The following course in Strategic Management is provided in its entirety by Atlantic International University's "Open Access Initiative " which strives to make knowledge and education readily available to those seeking advancement regardless of their socio-economic situation, location or other previously limiting factors. The University's Open Courses are free and do not require any purchase or registration, they are open to the public.
The course in Strategic Management contains the following:
The Administrative Staff may be part of a degree program paying up to three college credits. The lessons of the course can be taken on line Through distance learning. The content and access are open to the public according to the "Open Access" and " Open Access " Atlantic International University initiative. Participants who wish to receive credit and / or term certificate , must register as students.
Strategic management consists of the analysis, decisions, and actions an organization undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantages. This definition captures two main elements that goes to the heart of the field of strategic management. First, the strategic management of an organization entails three ongoing processes: analysis, decisions, and actions. That is, strategic management is concerned with the analysis of strategic goals (vision, mission, and strategic objectives) along with the analysis of the internal and external environment of the organization. Next, leaders must make strategic decisions.
These decisions, broadly speaking, address two basic questions: What industries should we compete in? How should we compete in those industries? These questions also often involve an organization’s domestic as well as its international operations. And last are the actions that must be taken. Decisions are of little use, of course, unless they are acted on. Firms must take the necessary actions to implement their strategies. This requires leaders to allocate the necessary resources and to design the organization to bring the intended strategies to reality. As we will see in the next section, this is an ongoing, evolving process that requires a great deal of interaction among these three processes.
Corporate planning defines the strategies that the employees will take to meet the business’ goals and missions. This type of planning, also known as strategic planning, focuses on staff responsibilities and procedures. As with business planning, strategic planning requires a close look at the company’s missions, strengths and weaknesses. However, corporate planning identifies the step-by-step process of the business, such as the actual steps the staff will take to counteract challenges, train employees and achieve accomplishments. Corporate planning also provides specific, measurable goals with realistic time lines.
Lesson 3: Organizational Strategic Planning
A strategic plan is a plan that maps out specific strategies for achieving organizational results. It is hinged around the mission, vision, values and critical success factors of an organization. In essence, a strategic plan will provide a path that will take an organization from its present status to where it will like to be in a projected time frame. As a management tool, a strategic plan must be developed according to the needs of the organization that it represents. Representatives from every department within the organization should participate in the strategic planning process. If possible, customers and stakeholders should also be an integral part of the planning activities. When everyone participates in the planning stages, the implementation of the strategic plan becomes less of a challenge.
Lesson 4: External Analysis-internal
SWOT is an acronym used to describe the particular Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that are strategic factors for a specific company. A SWOT analysis should not only result in the identification of a corporation’s core competencies, but also in the identification of opportunities that the firm is not currently able to take advantage of due to a lack of appropriate resources.
Lesson 5: Strategy and Competitive Advantage
Businesses are always looking for a competitive advantage, a way to stand apart from the masses and to offer something that's just right for a specific target audience. Therein lies the secret. Competitive advantage requires identifying a specific target audience with a clearly defined need, developing and delivering a high-quality and appropriately priced product or service and doing it better than anybody else.
Competitive advantage means just that: being better than the other available alternatives that your target audience has and, in the process, achieving an advantage. It's not enough to be "just as good as" the competition. Successful strategic advantage falls to those who can deliver a product or service that is better in some way and that is more meaningful to the target audience, says Lin Grensing-Pophal, a marketing consultant and the author of "Marketing with the End in Mind." High-quality is defined differently by different people, she says, and encompasses all elements of the marketing mix—product, price, place (or access) and promotion.
Lesson 6: Strategy Uses
Initiatives might aim to make things better, but they don’t always succeed. Lack of consensus, poorly devised strategies and unreasonable expectations are just a few possible causes of failure. While no recipe exists for guaranteed success, some time-tested strategies can improve your ability to design, implement and maintain meaningful change within your business.
Feedback can help nudge change toward successful adoption by showing you how to fine-tune your initiative to make improvements. For example, if your organization institutes new policies for worker safety, regular feedback from affected employees will help ensure the initiative has its intended effect. Your employees might tell you the policies work well, or they might tell you the policies have little effect on safety while drastically limiting productivity.
Lesson 7: Design and Planning Strategy
Many elements of strategic planning are the same across the board, but there is no single formula. Planning can take three weeks or three months, depending on the size, scale and longevity of organizations’.
But before the planning, do a reality-check, get feedback and meet stakeholders and beneficiaries in your target communities. Also, make the staff do field visits to help them connect with the cause.
So who should be involved in the strategic planning process? Usually a director or manager from each functional area of your organization is needed to consider all aspects of work. Managers should brief their teams about the results of planning, inform them about structural changes and be open to feedback.
Lesson 8: The Evaluation of Business Strategy
Strategy can neither be formulated nor adjusted to changing circumstances without a process of strategy evaluation. Whether performed by an individual or as part of an organizational review procedure, strategy evaluation forms an essential step in the process of guiding an enterprise. For many executives strategy evaluation is simply an appraisal of how well a business performs. Has it grown? Is the profit rate normal or better? If the answers to these questions are affirmative, it is argued that the firm's strategy must be sound. Despite its unassailable simplicity, this line of reasoning misses the whole point of strategy—that the critical factors determining the quality of long-term results are often not directly observable or simply meas- ured, and that by the time strategic opportunities or threats do directly affect operating results, it may well be too late for an effective response.
Lesson 9: Strategic Vision and Prospective
Top-level managers in many of today’s leading corporations are losing control of their companies. The problem is not that they have misjudged the demands created by an increasingly complex environment and an accelerating rate of environmental change, nor even that they have failed to develop strategies appropriate to the new challenges. The problem is that their companies are organizationally incapable of carrying out the sophisticated strategies they have developed. Over the past 20 years, strategic thinking has far outdistanced organizational capabilities
All through the 1980s, companies everywhere were redefining their strategies and reconfiguring their operations in response to such developments as the globalization of markets, the intensification of competition, the acceleration of product life cycles, and the growing complexity of relationships with suppliers, customers, employees, governments, even competitors. But as companies struggled with these changing environmental realities, many fell into one of two traps—one strategic, one structural.
Lesson 10: Strategy and Policies
Because business policy research has primarily been a series of inductive generalizations of case studies; theories have been typically ambiguous and untested, and have not progressed swiftly. Deductive theorizing, by contrast, yields clear, often non-obvious conclusions that can be debated effectively and generalized slowly; so realism of current models can be sacrificed for progress towards realistic future models. Deductive theorizing, with more attention to a game-theoretic definition of equilibrium and to recent ideas from economics, should be one new direction for policy research. Of course, these deductive models will inevitably draw their inspiration from the richness of careful observation and exhaustive checklist-making that are the hallmarks of induction. Specific avenues for new research are described, and the importance of teaching non-obvious theories is defended
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