Bonn, T & Fisher, J. 2011. Sustainability: the missing ingredient in strategy. Journal of Business Strategy, 32(1)5-14
Crews, D.E. 2010. Strategies for implementing sustainability: Five leadership challenges. SAM
Advanced Management Journal, 75(2):15-21
Holton, I., Glass, J & Price, A.D.F. 2010. Managing for sustainability: Findings from four case
studies in the UK precast concrete industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18(2):152-160
Pretorius, M & le Roux, C. 2012. Determining the embeddedness of sustainability claims in
strategising: a comparative study of the ALSI 40 Companies. Acta Commercii, 12(1):123-149.
Smith, P.A.C & Sharicz, C. 2011. The shift needed for sustainability. The learning organisation,
White, P. 2009. Building a sustainability strategy into business. Corporate Governance,
This assignment assesses your theoretical understanding of the concepts used in the strategic
management subject field. You are required to use your prescribed textbook, study material and
required academic articles to answer the following questions. You should answer in essay
format and reference all your sources according to the BM Harvard Referencing method.
Questions for Assignment 01
1 Explain the concept “strategy”.
2 Discuss the strategic approach to a sustainable organisation.
Refer to the following in your discussion:
•?The concepts “sustainable organisation” and
•?The relationship between sustainability and strategy
3 Discuss the challenges associated with embedding (or integrating)
sustainability into an organisation‘s strategy.
4 Propose suggestions for embedding (or integrating) sustainability
into the strategy of an organisation.
•?Table of contents
•?Structure, writing style
•?List of references
Total marks for this assignment
Due date: 28 July 2014
Your assignment should not exceed ten pages of content, excluding the cover page, table of
contents, list of references, the reflection template and appendices. The evaluation sheet for
Assignment 02 indicates how the assignment will be assessed and is included in Annexure B.
You need the following resources to complete the assignment:
•?Learning Guide for MNG4801
•?Case Study 1: “About SAA” and Case Study 2: “The long-term turnaround strategy of
South African Airways (SAA)” included as Annexure C and available on myUnisa
•?The following research articles from academic journals:
Pretorius, M. 2008. =When Porter‘s generic strategies are not
enough: Complementary strategies for turnaround situations‘. Journal of
Business Strategy, 29 (6): 19 – 28.
Pretorius, M. 2008. =Critical variables of Business failure – A
review and classification framework‘. South African Journal of Economic
and Management Sciences, 11 (4): 408 – 430.
Pretorius, M. 2009. =Defining business decline, failure and
turnaround: A content analysis‘. South African Journal of
Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, 2 (10): 1-16.
Your second assignment assesses your understanding of and insight into strategy choices as
part of the strategic formulation process in the study field of strategic management. You are
required to read the case studies (in Annexure C) and answer the following questions in essay
Questions for Assignment 02
The management team of SAA requests your views on the current business situation at SAA.
As background, they have provided two Case Studies (Annexure C).
You are required to incorporate the contents of the Case Studies, with the academic articles,
and then answer the questions that follow.
Refer to Case Study 1: ?About SAA?, Case Study 2: ?The long-term turnaround strategy of
South African Airways (SAA)
Identify and describe the business level strategy of SAA. To do
1.1 Classify SAA‘s business level strategy.
1.2 Then describe the identified strategy from a theoretical
perspective. Include the following in your description:
•?The premise of the strategy chosen.
•?The risks, advantages and disadvantages of the
Support your answers with referenced sources.
2 To answer this question you need to refer to Case Study 2:
?The long-term turnaround strategy of South African Airways
(SAA)? provided as well as the required academic articles and
other publically available sources in order to support your
Classify and describe the turnaround situation and strategy of
SAA. To do this:
2.1 Classify and describe SAA‘s turnaround strategy with
reference to its type and form.
2.2 Apply the turnaround matrix to describe SAA‘s
turnaround situation and their unique preconditions. Refer
to Pretorius (2008:23).
2.3 Explain which turnaround strategies and practices SAA
should implement to address their turnaround situation
and return to their business level strategy. Refer to
Substantiate and explain your answers from a theoretical
perspective with the support of referenced sources.
Reflection template 5
•?Table of contents
•?Structure, writing style
•?List of references
Your assignment answer should not exceed ten pages, excluding the cover page, table of
contents, references, the reflection template and appendices.
