Strategic management an ongoing process that assesses business

To carry out my assignment I have use my own work place as a case study. Cranberry limited is the name of my company which is established in 1998. It is one of the rapidly growing retail store famous for selling dry fruits, nuts and chocolate. Its main operation is in central London however, it has around twelve stores all over the UK. I am manager in London Bridge station branch.

AC 1:1Strategic Management is all about identification and description of the strategies that managers can carry so as to achieve better performance and a competitive advantage for their organization. An organization is said to have competitive advantage if its profitability is higher than the average profitability for all companies in its industry.

Strategic management is an ‘ongoing process that assesses the business and the industries in which the company is involved; assesses its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reassesses each strategy annually or quarterly [i.e. regularly] to determine how it has been implemented and whether it has succeeded or needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic environment., or a new social, financial, or political environment’ (Lamb, 1984)

Strategic management can also be defined as a bundle of decisions and acts which a manager undertakes and which decides the result of the firm’s performance. The manager must have a thorough knowledge and analysis of the general and competitive organizational environment so as to take right decisions. They should conduct a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), i.e., they should make best possible utilization of strengths, minimize the organizational weaknesses, make use of arising opportunities from the business environment and shouldn’t ignore the threats. Strategic management is nothing but planning for both predictable as well as unfeasible contingencies.

Strategic Management is a way in which strategists set the objectives and proceed about attaining them. It deals with making and implementing decisions about future direction of an organization. It helps us to identify the direction in which an organization is moving.

(Sources: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/strategic-management.htm)

On the other hand Strategic leadership refers to a manger’s potential to express a strategic vision for the organization, or a part of the organization, and to motivate and persuade others to acquire that vision. Strategic leadership can also be defined as utilizing strategy in the management of employees. It is the potential to influence organizational members and to execute organizational change. Strategic leaders create organizational structure, allocate resources and express strategic vision. Strategic leaders work in an ambiguous environment on very difficult issues that influence and are influenced by occasions and organizations external to their own.

The main objective of strategic leadership is strategic productivity. Another aim of strategic leadership is to develop an environment in which employees forecast the organization’s needs in context of their own job. Strategic leaders encourage the employees in an organization to follow their own ideas. Strategic leaders make greater use of reward and incentive system for encouraging productive and quality employees to show much better performance for their organization. Functional strategic leadership is about inventiveness, perception, and planning to assist an individual in realizing his objectives and goals. (Sources: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/strategic-management.htm)

AC1.2: There is a huge impact of management and leadership style on strategic decision. Before discussing the impact I wanted briefly to discuss the management style and strategic decision.

Management or leadership style is the approach and conduct of presenting direction, executing plans, and motivating people. There are some management style can be found in different books but three most talked about management styles are Democratic management style, Autocratic management style and Laissez faire management style. It is important to select the correct form of management style to lead to a bigger motivation and productivity from the staff. Adopting a management style as not easy as it being picking, it depends upon the personality and character of the manager as well. As an example we may say an apprehensive manager may not be comfortable to become an autocratic manager.

Democratic management style: This style of leadership includes the employee in the decision making process. However, the final decision comes from the leader by his decision making authority. Practising democratic leadership does not mean the sign of the weakness of the leader rather it is a sign of strength that the employees respect the leader. This type of leadership more effective when the manager hold some portion of the information and the employees hold some portion of the information. It is not necessary that a leader always hold the whole information. Even if the manager have whole part of the information but disusing it with the employee may open some new wing or idea which can be more beneficial for the organisation. In this process the team of employees work as a whole team which might be good for the organisation and it leads employee to take more responsibility.

