You are here:

Managing a Business/business policy and strategic managment


"Respected sir,
Please do needful help

1.Explain the
components of portfolio analysis.?
2.Describe the steps in strategic evaluation and
control process do cultural values affect managerial effectiveness?
4.explain various dimensions in corporate image ?
5.explain impact of technology in organisation success?

Question:   "Respected sir,
Please do needful help

1.Explain the
components of portfolio analysis.?

Basic concepts and components for portfolio management
Now that we understand some of the basic dynamics and inherent challenges organizations face in executing a business strategy via supporting initiatives, let's look at some basic concepts and components of portfolio management practices.
The portfolio
First, a portfolio is:
... one of a number of mechanisms, constructed to actualize significant elements in the Enterprise Business Strategy.

It contains a selected, approved, and continuously evolving, collection of Initiatives which are aligned with the organizing element of the Portfolio, and, which contribute to the achievement of goals or goal components identified in the Enterprise Business Strategy.
The basis for constructing a portfolio should reflect the enterprise's particular needs. For example, you might choose to build a portfolio around initiatives for a specific product, business segment, or separate business unit within a multinational organization.
The portfolio structure
As we noted earlier, a portfolio structure identifies and contains a number of portfolios. This structure, like the portfolios within it, should align with significant planning and results boundaries, and with business components. If you have a product-oriented portfolio structure, for example, then you would have a separate portfolio for each major product or product group. Each portfolio would contain all the initiatives that help that particular product or product group contribute to the success of the enterprise business strategy.
The portfolio manager
This is a new role for organizations that embrace a portfolio management approach. A portfolio manager is responsible for continuing oversight of the contents within a portfolio. If you have several portfolios within your portfolio structure, then you will likely need a portfolio manager for each one. The exact range of responsibilities (and authority) will vary from one organization to another,1 but the basics are as follows:
•   One portfolio manager oversees one portfolio.
•   The portfolio manager provides day-to-day oversight.
•   The portfolio manager periodically reviews the performance of, and conformance to expectations for, initiatives within the portfolio.
•   The portfolio manager ensures that data is collected and analyzed about each of the initiatives in the portfolio.
•   The portfolio manager enables periodic decision making about the future direction of individual initiatives.
Portfolio reviews and decision making
As initiatives are executed, the organization should conduct periodic reviews of actual (versus planned) performance and conformance to original expectations.
Typically, organization managers specify the frequency and contents for these periodic reviews, and individual portfolio managers oversee their planning and execution. The reviews should be multi-dimensional, including both tactical elements (e.g., adherence to plan, budget, and resource allocation) and strategic elements (e.g., support for business strategy goals and delivery of expected organizational benefits).
A significant aspect of oversight is setting multiple decision points for each initiative, so that managers can periodically evaluate data and decide whether to continue the work. These "continue/change/discontinue" decisions should be driven by an understanding (developed via the periodic reviews) of a given initiative's continuing value, expected benefits, and strategic contribution. Making these decisions at multiple points in the initiative's lifecycle helps to ensure that managers will continually examine and assess changing internal and external circumstances, needs, and performance.
Implementing portfolio management practices in an organization is a transformation effort that typically involves developing new capabilities to address new work efforts, defining (and filling) new roles to identify portfolios (collections of work to be done), and delineating boundaries among work efforts and collections.
Implementing portfolio management also requires creating a structure to provide planning, continuing direction, and oversight and control for all portfolios and the initiatives they encompass. That is where the notion of governance comes into play. The IBM view of governance is:
An abstract, collective term that defines and contains a framework for organization, exercise of control and oversight, and decision-making authority, and within which actions and activities are legitimately and properly executed; together with the definition of the functions, the roles, and the responsibilities of those who exercise this oversight and decision-making.
Portfolio management governance involves multiple dimensions, including:
•   Defining and maintaining an enterprise business strategy.
•   Defining and maintaining a portfolio structure containing all of the organization's initiatives (programs, projects, etc.).
•   Reviewing and approving business cases that propose the creation of new initiatives.
•   Providing oversight, control, and decision-making for all ongoing initiatives.
•   Ownership of portfolios and their contents.
Each of these dimensions requires an owner -- either an individual or a collective -- to develop and approve plans, continuously adjust direction, and exercise control through periodic assessment and review of conformance to expectations.
A good governance structure decomposes both the types of work and the authority to plan and oversee work. It defines individual and collective roles, and links them to an authority scheme. Policies that are collectively developed and agreed upon provide a framework for the exercise of governance.
The complexities of governance structures extend well beyond the scope of this article. Many organizations turn to experts for help in this area because it is so critical to the success of any business transformation effort that encompasses portfolio management. For now, suffice it to say that it is worth investing time and effort to create a sound and flexible governance structure before you attempt to implement portfolio management practices.
Portfolio management essentials
Every practical discipline is based on a collection of fundamental concepts that people have identified and proven (and sometimes refined or discarded) through continuous application. These concepts are useful until they become obsolete, supplanted by newer and more effective ideas.
For example, in Roman times, engineers discovered that if the upstream supports of a bridge were shaped to offer little resistance to the current of a stream or river, they would last longer. They applied this principle all across the Roman Empire. Then, in the Middle Ages, engineers discovered that such supports would last even longer if their downstream side was also shaped to offer little resistance to the current. So that became the new standard for bridge construction.
Portfolio management, like bridge-building, is a discipline, and a number of authors and practitioners have documented fundamental ideas about its exercise. Recently, based on our experiences with clients who have implemented portfolio management practices and on our research into the discipline, we have started to shape an IBM view of fundamental ideas around portfolio management. We are beginning to express this view as a collection of "essentials" that are, in turn, grouped around a small collection of portfolio management themes.
For example, one of these themes is initiative value contribution. It suggests that the value of an initiative (i.e., a program or project) should be estimated and approved in order to start work, and then assessed periodically on the basis of the initiative's contribution to the goals and goal components in the enterprise business strategy. These assessments determine (in part) whether the initiative warrants continued support.
This theme encompasses the notion that initiative value changes over time. When an initiative is in the proposal stage, it is possible to quantify an anticipated value contribution. On this basis (in part) the proposed initiative becomes an approved initiative. But what about an initiative that is a large program effort, with a two-year duration? It is highly unlikely that the program's expected value will remain static during the entire two-year period, so continuous value monitoring is necessary. From this, we can derive an essential statement:
Initiative value changes and requires continuous monitoring over the life of the initiative.

