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Using a SWOT Analysis for Strategic Thinking

Assessment 5
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  • Using a SWOT Analysis for Strategic Thinking

Complete a SWOT analysis, synthesize the internal and external analyses of your selected firm, and make recommendations to leadership through an executive PowerPoint presentation.
As a business professional, you may be asked to complete a SWOT analysis to report on your key findings and make recommendations to leadership (often through PowerPoint presentations). This assessment allows you to practice this type of analysis, summarize your key findings, and present your recommendations to leadership.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 2: Analyze the fit of the internal elements (resources, capabilities, goals, structures, systems, and values) with the organizational strategy.
    • Illustrate the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
    • Relate the SWOT analysis to the key strategic actions of the selected firm.
    • Examine the internal resources, capabilities, and competencies of the selected firm using key strategic management tools and models.
  • Competency 3: Analyze an organization’s strategic fit with the external environment and primary industry in which it competes.
    • Analyze the firm’s external environment, including its general environment, industry, and competitive position.
  • Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business professions.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea (in appropriate APA format) with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a business professional.

Competency Map
In this assessment, you will focus on recommendations to address strategic issues. Strategic recommendations include not only formulating strategy, but approaches to implement, or realize, them.
Grant and Jordan (2015) say that the “primary value of a formal planning system is creating a mechanism for linking strategy to a system of implementation that involves operational planning, target setting, and resource allocation” (p. 310). A key element of a successful strategy is effective implementation. Aspects of organizational structure, systems, and culture determine the effectiveness with which strategy is executed and are fundamental to the effectiveness of strategic management.
In practice, the organizational process of how intended strategies are normally implemented focuses on two elements of the firm: organizational structure and management systems. The design of organizational structure impacts coordination and cooperation, and management systems provide mechanisms for communication, control, and decision making. Another key strategic element of the firm—its goals and values—influence strategy formulation and are realized primarily through the consideration of organizational culture. A key question for strategists in assessing culture is “can organizational cultures be changed in ways that align them with the firm strategy and is it ethical to try to do so?” (p. 333).
Grant, R. M., & Jordan, J. (2015). Foundations of strategy (2nd ed.). West Sussex, UK: Wiley and Sons.
Questions to Consider
As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.

  • What are the various businesses that are part of the corporation’s business portfolio?
  • Are the businesses positioned in similar or related product markets and industries?
  • Are there common capabilities used by each of the businesses or are the capabilities required for each difference very different?
  • Are the companies of more value given that they are part of this corporation or would they be more valuable as independent businesses?
  • Do the businesses within the company seem to have a good strategic fit with one another?

Capella Resources
Click the link provided for more background on your selected firm:

The following resource may be helpful as you create your PowerPoint presentation for this assessment.

Internet Resources

  • net. (2016). SWOT analysis template. Retrieved from www.template.net/business/analysis-templates/swot-analysis/

Capella University Library Resources

Harvard Business Review Articles
The following readings are available from the Harvard Business Review. Search for the article by following the instructions in the Library Guide:

  • Ghemawat, P. (2007). Managing differences: The central challenge of global strategy. Harvard Business Review85(3), 58–68.
  • Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business Review82(10), 76–84.
  • Martin, R. (2002). The virtue matrix: Calculating the return on corporate responsibility. Harvard Business Review80(3), 68–75.
  • Porter, M. E. (1987). From competitive advantage to corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review65(3), 43.
  • Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review89(1/2), 62–77.
  • Porter, M. E. (1990). The competitive advantage of nations. Harvard Business Review68(2), 73–93.
  • Porter, M.E. (1996). What is strategy. Harvard Business Review76(1), 61–78.
  • Porter, M.E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review86(1), 78–93.
  • Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review84(12), 78–92.

Bookstore Resources
The following resource is available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore.

  • Grant, R. M., & Jordan, J. (2015). Foundations of strategy. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley and Sons.
    • Chapter 5, “Industry Evolution and Strategic Change,” pages 151–191.
    • Chapter 6, “Technology-Based Industries and the Management of Innovation,” pages 193–232.
    • Chapter 8, “Global Strategies and the Multinational Corporation,” pages 271–308.
    • Chapter 9, “Realizing Strategy,” pages 309–342.
  • Assessment Instructions

The organizational leadership of your selected firm has requested that you provide them with an executive PowerPoint presentation synthesizing your internal and external analyses of the firm, as well as recommend potential strategic actions the company could take to address the issues raised by your analyses.
If necessary, familiarize yourself with Microsoft’s PowerPoint program and a SWOT analysis format. Both are required to complete this assessment.
You will need to include at least five current, scholarly, or professional resources to support your presentation.
Develop a PowerPoint presentation of 8–12 slides (with speaker’s notes) that synthesizes the internal and external analyses for your selected firm. Your presentation must include a well-developed SWOT analysis, a summary of potential strategic actions, and the following:
Summary of SWOT Analysis

  • Examine the internal resources, capabilities, and competencies of the selected firm using key strategic management tools and models such as the VRIO Framework and Value Chain.
    • Look specifically for capabilities that are required for the company’s competitive advantage.
    • Be specific about the firm’s resources (both tangible and intangible) that seem most strategically important, now and in your vision of the company’s future strategic development.
    • Cleary state where firm Strengths and Weaknesses are found.
  • Analyze the firm’s external environment including its general environment, industry, and competitive position. Choose a strategic management model such as PEST analysis or Porter’s Five Forces Model to use in this analysis. Clearly state where external Opportunities and Threats are found.
  • Illustrate the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats using a SWOT table. You might also develop a SWOT figure that depicts your findings in a way that allows for more effective integration and synthesis of your key ideas.

Strategic Actions Based on SWOT Analysis

  • Relate the SWOT analysis to the key strategic actions the selected firm could take to further its alignment and long-term success.
    • How can you relate internal strengths and weaknesses with opportunities and threats in the external environment? Are there capabilities that need to be enhanced in order to capitalize on opportunities or reduce threats? Are there capabilities that can be divested because they are no longer needed in the current or projected environment?
    • What are the strategic actions that would align specific strengths and weaknesses with specific opportunities and threats?

Your presentation should be written clearly and be communicated effectively to organizational leadership in a business environment. Keep in mind that the audience is an upper level leadership audience, so formatting your content to appeal to that audience will help your presentation be on point.
Additional Requirements

  • References:Support your PowerPoint presentation with at least five academic resources from the Capella University Library. You must use proper APA style and format for citations and references.
  • Length:8–10 PowerPoint slides (with speaker’s notes), plus references.
  • Written communication:Demonstrate graduate-level writing skills through accurate communication of thoughts that convey the overall goals of the analysis and do not detract from the message.
  • Font:Times New Roman, 12 point.


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