Hierarchical Levels of Strategy
Strategy can be formulated on three different levels:
business unit level
functional or departmental level.
While strategy may be about competing and surviving as a firm, one can argue that products, not corporations compete, and products are developed by business units. The role of the corporation then is to manage its business units and products so that each is competitive and so that each contributes to corporate purposes. Consider Textron, Inc., a successful conglomerate corporation that pursues profits through a range of businesses in unrelated industries. Textron has four core business segments:
Aircraft - 32% of revenues
Automotive - 25% of revenues
Industrial - 39% of revenues
Finance - 4% of revenues.
While the corporation must manage its portfolio of businesses to grow and survive, the success of a diversified firm depends upon its ability to manage each of its product lines. While there is no single competitor to Textron, we can talk about the competitors and strategy of each of its business units. In the finance business segment, for example, the chief rivals are major banks providing commercial financing. Many managers consider the business level to be the proper focus for strategic planning.
Corporate Level Strategy
Corporate level strategy fundamentally is concerned with the selection of businesses in which the company should compete and with the development and coordination of that portfolio of businesses. Corporate level strategy is concerned with:
Reach - defining the issues that are corporate responsibilities; these might include identifying the overall goals of the corporation, the types of businesses in which the corporation should be involved, and the way in which businesses will be integrated and managed.
Competitive Contact - defining where in the corporation competition is to be localized. Take the case of insurance: In the mid-1990's, Aetna as a...
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