BUSINESS STRATEGY (IB-MEI)

BUSINESS STRATEGY

BUSINESS STRATEGY

Question One:

With reference to appropriate literature and organisational examples related to the case study, critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of strategic alliances over other forms of external strategic development such as mergers and acquisitions, in a globalized environment.

Strategic alliance according to Dean & Yunus (2007) is an agreement formed between two or more parties for them to pursue an agreed upon objectives that are needed while the organizations remain independent. the partners forming the strategic alliance  provide the needed resources such as distribution channels products, funding, manufacturing capability, expertise, knowledge, intellectual property and capital funding with the hope that the benefits that will be accrued form the alliance will be greater compared to the individual efforts. For example, most of the major UK energy firms formed a strategic alliance with DONG Energy and Siemens Project Ventures to develop onshore and off shore wind farms around UK. According to Nina (2012p.56), a merger occurs when one organization is combined and disappears into another organization. Acquisition, on the other hand, is a term used in describing an ownership transfer. This could be in form of purchase of the business assets, stock and a merger of the organization buying the business (Chakravorty et al 2012p.119). Example of merger and acquisition is NuGen, a joint venture formed between GDF-Suez and Iberdrola and later joined by Toshiba, a Japanese company. Similarly, through acquisition, Toshiba in 2006 acquired a US firm, Westinghouse Nuclear that provides world leading products of boiling the water reactors. Through strategic alliance, mergers and acquisition, the energy industry has seen invasion by international corporations.

Davenport (2011p.94) pointed out some of the advantages and disadvantages of global strategic alliance. The advantages include:

  • Instant market access, or the speeding of entry into a new market
  • Exploitation of new opportunities in the market to strengthen the position of the corporation
  • Sales increase
  • Gaining of new technology and skills
  • Development or new products with more profits
  • Sharing of resources and fixed costs
  • Enlarging the distribution channels of the corporation
  • Broadening of the corporations political and business contact base
  • Gaining of greater knowledge of international culture and customs
  • Enhancement of the corporate image in the global marketplace

However, the disadvantages include:

  • Less equity stake or weaker involvement of the management
  • Less efficient communication
  • Due to the partners presence, there is fear of market insulation
  • Poor allocation of the resources
  • Loss of the control over important issues like operating costs, product quality and employees.

According to Haibin et al (2011p.1070), some of the advantages and of mergers and acquisition include;

  • Acquisition of a larger market share of an existing market
  • Entry into new markets
  • Elimination of competitors
  • Acquisition of assets and expertise
  • Transfer if skills
  • Efficiencies increase
  • Saving of costs
  • Consolidation of power and control over markets and governments

However, the disadvantages of mergers and acquisition as observed by Haibin et al (2011p.1074) include:

  • Loss of the skilled employees by the corporation except those in the leadership position and this is costly
  • Employees retrenchment leads to loss of motivation and this could result to loss in productivity and revenue reduction
  • Improper or rushed new structures of the new organization
  • Improper management due to increased costs
  • Duplication if the merger is on companies that has been producing similar products
  • Resistance to any change initiatives in future.

 

 

 

Question Two:

“The effective use of knowledge is the key to sustained competitive advantage”. Discuss this statement with reference to the strategic importance of knowledge within the energy industry

In the modern business landscape, companies strive to come up with mechanisms of becoming different from their competitors in the market and to get a competitive advantage. The changes created by the information age have shifted companies to be more concerned with the holistic and steadfast interests in leveraging the intangible assets. The information management as a gateway to gaining the competitive advantage has evolved recently into a management of knowledge that is strategically focused.

Knowledge management is a strategy of ensuring the right people get the right knowledge at the right time, and assisting people in sharing and putting information in ways that will improve the performance of the organization (Davenport 2011, p.96). Knowledge management concept deals with the creation of structures that incorporates the technological resources elements that are more advanced and the indispensable decision making and human response input. According to Ikujiro (2010, p.100), knowledge is only created as interpretation of information and evaluation from a mental model context. This is because companies and individuals have different mental models. Therefore, knowledge management is the creative information mining from different sources with the main purpose in mind for business opportunities.