############## do cultural values affect managerial effectiveness?

Effective use of cross cultural teams can provide a source of experience and innovative thinking to enhance the competitive position of organizations. However, cultural differences can interfere with the successful completion of projects in today’s multicultural global business community. To achieve project goals and avoid cultural misunderstandings, managers should be culturally sensitive and promote creativity and motivation through flexible leadership. This paper describes the most well known and accepted cross cultural management theories. These theories consider relations between people, motivational orientation, orientation toward risk, definition of self and others, attitudes to time, and attitudes to the environment. We discuss motivation and training of multicultural project teams and relevant implications for project management.


Managers in today’s multicultural global business community frequently encounter cultural differences, which can interfere with the successful completion of projects. This paper describes the most well-known and accepted theories of cultural differences and illustrates them with examples from international project management. Two leading studies of cross-cultural management have been conducted by Geert Hofstede [1] and Fons Trompenaars [2]. Both approaches propose a set of cultural dimensions along which dominant value systems can be ordered. These value systems affect human thinking, feeling, and acting, and the behavior of organizations and institutions in predictable ways. The two sets of dimensions reflect basic problems that any society has to cope with but for which solutions differ. They are similar in some respects and different in others. The dimensions can be grouped into several categories:

1) Relations between people. Two main cultural differences have been identified. Hofstede distinguishes between individualism and collectivism. Trompenaars breaks down this distinction into two dimensions:  universalism versus particularism and individualism versus communitarianism.

2) Motivational orientation. Societies choose ways to cope with the inherent uncertainty of living. In this category Hofstede identifies three dimensions: masculinity versus femininity, amount of uncertainty avoidance, and power distance.

3) Attitudes toward time. Hofstede distinguishes between a long-term versus a short-term orientation. Trompenaars identifies two dimensions: sequential versus synchronic and inner versus outer time.

Two additional categories called socio-cultural dimensions were proposed .: paternalism and fatalism [3]. In a paternalistic relationship, the role of the superior is to provide guidance, protection, nurturing and care to the subordinate, and the role of the subordinate, in return, is to be loyal and deferential to the superior. Fatalism is the belief that it is not possible to fully control the outcomes of one’s actions and, therefore, trying too hard to achieve something and making long-term plans are not worthwhile exercises.

In what follows we provide a brief description of the most relevant dimensions and consider some cultural problems that might arise when managing an international project.

Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The basic problem involved is the degree of human inequality that underlies the functioning of each particular society. In Hofstede’s research, power distance is measured in a Power Distance Index (PDI). The values and attitudes found at the national level contrast “low-PDI countries” with “high-PDI countries”, with some countries placed in between. High PDI countries include Malaysia and Mexico. Low PDI countries include Austria and Denmark.

Uncertainty avoidance refers to the extent to which a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, and different from usual. The basic problem involved is the degree to which a society tries to control the uncontrollable. The countries from Hofstede’s study were each given a score on Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). UAI was derived from country mean scores on questions dealing with rule orientation, employment stability, and stress. Hofstede’s research has found UAI values for 50 countries and three regions. The countries rank from Greece, Portugal, and Guatemala (highest UAI) to Singapore, Jamaica, and Denmark (lowest UAI).

Individualism, versus its opposite, collectivism, is the degree to which individuals are supposed to look after themselves or remain integrated into groups, usually around the family. Positioning itself between these poles is a very basic problem all societies face. A concise definition is: “Individualism stands for a society in which the ties between individuals are loose: Everyone is expected to look after him/herself and her/his immediate family only. Collectivism stands for a society in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty” [4]. National differences in Individualism are calculated in an Individualism Index (IDV). The highest IDV scores were found in the United States, Australia, and Great Britain. The lowest IDV scores were found in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Panama.

Masculinity versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of emotional roles between the genders, which is another fundamental problem for any society. This distinction opposes “tough” masculine and “tender” feminine societies. The duality of the sexes is a fundamental fact with which different societies cope in different ways. Surveys on the importance of work goals show that almost universally women attach more importance to social goals such as relationships, helping others, and the physical environment, and men attach more importance to ego goals such as careers and money. However, Hofstede’s data revealed that the importance respondents attached to such “feminine” versus “masculine” work varied across countries as well as across occupations. Masculinity stands for a society in which gender roles are clearly distinct. Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success. Women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. Femininity stands for a society in which gender roles overlap. Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. Because the respondents were mostly men, Hofstede suggested calling this dimension the Masculinity Index (MAS). The list of countries in order of MAS (high gender roles distinction at work) shows Japan at the top. German-speaking countries (Austria, Switzerland, and Germany) scored high; so did the Caribbean Latin American countries Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia, and Italy. The Anglo countries (Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) all scored above average. Asian countries, other than Japan, were in the middle. The feminine side (low gender roles distinction at work) includes other Latin countries (France, Spain, Salvador, etc.). At the extreme “feminine” pole were the Nordic countries including Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Low MAS countries are characterized by cooperation at work and a good relationship with the boss, belief in group decisions, promotion by merit, lower job stress, and preference for smaller companies. High MAS countries are characterized by challenge and recognition in jobs, belief in individual decisions, higher job stress, and preference for large corporations.

Long-term versus short-term orientation refers to the extent to which a culture programs its members to accept delayed gratification of their material, social, and emotional needs. Hofstede’s research shows country scores on a Long-term Orientation Index (LTO) for 23 countries. East Asian countries (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea) scored highest. Western countries were on the low side, and some developing countries (Zimbabwe, Philippines, Nigeria, and Pakistan) scored lowest. So this dimension does not oppose East and West; it divides the world along new lines. Business people in long-term oriented cultures are accustomed to working toward building strong positions in their markets and do not expect immediate results. Managers (often family members) are allowed time and resources to make their own contributions. In short-term oriented cultures the “bottom line” (the results of the past month, quarter, or year) is a major concern; control systems are focused on it and managers are constantly judged by it. This state of affairs is supported by arguments that are assumed to be rational, but the cultural distinction reminds us of the fact that this entire rationality rests on cultural – that is, pre-rational – choices.

From these results, implications for the applicability of project management methods are elaborated.


Traditional projects, as national projects, may be affected by personality conflicts. Cultural differences among project team members may create additional misunderstanding throughout the project life cycle. The impact of cultural factors such as language barriers, time differences, and socio-economic, political, and religious diversity may result in a normative pattern prescribing a range of permissible actions so as to encourage self-interest.

Motivating project team members may encounter significant barriers in multi-cultural project communications. The context of international projects includes cultural diversity, where participants are continuously learning. This fact influences training and educational approaches and has an impact on attitudes toward the use of technology, the amount of practice, reinforcement, and level of interaction with the instructor to which learners from other educational systems are accustomed.


