Strategic Management – General Mills

Please address each of the following parts, titling each “part 1,2,3,4”

Using the framework discussed in the background readings (attached), critically analyze General Mills’ strategic choices at the Corporate level (remember that “corporate” level is the very highest level of the organization, with lower levels being the “functional” and the “business” levels).

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PART 1

What are General Mills’ corporate-level strategies? What generic Porter strategy does the company follow? Are General Mills’ strategic choices aligned with the Porter generic strategy you believe the company follows?

PART 2

Using the Grand Strategy Selection Matrix, or GSSM (the GSSM can easily be found via a Google search), decide which one of the four quadrants General Mills fits best within? Defend your decision!

PART 3

In order to properly implement a strategic plan, organizations use structure, various control systems (budgets, variance analysis, policies and procedures, company rules), and culture.

Let us revisit General Mills and determine the relative effectiveness of the company’s strategic controls. Choose two implementation controls, and discuss whether or not you believe the controls you’ve selected effectively support the company’s strategic choices. Be sure to defend your answer (critical thinking is required)!

PART 4

Respond to the following:

As you’ve learned from the background readings, a key strategic control is that of organizational culture. Culture must fit with an organization’s strategic choices. Poor alignment between culture and strategic choice is a sure-fire way to doom any strategic choice.

Of course, some organizational theorists would assert that an organization’s culture cannot be “managed” in the truest sense of how one “manages” the processes and activities and things that exist within an organization. David Campbell (2000, p. 28) says that an organization

Is being constructed continuously on a daily, even momentary [italics added], basis through individual interactions with others. The organization never settles into an entity or a thing that can be labelled and described, because it is constantly changing, or reinventing itself, through the interactions going on within it. [At the same time, an organization] does have a certain character to it, such that, like driving on the motorway, not just anything goes (p. x).

Do you agree or disagree with the above? That is, can culture really be “managed”? What might this interpretation mean in the context of our current discussion related to “strategic controls”?

A few comments on the above: Many individuals believe that, while the notion of “culture” can be defined, no single individual (irrespective of his/her legitimate power) is capable of single-handedly moving an organization’s culture in one direction or another. These individuals suggest that the sheer number of formal and informal groups, structures, tasks, functional operations, and individual interactions that exist and occur within organizations (even moderate-sized ones) render the “management” of culture impossible (consider the potential number – and combination – of individual to individual, individual to group, and group to group interactions that are likely to occur within an organization at each and every moment (and then, there are endless numbers of contacts / interactions with external stakeholders as well). The possibilities are seemingly infinite — or at least they are indefinite. In this view, an organization’s culture is abstract, fragmentary, fluid — and even relative and momentary – how can such a thing be “managed” in the same sense that we “manage” people and organizational processes?

Reference:

Campbell, D. (2000). The socially constructed organization. London: Karnac Books.

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