Friday, December 13, 2019

The Return Midnight Chapter 19 Free Essays

Bonnie decided, with seconds precious and seeming to stretch for hours, that what was going to happen was going to happen no matter what she did. And there was a matter of pride here. She knew that there were people who would laugh at that, but it was true. We will write a custom essay sample on The Return: Midnight Chapter 19 or any similar topic only for you Order Now Despite Elena’s new Powers, Bonnie was the one most used to confronting stark darkness. She was somehow alive after al that. And very soon she would not be. And the way she went was the only thing left up to her. She heard a glissando of screams and then she heard them come to a halt. Well, that was al she could do for the moment. Stop screaming. The choice was made. Bonnie would go out, unbroken, defiant – and silent. The moment she stopped shrieking Shinichi made a gesture and the ogre who had hold of her stopped carrying her to the window. She’d known it. He was a bul y. Bul ies wanted to hear that things hurt or that people were miserable. The ogre lifted her so her face was level with Shinichi’s. â€Å"Excited about your one-way trip?† â€Å"Thril ed,†she said expressionlessly. Hey, she thought, I’m not so bad at this brave thing. But everything inside her was shaking at double time in order to make up for her stony face. Shinichi opened the window. â€Å"Stillthril ed?† Now that had done something, opening the window had. She was not going to be smashed against glass until she broke it with her face and went sailing through the jagged bits. There wasn’t going to be pain until she hit the ground and nobody would know about that, not even her. Just do it and get it over with, Bonnie thought. The warm breeze from the window told her that this – place – this slave-sel ing place – where customers were al owed to sift through the slaves until they found just the right one – was too highly air-conditioned. I’l be warm, even if it’s just for a second or so, she thought. When a door near them banged, Bonnie nearly jumped out of the ogre’s arms, and when the door to their own room banged open, she nearly jumped through her own skin. You see? Something surged wildly through her. I’m saved! It only took a little of that brave stuff and now†¦ But it was Shinichi’s sister, Misao. Misao, looking gravely il , her skin ashen, holding on to the door to hold herself up. The only thing about her that wasn’t grayed-out was her bril iant black hair, tipped with scarlet at the ends, just like Shinichi’s. â€Å"Wait!†she said to Shinichi. â€Å"You never even asked about – â€Å" â€Å"You think a little airhead like her would know? But have it your own way.†Shinichi seated Misao on the couch, rubbing her shoulders comfortingly. â€Å"I’l ask.† So she was the one inside the two-way mirror room, Bonnie thought. She looks real y bad. Like dying bad. â€Å"What happened to my sister’s star bal ?†Shinichi demanded and then Bonnie saw how this thing formed a circle, with a beginning and an ending, and how, understanding this, she could die with true dignity. â€Å"It was my fault,†she said, with a faint smile as she remembered. â€Å"Or half of it was. Sage opened it up the first time to open the Gate back on Earth. And then†¦Ã¢â‚¬ She told them the story, as if it were one she’d never heard before, putting an emphasis on how it was she who had given Damon the clues to find Misao’s star bal , and it was Damon who then had used it to enter the top level of the Dark Dimensions. â€Å"It’s al a circle,†she explained. â€Å"What you do comes back to you.†Then despite herself, she started to giggle. In two strides, Shinichi was across the room and slapping her. She didn’t know how many times he did it. The first was enough to make her gasp and stop her giggling. Afterward her cheeks felt as swol en as if she had a very painful case of the mumps, and her nose was bleeding. She kept trying to wipe it on her shoulder, but it wouldn’t stop. At last Misao said, â€Å"Ugh. Unfasten her hands and give her a towel or something.† The ogres moved just as if Shinichi had given the order. Shinichi himself was now sitting beside Misao, talking to her softly, as if he were speaking to a baby or a beloved pet. But Misao’s eyes, with their tiny flicker of fire in them, were clear and adult as she looked at Bonnie. â€Å"Where is my star bal now?†she asked with dreadful gray intensity. Bonnie, who was wiping her nose, feeling the bliss of not being handcuffed behind her back, wondered why she wasn’t even trying to think of a lie. Like, let me free and I’l lead you to it. Then she remembered Shinichi and his damn kitsune telepathy. â€Å"How could I know?†she pointed out logical y. â€Å"I was just trying to pul Damon away from the Gate when we both fel in. It didn’t come with us. As far as I know, it got kicked in the dust and al the liquid spil ed out.† Shinichi got up to hurt her again, but she was only tel ing the truth. Misao was already speaking. â€Å"We know that didn’t happen because I am† – she had to pause to breathe – â€Å"Stillalive.† She turned her ashen, sunken face toward Shinichi and said, â€Å"You’re right. She’s useless now, and ful of information she shouldn’t have. Throw her out.† An ogre picked Bonnie up, towel and al . Shinichi came around the other side. â€Å"Do you see what you’ve done to my sister? Do you see?† No more time now. Just a second to wonder if she real y was going to be brave or not. But what should she say to show she was brave? She opened her mouth, honestly not sure whether what was coming out was a scream or words. â€Å"She’s going to look even worse when my friends are done with her,†she said, and saw in Misao’s eyes that she’d hit her target. â€Å"Throw her out,†Shinichi shouted, livid with fury. And the ogre threw her out the window. Meredith was sitting with her parents, trying to figure out what was wrong. She had finished her errands in record time: getting enlarged versions of the writing on the front of the jars made; cal ing the Saitou family to find that they would al be home at noon. Then she had examined and numbered the individual blow-ups of each character in the pictures that Alaric had sent. The Saitous had been†¦tense. Meredith hadn’t been surprised since Isobel had been a prime, if entirely innocent, carrier of the kitsune’s deadly possessing malach. One of the worst casualties was Isobel’s own steady boyfriend, Jim Bryce, who had gotten the malach from Caroline and spread it to Isobel without knowing what he was doing. He himself had been possessed by Shinichi’s malach and had demonstrated