Cultural patterns at work reflect cultural patterns in the wider society. Project managers share the cultures of their society and of their organization with their project teams. For instance, project management techniques and training packages have been developed almost exclusively in individualist countries, first of all in the USA, and are based on cultural assumptions that may not hold in collectivist cultures. For instance, the ability to communicate “bad news” and to manage performance are considered key skills for a successful project manager. However, in managing international projects involving partners from collectivist societies, one has to bear in mind that discussing a person’s performance or abilities openly with him or her is likely to clash head-on with the society’s harmony norm and may be felt by the subordinate as an unacceptable loss of face. Such societies have more subtle, indirect ways of communicating feedback, such as through the withdrawal of a normal favor or verbally via a mutually trusted intermediary.

In collectivist/particularistic/communitarian cultures greater attention is also given to the obligations of relationships and to unique circumstances. Friendship has special obligations and hence may come first. Accordingly, less attention is given to abstract legal codes. In individualist/universalist cultures, the law and social norms may take precedence over friendships. The key concept of guanxi in Asian business is by now known worldwide. It refers to personal connections; it links the family sphere to the business sphere. Having a personal network of acquaintances is extremely important in these societies. This is an evident consequence of collectivism (relationships before task), but it also contributes to a long-term orientation and paternalism. One’s capital of guanxi lasts a lifetime, and one would not want to destroy it for short-term, bottom-line reasons .

4.explain various dimensions in corporate image

Mental picture that springs up at the mention of a firm's name. It is a composite psychological impression that continually changes with the firm's circumstances, media coverage, performance, pronouncements, etc. Similar to a firm's reputation or goodwill, it is the public perception of the firm rather than a reflection of its actual state or position. Unlike corporate identity, it is fluid and can change overnight from positive to negative to neutral. Large firms use various corporate advertising techniques to enhance their image in order to improve their desirability as a supplier, employer, customer, borrower, etc. The image of Apple computer, for example, as a successful business has dimmed and brightened several times in the last 30 years. But  its identity (conveyed by its name and multicolored bitten-off-apple logo) as an innovative and pathbreaking firm has survived almost intact during the same period.

Corporate Image

What is it: A customized, strategic diagnostic tool that assesses, measures and monitors the impact of internal and external measures on an organization’s image, reputation, brand performance and bottom line.

How does it work: Corporate Image and Reputation (CIR) identifies those elements which are critical in creating perceptions, identifying areas of the pie that play a larger role in creating or reinforcing the image or reputation that is consistent with the client’s objectives. Clients will find out what activities, messages or behaviours are most effective in maximizing positive perceptions and building trust and credibility. Ongoing tracking provides continuous feedback.

Who can benefit: Companies who want to be recognized as leaders in all aspects of running a successful enterprise. These are organizations who have or wish to take an integrated approach to corporate management and who want to take strategic control of all aspects of their internal and external image.

How can the tool help: CIR enables organizations to develop more effective strategies to manage its image and reputation holistically. It links “hard” measures such as strategic brand and financial performance with “softer” measures such as corporate citizenship and human resource leadership. CIR gives a very good indication of how these measures affect one another and where the areas of greater opportunity are for a particular organization.

What are some elements/measures:
•   Corporate Citizenship (community involvement, environmental concern, sponsorships and charitable work)
•   Human Resource Leadership (employment equity, diversity, ongoing human resource development and employee treatment)
•   Advertising and PR (brand equity, visual identity, spokespersons, key messages)
•   Product & Service Quality (product-related elements, customer focus, value)
•   Management Quality (ethics, business practices)
•   Financial Performance (investment value, profitability)
•   Market Leadership (innovation, global presence, diversity).

5.explain impact of technology in organisation success?