You need the following resources to complete the assignment:
•?Case Study 3: „Unilever CEO Paul Polman?
•?At least three of the following research articles:
Bell, G. 2013. =Want to change the world? Think differently: an interview with Paul Polman, CEO
of Unilever, part 2‘. Strategic Direction, 29(5):36–39.
Lee, GJ, Venter, R & Bates, B. 2004. =Enterprise-based HIV/AIDS strategies: integration
through organisational architecture‘. South African Journal of Business Management, 35(3):13–
Maak, T & Pless, NM. 2006. =Responsible leadership in stakeholder society: a relational
perspective‘. Journal of Business Ethics, 66(1):99–115.
Pless, NM, Maak, T & Waldman, D. 2012. =Different approaches toward doing the right thing:
mapping the responsibility orientations of leaders‘. Academy of Management, 26(4):51–65.
Polman, P & Bird, A. 2009. =Conversations with global leaders‘. McKinsey. [Online] Available
polman_of_unilever [Accessed 11-09-2013].
Schoemaker, PJH, Krupp, S & Howland, S. 2013. =Strategic leadership: the essential skills‘.
Harvard Business Review, Jan/Feb review 91(1): 131-134 http://0-
You are required to read the Case Study (in Annexure C) and answer the following questions in
Questions for Assignment 03
Refer to Case Study 3: ?Unilever CEO Paul Polman?, the required academic articles, the
prescribed study material and other publically available sources to support your answers.
1 Describe how effective Paul Polman is as a strategic leader.
Answer from a theoretical perspective and support your
answer with referenced examples and sources. Include the
following in your answer:
1.1 A description of what strategic leadership entails.
1.2 A description of effective strategic leadership within the
strategic management field.
1.3 A discussion on the competencies and tasks of effective
strategic leadership that are applicable to Paul Polman‘s
leadership style. Use examples from the Case Study to
support your discussion.
2 Assess Paul Polman from a ?responsible leadership?
perspective. In order to do this, you need to:
2.1 Describe the concept responsible leadership and then
describe your own understanding of the concept.
2.2 Categorise Paul Polman‘s responsible leadership
orientation with the aid of the matrix of Responsible
Leadership. Refer to: Pless, Maak and Waldman (2012).
Substantiate your choice of categorisation with references.
2.3 Discuss the leadership characteristics, stakeholder
relations and strategic emphasis of Paul Polman. Refer
to: Pless, Maak and Waldman (2012). Use examples
from the Case Study to support your discussion.
3 Discuss Unilever‘s strategy implementation by referring to the
organisational architecture model (Lee, Venter & Bates, 2004;
Louw & Venter, 2013). Include the following in your
3.1 The elements of the organisational architecture model
that Paul Polman focuses on at Unilever to implement
3.2 How Paul Polman is implementing the strategy by
applying these organisational architecture elements
Use examples from the Case Study and other sources to
substantiate your answers.
Reflection template 5
•?Table of contents
•?Structure, writing style
•?List of references
12 ANNEXURE C: CASE STUDIES
Case study 1: About SAA (For Assignment 2)
South African Airways (SAA) was established in 1934 and is South Africa‘s national carrier offering
SAA‘s strategic vision is to be an African airline with global reach, which is in line with the mandate of
increasing the level of operations locally and into Africa, while ensuring that it services the international
market. The vision goes hand in hand with the mission of delivering sustainable profits and growing
market share through world-class service to customers.
The principle activities of SAA and its subsidiaries are the operation of international, regional and
domestic scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers, freight and mail as well as the provision
of technical services. SAA is the largest carrier on the African continent and provides a competitive,
quality air transport service within South Africa as well as to major cities worldwide.
The African routes remain management‘s focus. It is their strategic intention to focus on building the
airline‘s presence in Africa by adding further capacity into Africa. Star Alliance plays a key role in
bringing the world to Africa and encouraging growth in this market.
SAA market position:
Over the decades, South African Airways has evolved into one of the leading carriers in Africa. SAA
offers the biggest route network in Africa and flies to more destinations, both overseas and within South
Africa, than anyone else.
SAA is proud to be the national airline of South Africa, and is committed to the highest standards in
everything it does. From warm hospitality and luxury airport lounges to in-flight menus created by
renowned chefs, SAA aspires to deliver a world-class experience every time.
SAA describes its vision and mission as follows:
SAA’s vision: An African airline with global reach.
