Open Systems

Throughout the course, we have emphasized the foundational concept that organizations are open systems and as such, suggests the fundamental importance of a responsive management process to ensure the survival and growth of an organization. In the following questions, we will be asking you to describe organizations as open systems and explain how the strategic management process in its components, actions, and flow provides the management framework that enables organizations to survive and flourish within dynamic and competitive environments.

Define an organization and explain why it is an open system. Generally, what must an organization do to survive? (25 points)

Within an open system, explain the concept of alignment and discuss how the open systems perspective contributes to the various analytical frameworks (internal and external) and theories related to sustainable competitive advantage you learned in this course to assist managers in aligning the organization to the environment. (50 points)

How do these analytical frameworks work together to guide decisions regarding competitive positioning or business-level strategy? Briefly describe each of the generic business-level strategies and the required underlying source(s) of competitive advantage. (25 points)

The organizational structure must also align with strategy. Define organizational structure. Why should an organizational structure be a balance between stability and flexibility? (25 points)

In answering these questions, you may wish to include one or more examples of specific companies (which can include your client or any other organization) to illustrate how the open system perspective relates to each of these areas of the strategic management process. You must draw upon the lectures, the readings, and class discussions to provide a comprehensive overview of the strategic management discipline. You will be evaluated on your identification and correct application of the key concepts, theories, and analytical frameworks of the course.

This exam should be no longer than 6 double-spaced pages. Remember to cite your sources in APA format. The references page does not count towards the page restrictions. Your exam is due by midnight, April 10.

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