It is critical to understand the distinction between explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is first codified and then stored in the memory of the organization and then made available to the employees in the entire structure (Peter 2001). For instance, Schlumberger Company that explores, extract gas utilizes the information technology, communities of practice and network in facilitating sharing of knowledge and innovation in all its activities. Tacit knowledge, on the other hand, is a personal knowledge that is possessed by an employee of the corporation that may be difficult to communicate or express to others (Ikujiro 2010, p.101). For example, all the six big energy supplying companies in the energy industry in UK employ managers that are knowledgeable in their businesses. Iberdola Company even stated that the basic foundation for the formation and protection of the value of a company is the intellectual property.

According to Davenport (2011, p.98), it is hypothesized that there are five components that are essential in producing effective knowledge management. These include harvesting, filtering, dissemination, configuration and application. They must be combined together to achieve the competitive advantage. To share their knowledge, the companies developed in 2008, a knowledge management policy, that outlines how the knowledge of groups and individuals is captures and used in the line with the requirements and competencies to help in the development of the core strategy of the company. EDF Company, in its nuclear plants, use communities of practice and knowledge sharing to ensure safety is paramount to avoid disasters.

 

Question Three:

“An organisations strategic focus should take into account people, planet and profit, for them to be considered truly socially responsible”. Critically evaluate this statement with reference to academic literature and examples from the energy industry

Corporate social responsibility is an integrated form of corporate self regulation in the model of business whereby a business monitors and ensures that it complies actively with the ethical standards, spirit of the law and international norms. The CSR process aims to embrace the company’s responsibility for their actions and also encourage positive impact through their activities to their customers, environment, communities, employees and their stakeholders (Alison &Tyson 2007, p.820). For example in the energy industry in UK, Eon Centrica, RWEnpower among the  six  major companies in the energy industry have invested in the renewable energy like biomass, hydropower and wind farms to protect environment, and to lower prices for the consumers

The CSR concept has a long history that is associated with the way it impacts on the behavior of an organization. According to Grahame & Peter (2003), CSR has constantly changed for the past 60 years. The primary focus in 1950s for CSR of businesses was to do good to societies. Key ideas, people, events of 1960s were instrumental in shaping the social change during that decade. However, the business managers in 1970s applied the traditional functions of management when dealing with the issues of CSR. The social and business interest came closer in 1980s and the companies became even more responsive to the stakeholders. CSR was approved universally n 1990s while in 2000s it became an important issue for strategy.

In a corporation, stakeholders are constituencies and individuals that contribute involuntarily or voluntarily, to its capacity of wealth creation and activities and are the potential risk bearers and beneficiaries. CSR should therefore mean corporate stakeholder responsibility. Stakeholder theory according to Randall & Roger (2014) is organizational management theory and business ethics that addressed values and morals in organizational management. The link between CSR and the stakeholder theory outlines how the stakeholders play their roles in a company to give back to the community. The investments of the shareholders are used to finance CSR activities, the employees engage directly in the CSR activities while the competitors also engage in CSR to be relevant with their competitors.

Critics and proponents of CSR debate many concerns that include the relationship of CSR to the nature of business and fundamental purpose and the questionable motives for performing CSR. These include the hypocrisy and insincerity concerns. Another key CSR debate is to determine the responsible actors that are responsible to make sure that companies behave in environmentally and socio-economic sustainable manner (Grahame & Peter 2003).

A theory is a set of concepts with statements in which degree and as to how these are correlated, with statements where the theory can be termed valid. The theories associated with corporate social responsibility include the institutional theory, CSR theory, legitimacy theory, reputation theory, strategic CSR theory, credibility theory, moral CSR theory among others (Randall & Roger 2014).

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The Meaning of Death from “Of All the Ways to Die”

Of All the Ways to die

Outline

Of All the Ways to die is a book authored by Brenda Niskala, as a little ghost story that is offbeat, sweet and short. The research paper will summarize the book in terms of internal and external conflicts. Death comes to everyone despite of the possession, fortune or position in life.

  1. Perception of reality (internal)

The internal conflict in the reality perception is seen from the conflicting settings in the book from the living world to the underworld. The story weaves the ordinary people’s lives together, teetering on the edges of hope with historical figures that are fascinating (Niskala, 4). The plot of the story shows how the author narrates her story. The author of the “Of All the Ways to Die” book takes readers into the long journeys of the underworld, the real living world of the Saskatchewan and the land of the dead.

  1. Fear of death (internal)

Urma in the book of “Of All the Ways to Die” holds for people the pot luck. These are the people she has lost in her entire life. Every individual brings their favorite recipes, a dish and their life stories and how they used to live, and how they died (Niskala, 24). Death comes to all people, and it does not matter the lifestyle, fame and fortune that one possessed in the true life.