SAA’s core business: Movement of people and goods by air.
SAA’s corporate values: Customer focused, anticipating and striving to understand the unique needs of
our customers (internal and external) through tailoring each interaction to their specific needs.
SAA’s mission: To deliver sustainable profits and grow our market share through world- class service to
our internal and external customers.
Accountability: Taking responsibility for individual and team actions, decisions and results by
establishing clear plans and goals, and measuring our progress against them, while discerning a
deeper purpose in one’s everyday job.
Integrity: Practising the highest standards of ethical behaviour in all our lines of work and maintaining
credibility by making certain that our actions always match our words consistently.
Safety: Adopting a zero defect mentality and striving for zero accidents through proper training, work
practices, risk management and adherence to safety regulations at all times.
Excellence in performance: Setting goals beyond the best, reinforcing high-quality performance
standards and achieving excellence through implementing best practices.
Valuing our people: Committing to satisfaction, development and well-being, through treating them with
respect, dignity and fairness.
Adapted from: http://www.flysaa.com/bg/en/footerlinks/aboutUs/missionVisionValue.html [Accessed 24 August
Case Study 2: The long-term turnaround strategy of South African Airways (SAA)
In April 2013 the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Malusi Gigaba, received a long-term turn-around
strategy for the state-owned national airline, South African Airways (SAA), from its Board.
The long-term strategy aimed at addressing operational and financial challenges faced by the national
carrier. It also sought to ensure that the state-owned national carrier would become a financially viable
and even profitable airline. Minister Gigaba received the strategy after he had appointed a task team to
develop the long-term strategy following the realisation that any further government support to SAA
cannot continue without it being informed by a long-term strategy. Over the past decade the airline
received R11 billion in bail-outs from the government. The task team for the turnaround strategy
included senior executives from SAA, SA Express and Mango, and senior Public Enterprises officials.
The strategy had to be reviewed by the shareholder and various stakeholders. The long-term strategy,
once approved, would be implemented as a matter of urgency.
As the shareholder representative, Minister Gigaba required that the staff, management and board
members all be involved to ensure that the strategy would be implemented and monitored. Over the
previous six years about nine turnaround strategies were proposed for SAA, but according to Minister
Gigaba the problem was the failure to implement them. Minister Gigaba cautioned that, given the past
inability of the SAA to implement strategies, the same situation could not be allowed to occur this time.
One of the key elements of the strategy was an increased focus and emphasis on governance and
accountability. It was envisaged that these would go a long way towards restoring SAA’s reputation in
the global markets and among its stakeholders. New leadership was appointed for SAA in June 2013.
CEO Monwabisi Kalawe was tasked with the implementation of the turnaround strategy.
SAA‘s turnover in 2011/12 was R18,5 billion, up by 4% on the previous financial year. Other income
pushed SAA‘s total revenue to R23,9 billion, an increase of 6%. However, expenses – of which R8, 302
billion spent on fuel was the biggest item or one third of operating costs – contributed to a total
operating cost figure of R25,2 billion, giving SAA an operating loss of R1,3 billion.
When SAA obtained an unqualified audit opinion for the 2011/12 financial year, the independent
auditors flagged irregular expenditure and the restatement of corresponding figures. Irregular
expenditure of R128 million was incurred. The turnaround strategy investigated the implementation of
mitigating measures to ensure costs would be managed. SAA had to focus on its biggest input and
operating costs to prevent their negative impact on the balance sheet. The airline had to ensure that
any recapitalisation programme would sustain the airline both in the short term and in the long term. It
was also noted that SAA was top-heavy in terms of staff and that a right-sizing exercise was needed.
The SAA spokesperson said that there was no doubt that SAA would need more capital, either in the
form of an injection from the state or in loans. The need for a recapitalisation was clear as SAA had
destroyed R12 billion in capital over the previous ten years — R9 billion from hedging losses and R3
billion from operational losses. The turnaround strategy would instill stricter governance and
accountability measures to control expenditure.
It was also communicated to the public that SAA could only make a profit if it were allowed to acquire a
fuel-efficient fleet. This would be addressed in a 20-year turnaround strategy drawn up by a special
executive task team. The strategy included a three-phase implementation approach with continuous
and cyclical monitoring and reviewing over a 20-year period. There would be specific and measurable
outcomes in each of the three implementation phases (short-, medium- and long-term implementation).
