- For your arguments, remember to be logical, specific, practical, and justifiable.
- Remember to cite any sources from which you retrieve information.
Read the following carefully, and write your answers directly on this document.
Write your answers in essay format. Answer all sub-questions that are bullet-pointed.
Question 1 – Industry Analysis (30 points out of 150 points)
It has been announced that a 25% tariff on imports of steel will continue from the previous Presidential administration, arguing that the tariff will protect the U.S. steel industry and ensure the competitiveness of steel manufacturing companies in the U.S. (refer to any article on the web, with the keyword: “Section 232”). Do you agree with the argument that the U.S. steel manufacturers will be able to maintain its competitiveness by the tariff? Pick one of the two options (Q1a or Q1b):
- Q1a: If you do agree with the above argument:
- Explain why you agree, with supporting evidence. In addition, explain your argument with the opposing argument (“do not agree”) in mind.
- Pick a U.S. company in another industry that is related to the steel manufacturing industry (competitor, buyer or supplier of the steel manufacturing industry, or any other company in another industry) that you believe will be negatively impacted by the tariff, and explain why (elaborate and show evidence). Given that the company (outside of the steel manufacturing industry) might be negatively impacted by the tariff, what would be a strategic option for the company to become competitive? Use either the 5 Forces model or VRIO model to support your argument, using evidence.
- Q1b: If you don’t agree with the argument, implying that U.S. steel manufacturers will not be able to maintain its competitiveness by the tariff:
- Explain why you don’t agree with the argument, with supporting evidence. In addition, explain your argument with the opposing argument (“do agree”) in mind.
- Pick a U.S. steel manufacturer, and explain how the company might increase and sustain its competitiveness. Write an analysis, using either the 5 Forces model (full analysis of the industry indicating all of the 5 forces) or VRIO model (full analysis of a resource/capability using the indicators – change of revenue/cost for V, providing a sense of R, using first-mover advantage, path dependence, social complexity, causal ambiguity, patents for I, and reporting/control/compensation for O) to support your argument, using evidence.
Question 2 – Disruptive Innovation (30 points out of 150 points)
Refer to the graph above.
- Depict the industry of your Business Project (not the Harvard Business case) company in terms of the following aspects:
- What are the major performance metrics of production (what consumers look for in a product or service in terms of technology and innovation, not outcome metrics such as ROI, EPS, price, cost, revenue or sales, market share, growth rate, productivity, number of clients, customer satisfaction, subscriptions, etc.) of the major goods and services of the industry?
- What are examples of sustaining innovations in the history of the industry?
- Were there disruptive innovations in the industry? If so, explain why they were “disruptive,” based on Christensen’s logic (e.g. overshooting, coming from below, asymmetry of motivation to compete) Support your argument with evidence.
- What would be a good strategy to either prevent disruptive innovation of your competitors, or creating a disruptive innovation, based on your analysis of the three conditions of disruptive innovation (overshooting, coming from below, asymmetry of motivation to compete)? Why? Support your argument with evidence.
- Please take note that “investing in R&D” or “investing in marketing” is not in and of itself “strategy.” It is a step, or at best, a way to increase operational efficiency. Remember that strategy is a company’s unique approach of doing things that would be hard for competitors to imitate.
- Also, note that a general answer in the lines of “focusing on innovation” is tautological. It is the same as saying “you need to try to be good to be good.” Provide a tangible strategy while not focusing on operational efficiency.
Question 3 – Christian Application: choose one of the questions (Q3a, Q3b, Q3c) below and answer all bullet points in essay format. (30 points out of 150 points)
Q3a Everlywell business case: Internal Analysis week
- The Everlywell case from our readings describes an enterprise that addresses issues of human flourishing through their business. Can you think of a Biblical narrative (and example) of a manager, organization, or institution that focuses on human flourishing or the common good?
- It is well known that in many cases, firms that are focused on meeting double-, triple-, multiple- bottom lines (e.g., profitability and sustainability) face a huge challenge since they need to redistribute their investment to multiple facets. In these situations, can the Biblical narrative you refer to (above) be applied? If so, how does the narrative inform us of firms addressing the challenges?
Q3b Strategic alliances
- Through many Biblical examples, the Christian narrative relates justice to issues of poverty and power imbalance. If an alliance partners possesses or exerts more “power” in the alliance relationship, should there be a boundary, limitation, or threshold of any power imbalance, especially when one party is the “larger” company? Why or why not?
- With regard to power, justice, and poverty, what Biblical concepts might be coherent with business concepts in order for us to argue that partners should cultivate their relationships in alliances rather than simply viewing them as contracts?
Q3c Vertical Integration
- A common concern, and even fear, during an acquisition (company purchasing another company) as a vertical integration strategy is the elimination of jobs of the acquired (or even acquiring) company. As a company, if you are making a strategic move that will significantly put people out of work, should you feel responsible for the employees that are laid-off? How and why?
- What Christian (or Biblical) narratives touch upon this phenomenon, and if you were the employee of an acquired company to be laid-off, what would be your argument toward the acquiring company?