Apple Inc.,2008 (case study)

| February 25, 2014

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You should do the 8 step that I request below ( please read it carefully and apply)
1- The history, development, and growth of the company over time
– – A convenient way to investigate how a company’s past strategy and structure affect it in the present is to chart the critical incidents in its history – that is, the events that were the most unusual or the most essential for its development into the company it is today.
– – Some of the events have to do with its founding, its initial products, how it makes new-product market decisions, and how it developed and chose functional competencies to pursue.
– Its entry into new businesses and shifts in its main lines of business are also important milestones to consider.
2. The identification of the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses (SW)
Once the historical profile is completed, you can begin the SWOT analysis.
– Use all the incidents you have charted to develop an account of the
– company’s strengths and weaknesses as they have emerged historically.
– – Examine each of the value creation functions of the company, and identify the functions in which the company is currently strong and currently weak.
– For example, some companies might be weak in marketing; some might be strong in research and development. Make lists of these strengths and weaknesses. The SWOT checklist gives examples of what might go in these lists
3. The nature of the external environment surrounding the company (OT)
The next step is to identify environmental opportunities and threats. Here you should apply all information you have learned on industry and macro environments, to analyze the environment the company is confronting.
– – Of particular importance at the industry level is Porter’s five forces model and the stage of the life cycle model.
– – Which factors in the macro environment will appear salient depends on the specific company being analyzed. However, use each factor in turn (for instance, demographic factors) to see whether it is relevant for the company in question.
– Having done this analysis, you will have generated both an analysis of the company’s environment and a list of opportunities and threats. The SWOT checklist lists some common environmental opportunities and threats that you may look for, but the list you generate will be specific to your company
4. Evaluate the SWOT analysis
Having identified the company’s external opportunities and threats as well as its internal strengths and weaknesses, you need to consider what your findings mean. That is, you need to balance strengths and weaknesses against opportunities and threats.
The specific questions to be asked are;
– Is the company in an overall strong competitive position?
– Can it continue to pursue its current business- or corporate-level strategy profitably?
– What can the company do to turn weaknesses into strengths and threats into opportunities?
– Can it develop new functional, business, or corporate strategies to accomplish this change?
Never merely generate the SWOT analysis and then put it aside. Because it provides a succinct summary of the company’s condition, a good SWOT analysis is the key to all the analyses that follow
5.The kind of corporate-level strategy pursued by the company
– To analyze a company’s corporate-level strategy, you first need to define the company’s mission and goals. Sometimes the mission and goals are stated explicitly in the case; at other times you will have to infer them from available information.
– – The information you need to collect to find out the company’s corporate strategy includes such factors as its line (s) of business and the relationship among the company’s businesses. (For example, do they trade or exchange resources? Are there gains to be achieved from synergy?)
– The above analysis should enable you to define the corporate strategy that the company is pursuing (for example, related or unrelated diversification or a combination of both) and to conclude whether the company operates in just one core business.
– Using your SWOT analysis, debate the merits of the corporate strategy followed by the company. Is the strategy appropriate, given the environment the company is in? Could a change in corporate strategy provide the company with new opportunities or transform a weakness into a strength? For example, should the company diversify from its core business into new businesses?
– – Other issues should be considered as well. How and why has the company’s strategy changed over time? What is the claimed rationale for any changes?
– – Often it is a good idea to analyze the company’s businesses or products to assess its situation and identify which divisions contribute the most to or detract from its competitive advantage
– – It is also useful to explore how the company has built its portfolio over time. Did it acquire new businesses, or did it internally venture its own?
– All these factors provide clues about the company and indicate ways of improving its future performance
6.The nature of the company’s business-level strategy
Once you know the company’s corporate-level strategy and have done the SWOT analysis, the next step is to identify the company’s business-level strategy.
– – If the company is in many businesses, each business will have its own business-level strategy.
– You will need to identify the company’s generic competitive strategy – differentiation, low cost, or focus – and its investment strategy, given the company’s relative competitive position and the stage of the life cycle.
– The company also may market different products using different business-level strategies. For example, it may offer a low-cost product range and a line of differentiated products. Be sure to give a full account of a company’s business-level strategy to show how it competes.
Business-level strategy Vs. Functional strategy
Identifying the functional strategies that a company pursues to build competitive advantage through superior efficiency, quality, innovation, and customer responsiveness and to achieve its business-level strategy is very important.
-The SWOT analysis will have provided you with information on the company’s functional competencies.
– You should particularly investigate its production, marketing, or research and development strategy to gain a picture of the functional competencies of the company and to know where the company is going. (For example, pursuing a low-cost or a differentiation strategy successfully requires a very different set of competencies. Has the company developed the right ones? If it has, how can it exploit them further? Can it pursue both a low-cost and a differentiation strategy simultaneously?)
The SWOT analysis is especially important at this point if the industry analysis, particularly Porter’s model, has revealed the threats to the company from the environment. Can the company deal with these threats? How should it change its business-level strategy to counter them?
7.The company’s structure and control systems and how they match its strategy
The aim of this analysis is to identify what structure and control systems the company is using to implement its strategy and to evaluate whether that structure is the appropriate one for the company.
– Different corporate and business strategies require different structures. For example, does the company have the right level of vertical differentiation (for instance, does it have the appropriate number of levels in the hierarchy or decentralized control?) or horizontal differentiation (does it use a functional structure when it should be using a product structure?)?
– Similarly, is the company using the right integration or control systems to manage its operations?
-Are managers being appropriately rewarded?
-Are the right rewards in place for encouraging cooperation among divisions?
-All the above are all issues that should be considered. Obviously you should gear the analysis toward its most salient issues. (For example, organizational conflict, power, and politics will be important issues for some companies. Try to analyze why problems in these areas are occurring. Do they occur because of bad strategy formulation or because of bad strategy implementation?)
8. Recommendations
The last part of the case analysis process involves making recommendations based on your analysis
-Recommendations are directed at solving whatever strategic problem the company is facing and at increasing its future profitability.
-Your recommendations should be in line with your analysis; that is, they should follow logically from the previous discussion. For example, your recommendation generally will center on the specific ways of changing functional, business, and corporate strategy and organizational structure and control to improve business performance.
– The set of recommendations will be specific to each case, and so it is difficult to discuss these recommendations here.
– Such recommendations might include an increase in spending on specific research and development projects, the divesting of certain businesses, a change from a strategy of unrelated to related diversification, an increase in the level of integration among divisions by using task forces and teams, or a move to a different kind of structure to implement a new business-level strategy
Again, make sure your recommendations are mutually consistent and are written in the form of an action plan.
– The plan might contain a timetable that sequences the actions for changing the company’s strategy and a description of how changes at the corporate level will necessitate changes at the business level and subsequently at the functional level.
-After following all these stages, you will have performed a thorough analysis of the case and will be in a position to join in class discussion or present your ideas to the class, depending on the format used by your professor.
-Remember that you must tailor your analysis to suit the specific issue discussed in your case.
– In some cases, you might completely omit one of the steps in the analysis because it is not relevant to the situation you are considering.
– You must be sensitive to the needs of the case and not apply the framework discussed in this section blindly. The framework is meant only as a guide and not as an outline that you must use to do a successful analysis
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