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Apple Inc. Company Research

Quality Management Research Paper Guidelines

 

While developing your papers, attempt to identifyDeming’s14 Points for Quality Management. Not all the pointswill relate to all businessesorcorporations.

 

1.        Analyzethecompany’shistory,development,andgrowth

  • Aconvenientwayto investigate howa company’s paststrategyand structure affect it in the presentis to chartthe criticalincidentsinits history – thatis, the events thatwerethemost unusualor themost essential forits development into thecompany it is today
  • Some oftheeventshave to dowith itsfounding, itsinitialproducts, howitmakesnew-productmarket decisions, and howitdeveloped andchose functionalcompetencies to Its entryintonewbusinesses and shiftsin its main linesof business are also importantmilestones to consider
  1. Identifythecompany’sinternalstrengthsandweaknesses–(Strength,Weaknesses, OpportunityandThreats)SWOTanalysis
    • Use allofthe incidentsyouhave chartedinthe historical profiletodevelopanaccountofthecompany’s strengths andweaknesses as they have emergedhistorically
    • Examine eachofthe value creationfunctionsofthe company,and identifythe functions inwhichthe company iscurrentlystrong andcurrentlyweak
      • Some companiesmightbeweakinmarketing;somemight be stronginresearchanddevelopment
      • Make listsofthese strengthsandweaknesses
  1. Analyzethe external environment– identify environmental opportunities and threats
    • Hereyoushould applyallinformationyouhave learnedto analyzetheenvironmentthe company isconfronting. Which factorsinthe macroenvironmentwill appear salient dependson the specificcompanybeinganalyzed. However, use eachfactorinturn (for instance, demographic factors)toseewhetherit is relevantfor thecompany in question
    • Havingdonethis analysis,youwillhavegenerated bothan analysisof thecompany’senvironmentand a list ofopportunities andthreats
    • The SWOTchecklist listssome common environmentalopportunitiesand threatsthatyoumay lookfor, butthe listyougenerate will be specific toyour company
  2. EvaluatetheSWOTanalysis– whatdo your findingsmean?
    • Balance strengthsandweaknessesagainst opportunitiesandthreats
      • Is thecompany inanoverallstrongcompetitiveposition?
      • Can it continueto pursueits currentbusiness-orcorporate-level strategy profitably?
      • What canthe company doto turnweaknesses intostrengthsand threats intoopportunities?
      • Can itdevelop newfunctional,business,orcorporatestrategiesto accomplishthischange?

5.        Analyzecorporate-levelstrategy

  • First, define the company’s missionandgoals. Sometimes the mission andgoals are stated; atother times,youwill have to inferthem from available information
  • The informationyou needtocollecttofindout thecompany’scorporate strategy includessuchfactorsas

 

  • Its line(s)of businessand thenature ofitssubsidiaries andacquisitions
  • An analysisof the relationshipamong the company’sbusinesses
    • Dothey tradeorexchange resources?
    • Are there gainstobe achievedfrom synergy?
    • Alternatively, isthecompany justrunning a portfolio ofinvestments?
  • This analysisshould enableyou todefine thecorporate strategy that thecompanyispursuing (forexample, relatedorunrelateddiversification,or a combinationof both) andtoconcludewhetherthecompany operatesinjustonecorebusiness
  • Other issues should be consideredaswell
    • Howandwhy has thecompany’sstrategychangedover time?
    • What is the claimed rationaleforanychanges?
    • Often it is a good ideato analyzethe company’s businessesor productsto assess itssituation and identifywhich divisionscontribute the most to or detract from itscompetitiveadvantage
    • It isalso usefultoexplore howthecompanyhas built itsportfolio over time.Did itacquirenewbusinesses,ordiditinternallyventure its own?
  • All thesefactorsprovide cluesabout the company andindicatewaysof improvingits futureperformance