  1. Human compassion (external)

-The invitation from Urma attracts attention from acquaintances, loved ones and a few faces that are famous including that of the bog mummy, a Cree grandmother, St. Antony and the prairie ship builder who is eccentric (Niskala, 24). Is there a possibility that these people can help Urma in finding Eleen, the teenager who is missing?

Critical analysis of Of All the Ways to Die

Niskala (44) attempts to show that the journey into the afterlife or death is not as easy and straightforward as people may imagine. Not only are important aspects of the dead lost along the way, there are cases where people are completely lost and unable to trace their journey into the after-life. Despite the fact that a new life awaits them, people could end up desperately lost, with the living and the dead completely unaware. This is signified through Eleen the young teenager being rescued in the novel (Niskala, 48).

Death comes to all people, and it does not matter the lifestyle, fame and fortune that one possessed in the true life, when death comes knocking all people are equalized. The characters in the novel, famous, rich and average, all together lived different lives. Lives in which they all admit, perhaps, they would never have willingly crossed paths. However, upon death they all become equalized, journeying together into the unknown (Niskala, 88).

The reader gets drawn into the lives of the characters both past and present, often finding villains and heroes mixed in the group. Those who are willing to help trace and find Eleene and those who desire to remain as they are.

Unlike the many novels of death and the journey into the death, Niskala (57) finds a way to add satire, humor and mystery into a book educating people on life after death. Conflicts between the characters, inspiring stories of their lives and Urma the girl who brings it all together manage to make the book not drab, and dull as many books on death are, but more lively and exciting.

According to Niskala (17), the book of “Of All the Ways to Die” is a novella about a pot luck dinner, where the entire guests who have been invited are all dead. The book leaves the readers in suspense wondering whether the book is for zombies. The interplay at the pot luck dinner is wonderful witty and charming. Death is portrayed as meaningless as the characters laments on their unachieved dreams during their lifetimes.

The story has been narrated casually, fascinating and in a friendly manner. Moreover, the amazing thing in “Of All the Ways to Die “is that the author has packed hell in the meaning of death. The afterlife according to Niskala (73) is not portrayed as pleasant to the readers in about a hundred pages of the book. The story is also sorrowful that can make a reader cry a bunch of times.

Niskala (42) indicated “Of All the Ways to Die” can also make the reader smile until the face hurts. The recipes elaborated in the book may tempt an individual to go and try them. Niskala (52) pointed out the characters contained within the book. They include stores of drug addicts, sex trade workers, pow-wows, acquired brain damage, love family, war dreams, royalty, hope, death, life, mystery and food. The book is entirely a mystery, a historical and a speculative fiction, and a fantasy. Furthermore, “Of All the Ways to Die” is also a recipe book and a brilliant tribute to people who are inspirational.

The novel provides a way for people to relive and find what they lost in their real lives. It provides an insight into what the characters of the novel found to be important during their lifetime. Whether it is a recipe or a piece of attire, it is one thing that these characters would have wanted to have before and after their death. It is also a story of denial, despite being the living dead, these people have desires and wants which have been denied them. They seek ways to have the desires restored, small things that may not be considered important, and perhaps they did not consider important until their demise (Niskala, 109). Urma gives the characters a chance to find happiness through finding for them the small things they lost in their journey between the worlds.

 

Work cited

Niskala, Brenda. Of All the Ways to Die. Thornhill, ON: Quattro Books, 2009. Print.

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Effect of Video Games on Children

Effect of Video Games on Children

Video games represent a paradigm shift in today’s entertainment sector. Daily, tens of millions of video game players globally come together from different ends of the earth to engage and compete in the video games. More than one out of three people in United States play the video games with the majority being the children. However, playing videos games may result in both positive benefits and negative experiences depending on the type and time spent on playing these games. In this regard, this analytical paper will analyze the effect of video games on children with the aim of understanding the psychological and sociological causes of those effects.

