- Research Feature
- Read Time: 27 min
In fast-paced industries, companies should think of strategy as an iterative loop with four steps: making sense of a situation, making choices, making things happen and making revisions.
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Although most companies undertake acquisitions with an eye toward fueling growth, the resulting infusion of new ideas, perspectives and processes can produce lasting benefits that are broader and deeper.
Companies that continue to take a tactical, short-term approach to communicating with key constituencies will find it increasingly difficult to compete. Developing an integrated, strategic approach to communications will be critical to success.
Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.
Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.
Does the belief that a manager‘s overriding duty is to maximize shareholder returns encourage socially destructive actions by corporations? Employing economic, legal and behavioral analyses, the author concludes that, although the shareholder theory is often inaccurately maligned, stakeholder theory may be more conducive to curbing the kind of impropriety seen at Enron and Global Crossing.
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