6.        Analyzebusiness-levelstrategy

  • Can thecompanydealwith thesethreats?
  • Howshould itchange its business-levelstrategyto counter them?
  • Toevaluate thepotential of acompany’s business-level strategy,you must firstperform a thoroughSWOTanalysis that captures theessence of its problems
  • Onceyou knowthe company’scorporate-level strategyandhave donetheSWOT analysis,thenextstep is to identify the company’s business-levelstrategy
  • If thecompanyis a single-businesscompany, itsbusiness-levelstrategy isidenticaltoitscorporate-levelstrategy
  • If thecompanyisinmanybusinesses,eachbusinesswillhaveits ownbusiness-levelstrategy
  • Youwill need toidentifythe company’sgeneric competitivestrategy– differentiation, lowcost, orfocus – andits investmentstrategy,giventhe company’srelativecompetitive positionandthe stageof thelife cycle
  • The companyalso may market different productsusing different business-level strategies
    • For example, it mayoffer a low-costproduct range and a line ofdifferentiated products
  • Be sureto givea fullaccountof a company’sbusiness-level strategytoshowhowit competes
  • Identifyingthe functional strategies that a company pursues to buildcompetitive advantagethroughsuperior efficiency, quality,innovation, andcustomer responsivenessandtoachieve itsbusiness-levelstrategyisThe SWOTanalysiswill have provided you withinformationon thecompany’s functionalcompetencies
  • You should further investigate itsproduction,marketing, orresearch anddevelopment strategy togain a pictureofwherethecompany isgoing
    • For example, pursuing a low-cost or a differentiation strategysuccessfullyrequires a verydifferentset of competencies
    • Has thecompany developed the rightones?
    • If ithas,howcan itexploitthemfurther?
    • Can itpursue both a low-costand a differentiationstrategy simultaneously?
  • The SWOTanalysis is especially important at thispointif theindustryanalysis, particularlyPorter’smodel, hasrevealedthethreatstothecompanyfrom theenvironment
  • Onceyoucompletethisanalysis,youwillhave a full pictureof thewaythecompany isoperatingand be in a positionto evaluatethepotentialofits strategy.Thus,youwill beable tomakerecommendations concerningthe pattern of its However, first you need to considerstrategyimplementation,orthewaythe companytries toachieveitsstrategy

 

7.        Analyzestructureandcontrolsystems

  • The aim of thisanalysis is to identifywhat structure and control systems the companyis using toimplement itsstrategy and toevaluatewhether thatstructureisthe appropriateonefor thecompany
  • Differentcorporateandbusinessstrategiesrequiredifferentstructures
    • For example,does the companyhave the rightlevel ofverticaldifferentiation(forinstance,does ithavethe appropriatenumberof levelsinthe hierarchyordecentralized control?)orhorizontal differentiation(doesituse a functional structurewhen itshouldbeusing aproductstructure?)?
    • Similarly, isthecompanyusing the rightintegration orcontrol systemstomanage itsoperations? Are managersbeingappropriatelyrewarded?
    • Are therightrewards inplaceforencouraging cooperationamongdivisions?
  • These areall issuesthatshouldbeconsidered. Insomecases therewillbelittleinformationontheseissues,whereas inothers therewill bea Obviously,inanalyzing eachcaseyoushouldgear the analysis towarditsmost salient issues.For example, organizational conflict,power, andpoliticswillbeimportant issuesfor somecompanies. Tryto analyzewhyproblemsin theseareasare occurring.Dotheyoccurbecauseof badstrategyformulation orbecauseof badstrategyimplementation?
  • Organizationalchangeis an issueinmanycases becausethecompaniesare attempting to altertheir strategiesor structuresto solve strategicproblems. Thus, as a part ofthe analysis,youmightsuggest an action planthat the company in questioncould use to achieve its Forexample,you mightlistin a logicalsequence the stepsthe companywouldneedto followto alter itsbusiness-levelstrategyfrom differentiation to focus

8.        Makerecommendations

  • The lastpartofthecase analysisprocessinvolvesmakingrecommendations based onyouranalysis. Obviously,the qualityofyourrecommendations is a directresultofthe thoroughnesswithwhichyoupreparedthe caseanalysis. Theworkyouputinto the case analysiswill be obvious fromthe natureofyourrecommendations
  • Recommendations aredirected atsolvingwhateverstrategicproblemthe company isfacing andatincreasingitsfutureprofitability
  • Your recommendationsshould bein linewithyour analysis;that is,theyshould followlogicallyfromthepreviousdiscussion
    • For example,your recommendationgenerallywill centeronthe specificwaysof changingfunctional, business,andcorporatestrategyandorganizational structureandcontroltoimprovebusinessperformance

The setof recommendationswill be specific to each case,and soit isdifficult todiscuss theserecommendations here.Suchrecommendationsmightinclude anincreaseinspendingonspecificresearchanddevelopmentprojects,thedivestingof certainbusinesses, achangefrom astrategyof unrelatedtorelated diversification,anincreaseinthelevelofintegrationamong divisions byusingtask forcesand teams, or a move to a differentkindof structure to implement a newbusiness-levelstrate

Last Updated on February 1, 2018

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