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Strategy is the development of methods and techniques which facilitate the accomplishment of an objective. In most cases, the type of strategy used normally enables the party to earn a competitive advantage. Different organizations employ different approaches with regard to strategy formulation and implementation. Most people and organizations have a differing opinion on the importance of strategy and whether it should be used to accomplish goals at any level (Harrison, 2010). There are those organizations that stress that the most important part of strategy is during formulation. However, there are others that belong to the school of thought that places much emphasis on the implementation of the strategy than the formulation.

Majority of the organizations places more emphasis on the formulation of the strategy due to its essentiality in achievement of the firm's objectives. This is attributable to the fact the formulation stage of strategic managements helps to determine the mission and goals of the organization. They are usually determined by a selected group of people that boast of various qualifications and sets of skill. Upon the determination of the mission and goals of the organization, they engage in strategy formulation (Haberberg, 2008). During this phase, the management devises ways through which the goals and objectives of the organization will be achieved. Detailed plans are formulated, and they are used as a guide to the activities that the organization will engage in.

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Placement of emphasis on strategy formulation contributes to numerous benefits in its implementation. One of the most express benefits is that it facilitated the determination of the objectives of the organization (Jones, 2010). This enables all the stakeholders to be informed on what the primary and secondary goals of the organization are. Another advantage is that it enables the management and employees to have a clear set of procedures that are geared towards facilitating effective and efficient execution of tasks. There are also several demerits of placing much emphasis on strategy formulation. One of the demerits is that strategies are formulated with the assumption of certain factors. When much emphasis is placed on strategy formulation, this may make the organization to reluctant to change their approach of doing things. This makes the organization to be at a disadvantage whenever there is a change in the nature of factors.

In addition, there are various large organizations that place emphasis on strategy implementation. These kinds of organizations are of the opinion that the implementation phase is the most important with regard to strategic management. As a result of this, such organizations highly skilled and multitalented individuals that will ensure that the strategies formulated are implemented to the very last detail. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of placing emphasis on strategy implementation. One of the advantages is that ensuring that the strategies are implemented to the final detail facilitates effective and achievement of the organization goals. Another advantage is that it facilitates a smooth flow of activities within the organization thus ensuring that the company is operating at its best operating level (Ansoff, 2007). However, there are several disadvantages that are associated with the placement of emphasis on strategy formulation. One of the advantages is that it can lead to missing out on opportunities that are not contained within the strategic plan of the organization. Another disadvantage is that it may lead to an organization failing to achieve its goals. This is due to the fact that it substantially relies on the nature of the strategies formulated. If the strategy is excellent the company will obtain superb results, and the converse is also true.

The Mainstream Approach to Strategy

The mainstream approach to strategy is that strategy formulation is as important as strategy implementation. There are a significant number of organizations that place emphasis on the two phases. Such organizations are of the opinion that a strategy should give the company a sense of direction (Amason, 2011). The strategy ought to elaborate on how the resources of the organization will be acquired, utilized and managed. The strategy should take account of the existing dynamic market forces. A strategy is supposed to put the environment into consideration. They also believe that the strategy should state the role of the stakeholders. It is essential to point out that, in all cases, present day companies employ strategies that will enable them to realize a competitive advantage. This is attributable to the fact that the world has become a lot more competitive than it used to be.

Most of the organizations carry out strategic management at three different levels within the organization. The three levels are of strategic management, which include Corporate Strategy, Business Unit Strategy and Operational Strategy.  The corporate strategy is concerned with the overall goal of the business (Alkhafaji, 2003). This strategy is formulated while putting the entire organization into consideration. Corporate strategy serves to show how the various departments within an organization correlate. Business strategy is mainly concerned about the profit generating aspects of the organization. This strategy takes into account the various markets forces facing an organization. It is aimed at looking for ways of achievement of the objectives of the organization given the prevailing competition.

Business strategy enables the organization to determine which products to launch in the market and the means through which an organization can gain competitive advantage. The operational strategy is geared towards ensuring that the relationship between the corporate strategy and the business strategy is delivered. It takes into account the operations of the company providing detailed approaches, however, to be able to achieve objectives at the least cost possible while delivering high quality services (Haberberg, 2008). Companies are currently looking for other means of gaining competitive advantage other than price. This is as a result of the prevailing economic environment. One of the major avenues through which companies can be able to attain competitive advantage is through ensuring that they are producing their products in the most effective and efficient means possible.

