Ignou MBA MS-91 Solved Assignment 2014

Welcome to Ignou MBA MS-91 Solved Assignment 2014 Section. All Students can find here Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) Master of Business Administration (MBA) MS-91 Solved Assignment for January 2014 Session.

Course Code


Course Title


Advanced Strategic Management
Assignment Code




All Blocks

1. Discuss the managerial role of Board of Directors (BoDs). What in your opinion should be the managerial role of BoDs in the present context? Explain giving examples.


A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors. It is often simply referred to as "the board".
A board's activities are determined by the powers, duties, and responsibilities delegated to it or conferred on it by an authority outside itself. These matters are typically detailed in the organization's bylaws. The bylaws commonly also specify the number of members of the board, how they are to be chosen, and when they are to meet.
The board are directly accountable to the shareholders and each year the company will hold an annual general meeting (AGM) at which the directors must provide a report to shareholders on the performance of the company, what its future plans and strategies are and also submit themselves for re-election to the board.
The objects of the company are defined in the Memorandum of Association and regulations are laid out in the Articles of Association.
The board of directors' key purpose is to ensure the company's prosperity by collectively directing the company's affairs, whilst meeting the appropriate interests of its shareholders and stakeholders. In addition to business and financial issues, boards of directors must deal with challenges and issues relating to corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and corporate ethics.

Typical duties of boards of directors include:
• governing the organization by establishing broad policies and objectives;
• selecting, appointing, supporting and reviewing the performance of the chief executive;
• ensuring the availability of adequate financial resources;
• approving annual budgets;
• accounting to the stakeholders for the organization's performance.
• setting their own salaries and compensation
In addition to considering the foregoing measures, the board may also want to focus on identifying external pressures that can push a company to take excessive risks and consider how best to address those pressures. In particular, companies have come under increasing pressure in recent years from hedge funds and activist shareholders to produce short-term results, often at the expense of longer-term goals. These demands may include steps that would increase the company’s risk profile, for example through increased leverage to repurchase shares or pay out special dividends, or spinoffs that leave the resulting companies with smaller capitalizations. While such actions may make sense for a specific company under a specific set of circumstances, the board should focus on the risk impact and be ready to resist pressures to take steps that the board determines are not in the company’s or shareholders’ best interest.

2. There are different approaches to global entry. What in your opinion is the best approach and why? Explain.


An organisation wishing to "go international" faces three major issues:
i) Marketing - which countries, which segments, how to manage and implement marketing effort, how to enter - with intermediaries or directly, with what information?
ii) Sourcing - whether to obtain products, make or buy?
iii) Investment and control - joint venture, global partner, acquisition?
Decisions in the marketing area focus on the value chain . The strategy or entry alternatives must ensure that the necessary value chain activities are performed and integrated.

In making international marketing decisions on the marketing mix more attention to detail is required than in domestic marketing. lists the detail required1.
Examples of elements included in the export marketing mix
1. Product support
- Product sourcing
- Match existing products to markets - air, sea, rail, road, freight
- New products
- Product management
- Product testing
- Manufacturing specifications
- Labelling
- Packaging
- Production control
- Market information
2. Price support
- Establishment of prices
- Discounts
- Distribution and maintenance of pricelists
- Competitive information
- Training of agents/customers
3. Promotion/selling support
- Advertising
- Promotion
- literature
- Direct mail
- Exhibitions, trade shows
- Printing
- Selling (direct)
- Sales force
- Agents commissions
- Sale or returns
4. Inventory support
- Inventory management
- Warehousing
- Distribution
- Parts supply
- Credit authorization
5. Distribution support
- Funds provision
- Raising of capital
- Order processing
- Export preparation and documentation
- Freight forwarding
- Insurance
- Arbitration
6. Service support
- Market information/intelligence
- Quotes processing
- Technical aid assistance
- After sales
- Guarantees
- Warranties/claims
- Merchandising
- Sales reports, catalogues literature
- Customer care
- Budgets
- Data processing systems
- Insurance
- Tax services
- Legal services
- Translation
7. Financial support
- Billing, collecting invoices
- Hire, rentals
- Planning, scheduling budget data
- Auditing

