Strategic management

Strategic management

This will be the main research project for the course, and this project entails developing a strategic plan for a firm. Either pick a large firm that is publically traded and for which plenty of data is available, or pick a small firm in which you can obtain the necessary data (note that financial data will be needed for this project). Note that you cannot do the strategic plan for the same firm as your group case analysis.

The strategic plan should include the following sections:


  • An introduction to the firm, including the history of the firm.
  • Discuss corporate governance (board of directors) and the top management team (job descriptions, background, tenure, etc.).
  • Discuss the organization’s mission. Sometimes instead of having a mission statement, a firm will have a statement of purpose and/or statement of values. Also discuss whether the mission statement (or equivalent statement) reflects, in your informed opinion, the real mission of the organization.
  • Discuss the firm’s financial performance over time. In addition to net income or growth, look at metrics such as ROA and net profit margin and see how these compare to industry peers.

External Analysis

Internal Analysis

  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses the firm has. When discussing strengths, make sure to incorporate the resource-based view by discussing if these strengths (resources/capabilities) that the firm has are valuable, rare, and hard to imitate and thus may be a source of a sustained competitive advantage.
  • Based on this analysis and how the firm has performed compared to industry competitors, discuss whether the firm has a sustained competitive disadvantage, a temporary competitive disadvantage, is at competitive parity, has a temporary competitive advantage, or a sustained competitive advantage.

Current Strategies

  • Discuss the corporate-level strategies (vertical integration, diversification, mergers and acquisitions, international strategies).
  • Discuss the business-level strategies (cost leadership, differentiation, flexibility, tacit collusion, strategic alliances) of the firm.
  • Discuss the following functional-level strategies that support the firm’s business-level strategies:

o   R&D/Product Development Strategies: Discuss the resources invested in product development as well as the process the firm uses for developing new products.

o   Operational Strategies: Discuss the firm’s operations, focusing on how the firm produces the products/services that it does.

o   Marketing Strategies: Discuss the firm’s target markets for their products/services, as well as the marketing mix– product, price, place/distribution, promotion.

o   Financial Strategies: Discuss the firm’s cost structure (importance of fixed vs variable costs), capital structure (use of debt verses equity), what major assets the firm has, and how the firm uses financial instruments to manage risk (such as options/hedging).

o   Human Resource Strategies: Discuss how the firm hires and recruits employees, how employees are compensated, rewarded, and trained.

o   Information Technology Strategies: Discuss what type of information technology is used by the firm (such as propriety built in-house verses supplied from outside vendors) and how the firm uses this technology to support its business-level strategies.

Strategic Alternatives

  • Develop some major feasible strategies for the firm. These should include corporate-level strategies (vertical integration, diversification, mergers and acquisitions, international strategies), business-level strategies (cost leadership, differentiation, flexibility, tacit collusion, and strategic alliances) and functional-level strategies of the firm.

Recommended Strategies

  • Specify which of the strategic alternatives you recommend the firm implement. Provide justification for this decision.
  • Specify which of the strategic alternatives you would not recommend the firm implement. Provide justification for this decision.
  • Discuss to what degree the recommended strategies are consistent with the firm’s view of ethics and social responsibility. Also discuss from your point of view, how the recommended strategies are consistent (or not) with your own view of what ethical obligations and social responsibility firms have.

Implementation & Control Mechanisms

  • Discuss how the recommended strategies will be implemented, focusing on how they would be funded, and any changes that would need to be made in order to successfully implement each recommended strategy.
  • Discuss how the firm would evaluate the performance of the new strategies proposed, focusing on any control mechanisms that would need to be put in place.

Note that this is a research project. Outside sources should be used. All sources should be cited in the text (either with parentheses or with an endnote) where used. Full reference for all sources should be included at the end of the paper. Citations and references should follow APA format. Failure to include citations and references could result in a grade of “F” on this assignment.


Answer preview

This is a strategic plan for Amazon, the largest eCommerce company in the world, with a market cap of 1 trillion. Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 as an online site to sell books, has expanded to be a powerful, respected, and feared company by competitors. Amazon’s primary strength is its brand name, which is constructed through customer obsession, diversification, and cost leadership. The major company weakness is minimal penetration in the international market with an overreliance on the North American market. The eCommerce industry has low switching costs, and hence customers can easily assess value from different competitors without a significant loss.  Amazon’s primary corporate strategy is moderate diversification and vertical integration. International strategy is underexplored and presents an opportunity for sustainable competitive advantage (Barney, 2014). For business strategy, the main focus is cost leadership, which creates a competitive advantage. This strategic plan…


(8300 words)