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Forum Tasks essay
 
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The management plays very significant roles. The core of these is making decisions which play a very crucial part in determining the path that the firm will take. The managers of an entity are often required to make an evaluation of the various alternatives that present themselves and make decisions that will have a better effect on the firm. Just like the various managerial styles that are often employed by varying firms, there exist a number of decision making techniques that can be employed Pederson, 2006). Decision making constitutes of risks and uncertainty, therefore the decisions made vary in risk aversion degree. The decisions to be made calls for a high level of keenness since any single mistake made can lead to detrimental damage to the entire firm. Another firm that employs the hierarchical strategy that is also employed by Wesfarmers is the Coles Group (Sahaf, 2010).  Coles Group is an Australian based entity that deals with the operation and ownership of a number of retail stores in various parts of the New Zealand and Australian markets.  The operation of the firm's activities is categorized into four categories, Liquor and Fuel, Food, Kmart, Target and Officeworks.  

From the various activities that the Coles Group specializes in, it is very archaic to state that the management of such a firm can be centralized (Kotel, 2000). This is because we have seen that the firm does not specialize in a single line of production and finding the right management group that is totally qualified in all these departments will be force. This therefore calls for the formation of a hierarchy in which specific individuals who are specialized in a given field are given the obligation of running a specific store and then report to the overall management (Ireland et al. 2008). The specialists are given the responsibility of running fully the operations of the firm and making decisions that affect the store he or she is put in charge.

The five forces of competition identified by porter are simple tools yet very powerful regarding to the comprehension of where power in an entity lies (Hammond et al. 1998). It is of essence to know where the power and authority in a firm is since it helps one understand thee current position of competition and the strength of that position one is aiming to move into and occupy (Grant, 2005). When one understands where power lies, one is able to take and utilize the opportunities that presents themselves, make use of his strengths, make an improvement on the weaknesses possessed and avoid making and taking steps that might be considered wrong. The five forces are: entry threat, the bargaining power that suppliers' posses, the buyers' bargaining power, substitute's availability and competitive rivalry.

According to (Drucker, 2004), one such firm that has realized on how best to employ and utilize the five porter' forces of competition is Rio Tinto Group. This is a British Australian multinational firm that is headquartered in Melbourne and London. The company which was established in 1873 has managed to outdo all odds and it is one of the biggest and well performing firms financially in Australia. Just like a number of the world best performing firms, Rio Tinto has expanded through major acquisitions and mergers. The firm is currently the fourth largest entity in Australia and in fist place in the industry in front of its long time rival BHP Billiton. It is accredited that a single Rio Tinto share is equivalent to two shares as of its suitor BHP Billiton. The total wealth controlled by the two firms is equated to $350 billion (Sahaf, 2010). This is five times the total assets controlled by national Australian bank which is the second largest firm in Australia. This is an indication that the firm is still aiming high both in the local and foreign markets as it tries to understand the needs of the customers and fulfilling them (Eden & Ackermann, 2000). The firm also invests in R&D which makes sure that better and innovative styles are identified making it outdo potential entries in the industry. Following the spirit of awning a business that is great at fair prices has proved to be a fact as its financial position is constantly at an increase while it keeps shocking its rivals who wonder on its achievements.

In this task, am going to use the national Australian bank, too demonstrate the understanding of the terms company competence, a core competence and distinctive competence. The National Australian bank according to Forbes .com, this is the second largest and well performing entity in Australia. For a firm to perform such exemplary, it must identify its environment very well and the expectations of its potential clients. This therefore demands for intensive research and development so as to come up with projects and schemes that will adequately respond to the needs of the customers that are constantly changing (Sahaf, 2010).