al the hideous symptoms of Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, eating away at his own lips and fingers, while poor Isobel had used dirty needles – sometimes the size of a child’s knitting needles – to pierce herself in more than thirty places, besides forking her tongue with scissors. Isobel was out of the hospital and on the mend now. Still, Meredith was bewildered. She had gotten approval of the cards with enlarged, individual characters off the jars from the older Saitous – Obaasan (Isobel’s grandmother) and Mrs. Saitou (Isobel’s mother) – not without a good deal of argument in Japanese over each character. She was just getting into her car when Isobel had come running out of the house with a bag of Post-it Notes in her hand. â€Å"Mother did them – in case you needed,†she gasped in her new, soft, slurring voice. And Meredith had taken the notes from her grateful y, murmuring something awkward about repayment. â€Å"No, but – but may I have a look at the blow-ups?†Isobel had panted. Why was she panting so hard? Meredith wondered. Even if she’d run from the top floor al the way fol owing Meredith – that wouldn’t account for it. Then Meredith remembered: Bonnie had said Isobel had a â€Å"jumpy†heart. â€Å"You see,†Isobel said with what looked like shame and a plea for understanding, â€Å"Obaasan is real y almost blind now – and it’s been so long since Mother was in school†¦but I take Japanese classes right now.† Meredith was touched. Obviously, Isobel had felt it bad manners to contradict an adult when they were in earshot. But there, sitting in the car, Isobel had gone through every card with a blown-up character, writing a similar, but definitely different character on the back. It had taken twenty minutes. Meredith had been awed. â€Å"But how do you remember them al ? How do you ever write to each other?†she had blurted, after seeing the complicated symbols that differed only by a few lines. â€Å"With dictionaries,†Isobel had said, and had for the first time given a little laugh. â€Å"No, I’m serious – to write a very proper letter, say, don’t you use Thesaurus and Spel Check and – â€Å" â€Å"I need those to write anything!†Meredith had laughed. It had been a nice moment, both of them smiling together, relaxed. No problems. Isobel’s heart had seemed just fine. Then Isobel had hurried away and when she was gone Meredith was left staring at a round circle of moisture on the passenger seat. A tear. But why should Isobel be crying? Because it reminded her of the malach, or of Jim? Because it would take several plastic surgeries before her ears would have flesh on them again? No answer that Meredith could think of made sense. And she had to hurry to get to her own home – late. It was only then that Meredith was stricken by a fact. The Saitou family knew that Meredith, Matt, and Bonnie were friends. But none of them had asked about either Bonnie or Matt. Strange. If she had only known how much stranger her visit with her own family would be†¦ How to cite The Return: Midnight Chapter 19, Essay examples

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Linear Approach Of Strategic Management †MyAssignmenthelp.com

Question: Discuss about the Linear Approach Of Strategic Management. Answer: Introduction Strategic management refers to the process of implementing strategic activities in the organization to improve its efficiency. The planning process is initiated in the organization with respect to certain strategies and procedures so that the mission statement made by the company is achieved (Helfat and Peteraf 2015). The linear model of strategic management is the process under which the top management of the organization forms and implements plans so that viable goals are achieved. The approach assumes that the future will become sustainable with the formulation such policies. But still, by looking at the linear it can be noticed that there are a few drawbacks to every approach used in an organization. Some of the organizations find it difficult to align the interest of stakeholders with the objective of the organization. This resulted in depletion in the financial growth of the organization. The report provides a brief analysis of various strategic management approaches used in an organization to provide benefits to the stakeholders of the organization. It also provides examples of companies using such approaches and limitation of these approaches (Hill, Jones, and Schilling 2014). The details of the management approaches are discussed below. Different types of approaches Strategic management can be defined as a process of managing activities of the organization in such a way that it provides a strategy to the organization on the path of which organization can run and gain success. It is a continuous process with the effect of which activities are implemented and appraisal is done. Further there are many approaches to strategic management which assist the company; and take care of the interest of the organization along with its stakeholders (Kindstrm, Kowalkowski, and Sandberg 2013). Some of these approaches are discussed below: Stakeholder Approach Managing the interest of the stakeholder is a critical concept which needs to have complied with every company existing in the global environment. Stakeholder management approach refers to the approach in which the organization holds its activities in accordance with the interest of stakeholders. Keeping in mind the stake which the stakeholders hold, the company carries on their activities in such a way that it does not disturb and revoke the interest of stakeholder of the organization (Kor, and Mesko 2013). Stakeholder of a particular organization refers to a person who is connected with the activities of the organization; along with which the changes held in the organization affect their share. Some of the stakeholders of an organization are suppliers, shareholders, prospective buyers, government, employees etc. These are those people whose share will get affected by change in activities of the business. So, the company shall initiate activities with a view that the interest of sta keholders is not breached (Lozano 2015). Further, the initial step of the stakeholder approach is the process of identification of the stakeholders of the organization. There are many people connected with the activities and decisions of the organization but, the management needs to find out the people who are affected with the working of the organization and have the power to affect the decision-making process. The management also needs to prioritize their