Autocratic Management Style: An autocratic manager dictates the order to their subordinate staff to carry out the task and makes decision without consulting any of his employees. In this style of management the leader like to control the situation in which they are in. The good things of this style are the decision comes promptly and task completed on time. However this type of management style can decrease motivation and increase staff turnover because staff are not consulted and do not feel valued. (Source: http://www.learnmanagement2.com/leadership%20styles.htm)

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Laissez Faire Management style: in laissez faire management style the manager sets the tasks and gives staff complete freedom to complete the task as they see fit. The involvement of the manager with the task is less in this style. Though the involvement of the manager is less it does not mean that he just watch the work. The manager is available to give them the coach or any information if they required to finish the task. There are benefits; staff again are developed to take responsibility which may lead to improved motivation. However with little direct guidance from the manager staff may begin to feel lost and not reach the goals originally set within the time frame. (Source: http://www.learnmanagement2.com)

Strategic decision: Strategic decisions are the decisions that are concerned with whole environment in which the firm operates, the entire resources and the people who form the company and the interface between the two. Strategic decisions have major resource propositions for an organization. These decisions may be concerned with possessing new resources, organizing others or reallocating others. Strategic decisions deal with harmonizing organizational resource capabilities with the threats and opportunities it deals with the range of organizational activities. Strategic decisions are at the top most level, are uncertain as they deal with the future, and involve a lot of risk. Strategic decisions are different from administrative and operational decisions.. (Source: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/strategic-decisions.htm)

As I said earlier that the style of management and leadership has a significant impact on strategic decision. An organisation’s success depends on the successful implementation of the strategic decision. And the successful implementation of the strategic decision depends on the strategic management or leadership. In Cranberry Ltd where I was working as a manager and following the democratic style of leadership as a result the employee were feeling more valuable and they were giving more effort to the tusk to be carried out.

AC 1.3: In modern time the competition of the business has been increased. The world is changing frequently and along with the world the business situation and the environment is changing as well. I believe in this rapidly changing world and in business environment the different leadership style should be adopted to meet the different kinds of situations. If the leadership style does not change with the need of the changing environment then it might be difficult for the organisation to be succeeded. There are some specific reasons how the leadership style can be adopted in different situation.

Why a leadership style can be adopted some time depends of the structure of the organisation. As we know that some business tends to be large and have a narrow span of authority. In this type of organisation there are many layers of the employee and the decision making is more centralised. Which means the management is more likely to be autocratic as a result the workers have no control on the decision making they just follow the decision. And this is much easier to control the big work force. If the management style is not autocratic in this situation then the business must be disordered the main objective of the business might be incomplete. In contrast with the autocratic style the small group of employee can be managed by a democratic way. As they are a small group there is less chance of disorder and the information the staffs are acquiring is easier to collect and to implement it in the action.

The adaptation of the leadership style can be depend on the type of the employee. If the employees are highly qualified and skilled and if they are confident enough then they may go on there on to finish the task. Laissez-faire style of leadership is more likely to be used in this situation as those employees don’t need too many instructions. All they need is a good condition of work and the freedom of work to finish the task. It has some negative impact as well some time it causes a bad productivity and motivation.

Again the nature of the task may require the different style of the leadership. Such as if a task need a quicker decision and if it needs an immediate result then the autocratic style of leadership may be needed. Always time to complete the task is a vital issue to determine the style of management.

Moreover some management style depends upon the character of the group of employee. If one group of employee is responsible and proactive then the democratic style of management can be followed on the other hand if the group of employee is lazy or money focused rather than carry out the company’s objectives may be monitored by the manager all time in an autocratic style.

AC2.1: Strategy is a well defined roadmap of an organization. It defines the overall mission, vision and direction of an organization. The objective of a strategy is to maximize an organization’s strengths and to minimize the strengths of the competitors.

Strategy, in short, bridges the gap between “where we are” and “where we want to be”.

Now a days it has been very much important to make a high performance work force to carry out the organisational objective. To do so the business leaders are inspiring there staff to go beyond their task requirement. As a result of the demand some new concept of leadership has been emerged which are as follows

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Transformational leadership style: Transformational leaders are visionary, inspiring, daring, risk-takers, and thoughtful thinkers. This type of leadership may be found at all levels of the organization.

To carry out the significant changes, transformational leaders must demonstrate the following factors:

* Inspirational Motivation: The foundation of transformational leadership is the promotion of consistent vision, mission, and a set of values to the members. Their vision is so compelling that they know what they want from every interaction. Transformational leaders guide followers by providing them with a sense of meaning and challenge. They work enthusiastically and optimistically to foster the spirit of teamwork and commitment.