A company's competency looks at the ease at which a firm is able o deliver results. Competency concentrates on the effectiveness and efficiency of a firm in achieving set objectives and goals. It is clear that a number of entities enter the business world each year, but by the end of the year, it is realized that almost 42% of these firms exit the business while only 2% of these firms are able to survive for ten years in the market (Pederson, 2006). All these show the competency level possessed by a firm. Competencies may vary from core competency to distinctive competence. Core competence refers to the capabilities that a firm has and which are very critical to the entity as far as competitive advantage.  In analyzing the core competence of a firm, an entity first has to recognize that other firms present the potential threat to the competitive advantage of the firm and it is therefore the role of the management to ensure that they concentrate on those competences that can easily topple the organization's competitive advantage (Hosskisson et al. 2008).

Hammond et al. (1998)  asserts that distinctive competencies refers to the talents or the collective experience in relation to the firm's workforce which puts it better competitively in relation to its competitors, the distinctive competence gives the firm an advantage over its rivals. National bank of Australian has managed to outdo a number of rivals in the finance industry (Thompson et al. 2004). The distinctive competence possessed by the firm in relation to technology, management capabilities and market strategies for sure has placed it in higher levels than its competitors.

Broad differentiation strategy is a situation where a firm's presence is maintained in the market regarding all segments. In a broad differentiation strategy, a competitive advantage is attained as the products are designed in a distinct excellent manner which results to high awareness and accessibility. In this strategy there is competency in the R&D and through this new and developed designs are introduced into the market every time (Drucker, 2004). These products are able to keep the pace of the market. The prices of products from such a strategy are often above average and the there is thee expansion of thee capacity die to an increase in demand. In short, in such a strategy value is normally presented to the customers in relation to the unique products provided. A good example of a firm that employs this strategy is GE which produces electronic products varying from those used in the homes to those in the industrial factories; the firm also deals with other products such as office stationeries (Sahaf, 2010).

Focused strategy applies on selected and specific segments of the market.  There is the perception that high value is provided which in return tend s to justify the premium price that is presented to the target market (Grant, 2005). A very reliable example of where such a strategy is employed involves the cases of salon cars where a number of firms are competing for the same market. This indicates that the focus strategy tends to focus a specific group of persons, product lines or a specific geographical area. Cadbury falls under this category of firms that specializes in specific segments of the market which are generally food and beverages (Thompson et al. 2004).

Constantly, entities are encountered by a number of issues that can be termed to as dilemmas, ethically. In such circumstances, what the firm does will determine whether it will be able to survive in the market or not. The ethics of a business implies to what the firm has to observe and keep in its daily operations Sahaf, 2010). There is a diverse range of business ethic issues depending on the location of the business and the line of production that the business is operating in. Hammond et al (1998), confers that business ethics should be fully embraced by firms since it is these that define the path to be followed. These are some of the most crucial aspects that are the driving force of Starbucks.

Eden & Ackermann, (2000) says that it makes common sense to say that we should give back to the society. At the same time it is the responsibility of the firm to protect the environment it is working on. Through this the health of the resent and the future generations is put at heart. This means that no one has the right to infringe the other person's rights; instead the firm should ensure that all peoples' rights are protected and sustained. In fact Starbucks is geared towards ensuring that eh coffee farmers are given the help they need in regard to addressing matters such as the challenges faced in coffee production and financial crisis (Ireland et al. 2008).

In the career section of Coles Group, there are a number of benefits that those working in the entity receive (Eden & Ackermann, 2000). There is a list of how the Group rewards and recognizes the employees in the firm through promotions and the development of the people's talents and skills. The firm also do offer flexibility in terms of an individuals, lifestyle.  The employees are also given discounts in all the stores and through this they are given an opportunity to save each single day (Kotel, 2000).  The firm offers continuous development and opportunities that arise in the firm. The program referred to as Coles for You is meant to maximize on the benefits that an individual will get when working with the firm.

From a number of those working in the organization, the benefits that are listed in the company's website can not be termed to as mare propaganda, since there is legible justification amongst those who are working and have worked for the firm (Grant, 2005). Research that was carried out has indicated that there is a growing opportunity in the firms and once one has been employed in the firm, family treatment is obligatory as one can receive help and assistance whenever demanded.

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