Joint ventures can be defined as "an enterprise in which two or more investors share ownership and control over property rights and operation".
Joint ventures are a more extensive form of participation than either exporting or licensing. In Zimbabwe, Olivine industries has a joint venture agreement with HJ Heinz in food processing.
Joint ventures give the following advantages:
• Sharing of risk and ability to combine the local in-depth knowledge with a foreign partner with know-how in technology or process
• Joint financial strength
• May be only means of entry and
• May be the source of supply for a third country.
They also have disadvantages:
• Partners do not have full control of management
• May be impossible to recover capital if need be
• Disagreement on third party markets to serve and
• Partners may have different views on expected benefits.
If the partners carefully map out in advance what they expect to achieve and how, then many problems can be overcome.

3. What are the benefits of Knowledge Management? Discuss.


Knowledge is, "a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, values and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information." Notice that there are two parts to their definition:
o First, there is content: "a fluid mix of framed experience, contextual information, values and expert insight." This includes a number of things that we have within us, such as experiences, beliefs, values, how we feel, motivation, and information.
o The second part defines the function or purpose of knowledge, "that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information." — we have within us a framework (one idea) that we use for evaluating new experiences (the second idea).
Explicit knowledge can be articulated into formal language, including grammatical statements (words and numbers), mathematical expressions, specifications, manuals, etc. Explicit knowledge can be readily transmitted others. Also, it can easily be processed by a computer, transmitted electronically, or stored in databases.
Tacit knowledge is personal knowledge embedded in individual experience and involves intangible factors, such as personal beliefs, perspective, and the value system. Tacit knowledge is hard to articulate with formal language (hard, but not impossible). It contains subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches. Before tacit knowledge can be communicated, it must be converted into words, models, or numbers that can be understand. In addition, there are two dimensions to tacit knowledge:
o Technical Dimension (procedural): This encompasses the kind of informal and skills often captured in the term know-how. For example, a craftsperson develops a wealth of expertise after years of experience. But a craftsperson often has difficulty articulating the technical or scientific principles of his or her craft. Highly subjective and personal insights, intuitions, hunches and inspirations derived from bodily experience fall into this dimension.
o Cognitive Dimension: This consists of beliefs, perceptions, ideals, values, emotions and mental models so ingrained in us that we take them for granted. Though they cannot be articulated very easily, this dimension of tacit knowledge shapes the way we perceive the world around us.
o Socialization: from tacit to tacit — Sharing experiences to create tacit knowledge, such as shared mental models and technical skills. This also includes observation, imitation, and practice. However, “experience” is the key, which his why the mere “transfer of information” often makes little sense to the receiver.
o Internalization: from explicit to tacit — Embodying explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge. Closely related to “learning by doing.” Normally, knowledge is verbalized or diagrammed into documents or oral stories.
o Externalization: from tacit to explicit — The quintessential process of articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts through metaphors, analogies, concepts, hypothesis, or models. Note that when we conceptualize an image, we express its essence mostly in language.
o Combination,: from explicit to explicit — A process of systemizing concepts into a knowledge system. Individuals exchange and combine knowledge through media, such as documents, meetings, and conversations. Information is reconfigured by such means as sorting, combining, and categorizing. Formal education and many training programs work this way.
Why we need knowledge management now
Why do we need to manage knowledge? This list identifies some of the specific business factors, including:
• Marketplaces are increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is rising.
• Reductions in staffing create a need to replace informal knowledge with formal methods.
• Competitive pressures reduce the size of the work force that holds valuable business knowledge.
• The amount of time available to experience and acquire knowledge has diminished.
• Early retirements and increasing mobility of the work force lead to loss of knowledge.
• There is a need to manage increasing complexity as small operating companies are trans-national sourcing operations.
• Changes in strategic direction may result in the loss of knowledge in a specific area.
• Most of our work is information based.
• Organizations compete on the basis of knowledge.
• Products and services are increasingly complex, endowing them with a significant information component.
• The need for life-long learning is an inescapable reality.
In brief, knowledge and information have become the medium in which business problems occur. As a result, managing knowledge represents the primary opportunity for achieving substantial savings, significant improvements in human performance, and competitive advantage.
It’s not just a Fortune 500 business problem. Small companies need formal approaches to knowledge management even more, because they don’t have the market leverage, inertia, and resources that big companies do. They have to be much more flexible, more responsive, and more "right" (make better decisions) — because even small mistakes can be fatal to them.