stakeholders, like the holders who have more shares in power, shall be classified separately and entertained accordingly (Nieves, and Haller 2014). Example of company using stakeholder approach Additionally, it shall be noted that the company Xerox uses the stakeholder management approach in their organization system to enhance their capabilities. The company believes that the stakeholder approach helps them to understand better their relationship with their stakeholders. For their customer, the company organized the Sustainability forum so that awareness regarding the best customer redressal practices is done (Wheelen and Hunger 2017). Also for the shareholders of the organization, the company small group meetings with the potential investors and they also initiate one on one meeting with their employees and customers so that efficiency is engraved and issue are sought. For the community (who are also the stakeholders of the organization) the company worked in such a way that hey provided training services to the student to make them capable of working in the global world. This process initiated in development of the whole community (Xerox 2008). Thus, in this way, the stakeholder engagement approach helps the organization to upraise their efficiency in the organization system. Dynamic Capabilities Dynamic capabilities refer to the capabilities of an organization to perform and develop activities of the organization in such a way that all the resources are adequately utilized. This model of strategic management focuses on the resources of an organization, that they are used wisely or not. The resources of an organization help them to generate greater returns for the organization, therefore, the management invest in acquiring assets for the organization as they increase efficiency. Provided to the before mentioned statement, efficiency in an organization is only achieved when the resources are adequately utilized. Thus, the dynamic capabilities approach helps the organization the importance of an organization and use them optimally so that success of an organization is achieved (Teece 2014). The basic idea of the dynamic capabilities approach is that the organization should use the resources in such a way that short-term benefits to the organization is received; further, they are converted in long-term competitive advantage as well. The resource-based approach helps the organization focus on their consistent growth in the competitive market as well (Weiss 2014). It helps the manager to understand the capabilities of the organization and resources available to them which they can optimally use. Thus, the manager develops strategies to adequately use the resources available to them and create a competitive edge in the market. Also, it includes the firm's ability to understand the external environment and use their resources in such a way that benefits are achieved by the organization. Further, the dynamic capabilities approach requires the assistance of the employees to understand the information, then plan and execute according to the function required by the organization (Grant 2016). Further, the stages of dynamic capabilities approach are discussed below: Learning: Learning is the initial stage of this approach which involves the purpose that the employees of the organization shall learn and adapt the changes happening in the organization. They shall reorganize their daily routine to that communication gap is reduced and issues can be solved successfully. New Assets: this step states that the performance of an organization is determined by the changes in the routines of the employees of the organization. This will further result in linking the customers and optimizing the resources adequately (Epstein, and Buhovac 2014). Transformation of resources available: this step states that in the fast-changing environment, the organization also needs to implement changes in their organization culture so that the resources are adequately optimized and organization achieves competence in the market. Thus, this step aims to mold the given resources in such a way that objective of the organization is achieved. Co-specialization: this phase states that with time if the organizations continually use the resources adequately, then it becomes a habit of the company to achieve competence in the market. Thus the company receives specialization in ding certain repeated tasks; due to this they continue to achieve their respective targets (Engert, Rauter, and Baumgartner 2016). Example of company using Dynamic Capabilities Approach This approach further acted as an advantage for the company IBM to improve their capabilities. The company IBM is truly a technological innovator company; they used their internal and external resources to initiate output for the organization. IBM used their innovative technology and successfully transmitted it to the customers, with this effect the customer gained satisfaction from the products and the company achieved their respective targets (Eccles, Ioannou, and Serafeim 2014). As the company successfully used their resources and developed IT-based software in the market, due to which the gained the competitive edge in the market initiating success for the company (Helfat 2013). Sustainability Approach Sustainability refers to the process of taking care of the environment in such a way that the resources are left for use by future generations. The process of sustainable management includes the way of managing and utilized the resources optimally that they are spared for the future generation as well. The companies shall take care of the society and environment while conducting the business activities. Thus, in this way only resources can be saved. Also, the approach provides various benefits to the organization that they start using resources optimally and wastage is reduced. The process of application sustainable activities in an organization is called sustained management (Beske, Land and Seuring 2014). Example of company adopting sustainability approach This type of approach is the need of current era as by looking at the environment it can be noticed that companies nowadays are over utilizing the resources and polluting the environment which adversely affecting the environment and the society (Beske and Seuring 2014). Thus, the company shall aim to fulfill the corporate social responsibility in order to maintain a sustainable growth of the business. Talking about the company which uses this approach in their organization system gain optimum benefits in the market as well. For