Strategy and Competitive Advantage – MGMT 450 Your Individual Paper
Ideally, I would like to see demonstration of eclectic interests and the ability to place our common work within a broad context of life. We do not practice business in a vacuum; likewise, we should not learn about strategy in a vacuum. I value quality much more than quantity in our discussions and in written work. By “quality” I mean a combination of imagination, logic, and connection to other readings, topics, work problems, current events, and so on.
Business school is a rare time in your life when you have the chance to study, freely consider, and discuss great ideas. A chance to do something creative that you can be proud of. In our case, we can apply are high-concept ideas related to business guidance in an uncertain world. It isn’t often that we can have this kind of yeasty and fertile discussion with like-motivated persons of the highest caliber – persons from whom we can learn.
Time for you to consider a deceptively mundane case: “What’s Stifling Creativity at Coolburst?” Using what we have learned in the course thus far about strategy, competition, competitive advantage, industry forces, and the ways companies compete (cost vs. differentiation), you address this case in a single essay about some aspect of strategic direction. This is the type of company that you will likely work for in the future, perhaps only for a short while. This case exemplifies issues at play all along the value chain, which is where you should seek to remedy the problems. Select a tool or point of view to apply to the case; here are some suggested questions (answering one should be sufficient):
What is REALLY going on here and is the CEO Luisa Reboredo asking the right question at the end of the case? You are a consultant brought in to 1) identify problems, 2) analyze those problems, and then 3) offer recommendations to solve those problems. Do this. You can use the value chain, or Michael Porter’s Industrial Organization framework, or the Resource- based framework to evaluate the Coolburst situation and offer a solution.
As a refresher, Porter’s “Industrial Organization framework” is simply using his “Five Forces Model to identify competitive advantage of the firm(s) involved; in other words, you look external to the firm to the source of competitive advantage. On the other hand, the “Resource-based framework” looks internally – it uses the VRIO model of Valuable, Rare, Inimitable, and Organizationally usable resources to identify competitive advantage that arises from features internal to the firm. Intuitive stuff!
Structure: Please break your paper up with boldface section headings so that I can follow your organization and reasoning. This paper is between 3-4 pages (900-1000 words), 12-point Times Roman font with 1-inch margins all around, double-spaced. Right-ragged justification. You turn this paper in to me electronically as an MS Word attachment on Blackboard email. No padding or fluff, please. Make every word count and tell me what you think about the matter at hand.
***Your assigned written work is turned in to me via BB Learn mail in an MSWord attachment by Sunday, May 6 at 8:00 pm. This way, I can annotate and provide extensive feedback on your written assignments, both individual and group.***
In the subject line of your email, put your last name with the word “Paper 450”
Like this: Smith – Paper 450 [with your own last name, not “smith”]
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