4. `Managers should hold and develop a deeper knowledge of the nature of ethical principles and concepts and an understanding of how these apply to ethical problems encountered in business’. Explain



Principle 1. the responsibilities of businesses: beyond shareholders toward stakeholders.
The value of a business to society is the wealth and employment it creates and the marketable products and services it provides to consumers at a reasonable price commensurate with quality. To create such value, a business must maintain its own economic health and viability, but survival is not a sufficient goal.

Principle 2. the economic and social impact of business: toward innovation, justice, and world community

Businesses established in foreign countries to develop, produce, or sell should also contribute to the social advancement of those countries by creating productive employment and helping to raise the purchasing power of their citizens. Businesses also should contribute to human rights, education, welfare, and vitalization of the countries in which they operate.

Principle 3. business behavior: beyond the letter of law toward a spirit of trust.

While accepting the legitimacy of trade secrets, businesses should recognize that sincerity, candor, truthfulness, the keeping of promises, and transparency contribute not only to their own credibility and stability but also to the smoothness and efficiency of business transactions, particularly on the international level.

Principle 4. respect for rules
TO avoid trade friction and to promote freer trade, equal conditons for competition, and fair and equitable treatment for all partcipants. All businesses should respect international and domestic rules. In addition, they should recognize that some behavior, although legal, may still have adverse consequences.

Principle 5. support for multilateral trade

Businesses should support the multilateral trade systems of World Trade Organization and similar international agreements. They should cooperate in efforts to promote the progressive and judicious liberalization of trade, and to relax those domestic measures that unreasonably hinder global commerce, while giving due respect to national policy objectives.

Principle 6. respect for the environment

A business should protect and, where possible, improve the environment, promote sustainable development, and prevent the wasteful use of natural resources.

Principle 7. avoidance of illicit operations

A business should not participate in or condone bribery, money laundering, or other corrupt practices; indeed, it should seek cooperation with others to eliminate them. It should not trade in arms or other materials used for terrorist activities, drug traffic, or other organized crime.

Principle 8. customers

We believe in treating all customers with dignity, irrespective of whether they purchase our products and services directly from us or otherwise acquire them in the market.

Principle 9. employees

We believe in the dignity of every employee and in taking employee interests seriously.

Principle 10. owners/investors

We believe in honoring the trust our investors place in us.

Principle 11. suppliers

Our relationship with suppliers and subcontractors must be based mutual respect.

Principle 12. competitors

We believe that fair economic competition is one of the basic requirements for increasing the wealth of the nations and, ultimately, for making possible the just distribution of goods and services.

Principle 13. communities

We believe that as global corporate citizens, we can contribute to such forces of reform and human rights as are at work in the communities in which we operate.

Ethical business practices include assuring that the highest legal and moral standards are observed in your relationships with the people in your business community. This includes the most important person in your business, your customer. Short term profit at the cost of losing a customer is long term death for your business.
A reputation for ethical decisions builds trust in your business among business associates and suppliers. Strong supplier relationships are critical to a successful business. Consider the problems you might have if you could not supply what the customer needs...at the time that they need it.
The entrepreneur is the role model for employees. If your behavior includes lying to customers, taking money out of the cash register, or taking home some of the inventory or supplies, you cannot be surprised if your employees follow your lead. Your family members may see the business as their own and take things that really belong to the business. Employees may see this as being dishonest, or as a conflict with their needs for a raise in pay.
The community expects your business to operate in an ethical manner that enhances the image of the community as a whole. If you are located in a mall, for example, your code of ethics will help or hinder customer traffic for the other businesses too. A reputation for telling customers anything they want to hear, regardless of the truth, eventually hurts your business and other businesses around you. It usually isn't illegal to lie to customers, but it isn't good business.

