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The SAE course gives very insightful thinking in terms of analyzing and evaluating strategic options based on key issues the organization faces. In my opinion, it is an on-going process from EIBE of which considers mainly upon macro-environments whilst SAE involves both macro and micro environments at the same time. By using tools taught in the class as an outside-in approach (environmental-orientation), they provide an in-depth understanding of the organization challenges. Therefore, these key findings can be used to construct the strategic choices and recommendations for the company in order to create competitive advantage and sustain business in the long run.

The Cineworld Group Plc was chosen as a case study for the group assignment, focusing on cinemas operators’ business unit. The company is very interesting for everybody in the group as we are its direct customers; therefore all members can contribute effectively throughout the group exercises based on their real experiences resulting in some creativities are generated during the group discussions. The Cineworld Group is an appropriate example here regarding an evidently scope of segmenting the market by industry (cinema operators) and geographical location (UK and Ireland). Further market segmentation by demographic such as aging, gender and customer preferences also developed in order to narrow down the focusing areas.

To analyse the environments surrounding the organisation for identifying key strategic issues, PESTLE analysis, Porter five forces model, SWOT analysis and other relevant tools are very useful tools to give holistic picture of the company in terms of contextual and transactional settings. As a result, the strategic issues derived from these techniques are both relevant and comprehensive to current situation of the company. After obtaining the key strategic issues, the key strategic options are developed through the use of TOWS and the matrix of evaluating strategic options. In addition, these key options combined with key findings of other tools such as strategic clock and strategic group provide the clear direction of where the company need to move forward in order to achieve the competitive advantage against its rivals.

Using TOWS, the group can construct the key priority options the company should focus on for addressing the company pressures. The tool is very practical because it provides constructive approach to develop strategic options from key issues obtained without creating by intuitions. Moreover, considering associated stakeholders of the organization is a focal point for management in organization; therefore, the matrix of evaluating strategic options is used to assess the strategic options obtained in terms of suitability, acceptability, feasibility and sustainability in stakeholders’ viewpoint. Additionally, the group also prioritised the key strategic options regarding its limited resources and competencies as well as the impact of the key issues on the company performance.

In conclusion, the class is well-organised by having the lecture in the morning and leaving the afternoon session for group work to practice using the tools taught in the class and prepare presentation for the next day. Overall, by getting comments and suggestions from the professors and classmates during the group presentation, it is very effective because the group can review the results and make change for further development in the report. Finally, after completing SAE, the class leaves me with the confident to apply the tools in practical ways which will definitely have huge benefits for my future career.