Socratic Skill Builder Assignment
Question #1 – Define Business (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question): This is an MBA course – a Masters level course about business. This question asks you to define business. Based on (1) your personal life experience, (2) personal business experience, (3) your formal and informal education, and (4) the videos and materials assigned this week. What is business and why does it exist? Why do people participate in business (engage in commerce, transactions, exchange)? This is NOT a question looking for you to provide a “right or wrong” answer (or copy a definition via a Google search), but rather an opportunity for you to reflect on what you (and others) think about business. Before we can have a conversation about strategic management, we need to discuss the context in which strategic management exists: BUSINESS.
Question #2 – About Business (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question): What are the five most pressing issues facing businesses in America today; and what can be done to prevent, resolve, or lessen the impact of these issues on individual companies? Again, this is NOT a question looking for you to provide a “right or wrong” answer, but rather an opportunity for you to reflect on what you (and others) think about business in general, and about the \”things\” individual businesses face every day. This is an opportunity for you to describe your thoughts, and again, an opportunity to begin our semester-long conversation about strategic management by first framing the context.
Question #3 – Business Success (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question): What three factors MOST influence the success of a business (list in order of priority and explain)? These are often referred to as Key Success Factors (KSFs), or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? This question is intended for you to THINK & REFLECT about what drives performance in companies. Try to avoid cowardice here (or worse, impudence) with the ridiculously unacceptable answer of \”it depends.\” The question is written to provide you an opportunity to DEMONSTRATE that you are engaged and interested and thinking. The answer of \”it depends\” simply demonstrates the opposite (apathy and disengagement). If you are an \”it depends\” person, then answer this question (and similar Socratic questions) with a specific example of a business or industry (or compare several companies or industries in your answer).
Question #4 – Summarize MSM Chapters (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question): Summarize and expand on Chapter #1 of the textbook (Art & Science of Strategic Management), and explain why you think strategic management is more an art than a science (or argue the opposite). Use your own words and take a position. It is VERY IMPORTANT in the business world — especially as an MBA — that you demonstrate you are knowledgeable and that you actually HAVE A THOUGHT (i.e. that you have a position on the issue). So avoid regurgitating the chapter (and all other questions in this course related to summarizing chapters) and provide both a concise summary of the chapter, as well as your review/critique of the chapter (this means: provide some interesting insight). Summarize and expand on Chapter #2 of the textbook (Leading Strategically), and describe what YOU think about the role and responsibilities of the CEO. (I’m curious as to how you feel Emotional Intelligence plays into the art of being a CEO – is it important, and why or why not?) Summarize and expand on Chapter #3 of the textbook (External Analysis), and explain why you think Porter or PESTEL is important (think about it: Porter is an economist, so he looks at the world of business by examining industries; so do you think his five forces model makes sense, or serves as a fundamental platform for CEOs to use to analyze their firm’s strategic position)?
Question #5 – Summarize PTW Chapters (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question) : In the past two weeks you have read the following from the book, Playing to Win: The introduction, Chapter 1 about choice, chapter 2 about aspirations, and chapter 3 about where to play. Provide a summary of these readings and concisely describe what the authors are trying to sell (what is their message – what is their perspective). Reflect on the readings and critique (i.e. share some insight). Do you agree or disagree with their perspective? Do you believe their model and approach is valuable (and why)?
Question #6 – Define Firm Performance (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question): Based on your own personal experience, education (including the videos and materials assigned this week), and knowledge, how would you best define firm performance (aka company or organization performance)? What does “firm performance” mean? What measure/metric should be used to measure firm performance? This week we introduce two new concepts — Triple Bottom Line and Balanced Scorecard — how do these ideas influence how YOU feel we best define/measure firm performance, and why?
Question #7 – Summarize Case (answer a minimum of 100 words for this question : Briefly summarize the Starbucks case/company from YOUR perspective (not your team’s perspective). What are the key issues, what are key success factors in this industry, what really matters to this company? Describe how you believe technology businesses differ from non-technology businesses, and the impact of technology issues on Starbucks. (Is Starbucks a technology company?)