Strategic Planning Research Paper

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Strategic Planning

Task 1

1.1. Factors informing the process of strategic planning  

According to Bain (2014), the success of any strategy is determined by the strategic plans put in place. Effective strategy implementation requires a clear understanding of the process of strategic planning (Favoro, 2015). The set strategies should be in line with the firm’s goals and objectives since they represent the financial strength and sustainability of an organization. It is impeccable for strategic managers to show a clear strategic path for resource allocation and decision making to get the best strategies out of the available alternatives.

The vision of a business is the representative of what the organization wants to look like in future. Additionally, a vision statement tends to provide a picture of what the organization wants to achieve in the long run. On the other hand, the mission statement is short-term and aims to provide the purpose of the organization. The mission statement shows the stakeholders the position of the organization and its capability in the near future.

The goals of an organization provide the means with which it aims to achieve its mission statement, while the objectives are the desired returns that an organization would want to achieve (Iowa, 2011). Finally, the core competencies are the main differentiating factors of an organization from its competitors. Resources, skills, and activities that competitors cannot imitate provide for an organization’s core competencies.

All the laid strategic plans must be consistent with the goals, objectives, mission, core competencies, and vision of an organization since they are the determinants of the expectations of an organization’s stakeholders. Since strategic planning involves laying the foundation for achievement of strategies with the available resources, when all the stakeholders are satisfied as per the mission and vision statement, it becomes possible to implement the strategies for realization of positive results.

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There are a number of issues that affect the process of strategic planning. Strategic planning is referred to as a phase-by-phase procedure with the purpose of advancing the an organization. Of the issues that affect the process of strategic planning, there are five major factors that influence the procedure. Confusion of the strategy with the plan, disconnection from the reality, ineffective strategic analysis, lack of consistent ownership, and complicating the innovative process are some of the issues relating to strategic planning.

During the strategic planning process, some plans seem to liaise with already existing policies, making the current approaches seem void and managers may do away with the strategies. In the course of the process, some employees are not involved and still, the process is intellectual and involving making the strategic managers to be detached from the real world and come up with unreal plans (Bain, 2016). When there is great involvement and use of comprehensive analysis, the process ends up with so many details that make it unattainable.

Also, since it’s only a part of employees that are involved in strategizing and planning, it can be said that the process is now owned by all the employees hence making it difficult for them to be accountable and responsible for mistakes resulting from strategy implementation (Long, 2012). New strategies bring about new control measures which eventually reduces flexibility and innovative nature of an organization. All these issues dampen the process of strategic planning and it’s up to the strategic managers to deal with them before commencing the process to avoid loopholes for successful implementation.

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1.3. An evaluation of strategic plans systems

The techniques used for formulation of strategic plans differ in accordance to the strategy. There is a variety of techniques used for strategic planning but the chosen technique should provide the best possible strategic outcome. The main methods used for strategic planning include; directive, command, coordination, emergent and directive strategic techniques (Iowa, 2011).

A directive technique is used in large organizations that have a simple way of doing things. The technique involves a comprehensive study of the internal and external environment for the top management to carry out strategic plans. However, if the organization is large and complex, the suitable technique is coordination where all the departments and resources are integrated together to find the most suitable strategy.

A command technique is used in small and medium enterprises where the owner or owners get involved in the strategic planning process.  The owner is responsible for strategy formulation, planning, assessment, and implementation since there are few stakeholders involved in the process. A combination of internal and external team of experts is used for strategic planning in the case of emergent technique.

 Therefore, the effectiveness of a strategic technique is highly dependent on the type and nature of an organization. It is crucial for strategic managers to be familiar with their organizations in order to apply the best technique. Combining the different techniques provides for application of the internal and external environment, available expertise skills, as well as associating all the stakeholders in the strategic planning for effective results.  

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Task 2

Successful organizations understand the need to update the existing strategies as well as develop new ones to have a sustained growth. Apart from understanding the objectives, mission, core competencies, goals, and mission of an organization; it is important to understand the micro and macro environment before formulating new strategies. SWOT analysis, PESTEL analysis, and Michael Porter’s analysis are some of the main tools that can be used in assessing the environmental factors affecting an organization for the formulation of new strategies (Sun, 2015).

