The chapter six case study, Doing the Right Thing by Making a “Hurd” Decision, dwells on the ethics issues surrounding the dismissal of former HP’s CEO Mark Hurd. The case study further provides background information on the ethical stature and history of the company since its establishment in 1939 by its founder members, David Packard and William Hewlett. The two incorporated ethics into HP as a business strategy. This was made possible by both inculcating ethics and actually acting and operating in an ethical manner (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008). In the other case study found in chapter five, Crushing the Crackberry, the rise and fall of Blackberry. The case study dwells on the need for proper public relations in the development and growth of a company and its products.
Using the SWOT analysis the predicament faced in the respective companies in the two cases, namely, Hewett-Packard and Research in Motion (RIM) much can be established. In the HP case the strengths lay in its strong ethics, Hurd’s sound strategic leadership, innovativeness and a strong brand. As for RIM, the strengths were visionary leadership, innovativeness, and brand loyalty (DuBrin, 2010). The weaknesses for HP range from low employee role due to pay cuts and layoffs, dependence on third party suppliers, and financial condition that are dependent on global economic patterns. RIM faces weaknesses in the form of poor public relations, lacking smartphone technology and customer service interruptions.
The analysis of the two companies also establishes the opportunities as depicted in their respective case studies. Hewett-Packard can seize opportunities in emerging markets such as the BRIC nations, diversification of products and services through customer solutions group and the introduction of consumer-sensitive prices. As for RIM, opportunities can be tapped in strategic partnerships, outsourcing of functions such as public relations, investment in the smartphone market and international expansion. The threats, for the two companies, as per the SWOT analysis, are as follows. HP identifies its threats as emerging technologies, competition from IBM and DELL, and projected drop in the IT markets. The RIM faces threats from strong smartphone competition from Apple, recent acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, and rapid technological changes in the telephony market (McNish &Silcoff, 2013).
The alternative strategies for HP and RIM are specific and tailor-made for their individual problems. HP should focus on strategic acquisitions which will be integral in tapping into the global market. The company further ought to diversify its IT services to include others such as cloud computing. RIM, on the other hand, ought to dwell on the outsourcing strategy and joint investments. Outsourcing will allow the company to inject fresh innovativeness and management functions (McNish &Silcoff, 2013). The company should consider opening doors for joint investments with interested parties. This will be essential in overseeing the reversal of the negative financial performance of RIM and its Blackberry brand.
The recommended course of action based on the two companies’ alternative strategies ought to be carefully considered. HP ought to dwell on strategic acquisition. Previous acquisitions such as Compaq have enabled the company to tap into the competitive advantages enjoyed by the new acquisitions. Acquisitions with elaborate global contacts can be key to achieving a global expansion. From the case study, this is the best way to jolt stakeholder confidence after the exit of CEO Mark Hurd. RIM (Blackberry’s mother company) ought to focus on outsourcing as a strategy. It is through that this strategy can inject innovativeness which is important in countering the iPhone wave brought about by Apple’s IOS and the Android system. The outsourcing function will further see to it the company acquires the services of an external PR firm. The public relations will be key to resuscitating the already ailing Blackberry brand.
DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Essentials of management. Australia: South-Western.
Ireland, R. D., Hoskisson, R. E., & Hitt, M. A. (2008). Understanding business strategy: Concepts and cases. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
McNish, J., & Silcoff, S. (2013). Losing the signal: The untold story behind the extraordinary rise and spectacular fall of Blackberry.