• Welcome to Integrated Business Topics!  I look forward to working with you in the upcoming weeks.

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All individual assignments in this class relate to a new division you will be responsible for creating within an existing organization.  Within that division, you will develop a new product or service.  Your assigned organization is Dell, Inc.








In Week 1, REPLY to this message, letting me know you have received this message and have been able to access the Mergent Online database and successfully viewed information about your assigned organization.








To learn more about your organization, use the IBISWorld and Mergent Online databases found in the University Library.  To use the Mergent Online database, click on Week 1 tab, at the learning activities, select Electronic Reserve Readings, then click Week 1 Electronic Reserve Readings, then click Mergent Online and in the Company search box, type the name of your company.  Also, feel free to use other resources and/or complete Internet searches on your company.






        • Tab, thank you for your response and calling out the importance of strategic initiatives and goals.  The text states “(6) Select a set of long-term objectives and strategies that will achieve the most desirable options.”  (Pearce, Chapter 1, page 2). These high level objectives will typically be the basis for an organization’s long-term (5 years?) strategic plan, with development of  annual objectives and short-term strategies (business plan) which support the longer-term strategic plan. Strategists and experts in the field typically recommend an organization have 3 (no more than 5) strategic objectives, with some recommending organizations have only 1 break-through strategy.

          Tab and class, in your opinion, should an organization limit the number of strategic objectives? What are advantages / disadvantages of too many (or too few) strategic objectives?


Pearce, J. A. II. (2013). Strategic management: Planning for domestic and global competition (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill


Kevin, your examples of the four functions of management illustrate their criticality to organizational success. Specifically your comments effective business decisions speaks to the importance of the various phases of plan development.  Oftentimes the mission statement serves as the foundation of the plan.  As teams begin to implement the plan and complete objectives, occasionally they can spiral out of control quickly and activities become derailed, if they don’t keep scope in mind.  Going back to the mission statement and strategic plan can help ground the team.

Class, is it possible for an organization to be successful without a mission statement?




        • Robb, very timely comments regarding control and the ability to correct/get back on track.  You also brought up the topic of mistakes.  Some industries are regulated to ensure adequate control is in place.  You might recall the recent financial crises and the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  This is explained more fully in chapter 2, Crafting and Executing Strategy.  Your response shows how very important this topic is.  Just this week, Rockwell Automation experienced employee fraud of an alarming magnitude.  This was particularly surprising given the organization’s reputation for solid governance and control. Fortunately an internal auditor discovered this.  Thank you for your response.




Governance also ensures that organizations have mechanisms for employees to report wrong-doing.  




Class, legal protections are in place to protect employees. Further, some organizations have implemented processes to make reporting easy and confidential. Do you think whistleblower protections are effective? Why or why not?






        • Diane, thanks for your response.  What you described in not uncommon.  Sometimes organizations have a clear, succinct mission statement, developed for their employees and perhaps internal stakeholders and may post a credo or slogan on their web site.




Class and Diane, in Week 2, you’ll be asked to develop a mission statement and a vision for your new division. Many times mission and vision are referred to interchangeably, possibly indicating they are the same. In your opinion, what is the difference between mission and vision?  After reading the above chapter, in what ways might an organization be vulnerable if it does not have a mission?  Please explain your position.






        • Kathleen, thank you for your response. You bring up an interesting point about the balance between innovation in an attempt to gain market share and keeping the budget in mind.  To me, this is where analysis and assessment is critical.




Kathleen and class, this chapter points out the importance of innovation in order for organizations to achieve a competitive edge and strategic differentiation.  As noted above, “…entrepreneurs are able to achieve success from effectively managing three elements…: opportunity, the entrepreneurial team, and resources.”




Since some organizations are still recovering from the recent recession and cost-cutting initiatives are still in place, do you believe it is possible for an organization to focus on both growth/innovation and cost cutting?  Please explain your position.






    • Class, a starting point in assessing an organization’s opportunities generally starts with an awareness of the current state.   In considering your assigned organizations (for your individual assignments), you might get ideas for your new division and service or product, based on your response to several key questions.  For your assigned organization:   

      • Is your company in a good, average, or weak competitive position?

      • Does your company appear to be in sound financial condition?

      • What problems does your company have that need to be addressed?





Class and Napier, I would like to focus on governance in the U.S. The authors have identified 4 primary fiduciary responsibilities for Boards of Directors in this Chapter.  The fourth is to “Oversee the company’s financial accounting and financial reporting practices.”  The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was enacted in direct response to the financial meltdown and lack of oversight.




SOX applies to publicly held organizations, and within publicly held organizations, organizations of a certain size, as it was determined too large of a strain on small companies to comply.  Other publicly held organizations who would have been required to comply with the Act have opted to privatize.

All, do you think the Act should apply to all companies, including not for profits and privately held organizations, both large and small? Do you have an example to share where fraud/embezzlement occurred that would have likely been prevented if compliance with SOX would have been required?






        • Last updated Aug 01, 2015, 8:44 AM

          Joseph, thank you for providing this example.  It appears your organization has solid governance practices in place for the process you described.  I imagine the individuals recruited are a very good fit for your organization, including alignment with your organization’s values.


          All, you might have noticed from this reading, that the first stage of the strategy-making, strategy-executing process is to develop an organization’s mission, vision, and values to guide the company in reaching its strategic objectives.  Oftentimes, the mission statement gives stakeholders a perception of the business.  Especially since it’s typically published, consumers and others will expect an organization to live by their mission.  

          It may also induce a business to carefully evaluate its strategic objectives to ensure they are aligned with the mission.  Johnson and Johnson, for example, “puts the needs and well being of the people we serve first” as the foundation of its credo (www.jnj.com). The recent Tylenol recall and hip replacement products recall may leave consumers’ perception of the organization to fall short; regaining consumer support may be difficult.


          All, do you have examples to share where mission and objectives are aligned? Alternatively, any examples where there is disalignment?  What are ways in which organizations can continually assess whether objectives support their mission?







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