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Strategic Decision-Making Process: Analysing the Contribution of Strategies

Unit Learning Outcome

ULO 1: Identify the stages in the strategic management process and explain the need for creative and innovative thinking.

ULO 2: Analyse and assess the organisation’s competitive environment when developing strategy.

ULO 3: Evaluate the different approaches and frameworks available to use in strategic development.

ULO 4: Examine how business ethics and corporate governance might inform and influence successful strategy development.

For this assignment, you will need to select and read a mini case study available in your e-book between pages 448 – 524. After carefully reading the case study following the steps 1-13 between page 528 – 538, write a report on the strategic decision-making process, where you will need to analyse the contribution of strategies in decision making and implementation of it. Justify and evaluate the decisions using theoretical frameworks studied/learned throughout this unit.

You are required to discuss the final draft of your report with your lecturer during the workshop time.

This assignment is a report so please stick to the report format only.

You may adopt the following sections in your report:

  • Summary: a paragraph or two on the overall understanding of what is included in the report.
  • Introduction: the overview of your learning and understanding of this unit throughout the trimester and a brief overview of the selected organisation.
  • Critically Analyse different stages of the strategic Management Process innovatively and creatively.
  • Critical analysis of the organisation’s competitive environment, different approaches and frameworks, business ethics and corporate governance.

The submission needs to be supported with information by credible sources.

Credible sources should be varied and include, but not limited to, the Textbook, Government reports, Industry reports, Newspaper articles, Books, and Journal articles.

Use the EBSCO Databases accessed through the Library and Learning Support page on Moodle to find journal articles, case studies and more to help you prepare your assessment. Speak with the library assistants or email ([email protected]) if you require further assistance.

The AIH misconduct policy and procedure can be read on the AIH website (

Strategy entered his life at a crucial point. He had already competed successfully in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, where he won eight medals: six gold and two bronze. Right after the Athens Games, the then 19-year-old sat down with his manager, Peter Carlisle, and his long-time swim coach, Bob Bowman, to map out a detailed strategy for the next four years. The explicit goal was to win nothing less than a gold medal in each of the events in which he would compete in Beijing.

Bowman was responsible for training Phelps, getting him into the necessary physical shape for Beijing and nurturing the mental toughness required to break Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven gold medals won in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Carlisle, meanwhile, conceived of a detailed strategy to launch MP as a world superstar during the Beijing Games. While Phelps spent six hours a day in the pool, Carlisle focused on exposing him to the Asian market, the largest consumer market in the world, with a special emphasis on the Chinese consumer. Phelps’ wide-ranging presence in the real world was combined with a huge exposure in the virtual world. Phelps posts and maintains his own Facebook page, with some 9 million “phans.” He is also a favorite on Twitter (2.2 million followers), YouTube, and online blogs, garnering worldwide exposure to an extent never before achieved by an Olympian. The gradual buildup of Phelps over a number of years enabled manager Carlisle to launch him as a superstar right after he won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing Games. By then, Phelps had become a worldwide brand.

Research expectation

You might attribute Phelps’ success to his unique physical endowments: his long thin torso, which reduces drag; his arm span of 6 feet 7 inches (204 cm), which is disproportionate to his 6-foot-4-inch (193 cm) height; page 449his relatively short legs for a person of his height; and his size 14 feet, which work like flippers due to hypermobile ankles. After all, a successful strategy can be based on leveraging unique resources and capabilities.

While MP’s physical attributes are a necessary condition for winning, they are not sufficient. Other swimmers, like the Australian Ian Thorpe (with size-17 feet) or the German “albatross” Michael Gross (with an arm span of 7 feet or 213 cm), also brought extraordinary resource endowments to the swim meet. Yet neither of them (or any other person for that matter) won eight gold medals in a single Olympics or 28 medals overall.

Although Phelps was very disciplined in executing his meticulously formulated strategy to win Olympic gold medals, he stumbled in his efforts to monetize his stardom outside the pool. Image matters. In 2004, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a British tabloid published a photo that showed Phelps using a bong, apparently smoking marijuana, at a party in South Carolina. After this incident, Kellogg’s immediately withdrew Phelps’ endorsement contract. After the London 2012 Olympics, Phelps (then 25) announced his retirement from swimming. After 20 months, he announced he would come out of retirement. However, just a few months later, in September 2014, Phelps was again arrested for DUI. After this second arrest, he received a one-year suspended jail sentence and 18 months of supervised probation. Phelps also spent 45 days in an in-patient rehab center for alcohol abuse in Arizona. USA Swimming, the national governance body of his sport, suspended him for six months from all competitions and from representing the United States at the 2015 world championships.

Yet Phelps persevered. He promised he had changed his ways. In the spring of 2015, he announced his intention to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Subsequently, he won five gold medals and one silver there, making him the most decorated athlete in Olympic history! There are persistent rumors that Phelps may even compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo Of course, sponsors want to know whether the promised personal change is real, given that Phelps has made such promises after his first DUI and then again when photographed smoking a bong. Phelps assures the public that he has been intrinsically motivated to personally change after the London Olympics. He credits becoming a father (to a boy named Boomer) and spending time with his fiancée, Nicole Johnson, as the reasons for becoming at peace with himself and who he is as a person (rather than living large as a celebrity).

Phelps has shown he has even more reason to keep his public image clean. He launched his own line of swimwear, MP, trademarking his nickname as an official brand. The line was designed with Aqua Sphere, a swimming equipment manufacturer. Having grown up idolizing NBA star Michael Jordan, Phelps hopes he can do for the public image and marketing of swimming what Jordan, with his Nike sponsorship, did for in basketball. So while his swim line purrs along, Phelps continues to sign lucrative endorsement and advertisement deals, including a series of commercials for chipmaker Intel following the Rio Olympics.

  1. Olympians generally do not turn into global phenomena. One reason is that they are highlighted only every four years; e.g., not too many people follow competitive swimming or downhill skiing outside the Olympics. How did Michael Phelps turn into a global brand?
  2. What role did strategy play in Phelps achieving success in and out of the pool? What general lessons can be learned?
  3. Which approach to the strategy process did Phelps, his coach, and manager use? Why was this approach successful?
  4. Phelps was embroiled in a number of controversies outside the pool. What impact did these shortcomings have on his brand value? What do these incidents tell you about maintaining and increasing brand value over time?
  5. What does Phelps need to do if he wants to play a similar transformative role in the marketing and sponsoring of swimming as Michael Jordan achieved in basketball?

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