2.1. McDonalds

McDonalds operates as a food chain and has a presence in 200 nations. Founded in 1955, it has continuously grown in market share and revenue through diversification of products and engagement in online selling to increase customer value for maximum satisfaction.

2.2.     McDonald’s organizational audit

To carry out McDonald’s organizational audit, SWOT analysis is necessary.  SWOT analysis is carried out to determine the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, as well as identify the opportunities and threats that an organization faces for the formulation of a sustainable strategy for an increase in market share.


  1. Ever since it was founded in 1955, the company prides itself in a great market share where it has established itself in 119 countries with more than 40 million customers.
  2. Offers a variety of products and menus for customers. The diversity of products makes the company have a sustained growth and increase in revenues over time.
  3. Utilizes up-to-date knowhow such as online marketing to increase customer value and market share.


Although the company has a sustained organization environment, its main weakness is in the product delivery after the emergence of E-commerce. It is difficult to deliver products to all its consumers due to infrastructural problems and bad weather.


Just like other food chains, the company’s main threats are:

  1. Intense market competition since there is free market entry.
  2. Rapid changes in consumer tastes and preferences.
  3. Penetration of the web


  1. Globalization that has created numerous avenues for expansion of the company.
  2. Technology advancement leading to diversification of trade through e-commerce.

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2.3. McDonald’s environmental audit

The intention of carrying out an organization audit is to understand the market that a firm operates in. Since McDonald has an international manifestation, its environmentally friendly inventory is influenced by technological, political, legal, economic, environmental, and legal factors.  The environmental audit is a global one. Through the of PESTEL model, it is possible to carry out an environmental audit on McDonald’s.

2.4.      PESTEL Analysis

Some governments may encourage the company’s presence in their countries by giving out incentives while some may restrict operations hence influencing the strategies set up by McDonald’s strategic managers. Economic factors that affect the strategies set by the company include inflation, recessions, demand, and the supply of the products. Also, the company’s operations are socially affected in terms of the culture of the different market segments such that McDonald has to formulate strategies are consistent with certain cultural orientation.

There are some governments that impose high tariffs and taxes on foreign companies or reduce the rates to encourage the companies and McDonald is not left out. In addition, the strategy of the company is affected by innovations like information technology as well as electronic-commerce, which have an impact on the manner in which company operations are carried out. All these PESTEL factors influence the company and the way it formulates its strategies.

2.5. Significance of stakeholder analysis in strategy formulation

Stakeholders are the persons who are directly or indirectly affected by the operations of an organization. Like other businesses, McDonald’s stakeholders include: employees, customers, lenders, investors and the government. To effectively formulate a new strategy, it is important for a company to analyze all the stakeholders’ needs and expectations of the company (Duggan, 2014). A stakeholder analysis is a procedure used to assess and determine the effect of the key persons in an organization as well as their influence in the organization.

A company`s appraisal is considered to: decide the individuals that will undesirably or definitely have an influence on organizations operations, comprehend the influence of the shareholders on the business, and come up with approaches that are reinforced by all shareholders as well as reduce the difficulties the institute might go through  when implementing the strategies.

2.6.      Advantages of stakeholder analysis in formulating a new strategy

  1. It is possible to get expertise opinions that assist in shaping of a strategy as well as gaining support for effective strategy implementation.
  2. When stakeholders are involved in strategy formulation, an organization increases its chances of getting extra resources.
  3. It gives a clear understanding of the opinions people have for the company hence providing room for improvement through the new strategies.
    1. New strategy for McDonald’s

With the rapid changes that are taking place in the market, the best strategy that McDonald should adopt is e-commerce so as to increase its market share and increase consumer’s value.

Task 3

It is important that various alternative strategies are looked into before implementation. Each strategy has its advantages and disadvantages and it’s the strategy with the best outcome that should be taken (Duggan, 2013). In line with the vision and mission of Marks and Spencer, substantive growth, market entry, limited growth, and retrenchment are some of the available alternative strategies. This section outlines the four alternative strategies and recommends a strategy for Marks and Spencer

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3.1. Background

Mark and Spencer is a multinational retailer offers a variety of products in clothing and accessories (Mark & Spencer 2016). The company was founded in 1884 and is one of the leading retailers in the world.