The ever-changing world of technology is making the world become smaller every day. Businesses and organizations are taking advantage of the advances in technology to improve their organizations. Technology’s influence reaches beyond improving relations within an organization to enhancing an organization’s ability to service its customers. But even more than that technology is influencing the shape of the organization itself. In order to realize the impact of technology on business organizations, the following module will focus on how organizations use technology within an organization (intranet, email), how organizations use technology to communicate with and service clients or customers, and finally how organizations are using the current technology to disseminate knowledge (train) both employees and customers.
How are businesses utilizing technology with their organizations?
Many businesses at the very least are taking advantage of the current technology to implement email systems. Email systems, in addition to traditional methods of communication including telephones, voice mail and face-to-face interactions are increasing the ease of communication between people in an organization. Through the use of email, people are able to send messages on a one-to-one basis, or to send broadcast messages to an entire organization, or to send messages to a specific group or department.
Email provides an alternative to the traditional face-to-face or telephone communication that is necessary in business. With the increased productivity and demands that accompany day-to-day operations, people are always looking for ways to do more in less time. A written message sent via email can be short concise and to the point, eliminating some of the small talk that would normally take place in a face-to-face or telephone interaction. Another advantage of email is that people are able to respond when it is convenient for them. In a society where time is of the essence, people are able to sort through messages and to prioritize which ones should be addressed first. Furthermore, some people prefer sending email messages instead of face-to-face interactions because they are more likely to be intimidated by face-to-face communication. Email gives those types of people the freedom and the opportunity to say exactly what is on their mind.
Electronic messaging systems are also a great asset to a manager in running his/her department. Managers are able to send out messages regarding everything from schedules to changes in departmental policy without having to call a meeting. Employees within the department are given the chance to give feedback without having to schedule an appointment or sending a long voice mail message. Setting up target groups for certain types of email transmissions, much like the reflectors used at UWM, also saves time and money. People are not spending time reading frivolous messages that do not apply to them, and are not spending as much time attending departmental meetings to decide policy issues.
Finally, email systems provide a way to send a message to a large number of people in a very short time. Electronic messaging is a much more practical option for mass distribution than telephone or face-to-face options. Although telephone systems do allow people to send broadcast messages, email seems more efficient when the amount of information to be dispersed is large.
Email systems also provide the opportunity for people in one organization to interact with people from another organization. The ability to communicate effectively and responsiveness to issues are two elements that are key to a successful business organization. Top executives from companies that have a business relationship are able to accommodate busy schedules by using email for correspondence.