It is also imperative to highlight that most of the companies are currently investing heavily in strategic management. Companies are competition for the best human resources that can be able to formulate and implement world – class strategies that will ensure that the organization is able to maintain high quality serves as well as high levels of profitability. Organizations are taking advantage of technology in order to reduce the cost of production and to ensure that the process of production is highly effective and efficient (Jones, 2010). Companies are employing a more complex approach to strategy formulation and implementation. This is attributable to the fact that organizations are developing strategies that ensure that they are always able to remain competitive despite the prevailing market and economic forces. Unlike in the 80s and 90s companies are developing strategies that ensure their flexibility by being able to adapt to the prevailing economic forces. This is because the present day world economics is robust and it takes account of numerous factors.

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The Extending of the Scope of Strategy

It is important for the organization to develop strategies that allow them to be flexible and able to adapt the dynamics of the business environment. In order for an organization to be effective and efficient it needs to take into account a variety of factors that will be discussed in this paragraph and the succeeding paragraphs. In the current economic times, organizations are taking a more strategic approach for the accomplishment of most of their goals. Organizations are ensuring that no function of the organization is executed without determining the most effective and efficient way of achieving that particular objective (Thomson, 2010). As a result of this, there is a group of people charged with the responsibility of development of strategies in the various key departments within most of the organizations.

The formulation of strategies with organizations has become multidimensional. The process of strategy formulation currently takes into account various factors discussed in this paragraph as well as the succeeding paragraphs. Strategic management takes into account the timeline, historical trend and projections of certain events. For instance, strategic management takes into account the nature of the market whenever it is developing a marketing plan (Wheelen, 2000). The plan to be the strategy to be formulated will put into consideration the growth patterns in the market and market demand. It will also take into consideration the unique features of various markets that the organization operates. This approach to strategic management is channel towards establishing whether there is a pattern with regard to the occurrence of certain events.

Strategic management takes into account the nature of competition that is prevailing in the market. They will assess the strategic moves that their competitors are making. This ensures that they are able to formulate plans that will be able to counter their moves or strategies that will enhance that the organization is able to raise the standards of competition. Organizations will establish the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the competitor is facing in order to ensure they are able to predict the strategies of their competitors with a minimal margin of error (Witcher, 2010). Organizations are also ensuring that they are able to operative effectively and efficiently by employing best practices with regard to the achievement of the organization’s objectives. Most of the organizations are ensuring that business ethics are followed in order to ensure that stakeholders of the firm are in harmony, and they are working tirelessly to ensure that the objectives are accomplished.

The types of strategic plans that are being developed by modern day organizations are placing emphasis on international trade projections and patterns. This is attributed to the fact that, with the increased growth and use of information communication technologies, the world has become widely accessible. As a result of this, there has been an increased potentiality of the market in which an organization can be able to exploit.  Many companies have come to recognize that one does not necessarily have to sell and market their products and services in the regions in which they are physically located. Due to this, companies are developing strategies that will facilitate achievement of comparative advantage in the import and export markets. Companies are also employing techniques such as franchising and licensing to ensure that they are able to realize faster rates of growth while guaranteeing high levels of customer satisfaction (Ansoff, 2007). Companies are also utilizing mergers and acquisitions as a means of realizing competitive advantages. Companies have also devised supply chain management systems that ensure that goods are able to be distributed in a manner that is effective and efficient. It is imperative to highlight that most of the companies are outsourcing their logistics to companies that specialize in logistics management. Outsourcing is enabling companies to    concentrate and focus on their core business.

Organizations are also putting into consideration various macro–economic indicators whenever they are developing their strategies. Some of the examples of the macroeconomic indicators that they put into consideration include FDI, Trade, GNP, Foreign Debt and Inflation (Haberberg, 2008) among others. Whenever organizations are seeking to expand into a new region, they usually assess the aforementioned factors in order to establish whether they can be able to run a profitable entity in such a region. Organizations take account of economic factors in as a way of ensuring that they are able to predict changes in the prevailing economic conditions. Economic conditions affect organizations directly thus it is essential for the organization to adapt to these changes.