instance, the company Coca-Cola has now started using water amount in their product efficiently. The company has reduced the water consumption by 20% and ore concerning towards the eater management activities as they can see the need for drinking water. Complying with the corporate social responsibility the company is receiving efficiency in their work as well (Helfat 2013). Limitations to the approach The introductory issue in directing the stakeholder approach is that the organization confronts issues in deciding the partners of the association. They confront troubles in examining the general population who are really associated and influenced with the working of the association and who are not. Aside from this, the issue emerges when the enthusiasm of the partner is measured in financial terms. Like, the offer given to suppliers and communities is a noteworthy worry for the organization. In light of this fact, that if the self-sufficiency is given to them then it will wind up provide more power to them which can act as a barrier to the growth of an organization (Slack 2015). Another restriction in dynamic capabilities approach is that the organizations utilizing this approach more often harass the assets accessible to them, keeping in mind the end goal to pick up the upper hand in the association. They don't comprehend the contrast between utilizing ideally and utilizing too much. In this manner coming about to which with a specific end goal to pick up capability assets are utilized as a part of more prominent sum and wastage is induced (Tantalo, and Priem 2016). Problem with the sustainability approach is that, in spite of the fact that the approach is a piece of the business administration venture. Sustainability is an aspect which shall be considered by the business process but is not the only aspect thus company shall take care of their organizational goals as well. However commonly it ends up plainly troubles the association to adjust the working of the corporate with feasible natural exercises because of which firm faces overseeing issues (Baumgartner 2014). Conclusion Thus, in the limelight of above events, it shall be noticed that the strategic management approaches adequately assist an organization to work properly and gain success in the external market. Further, it makes the companies aware regarding their responsibilities towards environment and society. Apart from that, there are various aspects in which such approaches halt the growth of an organization. Thus, these approaches shall be used sufficiently in the right direction so that organizational object is fulfilled along with sustainability. Thus, it is a duty of a company existing in the global market that they shall comply with such strategic management approaches and align the interest of stakeholders with their goals. Recommendation To the companies using such approaches, it shall be recommended that in today's era competition is tough and every organization is aiming high to get success. So, to fulfill their personal objective they shall try to provide greater satisfaction to customers by improving the quality of their resources and concerning the management approaches. Further, they shall not only focus on sustainability approaches but they shall also keep in mind their mission and vision statement so that both objectives are fulfilled. References Baumgartner, R.J., 2014. Managing corporate sustainability and CSR: A conceptual framework combining values, strategies and instruments contributing to sustainable development. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 21(5), pp.258-271. Beske, P. and Seuring, S., 2014. Putting sustainability into supply chain management. Supply Chain Management: an international journal, 19(3), pp.322-331. Beske, P., Land, A. and Seuring, S., 2014. Sustainable supply chain management practices and dynamic capabilities in the food industry: A critical analysis of the literature. International Journal of Production Economics, 152, pp.131-143. Eccles, R.G., Ioannou, I. and Serafeim, G., 2014. The impact of corporate sustainability on organizational processes and performance. Management Science, 60(11), pp.2835-2857. Engert, S., Rauter, R. and Baumgartner, R.J., 2016. Exploring the integration of corporate sustainability into strategic management: a literature review. Journal of cleaner production, 112, pp.2833-2850. Epstein, M.J. and Buhovac, A.R., 2014. Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Grant, R.M., 2016. Contemporary Strategy Analysis. John Wiley Sons. Helfat, C., 2013. How Apple and IBM Learned to Change With the Times. Viewed on September 16, 2017 from https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/07/02/apple-and-ibm-show-the-power-of-dynamic-capabilities Helfat, C.E. and Peteraf, M.A., 2015. Managerial cognitive capabilities and the microfoundations of dynamic capabilities. Strategic Management Journal, 36(6), pp.831-850. Hill, C.W., Jones, G.R. and Schilling, M.A., 2014. Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning. Kindstrm, D., Kowalkowski, C. and Sandberg, E., 2013. Enabling service innovation: A dynamic capabilities approach. Journal of business research, 66(8), pp.1063-1073. Kor, Y.Y. and Mesko, A., 2013. Dynamic managerial capabilities: Configuration and orchestration of top executives' capabilities and the firm's dominant logic. Strategic Management Journal, 34(2), pp.233-244. Lozano, R., 2015. A holistic perspective on corporate sustainability drivers. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(1), pp.32-44. Nieves, J. and Haller, S., 2014. Building dynamic capabilities through knowledge resources. Tourism Management, 40, pp.224-232. Slack, N., 2015. Operations strategy. John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Tantalo, C. and Priem, R.L., 2016. Value creation through stakeholder synergy. Strategic Management Journal, 37(2), pp.314-329. Teece, D.J., 2014. A dynamic capabilities-based entrepreneurial theory of the multinational enterprise. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(1), pp.8-37. Weiss, J.W., 2014. Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Wheelen, T.L. and Hunger, J.D., 2017. Strategic management and business policy. pearson. Xerox., 2008. Our Commitment to Global Citizenship. Viewed on September 16, 2017 from https://www.xerox.com/Static_HTML/citizenshipreport/2008/stakeholder-page1-1.html

Thursday, November 28, 2019

General Motors Case Study Essay Essay Example