Within organizations, electronic messaging systems are usually part of a bigger network. To manage the bigger network of an organization more and more businesses are developing intranetsOrganizations are likely to invest money in technology to create intranets for a variety of reasons. For example, many businesses use their intranets to centralize corporate communications. Companies will post documents for internal use in order to make them easily accessible and to ensure that they are current.
Intranets also give employees easy access to client product and organizational information. Instead of trying to track down information about clients from the sales and marketing departments, client information posted to an intranet is easily accessible to everyone. An intranet also gives users the option of reading it online or printing it out to be read at a later time. People are not forced to share a limited number of hard copies as they have been in the past.
Intranets also foster interaction between departments, which are normally isolated from each other. Online newsletters are one way to let people within an organization know what everyone else is doing. Many times people are so focused on their own work they tend to overlook opportunities to work with other departments in accomplishing their goals.
Another reason companies implement intranets is to provide training for their employees. Training using an intranet is far less expensive than sending individuals to class or even using a CD-ROM. Intranet training allows companies to update and modify information continuously and employees can participate in the intranet training during slow times, rather than having to take training given at a certain date and time regardless of how many hot projects are currently underway.
Intranets are about as diverse as the companies that choose to use them. Intranets vary in complexity from basic (providing company phone lists, forms, etc.) to very elaborate systems that include messaging components, quality and procedural information and forms, product information, and internet access. Implementing an intranet can be a major undertaking depending on the complexity of the system. One of the suggested readings, Intranet Planning Guide, discusses the detailed step-by step process of creating an intranet for a company. The reading includes development considerations, manpower considerations, and safety considerations.
Developing an intranet takes a lot of time and planning, even if the organization has highly qualified people for the implementation. The systems and services that are provided by the intranet must have support from everyone in the company from the executive committee to the new employees. Goal setting is another component of the development process. Defining both short and long term goals will help keep the project focused. Then the project team must determine what information and applications should be included on the company intranet.
Since the development of an intranet is a major undertaking, a lot of time and resources go into the implementation of an intranet. In addition to the webmaster who is usually responsible for the day-to-day updates of an intranet, companies need content producers, system administrators, programmers, and management support. Some companies choose to outsource the implementation of their intranet simply because they cannot afford to spare internal resources.
The issue of security is usually addressed during the development and implementation process. One of the safety features included in most intranets are firewalls, especially intranets that allow employees access to the internet. A firewall is a computer, router, or other communication device, which filters access to a protected network. Firewalls allow companies to protect their internal networks from unwarranted intrusion from the internet while providing employees access to the web and email. Firewalls can also be manipulated as an access control tool, only allowing certain people within an organization access to the internet. many firewalls now contain features to control, authenticate and secure users who may want to access a company’s internal data from the internet or even from another company. In addition to those organizations that are using firewalls to protect against internet intrusion, firewalls can also be used to protect mainframe or other central resources from general access within an organization. Firewalls may also be used to ensure confidentiality of information passing across public networks whether it is internally or externally. Therefore, certain hierarchies often present in an organization’s structure can be maintained through the use of firewalls.
Firewalls are established to protect a company that allows its employees to have access to the internet. Organizations can give a wide variety of reasons why they use the internet. The internet provides expanded marketing opportunities because it reaches business organizations all over the world. Organizations also use the internet to offer or sell their products and services. Companies spend a lot of time and money gathering information about the visitors to their websites. Not only are they interested in the number of people who reach their websites, companies also provide surveys to capture customers’ preferences. The internet can also be used as a source of obtaining the latest information on just about any subject. Companies are able to use the internet as a research tool. The following section examines what businesses are doing to use internet technologies to enhance their relationships with their customers.
How are organizations utilizing technology to improve communication and service to their clients/customers?
The new trend in business organizations is the use of extranets. While intranets are for internal company use, extranets are created for communicating business-related information to a particular vendor, distributor or customer (
. Companies are using extranets to improve their customer service. Customer account information and ordering opportunities are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the extranet. People who are busy juggling a career and family commitments are given an alternative to going to a store for shopping. Consumers are able to shop when it is convenient for them. Customers can also access real-time information about project status, costs and development. Vendors can also use the extranet to order material, check account balances, and access database information. Companies that want to remain leaders in their industry will have to make investments in extranet solutions that facilitate resource sharing with their partners and customers.