5. Suppose you are working in a bank. What kind of social audit process should the bank perform and why?


A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization's social and ethical performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality, between efficiency and effectiveness. It is a technique to understand, measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of the organization.

Social auditing creates an impact upon governance. It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard. Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies.

Advantages of social audit
(a) Trains the community on participatory local planning.
(b) Encourages local democracy.
(c) Encourages community participation.
(d) Benefits disadvantaged groups.
(e) Promotes collective decision making and sharing responsibilities.
(f) Develops human resources and social capital
Understand Operating Environment
• An auditor evaluates the leadership abilities, ethical qualities and business practices of a corporation's senior management team to understand operating conditions and factors that affect the organization's social activities. An auditor discusses industry developments and job performance needs with lower- and mid-level employees, and reads industry publications and corporate annual reports to gauge levels of social involvement. An auditor also could use a three-stage approach to acquire knowledge about an organization's operating environment: corporate guidelines, departmental policies and segment procedures.
Understand Corporate Policies
• An auditor could acquire knowledge about a business entity's or an non-profit organization's social policies by inquiring from accounting, finance, charitable activities, human resource and governance departments. An auditor also could partner with external accountants and regulators to increase such knowledge. An auditor obtains relevant and appropriate "evidential matter" by applying auditing standards generally accepted in the industry in which a firm operates. Evidential matter is proof or evidence upon which an auditor provides an opinion.

Test Corporate Policies
• An auditor tests a business entity's social policies to ensure that appropriate controls, procedures and guidelines exist, and that such controls comply with regulatory mandates, industry practices, corporate guidelines and ethical standards. An auditor also evaluates whether social policies are adequately designed and are operating effectively. Policies are adequate if they detail step-by-step procedures and mechanisms for task performance, management's decision processes and lines of hierarchy in social and philanthropic activities.
Test Account Balances
• An auditor performs tests of "social" account balances in a business entity's financial statements to ensure that such balances are "fair" and "complete", and that they comply with accounting principles generally accepted in industries in which the entity operates. Social accounts could relate to activities involved in philanthropic donations, political contributions or other types of social undertakings. Fairness means objective or accurate in accounting, finance or audit parlance. Complete financial statements include a balance sheet, a statement of profit and loss, a cash flows statement and a statement of stockholders' equity.
Test Account Details
• An auditor tests details of a corporation's social accounts to ensure that such accounts are not "materially" misstated, and that they are fair and complete. Such tests are referred to as substantive tests. Material in accounting parlance means substantial or significant. For example, an auditor reviewing Bank ABC's social procedures could verify that amounts recorded as charitable donations or environmental support contributions are accurate

Initial Steps of the Audit - Notification, Planning, Opening Meeting and Fieldwork
• The 10 steps of the audit process begins with notification. The notification process alerts the party to be audited of the date and time of the process. The notification also will list the documents that the order wishes to review in order to understand the organization of the company. The next step, planning, is the steps the auditor takes, before the audit, to identify key areas of risk and areas of concern. This step is usually accomplished in a series of meetings with auditing staff. This leads up to the opening meeting between the auditing staff and senior management of the auditing target as well as administrative staff. The auditors will describe the process they will undertake. Management will describe areas of concern to them and the schedule of the employees that must be consulted. The next step, fieldwork, begins after the results of the meeting are used to adjust the final audit plans. Employees are notified of the audit, schedules are drawn up regarding the activities of the audit staff, and initial investigation is begun after learning of business procedures, interviewing key staff, testing current business practices by sampling, reviewing the law and testing internal rules and practices for reasonableness.
The Audit Itself - Communication, Draft Audit, Management Response
• Communication is the next step. The audit team should consistently be in contact with the corporate auditor to clarify processes, gain access to documents and clarify procedures. At the completion of the audit, the next step, the draft audit, is prepared. The draft audit will detail what was done and what was found, a distribution list of parties to receive preliminary results, and a list of concerns. The draft is given to management to review, edit and suggest changes, probe areas of concern and correct errors. Upon making final corrections, the report is given to management for the seventh step, the management response. Management is requested to answer the report by stating whether they agree with the problems cited, the plan to correct noted problem and the expected date by which all issues will have been addressed.

