Strategic Management

Theme One: Lessons to Learn From the Class

Sub Theme One: Individuals Need to Set Personal Values


Making People Behave More Ethically, An MBA’s View

When Good People Do Bad Things at Work


Sub Theme Two: Corporations Need to Set Values for within and without

Theme Two:  Inside the Business


Morgan Stanley: Code of Ethics and Business Conduct

Starbucks Code of Behavior

Barclays boss tells staff ‘sign up to ethics or leave’

Business Ethics: A Manual for Managing Responsible Business Enterprise In Emerging Market Economies

Ethics and Leadership


Dispatches From the Frozen North (Standard Setting i the Way to do Business)

Why Good Managers Make Bad Ethical Choices (Setting corporate responsibility)


Participate in Week 8 learning activities – Initial response due by Thursday, follow up response to two students are due by Sunday.




Week 8 Learning Activities

General instructions:

Research, apply and answer in your own words with appropriate reference(s) and in-text citation(s) to this week’s readings, videos, and/or examples from current events to support the position and/or rationale.

Label your responses specifically “Learning activity 1”, and “Learning activity 2”.

Write in 250 words at least for initial response,

Write in 75 words for each follow-up response (at least 2 follow-up responses for each activity) by expanding the discussion topic substantively and explore other possibilities and/or solutions, thereby enriching class learning.

Week 8 Learning Activity 1

Assume that you work for a medium-sized business corporation with several business units under the same corporate umbrella.

Your boss knows that you have attended a course on Strategic Management at University of Maryland University College, and recommended you to become a member in the strategic planning committee to design the appropriate strategy in gaining further progress on the road of economic recovery.


The mettle of a person, or a firm, is best tested and judged not in the euphoria of prosperity and boom conditions but in the bleakness of adversity. (Hartley, 2005, p.247)


According to Introduction to Strategic Management (2014), in Chapter 5 “Selecting Business-Level Strategies”, “focusing on generic strategies allows executives to concentrate on the core elements of firms’ business-level strategies.”


Since 2008, the US economy was in Great Recession. Companies in different industries had to weather this turbulent negative economic cycle with their respective strategic moves.



Hartley, R.F. (2005). Management mistakes and successes (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

Unknown (2014). Introduction to strategic management. Washington, D.C.: The Saylor Foundation.




Step 1: Initial response




Use your current (or past employer) as the focal company or organization. If the size of your employer is (was) not medium-sized, then you will be better off to choose a medium-sized company or organization in the same industry as your current (or past) employer is (was) in. Or you may choose a medium-sized company in an alternative industry where you are interested to be working (after your graduation or in your future career).

Provide (a) the SWOT analysis and (b) EFE (external factor evaluation) of your focal company or organization.

Decide an appropriate strategic corporate plan for that company or organization.

Devise (a) the business level strategies and (b) the operational strategies in full support of this newly devised corporate strategy.

List the implementation stages of the business level strategies.



Step 2: Follow-up postings




You may use one (or a combination) of the following approaches, and you are not limited to these approaches:




Comment on (a) the strengths or merits, and/or (b) the weaknesses (areas of deficiency) of the strategy or strategies (corporate, business-level, and/or operational-level) proposed by your fellow learners.

Support the position in your criticism or recommendations on the strategy (or strategies) of your fellow learner.

Discuss what you think about the potential pitfalls (or roadblocks) in the proposed strategy (or strategies) of your fellow learner(s).

Respond to the additional question(s) posted by the instructor to the whole class.



Week  Learning Activity 2




In 1999, Office Max planned to open 120 new superstores in the United States on top of the 150 superstores opened in 1998. Revenues had steadily climbed to $3,765 billion in 1997 while net income had grown to $89.6 million, an increase of 30 percent from 1996.




Yet, Office Max’s stock price had fallen precipitously to under $10 a share by September 1998. By late 1998, analysts began attacking OfficeMax. It was showing up more poorly than competitors Office Depot and Staples. In particular, sales were lagging at its older stores, and OfficeMax warned that third-and fourth-quarter earning would not hit expectations, mostly because of heavy price-cutting on computers. Critics were quick to point out that Office Depot and Staples were not so adversely affected. Was this just a temporary aberration?




The situation was to worsen, as businesses began cutting back in a slowing economy in 2000, and office-supply industry faced an over-saturated market: too many stores form years of vigorous expansion in 1990s. (Hartley, 2005, p.326)




On July 14, 2003, OfficeMax announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Boise Cascade Corp, a big lumber and paper company. In a $1.15 billion buyouts, OfficeMax shareholders would get $9 a share, about a 25 percent premium over the current share price. (Hartley, 2005, p.327)




The takeover deal gives Boise Cascade an important new distribution channel through OfficeMax – the nation’s third-largest office supply superstore chain behind Staples and Office Depot – and an entrance into the consumer and small-business market. (Sorkin, 2003).






Hartley, R.F. (2005). Management mistakes and successes (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.




Sorkin, A.R. (2003, July 15). Papermaker Boise Cascade buys OfficeMax. Retrieved from




Step 1: Initial response




Use what you have learned in this course to analyze the decline of OfficeMax in the office-supply industry to its buyout by Boise Cascade Corporation.

What alternative strategy might have prevented its decline?

Provide your specific rationale for this alternative strategy (or these alternative strategies).



Step 2: Follow-up postings




You may use one (or a combination) of the following approaches, and you are not limited to these approaches:




Comment on the position of your fellow learner’s posting.

Make alternative recommendations with reference to the readings in this course, other research findings and/or examples from current events.

Respond to the additional question(s) posted by the instructor to the whole class.