Negative effects of playing video games on children

Playing video games, particularly the violent video games have been shown to increase aggressiveness among the teens. The violent acts in the game when done repeatedly contribute to aggressiveness in children. The active involvement, repetitions and reward have been found to be very effective in teaching behavior (Gentle & Anderson 34). Therefore, kids who play games that are more violent are likely to increase aggressive feeling, thought, behavior, and decreased pro-social helping. The violent games may lead to violence and fight between the child and his peers. Playing video games also contribute to social isolation in children. Therefore, the children spend more time in playing games and less time in reading, homework, sports and interacting with friends and family. This usually contributes to poor school performance for the children (Gentile et al. 5-22). However, boys have been found to spend more time in video games than girls do. Gentile et al. indicate that boys spend an average of 13 hours per week whereas girls spend 5 hours per week (6). Video games confuse reality and fantasy by making the real and virtual world hard for children to discern (Ryan & Rigby 5).
Video games can have serious effects on the children health including video induced seizures, obscenity and skeletal, muscular, and postural disorders such as nerve comprehension, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Positive effects of playing video games on children

Video games have been shown to increase the creativity of the children. The Children and technology project  found a relationship between video game playing and increased creativity regardless of race, gender and the type of game played. Children who play computer and action based games have a higher decision making speed without sacrificing accuracy than those who do not play difficult games.

Video games make learning enjoyable for the children. The color, animation and reward from winning the various games make them more attractive to kinds. Therefore, the best time to learn is when the child is having fun and playing the games at the same time. Having fun helps and motivates the child to keep on practicing and learning new skills, which makes difficult subjects such as mathematics enjoyable. Video games also help the players to identify themselves with and take the roles of their favorite character.  This is called the first person video game (Anderson &dill 200.p788).

Playing video games help children learn how to follow instruction quickly and to acquire high problem solving skills. Games such as the shooting games may increase the children eye-hand coordination, spatial skills and fine motor.  Some other types of games are hard and challenging for kids to play since they require critical thinking and high mastery skills to play. When the children succeed in playing these games they develop high mastery and critical thinking skills. “When game provide us with challenge they are inviting us to stress ourselves to new level of mastery which ones achieved increase our intrinsic need for competence” ( Ryan & Rigby 119).These mastery and critical thinking skills can help turn the children future ambitions into reality.

Video games enable the players to identify themselves with and take the roles of their favorite character. “Games want you to express yourself and infect they require it” (Ryan & Rigby 6). Therefore, children can develop critical thinking skills because they are able to make the next decisions affecting the character they are representing and intimating.

Remarkably, there are many positive and negative effects associated with playing games. The positive benefits; creativity and high problem solving skills associated with playing games are very instrumental in children development both socially and academically. However, uncontrolled playing of games may lead to detrimental effects such as aggression, isolation and health problems. Therefore, care need to be taken on the amount of time spent on playing games and the type of game played by children. It is through controlling the two factors that will make playing to have profound benefits to the children.

Work cited

Anderson, Craig. &. Drill,n Karen, Brad Violent Video Games and aggressive thoughts, feeling and behaviour in laboratory and life .American psychology Association, 2000. Print
Gentile, Douglus. & Anderson, Craig.Violent video games: The newest media violence hazard.

In D.A. Gentile (Ed.), Media violence and children. Westport, CT: Praeger

Publishing.2003.print
Gentile, Douglas, Lynch Paul, Linder Jennifer,& Walsh David.The effects of violent video game

habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance. Journal of

Adolescence, 2004. Print

Ryan Richard & Rigby Scott. Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us

            Spellbound . Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLOI, 2011.Print

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CRIME SCENE TO COURT

crime scene to court

BTEC Applied Science (Forensic Science) 

Unit 32: Forensic Collection and

Assignment 5: Crime Scene to Court

Scenario:

 

The police have requested you to complete an expert witness statement report describing your analysis, results and conclusions, which will then be submitted to court for the trial. You are an expert witness presenting the result and conclusions from an investigation to a mock court. You need to prepare and Present the Case files.

Assignment Briefs

Task 1: Report on a chemical, physical and biological forensic examination (P8)

Prepare a report in the form of a case file on the results and conclusions from the examination of the collection of simulated crime scenes that we have looked at over the year. Consider biological, chemical and physical evidence and the laboratory analysis of the evidence a case file.

Task 2 Justify the conclusions drawn in the report. (M8)

Present clear and logical justifications for the conclusions drawn from the evidence collected during the forensic examination and the subsequent analysis. You must relate the conclusions drawn from the analysis to the crime scene and comment on its significance. This should have same level of objectivity and clarity as appropriate to the presentation of investigational results in a forensic or scientific situation.

Task 3 Evaluate their findings, including aspects of probability. (D8)

You must evaluate your results. Consider clarity of explanations of results and conclusions, ensuring that they are not ambiguous. You must also consider probability in terms of possible, probable, likely and how probability can be described quantitatively.

Remember to include references.

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