* Intellectual Stimulation: Such leaders encourage their followers to be innovative and creative. They encourage new ideas from their followers and never criticize them publicly for the mistakes committed by them. The leaders focus on the “what” in problems and do not focus on the blaming part of it. They have no hesitation in discarding an old practice set by them if it is found ineffective.

* Idealized Influence: They believe in the philosophy that a leader can influence followers only when he practices what he speaks. The leaders act as role models that followers seek to emulate. Such leaders always win the trust and respect of their followers through their action. They typically place their followers needs over their own, sacrifice their personal gains for them, and demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct. The use of power by such leaders is aimed at influencing them to strive for the common goals of the organization.

* Individualized Consideration: Leaders act as mentors to their followers and reward them for creativity and innovation. The followers are treated differently according to their talents and knowledge. They are empowered to make decisions and are always provided with the needed support to implement their decisions.

Impact of Transformational Leadership Theory on organisational strategy: The current environment characterized by uncertainty, global turbulence, and organizational instability calls for transformational leadership to prevail at all levels of the organization. The followers of such leaders demonstrate high levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and engage in organizational citizenship behaviours. With such a devoted workforce, it will definitely be useful to consider making efforts towards developing ways of transforming organization through leadership. (Source:http://www.managementstudyguide.com/transformational-leadership.htm)

The transactional style of leadership: The transactional style of leadership was first described by Max Weber in 1947 and then by Bernard Bass in 1981. This style is most often used by the managers. It focuses on the basic management process of controlling, organizing, and short-term planning.

Transactional leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily through appealing to their own self-interest. The power of transactional leaders comes from their formal authority and responsibility in the organization. The main goal of the follower is to obey the instructions of the leader. The style can also be mentioned as a ‘telling style’.

The leader believes in motivating through a system of rewards and punishment. If a subordinate does what is desired, a reward will follow, and if he does not go as per the wishes of the leader, a punishment will follow. Here, the exchange between leader and follower takes place to achieve routine performance goals.

The transactional leaders overemphasize detailed and short-term goals, and standard rules and procedures. They do not make an effort to enhance followers’ creativity and generation of new ideas. This kind of a leadership style may work well where the organizational problems are simple and clearly defined. Such leaders tend to not reward or ignore ideas that do not fit with existing plans and goals.

Impact of transactional style on the organisational strategy: The transactional leaders are found to be quite effective in guiding efficiency decisions which are aimed at cutting costs and improving productivity. The transactional leaders tend to be highly directive and action oriented and their relationship with the followers tends to be transitory and not based on emotional bonds.

The theory assumes that subordinates can be motivated by simple rewards. The only ‘transaction’ between the leader and the followers is the money which the followers receive for their compliance and effort.

Charismatic Leadership: A Charismatic leader is one who provides an environment full of energy and positive reinforcement. If someone is naturally charismatic is very fortunate! This is a characteristic that is not so easily learned.

Charismatic leaders inspire others and encourage them to be their best. Employees and group members want to impress a charismatic leader, so they work hard and endeavour to succeed. In this style group members may view success in relation to their leaders. A major problem through charismatic leadership is that group success tends to centre on the leader. The charismatic leader is the bond that holds a group together. So if the leader need to step down or transfer normally, the group dynamic will fizz and individual members will lose enthusiasm.

Impact of Charismatic leadership style on the organisational strategy: Charismatic leadership is great for short-term projects. As long as you are working on a task that can be completed in a semester, you don’t have to worry so much about your group falling apart with the loss of leadership.

Charismatic leaders are great for projects that require energy and talent. Drama assignments, writing assignments, sports-related tasks, art projects-these activities could be very successful when led by a charismatic person.