There are some organizations that are controlling resources that are the size of some nations (Analoui, 2003). Such companies are making much more profits than the GNP of some emerging economies. As a result of this, these companies usually engage in a complex and multidimensional process of strategic management. An example of such a company is the Coca-Cola Company which operates in more countries than the United Nations.

Strategic Management Viewed as a Continuous Struggle between Stories

Strategic Management is viewed as a continuous struggle between stories. This is because companies are able to achieve good results given similar prevailing economic conditions while employing different philosophies when it comes to strategic management (Analoui, 2003). There are companies that are operating effectively and efficiently while stressing on the importance of strategy formulation, and not strategy implementation and the converse are also true. There are also organizations that stress on the importance of both and they are able to operate profitably.

It is important for everyone to acknowledge that there has been a significant increase in the scope of strategic management. This is mainly attributed to the increased number of factors that an organization deals with in solving various issues within the firm. Technology has played a significant role in ensuring that managers are able to develop strategies that are suitable for their organizations. Technology enables managers to conduct research and to utilize the results to make decisions that enable the organizations that they manage to gain a competitive advantage.

It is also essential to highlight the various differing opinions on the approaches to strategic management. Some organizations emphasize on the importance of hiring good strategic management teams, whereas there are also organizations that place much emphasis on the methodology employed to devise strategies (Amason, 2011). It is not clear which one of the two is superior, and this is because of the fact that organizations are able to employ different strategies run profitably.

In the present day business environment organizations are not only required to develop strategies that will enable them to run profitably, they are also required to develop strategies that will ensure  good reputation for the organization. This is challenging because the company has to minimize costs while maximizing customer satisfaction in order to ensure that it operates profitably. As a result of this, the companies normally engage in extensive research and development (Alkhafaji, 2003). It is also imperative to highlight that the development of sound and concrete plans does not necessarily mean that an organization will be able to operate profitably. This is attributed to the fact that there are numerous hidden factors as well as assumptions that are overlooked and made during strategic management.

For the development of effective and efficient strategies one must ensure that the strategies are flowing like a narrative. There are three factors that one needs to put into consideration during developing a narrative on strategic management. The following are the three factors: the narrative should provide clear choices, the narrative must tie to the resources of the organization and the narrative must explain a competitive advantage.

My Fiction about Strategic Management

It was in the year 2001 after the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York. Phillip was a command of one of the seal teams of the United States army. He received a direct command from Washington and on the fax message he was notified that some of American marine teams had been captured and they were being held hostage in a warehouse in Kabul. The orders were to go and on a rescue mission where he would coordinate the rescue mission of the marines.

Upon receipt of the message he sent an order to members of his unit and they all assembled at the situation room. In this room he coordinated the plan of the rescue mission. The team was to leave the army base in one of the choppers and land in Kabul one kilometer away from the warehouse where our soldiers were being held hostage. From there they would travel by foot in the cover of the 3 A.M. darkness. Upon reaching 200 meters from the warehouse one of the snipers would take cover on one of the sand dunes. They would approach the warehouse from its two main entrances and execute everyone using machines guns that have silencers. This would enable the team to carry out our mission without raising any suspicion.

Once in the building they would move in pairs as they inspect the rooms in the building. They were not to switch on the lights, but instead use night vision glasses to see through the dark. One man was to open the door while the other was to take cover just outside the room in order to terminate all threats that would be approaching the room. Since the team has six men they would inspect the warehouse within approximately 15 minutes. Upon locating the room that the men were held the soldier who saw them first stamped his foot, which served as a notification to the other team members. The soldier then indicated to the others by using his fingers how many enemies were in the room and the direction where they are located.

Immediately upon receipt of that signal the other soldiers would move in and neutralize the threats by ensuring that they shot to kill. Upon neutralizing the threats the team commander informed the pilot to bring the chopper and they would board the chopper 8 minutes after they had untied the soldiers.

Their main competitive advantage was the use machine guns which were fitted with silencers. They also utilized a team of seals that specializes in black operations thus they were able to find their way in and around the warehouse without causing any suspicion. Another advantage of the mission was the support of the sniper who neutralized any threats approaching the house after our entry thus preventing us from being attacked from behind. Upon proper implementation of all the components of the strategy the operation code was named, operation Kabul Rescue.

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