General Motors Case Study Essay Essay Recently there have been doubts concerning the survival of General Motors. These doubts stem in part from the firm’s unawareness of the automotive industry’s external business environment. This includes the consumer’s view of current events and economic trends. There are also key issues such as the emergence of technology that are related to the automobile industry that are covered by trade publications. [i] Doubts also stem from problems associated with G. M. s internal business environment. These problems likely arose from the firm following the wrong generic strategy. For many years G. M. ’s position of dominance was built by designing cars for different customers by separate divisions. This gave them an extensive brand lineup which it used as its primary weapon in beating back both foreign and domestic rivals. [ii] However, in the 1980s Japanese Korean automobile manufacturers posed a significant problem to G. M. by their successful entry into the ind ustry which eroded their profits. It was at this time that consumers threatened G. M. ’s market share by forcing down prices when these foreign automakers successfully introduced their brands into the U. S. market. [iii] Automobile manufacturing has not been an attractive industry for G. M. in recent years. For a long time G. M. executives had decided to carry many different brands which required them to offer over 60 different models of cars and trucks. There were high productions costs associated with manufacturing and testing these automobiles these costs were passed onto the consumer. One analyst has suggested that G. M. hould have begun planning cutting back on its car divisions in the 1980s, but instead it actually added more brands. When G. M. ’s market share began to decline, it became difficult to continue to design and market cars under several brands. [iv] This left G. M. open to the threat of new entrants in the automobile industry. Another way automobile manufacturing has not been an attractive industry for G. M. in recent years is its l oss in profitability. In 2005 it announced a $10. 6 billion loss, the first in 12 years. In 2006 its net losses decreased to $1. 978 million. In 2007 they increased to $38. 32 million in 2008 they decreased to $30. 86 million. [v] These fluctuations may be due to Wagoner trying to deal with G. M. ’s problems as production capacity is balanced with profitability. There are emerging trends that are changing the entire automobile industry such as globalization;[vi] however, G. M. has been late in jumping on this bandwagon. Another trend is shorter product development cycles which give automobile manufacturers a shorter time to market. [vii] This gave Japanese automobile manufacturers a low entry barrier into the automobile industry in the 1980s. We will write a custom essay sample on General Motors Case Study Essay specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on General Motors Case Study Essay specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on General Motors Case Study Essay specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer There are also shifting roles responsibilities away from original equipment manufacturers to integrators/suppliers. [viii] This may have been another trend that G. M. was not sufficiently aware of causing it to lose market share. By looking at product line positions on strategic group maps, G. M. offers the same breadth of product line at an equivalent price as some of its closest rivals including Toyota, Honda, Nissan. All of these firms compete at both the lower and higher ends of the market along with G. M. [ix] Yet production costs per unit were significantly higher at G. M. ompared to these other automobile manufacturing firms that didn’t carry as many different brands. It was difficult for G. M. to achieve economies of scale because it had to spread these high costs of production over the number of automobiles it produced. [x] Consequently, this left G. M. open to the threat of new entrants in the automobile industry. Since Wagoner took over the firm in 2000, he has tr ied to implement and carry out a series of restructuring plans. The firm has undertaken its most serious efforts of restructuring but it has been very difficult to successfully complete them. Apparently problems grew as a result of mistakes made by G. M. ’s management over the last 30 years and it has taken time for Wagoner to deal with them. One way he has attempted to do this is by cutting back G. M. ’s production capacity[xi] which may have been prevalent in the auto industry at the time. [xii] Moreover, excess capacity often leads to escalating price cutting further eroding the automobile industry’s profits. [xiii] Wagoner’s restructuring plans provided for the four different geographic units to collaborate on designing, manufacturing, and marketing. Key decisions about product development began to be shifted to G. M. ’s headquarters. Efficiencies have been created which are likely to reduce its overall cost structure in the next few years. Through greater integration, G. M. has been able to reorganize product development making it speedier, cheaper, and more effective. Moreover, it has adopted practices perfected by the Japanese to improve the process. There has also been an increase in percentage of parts reused from one generation of G. M. cars to the next. xiv] There are conditions in the internal environment of G. M. that have contributed to its problems. A useful framework for gaining insight into any organization is to view it as a sequential process of value-creating activities. This is useful for understanding the building blocks of competitive advantage. The value of G. M. ’s automobiles is the amount that consumers are willing to pay for them and is measured by its total revenue. Its total revenue is a re flection of the price its automobiles command the quantity it can sell. xv] The firm has not been profitable because its costs of creating and manufacturing automobiles have exceeded its total revenue. One measure that is helpful in understanding a firm’s profitability is its profit margin. It is intended to measure how efficiently it uses its assets and manages its operations. G. M. ’s profit margin from 2006 to 2008 was -0. 95%, -21. 4%, -20. 7% respectively. This tells us that, in an accounting sense, in 2006 it lost about $0. 01 in profit for every dollar in sales it generated. In 2007 2008 it lost about $0. 1 in profit for every dollar in sales it generated. Return on assets from 2006 to 2008 was -3. 07%, -64. 1%, -74. 