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Strategic management. Lecture 7 Corporate strategy and strategic portfolio. LEVELS OF STRATEGY. Corporate level Determine overall scope of the organisation Add value to the different business units Meet expectations of stakeholders Business level (SBU)

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Strategic management

Lecture 7

Corporate strategy and strategic portfolio



  • Corporate level
    • Determine overall scope of the organisation
    • Add value to the different business units
    • Meet expectations of stakeholders
  • Business level (SBU)
    • How to compete successfully in particular markets
  • Operational
    • How different parts of organisation deliver strategy
three levels of the strategy
Three levels of the strategy

1. level: The corporate level

At this level the fundamental task is to develop a balanced portfolio of businesses which will achieve the goals of the corporation and satisfy its stakeholders.

2. level: The strategic business unit level (SBU)

At this level the business, or set of activities is given and the major task for strategic planner at this level is for business to succeed against competitors and also satisfy corporate success criteria.

3. level: The functional level:

At this level the major task is to provide an appropriate functional strategies ( finance and accounting, marketing, R+D, production, personnel) for SBU or corporate level strategy.


Strategic Business Unit (SBU)

A strategic business unit (SBU) is a part of an organisation for which there is a distinct external market for goods or services that is different from another SBU

definition of strategic business units
Definition of strategic business units

The SBUsarethe natural ‘grouping’ of part of a corporation.

  • The SBU has a range of related products/services which has similar technologies and production processes.
  • The products/services are sold in similar or related market segments.
  • The production/services are sold against a well-defined set of competitors.
  • An SBU is managed by an SBU manager, largely as an independent unit.
  • The SBU has its own set of goals and strategies.
  • Each SBU in a particular organizationshould be able to operate independently of any other SBU.
what is the portfolio stratregy
What is the portfolio stratregy?

From viewpoint of strategic management the corporations are collections of different “product-market-consumer-resource packages”. These are the SBU’s. We can describe the sum of SBU’s, as portfolio.

The portfolio analysis:

  • Combines the assessment of business position with market attractiveness evaluation, which emerges from external analysis in general and market analysis, in particular.
  • Includes multiple SBU’s in the same analysis and addresses the SBU investment decision - which organizational units should receive resources, which should have resource withheld , and which should be resource generators.
  • Offers baseline recommendations concerning the investment strategies for each SBU based on an assessment of business position and market attractiveness.
corporate portfolio management
Corporate Portfolio Management
  • Portfolio balance
    • Markets
    • Organisation’s needs
  • Attractiveness of business units
    • Profitability
    • Growth rates
  • Portfolio ‘fit’
    • Synergies between business units
    • Synergies with corporate parent
strategic implication of the bcg matrix
Strategic implication of the BCG matrix
  • The strategies for the overall portfolio products are concerned with the issue of balance, I.e. is the portfolio of products balanced internally in terms of the following?
  • Are there a sufficient number of „cash cows” to support those other products in the portfolio which are at stages of their lifecycles when they are require cash?
  • Are there „questions-marks” which have resonable prospects of becoming future stars and which do not , at present, constitute a disproportionate drain on current cash flow?
  • Are there an appropriate number of „stars” which will provide sufficient cash generation when the current cash cows are no longer able to fulfill this role?
  • Are there any „dogs” and if so why?
how to do a portfolio analysis
How to do a portfolio analysis?
  • Construct a summary of the industry and competitive environment of each business units.
  • Appraising the strength and competitive position of each business unit. Understanding how each business unit ranks against its rivals on the key factors for competitive success.
  • Identifying the external opportunities, threats and strategic issues peculiar to each business units.
  • Determining how much corporate financial support is needed to fund each unit’s business strategy and what corporate skills and resources could be deployed to boots the competitive strength of various business units.
  • Comparing the relative attractiveness of the businesses in the corporate portfolio. Compare the businesses on various historical and projected performance measures - sale growth, profit margin, return on investment, and the like.
  • Checking the corporate portfolio to ascertain whether the mix of businesses is adequately “balanced”

The Industry Life Cycle

Industry Sales

Introduction Growth Maturity Decline


Drivers of industry evolution :

  • demand growth
  • creation and diffusion of knowledge
assumptions and limitations of bcg
Assumptions and limitations of BCG
  • The use of highs and lows to make just four categories is too simplistic.
  • The link between market share and profitability isn’t necessarily strong. Low-share businesses can be profitable, too (and vica versa.)
  • Growth rate only one aspect of industry attractiveness. High-growth market may not always be the best for every business unit or product line.
  • It considers the product line or business unit only relation to one competitor: the market leader. It misses small competitors with fast-growing market share.
  • Market share is only one aspect of overall competitive position.
corporate level and international strategy
Corporate Level and International Strategy
  • Product and geographical diversity
  • Related and unrelated diversification
  • Attractions of international markets
  • Multidomestic and global strategies
  • Effect of product and geographical diversity on performance
  • Corporate parenting
  • Portfolio management
reasons for diversification 1
Reasons for Diversification (1)
  • Value creation
    • Efficiency gains from applying existing resources/capabilities to new markets/products
      • Economies of scope
      • Benefits of synergy
    • Applying corporate managerial capabilities to new markets/products/services
      • Dominant logic
    • Increased market power from diverse product/service range
      • Cross subsidy
      • Possible monopoly in long-run
reasons for diversification 2
Reasons for Diversification (2)
  • Less obvious value creation
    • In response to environmental change
      • To defend existing value
      • Or straying too far from dominant logic?
    • To spread risk across range of businesses
      • Investors can diversify more effectively?
      • Important for private businesses
    • In response to expectations of powerful stakeholders
      • Pressure from financial analysts to produce constant growth
international strategies
International Strategies
  • Issues
    • Global-local
    • Centralised/decentralised
  • Generic Strategies
    • Multi-domestic
      • Value adding activities located in national markets
      • Products/services adapted to local requirements
    • Global
      • Standardised products
      • Produced in centralised location
value destroying corporate parents
Value-Destroying Corporate Parents
  • Bureaucracy
    • Adds cost
    • Hinders responsiveness
  • Buffer from reality
    • Financial safety net
  • Diversity and size
    • Lack of clarity on overall vision
  • Managerial ambition
    • Empire building
corporate rationales

Portfolio managers

Synergy managers

Parental developers


  • Agent for financial markets
  • Limited SBU value creation
  • Synergy
  • Competences used to create value in SBUs

Strategic requirements

  • Acquire assets
  • Divest assets
  • Low strategic role in SBU
  • Share resources/skills
  • Identify bases for sharing
  • Identify benefits
  • SBUs below potential (‘parenting opportunity’)
  • Relevant central resources
  • Suitable portfolio

Organisational requirements

  • Autonomous SBUs
  • Small, low cost corporate staff
  • SBU performance-based incentives
  • Collaborative SBUs
  • Corporate staff as integrators
  • Overcome resistance to sharing
  • Corporate-based incentives
  • Understand SBUs (‘feel’)
  • Effective linkages
  • SBUs autonomous
  • SBU performance-based incentives
Corporate Rationales

Bases of strategic choice

Corporate purpose and aspirations


Mission and strategic intent

Scope and diversity

The global dimension

Bases of SBU strategy

Achieving competitive advantage

Price-based strategies

Differentiation strategies

Focus strategies

Enhancing SBU strategy: corporate parenting

Portfolio management

Financial strategy

The role of the corporate parent

The parenting matrix