3.2. Evaluation of the alternative strategies by Marks and Spencer

Substantive growth strategy is formulated through mergers and acquisition. Suppose a business if sturdy in terms of finances, then this implies that it is able to consider a strategy. Marks and Spencer has a big market share but it can merge with another firm to increase the share for sustained growth. Also, an expansion strategy exists by acquiring another business as it will be at a reduced cost and procedures.

An inadequate development approach is integrated using a joint venture thus leading to a diminished competitive edge, thus Marks and Spencer do not consider it. Reduction of cost and assets as well as revenue generation is some of the retrenchment strategies available for Marks and Spencer. The company can reduce its operation cost in Middle East. Moreover, the company should strategize on taking up extra market segments in the world to increase its market share.

3.3. Recommended strategy for Marks and Spencer

The company best alternative strategy is sustained growth through mergers and acquisition. The firm is already financially stable and strong hence is in a position to acquire or merge with other businesses in the same line. The strategy is the best of the other alternatives since it will lead to cost reduction with increased market share and sales.

Also, the microeconomic challenges faced in some of the countries can be phased out through mergers with firms that are already stable in those economies. The competitive nature of the clothing industry requires uniqueness of strategies which can only be achieved by liaising with firms that already understand the culture of the people in the various market segments.

Task 4

A strategy is void unless it is implemented. After successful strategic planning it is crucial to identify proper methods for implementation. Implementation is the final stage and the way it’s carried out determines if the strategy will be successful (Sage, 2014).

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4.1. Honda’s Background information

The company is multinational and operates in the automobile industry. It is the second largest automobile and was founded since 1959. The company operates globally and has sells a variety of products.

4.2. Responsibilities and roles of personnel in strategy implementation

The formulated strategy has to be communicated to the different stakeholders either formally or informally. The functions of each organization are influenced by the novel approach and needs the application of an informed communication to reach out regardless if it is horizontal or vertical.

The personnel equipped with the implementation process are responsible for mapping the strategy, integrating the organization for delivering the strategy, and carrying out the change process as impacted by the new strategy.

The personnel have the role of mapping the new strategy to the internal and external users to make them have an idea of the prospects of the new strategy to the operations and image of the organization. By mapping the strategy, the personnel will also be involved in positioning the strategy to the existing culture of the organization so that it fits with the firm’s expectations. Finally, the personnel are tasked with the change process that results from the new strategy.

The middle management and outside parties are the ones that take the responsibility of strategy implementation. The middle managers implement the strategic plan that has been set up by top managers through making sense of the strategy to other stakeholders, interpretation and re-adjustment of the stakeholders view on the strategies, and advising the senior management on the implications of the new strategy (Lewis & McKone, 2015). Shareholders are convoluted in the modification procedure and compelled to make the policy flexible as envisioned by the organization.

 4.3. Resource requirements for implementing a new strategy for Honda

Resource allocation is a strategic process aimed at aligning all of organizations resources to its goals and objectives. Resources are in form of finance, human labor, and infrastructure. All these resources must be used in such a way that they lead to the achievement of the strategies.

Honda required resources are finance and human resources since it is already in possession of the materials and tools required for strategy implementation. To achieve its innovative process of generating unique products, the company needs expertise skills as well as finance to undertake the process of research and development as well as start-up capital for the new venture.

4.4. SMART targets

For achievement of strategy implementation in Honda, SMART goals must be set. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented. A strategy should be specific and clear to avoid complications during its implementation. A realistic target is achievable and falls within a specific time frame that is also measurable and is agreeable by all stakeholders. When a target is SMART it is easily implemented and is successful in the long run (Haughey, 2014).

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Strategic management is one of the crucial functions of a business. If all stakeholders are involved in the strategy formulation process, it becomes easier to implement and the required resources are made available. A strategy is said to be successful if it’s SMART has been analyzed using SWOT and PESTEL tools. After formulation, it requires different parties to take up the process of communicating the strategy in order to integrate all the functions of the organization for successful implementation of the strategies.


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Long, N 2012. What is the role of an employee in the implementation process? [online]  available at:

Mark & Spencer 2016. Mark and Spencer Online. [online] available at:!2750!3!76493220287!e!!g!!mark%20and%20spencer&device=c&ef_id=VqCuxgAAAWf@2QeZ:20160323111459:s

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