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Can charisma be learned? Charisma is a special quality that people possess that serves as a magnet, of sorts, but it is really made up of many traits. One of the most important element is self-confidence. People who appear confident instill confidence in those around them. Another element of charisma is great communication ability-and that starts with a strong and effective vocabulary. (Source: http://homeworktips.about.com/od/studymethods/ss/leadership_4.htm)

ContingencyTheory: Fred E. Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership effectiveness was based on studies of a wide range of group effectiveness, and concentrated on the relationship between leadership and organizational performance. This is one of the earliest situation-contingent leadership theories given by Fiedler. According to him, if an organization attempts to achieve group effectiveness through leadership, then there is a need to assess the leader according to an underlying trait, assess the situation faced by the leader, and construct a proper match between the two.

Leader’s trait

In order to assess the attitudes of the leader, Fiedler developed the ‘least preferred co-worker’ (LPC) scale in which the leaders are asked about the person with whom they least like to work. The scale is a questionnaire consisting of 16 items used to reflect a leader’s underlying disposition toward others. The items in the LPC scale are pleasant / unpleasant, friendly / unfriendly, rejecting / accepting, unenthusiastic / enthusiastic, tense / relaxed, cold / warm,

Friendly

Unfriendly

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Fiedler states that leaders with high LPC scores are relationship-oriented and the ones with low scores are task-oriented. The high LPC score leaders derived most satisfaction from interpersonal relationships and therefore evaluate their least preferred co-workers in fairly favorable terms. These leaders think about the task accomplishment only after the relationship need is well satisfied. On the other hand, the low LPC score leaders derived satisfaction from performance of the task and attainment of objectives and only after tasks have been accomplished, these leaders work on establishing good social and interpersonal relationships.

According to Fiedler, a leader’s behavior is dependent upon the favorability of the leadership situation. Three factors work together to determine how favorable a situation is to a leader. These are:

Leader-member relations – The degree to which the leaders is trusted and liked by the group members, and the willingness of the group members to follow the leader’s guidance

Task structure – The degree to which the group’s task has been described as structured or unstructured, has been clearly defined and the extent to which it can be carried out by detailed instructions

Position power – The power of the leader by virtue of the organizational position and the degree to which the leader can exercise authority on group members in order to comply with and accept his direction and leadership

With the help of these three variables, eight combinations of group-task situations were constructed by Fiedler. These combinations were used to identify the style of the leader.

The leader’s effectiveness is determined by the interaction of the leader’s style of behaviour and the favourableness of the situational characteristics. The most favourable situation is when leader-member relations are good, the task is highly structured, and the leader has a strong position power.

Research on the contingency model has shown that task-oriented leaders are more effective in highly favourable (1, 2, 3) and highly unfavourable situation (7, 8), whereas relationship-oriented leaders are more effective in situations of intermediate favourableness (4, 5, 6).

Fiedler also suggested that leaders may act differently in different situations. Relationship-oriented leaders generally display task-oriented behaviours under highly favourable situations and display relationship-oriented behaviours under unfavourable intermediate favourable situations. Similarly, task-oriented leaders frequently display task-oriented in unfavourable or intermediate favourable situations but display relationship-oriented behaviours in favourable situations. (Source: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/fisedlers-contingency-model.htm)

AC 2.2: Currently I am working in Cranberry limited as a manager. The main strategy of this organisation is to become the biggest company in the dry fruit and nut retail section. As a manager of a store of this company I need to follow some leadership style. The company is very much customer focused and quality oriented. We never compromise with these two main issues. Under my supervision 12 employee working to carry out the task to main the good pace of the direction of the company.

I personally like to follow Transformational leadership style in my organisation. Among the team in my store I have four supervisors to work in different shifts. As a transformational leader I have a good visionary ability. I am very much courageous and confident to take any risk. I can plan well forward to maintain a good progress of the objective of the company and I always inspire all of my staff. Along with this transformational style I also believe in democratic style of leadership. I give enough room to may staff to explain there opinion in different issues. Some time there opinion becomes accepted and they feel good. In this way they become more attached to the shop and to the company. I also inspire my supervisor to follow the transformational leadership style when I am out of my work. I some time give them reward on completing on some certain task.

I never ask them to do which is illogical or what I don’t do. I believe in the theory that whatever I don’t like or don’t do my staff should not do as well. I always welcome there idea and I appreciate this though some time this idea becomes unfruitful. I try to make equality among them on the basis on their performance and innovation.


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