Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Waste Management Inc.: a case study
In class, we have learned a wide variety of topics related to the concept of strategy. We have studied some frameworks and we have analyzed different approaches intended to perform a strategic analysis of organizations. We have discussed about strategic planning processes as well as different ways of evaluating the current performance. In general, we learned that, when an organization wants to modify its strategy, it should take into account several variables including economic, sociocultural, technological, political, and demographic issues. Additionally, organizations should understand the structure of the industry and how it is evolving. This week we will be discussing how organizations should also perform an analysis from inside (by analyzing their structures, resources, processes, staff and culture) in order to identify opportunities to improve their performance. In summary, we have covered many topics and it might be difficult assimilate all the information that we learned in the past three weeks.
When I was searching information to write my blog this week, I was looking for an article to help me understand how to apply all the theory we have seen in a case study and I was lucky. I found an academic article(1) about Waste Management Inc., which is a company dedicated to the "waste management, comprehensive waste, and environmental services in North America."(2)
In this work, we can see an example of how to conduct a strategic analysis for an organization. It covers all the topics that we have seen in the course so far and I consider it is a good example that might be useful to provide us a general idea on how to organize our final project. It contains an overview of the market, an analysis of the industry (including competitors) and an internal analysis.
I particularly liked the following sections of the article:
The external analysis, since it takes into account several elements, for example: demographic (population size, age, ethnic mix), economic, political/legal, sociocultural and technological; an industry analysis including a description of the market and the application of the Porter's Five Forces framework: threat of new entrants, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of substitute product or services, and rivalry among existing competitors.
The internal analysis, made in order to identify strengths and weaknesses. It includes an analysis of the structure of the organization, its mission, the products and services that Waste Management Inc. provides, its organizational culture, as well as an analysis of its resources and finances.
As a result of the external and internal analysis, the writers perform an strategic analysis of the organization and finally, they suggest alternatives to the Waste Management Inc.'s current strategy in order to improve its performance. Additionally, writers provide guidance on how to implement these alternatives.
In summary, this article was really useful for me to reaffirm all the topics that we have studied in Strategy Development class and to have a better idea on how to apply many of the concepts in a study case.
Finally, one of the elements of the internal analysis is the organizational culture. Waste Management Inc. faced some problems in the past including anti-trust allegations and accounting improprieties(2). Some questions that come to my mind are:
How these types of problems affect the company culture?
Do these problems have a significant impact on the strategy of an organization?