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Sunderland Business



- On Campus -
Individual Assignment
Case Study – Reconciling Managerial
Dichotomies @ Honda Motors in De
Wit & Meyer (2004:671)

Module Leader: Derek Harwood

Submission Date: 1pm on Monday 16th May 2011
Word Count: 3,000 words
University of Sunderland: Sunderland Business School 6

This individual assignment will be assessed by means of a 3,000 word report. The assignment has been
designed to allow you to develop and use your knowledge and skills in understanding key strategic
issues relating to the global automobile industry. You will be required to apply the strategic
concepts and analytical techniques studied in this module. All the learning outcomes below will be
1. Ability to analyse the complexity of organisations and their environments
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of the relationships
between an organisation and its environment
3. Ability to evaluate existing models against practices of real organisations

The assignment will be marked and moderated by: Module Tutors

Please note:
1. All work must adhere to the University regulations on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’ which
are provided as an Appendix in your Programme handbook. See your Tutor for guidance
on ‘Harvard Referencing Style’, avoiding ‘Plagiarism’, and using Turnitin.
2. A hard copy, an electronic copy on CD or DVD Rom, and a Turnitin Report on the assignment
must be handed to Assignment Services at St Peter’s Library on or before the appointed date
under cover of the Sunderland Business School Feedback Sheet.
3. Issue Date: 1 February 2011
4. Submission Date: 1pm on Monday 16th May 2011

Your task is to carry out a critical analysis and evaluation of strategy development in the global
automobile industry, using the information provided and other materials researched. You will be
expected to select and apply appropriate theories, techniques and models studied during the module
whilst having regard to the practical aspects of strategy development.
Your assignment should be presented in a business report format and should be within the range 3,000
+/- 500 words (excluding executive summary, references and relevant appendices). The report should
include a title page and executive summary and be fully and consistently referenced, using the Harvard
Referencing style. You must also submit a CD or DVD Rom containing an electronic version of the
report. This should be clearly labelled with your name, your course and the name of the case study. You
must include/attach the first page of the Turnitin Report.
It is recommended that you research information additional to the case study to support your
arguments. This may be obtained from a diverse range of sources and you are encouraged to research
the issues in whichever way you deem appropriate.
Assessment Criteria
In the event of failing this individual assignment, normal referral / deferral procedures will apply. This
assignment carries a weighting of 100%. The assessment will focus on the level of ANALYSIS carried
out. That is, the application of THEORETICAL CONCEPTS studied in the module to the ‘practical’
case study presented. In other words, you should proceed beyond a DESCRIPTION of the company
and its actions. You should be analysing ‘why’ rather than describing ‘what’. The assignment will be
assessed and moderated by the module team in accordance with the marks allocated to each of the
questions detailed below. 10% of the marks are set aside for the ‘report style’ criteria.

SIM336 – Individual Report Submission date: 1pm on Monday 11th April 2011
University of Sunderland: Sunderland Business School 6

Academic Rigour
· your ability to isolate the key strategic issues
· the coherence and depth of the analysis of those issues
· the ability to analyse the strategy context within which companies operate
· the ability to critically review and evaluate strategic decisions made by companies
· the use of relevant evidence, from material provided and personal research to support any
statements made
· the appropriateness of the methods used and theoretical models and frameworks applied
· the breadth and depth of research undertaken
Evaluation of data
· the ability to make sound recommendations or conclusions arising from the analysis
· the soundness of arguments put forward
Format of Report
· the summary of arguments
· report layout and format
· use of illustrative material and evidence to support arguments
· the appropriateness of length
· the quantity and accuracy of referencing

HONDA MOTORS - Reconciling Managerial Dichotomies @ Honda

The automobile industry crisis of 2008–2010 was a part of a global financial
downturn, which affected automobile makers and suppliers all over the world. The
industry was weakened by a substantial increase in the prices of fuel linked to the
energy crisis of 2003-08 which discouraged purchases of automotives with low
fuel economy. By 2008 with fewer fuel-efficient models to offer to consumers, the
global big automakers including, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan
and Honda Motors, experienced sliding sales. Honda Motors in 2008 announced it
would be down-sizing due to the 2008 economic crisis and predicted that there
may be reductions in staff at all levels of management effective January 2009

SIM336 – Individual Report Submission date: 1pm on Monday 11th April 2011
University of Sunderland: Sunderland Business School 6


· You are expected to use the information in the case study ‘Honda Motors - Reconciling
Managerial Dichotomies @ Honda Motors’ by Andrew Mai cited in De Wit, B. and
Meyer, R. (2004) Strategy: Process, Content, Context. An International Perspective: Thomson
Learning, London, Third Edition, p. 671, and your own understanding of the process of
strategic thinking, strategy formation and strategic change.
· Your answer should be based on critical ‘internal’ and ‘external’ environmental analyses using
appropriate analytical techniques.

Question One:
a) In the context of the process of strategic analysis, outline what PEST and SWOT techniques are,
and explain their practical relevance to strategic planners at Honda Motors. (10 marks)
(a) Critically evaluate the process of ‘reconciling dichotomies’ at Honda Motors’ with reference to
the ‘product-related core competencies versus process-related core capabilities’ dichotomy.
(20 marks)

c) Explain the main advantages of international trade and the arguments for restricting
international trade in the context of the global automobile industry. (10 marks)
[40 marks]
Question Two:
a) Explain your understanding of Whittington’s ‘Evolutional’ and ‘Systemic’ Schools of Thought
in the context of strategy development at Honda Motors. (10 marks)
b) Critically evaluate how you might apply the two Schools of Thought to Honda Motors. Explain
and explore which school of thought you prefer, and why? (15 marks)
Question Three:
“Stacey’s (1996) integrated model of decision-making and control comprises of
four loops: the rational; the overt politics; the covert politics; and the culture and
cognition.” (Stacey, R. D. (1996) Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics,
Second Edition, Pitman, London; cited in SIM336 Module Workbook, 2010, Unit 6, page
Using your understanding of Whittington’s (2000) ‘Processual School of Thought’, critically evaluate
the implications for strategic management of each of the four loops. (25 marks)

Note: 10% of marks are allocated to report style.

SIM336 – Individual Report Submission date: 1pm on Monday 11th April 2011
University of Sunderland: Sunderland Business School 6

Suggested Reading:
De Wit, B. and Meyer, R. (2004) – Strategy Process, Content, and Context: An
International Perspective, 3rd Edition, Thomson Learning
Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. (2005) Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and
Cases, 7th Edition, Financial Times, Prentice Hall.
Lynch, R. (2006) Corporate Strategy, Fourth Edition, Financial Times, Prentice Hall.
Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J. (1998) Strategy Safari, Financial Times, Prentice Hall
Stacey, R. D. (1996) Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics, Second
Edition, Pitman, London.
Whittington, R. (2000) What is Strategy and does it matter? Thompson Learning.

Websites & PDF documents: Corporate Social Responsibility Network, CSR Network HONDA MOTORS TOYOTA CHRYSLER GENERAL MOTORS The Economist The Financial Times

Module Leader: Derek Harwood

SIM336 – Individual Report Submission date: 1pm on Monday 11th April 2011