7% respectively. [xvi] These figures all show that G. M. has been an unhealthy firm. To further show G. M. ’s unhealthiness, its competitive position is strong if it can create value for consumers that exceed the costs of production. One way it can do this is to improve its inbound logistics. This is one of the primary activities of an organization that uses value-creating activities and it contributes to the physical creation of G. M. ’s automobiles. There is an efficient inbound logistics value-creating activity known as just-in-time inventory systems. However, this activity has been epitomized by Toyota—one of G. M. ’s major competitors. This is a system in which parts deliveries arrive at the assembly plant only hours before they are needed. It plays a vital role in fulfilling Toyota’s commitment to fill a buyer’s new car order in just five days. This is in sharp contrast to most competitors in the automobile industry. It is even three times faster than Honda Motors which is considered to be the industry’s most efficient in order follow-through. Toyota achieves such a fast turnaround because all of its suppliers are linked to the company by way of a computer on a virtual assembly line, parts are loaded on trucks in the order in which they will be installed, parts are stacked on trucks in the same place each time to help workers unload them quickly, and deliveries are required to meet a rigid schedule. [xvii] In evaluating how G. M. is performing it is important to take into account its performance from a historical perspective and how it compares with industry norms and key competitors. Short-term solvency, or liquidity, measures provide information about G. M. ’s liquidity. The primary concern is its ability to pay its bills over the short-run without undue stress. The book values and market values of current assets current liabilities are likely to be similar; however, sometimes they can change fairly rapidly, so they may not be a reliable guide to the future. The current ratio for G. M. for 2006, 2007, 2008 is 0. 93, 0. 86, 0. 56 respectively. Since current assets current liabilities are converted to cash over the following 12 months in any given period, the current ratio is a measure of short-term liquidity. From 2006 to 2008, G. M. had $0. 93, $0. 6, $0. 56 in current assets for every $1 in current liabilities respectively. A current ratio less than one would mean that net working capital is negative. This is one indication that G. M. is an unhealthy firm. An apparent low current ratio normally may not be a bad sign for a firm if it had large reserve of untapped borrowing power;[xviii] however, G. M. needed to borrow mone y from the government because it didn’t this reserve. Inventory is often the least liquid current asset. Moreover, book values are also the least reliable as measures of market value of inventory because quality isn’t considered. Some inventory may later turn out to be damaged, obsolete, or lost. To further evaluate liquidity, the quick ratio is computed just like the current ratio, except inventory is omitted. G. M. ’s quick ratio for 2006 to 2008 was 0. 64, 0. 57, 0. 34 respectively. As these years have progressed, inventory has accounted for more and more of G. M. ’s current assets which is often a sign of short-term trouble. The firm may have overestimated sales and overbought or overproduced as a result. This would mean that it may have a substantial portion of its liquidity tied up in slow-moving inventory. [xix] G. M. s long-term solvency ratios are intended to address its long-run ability to meet its obligations. This is also known as its financial leverage. The total debt ratio takes into account all debts of all maturities to all creditors. G. M. ’s total debt ratio for 2006 to 2008 was 1. 03, 1. 25, 1. 95 respectively. This means that it had $1. 03, $1. 25, $1. 95 in debt for every $1 in assets for 2006, 2007, 2008 respectively. Therefore, from 2006 to 2008 for every $1 in debt G. M. was short $0. 03, $0. 25, $0. 95 in equity respectively. G. M. ’s debt-equity ratio from 2006 to 2008 was -4. 45, -5. 00, -2. 05 respectively. Its equity multiplier for these years was -3. 45, -4. 00, -1. 05 respectively. Another measure shows how well G. M. has interest obligations covered. In 2006, for every $1 G. M. owed in interest it could only pay $0. 71. In 2007, for every $1 it owed in interest it was short $2. 15. In 2008 there was no interest reported as paid by G. M. [xx] Asset management, or turnover, measures show the efficiency with which G. M. uses its assets. They describe how efficiently of intensively G. M. uses its assets to generate sales. Its inventory turnover from 2006 to 2008 was 8. 23, 8. 36, 9. 10 respectively. This means that it sold off, or turned over, the entire inventory this many times during each of these years. Moreover, on average, inventory sat 44 days in each of 2006 2007 and 40 days in 2008. [xxi] Part of G. M. ’s restructuring plan is to get its four different geographic units to collaborate with one another on designing, manufacturing, and marketing. Key decisions concerning product development gradually began being made at G. M. ’s headquarters rather that at the various divisions. These changes have created efficiencies which are likely to reduce its overall cost structure in the future. These efforts at greater integration have enabled G. M. to reorganize the product development process and make it speedier, cheaper, and more effective. [xxii] Moreover, as G. M. began to share designs and parts across divisions in order to cut costs, it led to a loss of distinctiveness between the different brands. Moreover, since it offered so many different brands, it was limited in the number of new models it offered in any given year. G. M. ’s image was tarnished because many of its cars looked older. It was also difficult for the firm to make adequate investments to build any of its brands. xxiii] A framework for analyzing G. M. ’s internal and external environment is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. This approach considers both external and internal factors simultaneously. G. M. ’s Strengths and Weaknesses refer to the internal conditions of the firm—where it excels and where it may be lacking relative to competitors . Its Opportunities and Threats are environmental conditions external to the firm. [xxiv] A strength of G. M. is its early shift in emphasis to bigger sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in the 1980s. This was caused by a change in the automobile industry in which the firm lost smaller-car customers to more nimble and inventive Japanese competitors. The bigger SUVs provided G. M. with ample profits in