Ending the Auditing Process-Final Meeting, Report Distribution, Feedback
• The final meeting is designed to close loose ends, discuss the management response and address the scope of the audit. The ninth step is the report distribution, where the final audit report is sent to appropriate officials inside and outside the audit area. The last step is the audit feedback whereby the audited company implements the recommended changes and the auditors review and test the quality, adherence and effects of the adopted changes. This continues until all issues are adopted and the next audit cycle begins.

6. Suppose you are working in a creative/innovative organization. Identify the characteristics of this organization. Also find out how it has used its creativity as one of its strategies?


1. Management is tolerant of failure;
2. Bureaucracy and bureaucratic policies are at a minimum;
3. Risks are not analyzed endlessly (paralysis by analysis);
4. Management gives rewards to people who take risks;
5. Management is open to outside ideas;
6. Everyone is encouraged to suggest improvements;
7. Ideas are listened to, no matter their source;
8. Informal communication across departmental lines is encouraged; and
9. Interpersonal skills are encouraged.

When we say management is tolerant of failure we do not mean management puts up with endless mistakes and people who are not doing their jobs. That would be foolish and totally counter-productive in any organization. What we are saying is that management understands the inherent risks involved in trying something new, and people willing to take these risks may fail at their attempts to be innovative. A corporate culture that encourages innovation will tolerate these types of failures knowing that they are part of the process people go through to come up with creative, innovative solutions to problems. A company that does not allow for these types of failures will shut down the creativity and willingness to try in their people, and will eventually lose these people to a more forward-thinking organization.
Every company has a certain amount of bureaucracy in it ... it comes with the territory. However, innovative companies keep the bureaucracy to a minimum and have policies in place that everyone can understand and identify with. Job descriptions are easy to understand and allow for flexibility of the individual. Individuals have the opportunity to add to and/or modify their job descriptions for the betterment of the organization. Once again, innovation is encouraged in doing one's job.
When considering a new and innovative way of dealing with a challenge, the risks involved must be considered. The equation of benefit vs. risk must always be weighed. However, if the potential benefit exceeds the risk involved, it is necessary to go ahead and implement the innovation. It is prudent and good judgment to analyze potential risk, but it is easy to analyze every aspect of the risk to the point where we become paralyzed by the "what if's." At some point, faith in the people involved and the benefit of the innovation must prevail. That is the only way companies can gain a competitive edge in today's challenging world of business.

Every organization must have two types of employees. You need the employees who come in every day and quietly and effectively do their jobs. They do not want to move ahead in the company, and they are happy where they are. They do what they are told and they do it well. They take pride in their work, however, they are not the ones to come up with new ideas. They will implement the ideas of OTHERS but they are not the ones to innovate. Every organization needs these people, as they form the basic foundation of the company. They need to be rewarded for their dedication, commitment and loyalty to the company, and most are.

The other type of employee is the one who may give you more grief at times, but he/she will ultimately take your organization to the next level. This employee is the risk-taker; the visionary who can get other people on board to make things happen. In innovative organizations this employee is rewarded for the willingness and ability to take a risk and the outcomes he/she achieves.The outcomes achieved and the reward given should be public knowledge within the company. Perhaps a column in the company Newsletter or in a column on your company website ... let the whole company see the process of risk/outcome/reward.
Management is open to outside ideas. Mangement understands that new and creative ideas are vital to the success and longevity of a company. Management is open to receiving ideas from everyone in the company. Ideally, management will provide a place for those ideas to be explored, articulated and discussed. Perhaps once a week, or once a month, management can set aside a certain amount of time (Tuesday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00) for people to discuss their ideas with management. Nobody is laughed at or diminished for his/her idea, and people can feel free to discuss their ideas without fear of punishment or retribution.This scheduled open-door time to discuss ideas gives management an opportunity to assess its employees as well as listen to their ideas and it gives management an opportunity to know employees on a deeper level.

