Assurance of Learning Exercise 1B

Gather Strategy Information


The purpose of this exercise is to get you familiar with strategy terms introduced and defined in

Chapter 1. Let’s apply these terms to The Walt Disney Company (stock symbol = DIS).


Step 4  Using the Cohesion Case, the information, the 2011 Form 10K,

and the Industry Survey document, on a separate sheet of paper list what you consider to be

DIS’s three major strengths, three major weaknesses, three major opportunities, and three

major threats. Each factor listed for this exercise must include a %, #, $, or ratio to reveal

some quantified fact or trend. These factors provide the underlying basis for a strategic plan

because a firm strives to take advantage of strengths, improve weaknesses, avoid threats, and

capitalize on opportunities.


Assurance of Learning Exercise 1D

Strategic Planning for My University


External and internal factors are the underlying bases of strategies formulated and implemented by organizations. Your college or university faces numerous external opportunities/threats and has many internal strengths/weaknesses. The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate the process of identifying critical external and internal factors.

External influences include trends in the following areas: economic, social, cultural, demographic, environmental, technological, political, legal, governmental, and competitive. External factors could include declining numbers of high school graduates; population shifts; community relations; increased competitiveness among colleges and universities; rising numbers of adults returning to college; decreased support from local, state, and federal agencies; increasing numbers of foreign students attending U.S. colleges; and a rising number of Internet courses.

Internal factors of a college or university include faculty, students, staff, alumni, athletic pro-grams, physical plant, grounds and maintenance, student housing, administration, fund-raising, academic programs, food services, parking, placement, clubs, fraternities, sororities, and public relations.


Step 1  On a separate sheet of paper, write four headings: External Opportunities, External Threats, Internal Strengths, and Internal Weaknesses.

Step 2  As related to your college or university, list five factors under each of the four headings.


Assurance of Learning Exercise 10D

The Ethics of Spying on Competitors


This exercise gives you an opportunity to discuss in class ethical and legal issues related to methods being used by many companies to spy on competing firms. Gathering and using information about competitors is an area of strategic management that Japanese firms do more proficiently than American firms.


On a separate sheet of paper, number from 1 to 18. For the 18 spying activities listed as follows, indicate whether or not you believe the activity is ethical or unethical and legal or illegal. Place either an E for ethical or U for unethical, and either an L for legal or an I for illegal for each activity. Compare your answers to those of your classmates and discuss any differences.

1. Buying competitors’ garbage

2. Dissecting competitors’ products

3. Taking competitors’ plant tours anonymously

4. Counting tractor-trailer trucks leaving competitors’ loading bays

5. Studying aerial photographs of competitors’ facilities

6. Analyzing competitors’ labor contracts

7. Analyzing competitors’ help-wanted ads

8. Quizzing customers and buyers about the sales of competitors’ products

9. Infiltrating customers’ and competitors’ business operations

10. Quizzing suppliers about competitors’ level of manufacturing

11. Using customers to buy out phony bids

12. Encouraging key customers to reveal competitive information

13. Quizzing competitors’ former employees

14. Interviewing consultants who may have worked with competitors

15. Hiring key managers away from competitors

16. Conducting phony job interviews to get competitors’ employees to reveal information

17. Sending engineers to trade meetings to quiz competitors’ technical employees

18. Quizzing potential employees who worked for or with competitors


Assurance of Learning Exercise 1F

Get Familiar with SMCO


This exercise is designed to get you familiar with the Strategic Management Club Online (SMCO), which offers many benefits for the strategy student. The SMCO site also offers templates for doing case analyses in this course.


Step 1  Go to the website. Review the various sections of this site.

Step 2  Prepare a critique of the students’ oral presentation provided on The Wynn Corporation.

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