spite of its inflated cost structure. By the mid-1990s it became the biggest producer of full-size SUVs. It was at this time that G. M. ’s North American operations were very profitable only because of these big vehicles. However, the firm lost a great deal of money on most of its passenger cars. [xxv] One of G. M. ’s weaknesses has been its loss of profitability. This is probably due to the problems that arose over the last 30 years. During this time G. M. was using its resources and capabilities to design cars for different customers by separate divisions. The firms operations had been partnerships of somewhat independent geographic divisions that rarely worked with one another. This focus on an extensive brand lineup prevented G. M. from being more aware of globalization in a timely manner. Consequently, its overseas operations have failed to generate sufficient profits because it has had to respond to stronger competitors that have competed on a more global basis. xxvi] This correlates with its failure to adequately survey it external environment to predict environmental changes and detect changes underway. If G. M. had done this it would have been made aware of critical trends and events before changes developed a discernable pattern. Armed with this knowledge it would have been able to act proactively rather than being forced into reacti ve mode when Japanese automobile manufacturers stole its market share. There have also been product and manufacturing innovations the availability of substitute products. G. M. has been struggling with its response to emerging alternate technologies. It was the first to introduce an electric car in 1998 but it ended up scrapping the model a year later. Then the firm shifted its efforts to developing a new fuel-cell car. In 2008, G. M. began once again to further develop an electric car which it plans to introduce this year. [xxvii] G. M. had been facing threats from the external environment because of the low entry barrier it unwittingly gave to Japanese automobile manufacturers. If the firm had become better knowledgeable about the external business environment it would have been more responsive to it. This would have allowed it to predict environmental changes and detect changes already underway. One way it could have done this is to ask its customers questions about its products and services. This would have given G. M. knowledge of what consumers were looking for next. It would also have alerted G. M. to critical trends and events. Moreover, if executives at G. M. had read trade publications related to the auto industry it would have help them identify key issues. [xxviii] For example, it may have been aware of Japan’s shorter product development cycle giving their manufacturers a shorter time to market. By offering its extensive brand lineup, G. M. had been following a differentiation strategy which does not fit with this SWOT analysis. It is not appropriate because it needed to concentrate its efforts in developing a low-cost strategy. A competitive advantage based on low cost would have appealed to the industry-wide market. This would have included the construction of efficient scale facilities, cost reductions overhead control, avoidance of marginal customer accounts, and cost minimization in the value chain such as R D. [xxix] There are three plausible strategic alternatives that G. M. ’s Board of Directors may consider. The first is to further restructure the four different geographic regions in order to get them to collaborate more closely with one another on designing, manufacturing, and marketing. The firm would become more globalized yet essentially continue to offer an extensive brand lineup. This alternative suggests that more product development decisions be made at G. M. ’s headquarters rather than at the various subsidiaries. An advantage of this alternative is that it is somewhat of a low-cost strategy. Moreover, moving the product development process to the firm’s headquarters may help to continue to make it more efficient, affordable, and effective. A disadvantage of this strategy is that G. M. won’t have the costs savings associated with focusing on a narrower segment of consumers. The second alternative is similar to the first, but the brand lineup would be significantly reduced. An advantage of this strategy is the costs savings associated with focusing on a narrower segment. A disadvantage of this strategy is G. M. would lose some of its customers to other competitors who focus on different segments. The third alternative is for G. M. to move toward greater globalization yet limit the amount of collaboration the various divisions have with one another. The advantage of this strategy is the various divisions can remain somewhat autonomous allowing them to provide for the wants of consumers in its particular region or within its shipping jurisdiction. A disadvantage of this strategy is it will be once again difficult for G. M. to achieve economies of scale. The advantage of all three strategies is the move toward greater globalization. Whatever strategy G. M. decides to implement, it must work toward greater globalization since it has been caught unaware of this trend. By concentrating on globalization it should be able to distribute automobiles to more and more consumers. Beyond that, I believe that the best strategic alternative for G. M. based on its circumstances is the second one. I am recommending this strategy because, in order to compete successfully in the automobile industry, it is important that G. M. reduce its brand lineup. By focusing on a narrower segment of consumers, the firm should be able to eventually experience cost savings. Although it may lose customers to other competitors in the industry, it may eventually make up lost profits by making an effort to develop a focus strategy. In order to implement this strategic alternative, G. M. ’s four different geographic regions must have better access to collaboration. This may include videoconferencing and other forms of electronic communication. This would enable the sharing of ideas concerning, among other things, which brands and models need to be reduced or eliminated and which ones need to be retained. Moreover, all areas of product development would have to be moved to G. M. ’s headquarters. This may also require that the firm expand its capacity in Detroit, MI to accommodate designing, manufacturing, and marketing. This would have to occur after G. M. ’s extensive brand lineup is reduced to those brands believed to be the most profitable. The firm must understand that the plausibility of this recommendation is based on the viability of the brands it decides to retain. It is also based on G. M. ’s continued surveillance of the both the external and internal business environments. Problems may occur if there are significant changes in the industry that it has not been made aware of such as economic instability in a nation that imports G. M. automobiles.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Islamic Geography in the Middle Ages