Extranets provide benefits for both parties involved. Customers or vendors are able to obtain timely information when it is convenient for them and organizations are receiving feedback from customers and vendors which indicates what a company is doing well and what needs to be improved. Surveying the visitors to a website is critical in order to focus on their needs, not just the technology used to provide the services.
In addition to opening more channels of communication between organizations and improving responsiveness to customer concerns, the internet provides a forum for training and education.  today’s online education via the internet provides a media-rich environment where students can exchange ideas with instructors and other students, while attending courses, seminars and programs that feature streaming audio and video content. The following section explores just how business organizations are taking advantage of multimedia technologies for training, and the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication.
How are organizations using technology to train or educate their employees and customers?
Services provided to customers and employees through the internet and company intranets include training. Companies are embracing the newest available technology to provide training that is practical and efficient. Organizations are able to offer training for more people at a lower cost by utilizing several different methods of computer mediated communication. In terms of organizations, training usually takes several forms, including traditional classroom training, computer-based training, interactive video, asynchronous correspondence and synchronous correspondence.
Many organizations provide training for their employees via their company intranet. For example, an organization that is in the business of software development could offer computer-based courses that include such subjects as SQL, Oracle or Informix. Classes that are given in this format are advantageous because individuals can proceed at their own pace at times that are convenient for them. However, organizations seem to still rely pretty heavily on traditional classroom training.
Companies also provide training for customers on their company’s internet websites. Using the internet, customers are able to sign up for computer-based training classes. People are able to receive the training that they require without incurring the costs of travel and lost time away from work. According to Gordon (1999), online education is spreading from large corporations to others in their supply chain. The short shelf life of knowledge makes it important for companies to train their customers and suppliers as well as their own employees.
An area that has really expanded in the past few years is the idea of corporate universities. Corporate universities are strategic business units designed to provide opportunities for employees to develop skills and knowledge through innovative means . Organizations have partnered with universities to provide services for their employees. Although much of the initial development of corporate university programs involves traditional classroom settings, the demand for practical classes that can be given via computer-based media is increasing the curriculum that is offered online. Research conducted within the last year at universities in Southeast Wisconsin and Northeast Illinois reveals that relatively little is being done in the areas of computer-based training and video-based training. But the demand for alternatives to training that is conducted at a specific time and a specific place is very high. As technology continues to improve development of more online classes will continue.
Another alternative that is being used by organizations is a synchronous video classroom environment. Students are still required to participate at a certain time, but they are not required to travel to the location of the instructor. The advantage of synchronous video is that students interact with each other and the instructor as well as receive immediate feedback.
Concerns about the effectiveness of training using multimedia technologies have been raised with the increased frequency of its use.  the newer technologies including streaming audio and video is a more comphrensive method of disseminating information. The process associated with knowledge transfer (concept, demonstration of concept, and measurement to verify achieved learning) is available using streaming audio and video technology (The technology also allows measurement of whether the student has learned the content. One example of measurement is interactive testing for achieved learning. Instructors could also use chat or messaging to assess a student’s performance.
Studies comparing the performance of students given interactive video instruction and face-to-face instruction found no differences in performance . Researchers have argued that studies to measure differences in student performance should go beyond just grades. Therefore, additional studies have included outcomes including student involvement, and participation, cognitive engagement, technology self-efficacy, attitudes toward the technology employed, the usefulness of the technology, attitudes toward technology-mediated distance learning and the relative advantage and disadvantage of distance learning (). In order to achieve learning most effectively, methods should include the use of rich media, interaction between students and instructors, and instructors who project positive attitudes.
As technology continues to advance, distance learning will continue to become more like traditional classroom training. More people are looking for alternative means for continuing education. Continuing education in organizations is becoming the rule, not the exception. In all areas, internally and externally organizations are embracing technology to get in touch with their workers and the world. The dynamic nature of technology will continue to push organizations in new directions and will continue to play a role in defining and shaping the organizations themselves.