Everyone is encouraged to suggest improvements, and that means EVERYONE. Nobody is looked down on because of his/her position in the company. Each person is given the same opportunity to suggest improvements coming from his/her own unique perspective. Sam Walton of Wal-Mart was a master at this. He would walk into one of his stores unannounced, and go into the warehouse and ask the stock clerks how they were doing and if they had any ideas as to improving their part of the business. He then went to the clerks on the floor and asked them the same thing. He asked them what items were selling, what were not, and their suggestions for adding or deleting product to their mix. What a smart manager he was! Not only was he getting the ideas from the people right in the line of fire, he was making each and every person feel like a vital and important part of the organization.

Ideas are listened to, no matter their source. Innovative organizations look for ideas from all industries, not just their own. Innovative managers read many magazines and periodicals from numerous industries to find out how other industries are dealing with similar challenges. Innovative organizations send their management team to conferences and conventions of their industry and other industries as well to pick up new ideas and strategies for dealing with today's daunting challenges in business. When I am thinking of putting a new program together, I always ask people from a number of industries for their input on how I can help them with the issues they are facing. I am always surprised at the commonalities in the issues people are facing, regardless of industry. Innovative organizations look outside their own for ideas and solutions to their problems.

Informal communication across departmental lines is encouraged. Part of the work I do with organizations is to move management and employees closer together to form a cohesive and productive team. One of the strategies I stress is that members of one department become familiar with all the other departments so that each department feels free to turn to other departments within the organization for help and advice. This is very important because employees tend to feel a loyalty to the department they work in as opposed to the organization as a whole. Informal communication with other departments will help them see the broader picture.

Interpersonal skills are encouraged. People are encouraged to speak up and say what is on their minds. When teams form and meet, diferent people take turns at being the team leader. Communication on all levels is encouraged. When I am called into a company to bring employees and management closer together, I find the two issues that stand in the way are trust and communication. Actually, they go hand in hand. If employees do not trust management, they will be very reluctant to communicate how they feel. However, when employees are encouraged to speak up, again, without fear of punishment or retribution, and what they say is taken seriously, they start to trust management. Once trust is established, employees and management start to work from a position of shared values and a shared vision. When that happens, it's a beautiful sight to see!!!
What are your thoughts on this subject. I would love to hear from you. If you believe you work for an innovative organization, what are some of the characteristics that make it innovative? If you have a challenge or issue you would like to see discussed, let me know. I learn just as much from you as you learn from me. If you wish to pass this Newsletter along to a colleague who may find it of value, feel free to do so. If that person would like to receive the Newsletter, e-mail me with the address, and I will put it on my database. Have a wonderful month, and if you are going on vacation, have a great one.

creativity and innovation, the former being the generation of ideas and the latter its implementation.

In this era of globalization and competition, creativity and
innovation are considered to be key factors for survival, success and excellence of organizations
While creativity is generally of three types, viz. individual creativity, group/team creativity and organizational creativity.

Likewise, innovation is also classified as incremental innovation and radical innovation.

Organizational climate, organizational culture, leadership style, resource and skill,
and structure and systems are five factors that affect organizational creativity .

Innovation friendly strategy, structure, top management style, middle management support
and effective modes of managing innovation are five factors that affect organizational innovation.

Knowledge and learning play critical roles in quality creation and value innovation.

Structure &

Resources & Skills
Enhancements &
Support –
Time, Money &

Which influences

Top Mgmt. Style
Middle Mgmt
IF Strategy

Which creates Innovation

Based on the literature findings, as well as findings from the case, it is possible to prepare an
instrument to measure creativity and innovation of an organization and to find out the relationship
between creativity, innovation and competitive excellence. For measuring excellence it is
proposed to use the instrument used by the various Quality Models. It is also suggested that the
present instrument to measure excellence is no longer valid as a tool to measure competitive
excellence as it does not contain measures of creativity and innovation, which are instrumental in
making an organization competitive in this time of competition and globalization. The case
reinforces the postulate that various determinants of creativity and innovation such as strategy,
structure, culture, leadership, context, climate, technology etc help to bring out innovative and
quality products in their journey towards excellence.

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