Islamic Geography in the Middle Ages After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the average Europeans knowledge of the world around them was limited to their local area and to maps provided by the religious authorities. The exploration of the fifteenth and sixteenth century would not likely have come as soon as they had, were it not for the geographers of the Islamic world. The Islamic empire began to expand beyond the Arabian Peninsula after the death of the prophet and founder of Islam, Mohammed, in 632 AD. Islamic leaders conquered Iran in 641 and in 642 Egypt was under Islamic control. In the eighth century, all of northern Africa, the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), India and Indonesia became Islamic lands. The Muslims were stopped at France by their defeat at the Battle of Tours in 732. Nonetheless, Islamic rule continued on the Iberian Peninsula for nearly nine centuries. Around 762, Baghdad became the intellectual capital of the empire and issued a request for books from throughout the world. Traders were given the weight of the book in gold. Over time, Baghdad accumulated a wealth of knowledge and many key geographical works from the Greeks and Romans. Ptolemys Almagest, which was a reference to the location and movement of heavenly bodies along with his Geography, a description of the world and a gazetteer of places, were two of the first books translated, thus keeping their information in existence. With their extensive libraries, the Islamic view of the world between 800 and 1400 was much more accurate than the Christian view of the world. Role of Exploration in the Koran The Muslims were natural explorers since the Koran (the first book written in Arabic) mandated a pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca for every able-bodied male at least once in their life. With thousands traveling from the farthest reaches of the Islamic Empire to Mecca, dozens of travel guides were written to assist in the trip. Pilgrimage during the seventh to the tenth month of the Islamic calendar each year led to further exploration beyond the Arabian Peninsula. By the eleventh century, Islamic traders had explored the eastern coast of Africa to 20 degrees south of the Equator (near contemporary Mozambique). Islamic geography was primarily a continuation of the Greek and Roman scholarship which had been lost in Christian Europe. There were some additions to the collective knowledge by their geographers, especially Al-Idrisi, Ibn-Batuta, and Ibn-Khaldun. Al-Idrisi (also transliterated as Edrisi, 1099-1166 or 1180) served King Roger II of Sicily. He worked for the king in Palermo and wrote a geography of the world called Amusement for Him Who Desires to Travel Around the World which wasnt translated into Latin until 1619. He determined the circumference of the earth to be about 23,000 miles (it is actually 24,901.55 miles). Ibn-Batuta (1304-1369 or 1377) is known as the Muslim Marco Polo. In 1325 he traveled to Mecca for a pilgrimage and while there decided to devote his life to travel. Among other places, he visited Africa, Russia, India, and China. He served the Chinese Emperor, the Mongol Emperor, and the Islamic Sultan in a variety of diplomatic positions. During his life, he traveled approximately 75,000 miles, which at the time was farther than anyone else in the world had traveled. He dictated a book which was an encyclopedia of Islamic practices around the world. Ibn-Khaldun (1332-1406) wrote a comprehensive world history and geography. He discussed the effects of the environment on humans so he is known as one of the first environmental determinists. He felt that the northern and southern extremes of the earth were the least civilized. Historical Role of Islamic Scholarship By translating important Greek and Roman texts and by contributing to the knowledge of the world, Islamic scholars helped provide the information which allowed the discovery and exploration of the New World in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Motivation; Human Resource Management in the Public Sector Essay

Motivation; Human Resource Management in the Public Sector - Essay Example These needs vary from the public to the private sector and therefore different theories have to be implemented to recognize them (David, 1985). Needs that have been satisfied don’t work as motivators thus the organization has to consistently study the employees using different theories to recognize the next level of need for a motivated workforce. Theorists today have analyzed that the content and process approaches of motivation are congruent to public organizations (Robins, 2000). This method of motivation focuses on the theory that motivation in individuals is caused by the desire to fulfill inner needs. This approach concentrates on the needs that motivate individuals. Identifying the needs of employees using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that identifies five need levels. At level one are the physiological needs which include food, water and comfort. A public organization can satisfy this need by giving a paycheck to the employee (David, 1985). At level two is safety needs which are feeling secure and stable. These can be satiated with the benefits that accompany the salary like medical coverage etc. social needs are third on the hierarchy which are desires for friendly relationships between employees and a sense of belonging. This is essential in public organizations as good relations and coordination are crucial to the organization as once this is developed the employees would be motivated to work better (Porter, 2000). The next level is the esteem n eeds which are needed for self respect and respect from coworkers. This can be attained by matching the skill of employees with their job assignment. The esteem can be satiated by appreciation of the employee’s work by the public organization. Lastly, self actualization needs of self content and recognition of the employee’s absolute capabilities can be satisfied by giving the employee challenging tasks that utilizes the employee’s