2.Describe the steps in strategic evaluation and
control process
Strategy Evaluation is as significant as strategy formulation because it throws light on the efficiency and effectiveness of the comprehensive plans in achieving the desired results. The managers can also assess the appropriateness of the current strategy in todays dynamic world with socio-economic, political and technological innovations. Strategic Evaluation is the final phase of strategic management.
The significance of strategy evaluation lies in its capacity to co-ordinate the task performed by managers, groups, departments etc, through control of performance. Strategic Evaluation is significant because of various factors such as - developing inputs for new strategic planning, the urge for feedback, appraisal and reward, development of the strategic management process, judging the validity of strategic choice etc.
The process of Strategy Evaluation consists of following steps-
1.   Fixing benchmark of performance - While fixing the benchmark, strategists encounter questions such as - what benchmarks to set, how to set them and how to express them. In order to determine the benchmark performance to be set, it is essential to discover the special requirements for performing the main task. The performance indicator that best identify and express the special requirements might then be determined to be used for evaluation. The organization can use both quantitative and qualitative criteria for comprehensive assessment of performance. Quantitative criteria includes determination of net profit, ROI, earning per share, cost of production, rate of employee turnover etc. Among the Qualitative factors are subjective evaluation of factors such as - skills and competencies, risk taking potential, flexibility etc.
2.   Measurement of performance - The standard performance is a bench mark with which the actual performance is to be compared. The reporting and communication system help in measuring the performance. If appropriate means are available for measuring the performance and if the standards are set in the right manner, strategy evaluation becomes easier. But various factors such as managers contribution are difficult to measure. Similarly divisional performance is sometimes difficult to measure as compared to individual performance. Thus, variable objectives must be created against which measurement of performance can be done. The measurement must be done at right time else evaluation will not meet its purpose. For measuring the performance, financial statements like - balance sheet, profit and loss account must be prepared on an annual basis.
3.   Analyzing Variance - While measuring the actual performance and comparing it with standard performance there may be variances which must be analyzed. The strategists must mention the degree of tolerance limits between which the variance between actual and standard performance may be accepted. The positive deviation indicates a better performance but it is quite unusual exceeding the target always. The negative deviation is an issue of concern because it indicates a shortfall in performance. Thus in this case the strategists must discover the causes of deviation and must take corrective action to overcome it.
4.   Taking Corrective Action - Once the deviation in performance is identified, it is essential to plan for a corrective action. If the performance is consistently less than the desired performance, the strategists must carry a detailed analysis of the factors responsible for such performance. If the strategists discover that the organizational potential does not match with the performance requirements, then the standards must be lowered. Another rare and drastic corrective action is reformulating the strategy which requires going back to the process of strategic management, reframing of plans according to new resource allocation trend and consequent means going to the beginning point of strategic management process.
I. The Evaluation of  Strategy
An important step in the formulation and execution of strategy is strategy evaluation.
Strategy Evaluation
Testing and probing the strategy for critical flaws.
•   Are the objectives appropriate?
•   Are major policies and plans appropriate?
•   Do results to date confirm or refute critical assumptions underpinning the strategy?
(This procedure is in contrast to ...)
Performance Evaluation
Has the business been creating or destroying wealth for its owners?
•   Economic profitability (returns in excess of cost of capital?).
•   Accounting measures of performance (e.g., ROS, ROA).
•   Market measures of performance (e.g., sales growth, market share).
II. Principles of Strategy Evaluation
Tests for a Sound Strategy
•   Consistency - Goals and policies are mutually consistent.
•   Consonance - Adaptive to changes in the environment.
•   Advantage - Provides a competitive advantage.
•   Feasibility - It is possible with available resources.
II. A. Consistency
The strategy must not entail mutually inconsistent goals and policies.
To evaluate the consistency of a strategy, you should ask ...
•   Are the business's internal operations (e.g., purchasing, operations, marketing and sales, service) and resource allocation processes consistent with each other?
•   Are the business's internal operations consistent with business objectives and market economics?
II. B. Consonance
The strategy must match and adapt the business to its environment (both its market and the broader non-market environment).
To evaluate the current consonance of a strategy with its market environment, you should ask ...
•   Why does the business exist in its current form?
•   Who and where are our customers and potential customers? How many customers are there?
•   Are the boundaries of the business appropriate?
•   What are the fundamental economic forces at work in our market?
•   How does the business unit create economic value, i.e., what is its value-creation proposition?
•   What are the drivers of consumer willingness to pay (benefit drivers)?
•   What are the drivers of costs (cost drivers)?
•   What are the different customer segments we serve and what are the benefit and cost drivers within each segment?
•   Which activities make money for the business?
To assess whether consonance with the market environment is likely to persist into the future you should ask ...
•   What are likely trends in demand and technology that might affect the viability of our value-creation proposition?
•   Are we vulnerable to "discontinuities?" Can we exploit "discontinuities?"
- Significant redefinition of the served market.
- "Outside-the-box" value-creation propositions.
Consonance is critical, but often overlooked because companies typically focus on their key competitors. Threats to an established way of doing business often come from outside the business's immediate circle of rivals.   
II. C. Advantage
A good strategy must provide for the creation and sustainability of a competitive advantage. A firm with a competitive advantage will always capture some of the economic value it creates.
To assess whether a business's strategy leads to a competitive advantage, you should ask ...
•   Does the business create more economic value than its competitors in its served markets?
- Cost position relative to rivals.
- Differentiation position relative to rivals.
To assess whether a business unit's competitive advantage is likely to persist over time, you should ask ...
•   Does the business possess distinctive and inimitable capabilities?
- Capabilities: Clusters of activities that a business does especially well.
•   Does the business possess distinctive and inimitable resources?
- Resources: Scarce, firm-specific assets (e.g., trademarks, patents, embedded organizational knowledge, brand equity).
•   Is the business's strategy exploiting its capabilities and resources to attain a profitable and defensible market position?
- Positional advantage: the business's market position would be so costly to capture that rivals are deterred from trying to attain similar position themselves.
II. D. Feasibility
The strategy must not overtax the business unit's available resources.
To evaluate feasibility, you should ask ...
•   Does the business have access to the financial resources that are needed to carry out its activities?
•   Does the business possess problem-solving capabilities to carry out the strategy?
•   Can managers in the business integrate and coordinate the disparate activities needed to carry out the strategy?
•   Does the strategy challenge and motivate personnel in the organization?
Benefits of strategic evaluation and control
What are the main benefits of strategic evaluation and control? There are three:
• They provide direction. They enable management to make sure that the
organisation is heading in the right direction and that corrective action is taken
where needed.
• They provide guidance to everybody. Everyone within the organisation, both
managers and workers alike, learn what is happening, how their performance
compares with what is expected, and what needs to be done to keep up the good
work or improve performance.
• They inspire confidence. Information about good performance inspires
confidence in everybody. Those within the organisation are likely to be more
motivated to maintain and achieve better performance in order to keep up their
track record. Those outside – customers, government authorities, shareholders –
are likely to be impressed with the good performance.

Managing a Business

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Leo Lingham


In Managing a business, I can cover all aspects of running a business--business planning, business development, business auditing, business communication, operation management, human resources management , training, etc.


18 years of working management experience covering such areas
as business planning, business development, strategic planning,
marketing, management services, personnel administration.


24 years of management consulting which includes business planning, strategic planning, marketing, product management, training, business coaching etc.




©2016 All rights reserved.