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The motivation and background, as well as the research objectives of this Thesis are described in the sections below. The research questions are introduced from the point of view of their benefits and substance to the research objectives. Principal findings are presented, as well as the applied research methodology and limitations. The structure of the Thesis is introduced briefly, too.
1.1 Motivation and Background
It is important to be able to position an organization based on its manoeuvres and capabilities in the current competitive business environment. The Case Company is a hi-tech and product development enterprise in a global corporation. Its products are designed to work in mobile networks. The impact of the Internet and fast mobile networks is accelerating the evolution towards packet switched Internet Protocol Multimedia Sub-system, IMS, based multimedia services (3GPP 2006, 4-8; 3GAmericas 2009, 7-10, 12-13). The central question is how the Case Company would be able to sustain its credibility and competitiveness among other R&D, Research and Development, companies. According to my knowledge, this type of investigation has not been executed in a thorough and scientific way at the Case Company.
No gap can be identified from the previous research. However, no single research article, study or book alone covers completely the research area of this Thesis. Therefore, I use a number of different sources in the literature review to comprise the theoretical framework. Applicability of the existing literature in the area of organizational capability and opportunity exploitation for the purposes of creating strategic alternatives in R&D is verified within the Thesis.
1.2 Research Objectives, Research Questions and Main Findings
The main objective of the Thesis is to explore the Case Company and to provide the head of the organization with strategic alternatives and a development plan how to stay competitive and become a preferred partner. The Thesis investigates how effectively the organizational capabilities and external opportunities are exploited. The main perspective is strategic management, but also the operative dimension is analyzed. The outcome of the Thesis contains both strategic suggestions and opportunities for improvement. By utilizing the outcomes, one is able to validate the degree of applicability of existing literature, from the point of view of the research objectives of the Thesis.
The first research question relates to the strategic management and competitive advantages gained, including intangible resources, such as copy rights, patents, reputation and networks. Interviews, observations and my own experiences are exploited.
- 1. What strategic actions has the R&D function accomplished since the 1990s to achieve major product responsibilities? The second research question considers strategic analysis from the point of view of the business environment and competitive intelligence.
- 2. What are the effects of the ongoing evolution towards all-IP and packet switched data on the Case Company? The third research question concentrates on strengths and weaknesses in the SWOT-analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It relates to the capability and knowledge management function. Literature analyses, interviews, observations and experiences of my own are utilized.
- 3. How to manage strategic planning at the Case Company in an effective way? How the existing capabilities could be managed to create new knowledge, added value and sustainable competitive advantages?
One of the main findings is that the Case Company does not have a strategy. However, the deployment of the team-based culture can be considered to be a reactive sign of strategic decisions, yet without the long-term direction. The Case Company is an expert organization, possessing excellent production, delivery and process improvement capabilities. Teams exploit knowledge from each other and develop organizational capabilities. The role of line management could be re-evaluated, in favor of strengthened human resource management. Increasing efficiency requirements imply professionally constructed motivation and empowerment elements. Previously gained relational and even networking capabilities cannot be identified widely any longer. This issue should be on the agenda of the management team. According to the findings, the Case Company would be able to gain competitive advantages, for example, via service differentiation and customer collaboration. Networking with customers could increase both efficiency and motivation. The management should be able to make strategic decisions by applying external and internal signals, in addition to organizational capabilities. External signals originate from the competition and the business environment. Internally, organization wide contributions would be important. The CI-analysis, Competitive Intelligence, confirms that the evolution into packet switched technology would offer an opportunity and another strategic element.
1.3 Research Methodology and Limitations of Study
The Thesis is based on a qualitative research approach and a case study method. The research contains both theoretical and case company specific parts. Literature reviews provided me with the theoretical framework needed for the Thesis. Case company specific qualitative data collection was carried out by interviews. Also observations and experiences of my own were used in the data collection and analysis. The Thesis is practical improvement and development oriented (Ghauri 2004, 109; Yin 2003, 13-15). The research methodology is described more thoroughly in Chapter 4.
The research objectives are studied by concentrating on the functions of the Case Company within one country. The organizational capability related perspective is extended till the beginning of the 1990s when the GSM, Global System for Mobile Communications, and the evolution of digital mobile telephony started off. That is to say, the Thesis considers also the heritage of the Case Company. Barney (1991, 107-108, 115) emphasizes the significance of historical merits in gaining sustainable competitive advantages. Analyses of different capability types (Wahlroos 2010, 32-56) are excluded from the Thesis. The focus is on strategic capabilities of the Case Company, in relation to capability development model by Möller and Törrönen (2000, 9-11) in Section 2.3. Validity aspects concerning previous research are considered while verifying the applicability of existing research literature from the point of view of the Objectives of the Thesis.
1.4 Structure of Thesis
Figure 1 describes the structure of the Thesis. Relevant literature reviews are performed within
Chapter 2. They construct the theoretical framework for the Thesis.
Chapter 3 introduces the phases for the analytical framework. The qualitative research approach, the case study method with its techniques used for the case company, as well as data collection and analysis methods are described in the Research Methodology
Chapter 4. The Case Company is introduced and case evidences are discussed and analyzed in
Chapter 5. External and internal strategic evaluations are executed and summarized, according to the stages defined in the Analytical Framework chapter. The research questions are answered by combining theory and competitive intelligence analysis results with the facts and opinions of interviewees, as well as experiences of my own. Furthermore, strategic suggestions are explored and opportunities for improvements are given for the case company in Chapter 5. Within the Conclusions chapter I summarize the background of the Thesis, highlight relations to previous studies, and discuss briefly the main findings. Additionally, further study items are suggested.
- Motivation and Background
- Research Objectives, Research Questions and Main Findings
- Research Methodology and Limitations of Study
- Structure of Thesis
- LITERATURE REVIEW
- Strategic Management
- Generic Strategies
- Competitor Analysis
- Intangible Resources
- Knowledge and Organizational Capabilities
- Capability Development Model and Networking Capabilities
- Self-organizing Teams
- Strategic Management
- ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK
- External Strategic Evaluation
- Internal Strategic Evaluation
- Strategic Suggestions
- Opportunities for Improvement
- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
- Qualitative Research
- Case Study Research
- Data Collection and Analysis Methods
- 5CASE EVIDENCE
- 1 External Strategic Evaluation
- 1.1Competitive Environment, Technology View
- 1.2 Competitive Strategy Formulation
- 1.3 Three Generic Strategies
- 1.4 Summary of External Strategic Evaluation
- 2 Internal Strategic Evaluation
- 2.1 Case and Parent Company, Organization and Strategy View
- 2.2 Strategic Management in Case Company
- 2.3 Operative Management in Case Company
- 2.4 Summary of Internal Strategic Evaluation
- 3 Exploration of Strategic Alternatives for Case Company
- 3.1 SWOT and Confrontation Matrix
- 3.2 Strategic Suggestions
- 4 Opportunities for Improvement
- 1 Motivation and Background
- 2 Summary of Study
- 3 Suggestions for Future Research
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