will the final Project Report.

The final report should take the form of a maximum 4000 word business report to the organisation’s management team. A business report is a functional piece of writing usually written to communicate recommendations with the appropriate rationale, illustrations and evidence.

Your report should be written in standard business English that favours ease of comprehension. In general, your sentences and paragraphs will be shorter compared to academic English. It is also acceptable to use a limited number of bullet points in your report.

Use the literature review as well as the theoretical foundations given in the core text and additional readings to strengthen your arguments and move beyond subjective opinions. You are also encouraged to support your arguments and analyses with limited amount of visuals, such as charts and diagrams. 

NOTE: Visual must be used very sparingly. Do not include data, company charts, blank images of analytical tools or irrelevant junk. It is unlikely visuals will exceed more than 5-6 and most of these will be in the appendices. You will be heavily penalised if you turn a report that is more of an art show than a report.

Business reports do not have a set number of sections, nevertheless guidelines are provided as below. Make sure you do clearly delineate and label your sections with appropriate headings. As a guide, some sections that most reports tend to include are Executive Summary, Introduction, Findings, Recommendations and Conclusion. Use the Business Report Help Sheet from University of Melbourne provided for you under resources.

Advice: Make it concise, to the point and convincing. Try to write with a specific audience in mind, and try as best as you can to generate a genuine buy-in from stakeholders. Suggested structure as follows:

Executive summary

1 Introduction

1 1.introduction to the company
1.2 Business Case (remember to include evidence for the need to redesign)

2 Literature review (this informs your thinking on and about the restructure before, during and after

3 Analysis/Restructure

Design and restructure

4 Conclusions

Additional information

Table of Contents

Executive summary
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Introduction to the company
1.2 Business case.
1.2.1 Corporate strategy of the business
1.2.2 Business strategy
1.2.3 Strategic failure
1.2.4 Evidences for the need to redesign.

2.0 Literature review
2.1 Corporate strategy and business strategy
2.2 Structural dimensions and strategy
2.2.1 Organizational culture and strategy
2.2.2 Leadership and strategy

3.0 Redesigning and restructuring
3.1 Monitoring and controlling

4.0 Conclusion

References and Bibliography
Appendix 01 – Organizational structure
Appendix 02 – SWOT analysis


Executive summary

Doing business in 21st century requires a newest set of skills as market conditions and competitive environments are rapidly changing on a daily basis. In this highly competitive business world, change seems to be the only certain thing. Hence, business should be proactively evaluate their strategic position and effectiveness frequently to ensure the sustainability of their performance.
Uva Diaries (Pvt) Limited is an ambitious company which falls under SME category. In the recent past, they had heavily invested in their Banana exporting business and senior management expected an exponential growth over the last few years. When assessing the results, it became evident that the volume growth of the business has slightly dipped over the last 2 years. This sudden dip surprised the senior management team as market sentiments were all positive. Hence, as advised by the Chairman, the company undertook a comprehensive structural, leadership and cultural audit within the internal organization to identify the root causes behind this strategic failure. The first phase of the report will comprehensively explain the business case around these events.
A rigorous literature survey has been conducted to understand the key concepts such as corporate strategy, business strategy, structural dimensions, leadership, etc. The second section of the report will critically discuss these concepts whilst pointing out their link towards overall strategic effectiveness.
The next section of the report has suggested some restructuring and redesigning strategies to the internal organization as solutions to the structural, cultural and leadership gaps identified within the business. Finally a brief monitoring and controlling mechanism has suggested to track the effectiveness of the suggested strategic changes.

1.0 Introduction

Strategic organizational failure is common among most of the business startups and SMEs. Many small businesses have robust and creative strategies, but when it comes to implementation, they utterly fail or fall behind the expectations. Strategic organizational failure could simply be defined as not having a right structural set up or internal chemistry which is crucial for the execution of the strategies (Johnson and Scholes, 2011). Hence, businesses should pay a special attention towards the organizational design and related issues such as internal communication, collaboration, coordination, control etc. Most of the businesses question the effectiveness of their strategies when faced with strategic failure, but many strategies fail due to poor implementation caused by the gaps in organizational design and structure (Daft, 2014).

1.1 Introduction to the company
Uva dairies (pvt) Ltd has registered as a private liability company under the company’s act in the year of 1993. Company has been managing by the family members and initially they started with dairy farming and co-related products, such as yogurt flavored milk, ice cream, etc. Further, the company manages the breeding -farm, and the parent stock of goat and cows imported from the various countries of the world. Recently, they started their export operation of exporting Bananas mainly to Gulf countries. This could be identified as one of the key milestones of the company as it was an untapped market for years and there were only very few producers within Sri Lanka. The product got a good market response due to higher product quality and standards. They started with producing organic Banana which has a good demand within the premium end of the market. This enabled the company to make a decent profit soon after the business launch. In the light of this success, the company made ambitious plans to achieve a higher growth by expanding the Banana business globally.

1.2 Business case.
Even though top management expected an exponential growth in the Banana business, the current figures reflects a dip in the revenue growth. Having identified this, the report will critically evaluate the structural and organizational design issues faced by Uva diaries (Pvt) Ltd which may have crippled their business growth due to lack of autonomy, micro managing and poor delegation of authority. A higher employee turnover was also identified as one of the major challenges faced by the business at this hour.
When looking at the company’s strategic objectives, they have failed to achieve the expected foreign expansion targets. The Banana exporting business initially had a good response from the international markets. However, when looking at the current results, a slight drop in the revenue growth could be observed. Senior management was highly ambitious and expected that the Banana business would expand exponentially within the last few years given the positive market conditions and growing demand. When reviewing the results of the last few years, the business has not been able to generate the forecasted volumes and this stresses the importance of an investigation to find out the root causes behind the current strategic failure.