Consequently, the impact would be felt from year one of the implementation, while other interventions
would take place during the medium- and long-term phases of the strategy.
Source: Adapted from : http://www.info.gov.za/speech/DynamicAction?pageid=461&sid=35439&tid=103389.
http://www.flysaa.com/za/en/flyingSAA/News/long-term-strategy.html and http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/saa-gears-implementturnaround-
strategy and http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/transport/2013/02/20/south-african-airways-expected-to-make-further-losses–
acting-ceo [Accessed: 31 August 2013]
Case Study 3: Unilever CEO Paul Polman (for Assignment 3)
Paul Polman is the first outsider to head Unilever as CEO in 77 years. Within months of joining, Polman
did the unthinkable: he stopped the practice of offering earnings guidance to the market. It generated a
huge uproar among institutional investors initially, with the share price falling 6 per cent. Polman stuck
to his guns. His logic was rock solid though: managers ended up sacrificing long-term performance at
the altar of short-term, quarter-on-quarter targets.
Polman explains that he discovered a long time ago that if he focuses on doing the right thing for the
long term to improve the lives of consumers and customers all over the world, the business results will
come. Polman shares that he does not drive the Unilever business model by driving shareholder value.
Instead, he drives the business model by focusing on the consumer and customer in a responsible way
with the knowledge that shareholder value will come.
In launching the Unilever “Sustainable Living Plan”, Polman stresses that “growth at any cost is not
viable,” insisting that “we want to be a sustainable business in every sense of the word”. The aim is
increasingly to decouple the company’s growth plans from related environmental footprints, for example
•?cutting the amount of water used per tonne of product by 65% in absolute terms, against the 1995
•?doubling internal use of renewable energy to 40%
•?halving the environmental footprint of all new production plants
Polman asserts that businesses will be very successful if they are increasingly responsible and actually
make a contribution to society in a positive sense. Her further asserts that the business should make it
part of their overall business model. At Unilever, it is an accelerator of the business and it is defined
very broadly. Unilever defines its responsibility as giving one billion people access to nutrition and
wellbeing. Accordingly, the company strives to have overall use of materials and making all their
agriculturally-based materials agriculturally sustainable. There are clear goals at Unilever, because
Unilever wants to be socially responsible and sustainable.
Polman says, “Ultimately we will only succeed if we inspire billions of people around the world to take
the small, everyday actions that add up to a big difference – actions that will enable us all to live more
sustainably.” Part of Polman‘s leadership philosophy is that if you keep doing what you have always
been doing, you will keep getting what you have always got. In order to make a real difference, whether
in business or in life, Polman asserts that you need to get out of your comfort zone and set targets that
will stretch your capabilities to the limit; only then will you see a palpable change in the status quo.
So far, Polman has actively engaged with the Unilever Executive (UEX), the highest decision-making
body inside the company as well as the top 30 to 40 executives who run the biggest markets and
categories. He has also travelled widely to each major market.
In chivvying up the performance culture, Paul has made significant changes among the top 100 leaders.
Executives now have fewer goals and larger variable pay to aim for. In his early stages of leadership in
Unilever, Polman injected a sense of urgency by demanding that the teams draw up 30- and 60-day
plans to resolve any prickly issues with brands in the market quickly. These quick wins helped steady
the ship, even as Polman went about co-creating Unilever‘s long-term strategy with the extended
Part of Polman‘s execution included the unveiling of =the Compass‘, a simple, one-page document that
outlines Unilever‘s vision, followed by an ambitious sustainability plan that sets stiff targets for
performance. One of these is that by 2020, Unilever will ensure that all the raw materials it uses will be
from sustainable sources. Part of Polman‘s vision is to place a spotlight on responsible growth.
In driving the plan, Polman has led from the front. He responds to e-mails from his senior executives,
often even on Sundays. He follows an open-door policy, encouraging employees to reach out to him.
He communicates directly with all Unilever’s employees all over the world through e-mail and video
conferences. He shows no signs of hubris that tend to grip corporate leaders. It has been said that
Polman knows many of his 150 top leaders by name. Today, the new Unilever culture of openness and
performance culture is winning support. Employee engagement scores have improved dramatically in
recent months. Apart from Unilever‘s market share gains in Asia, this is the other real sign that a new
Unilever may rise under Polman.
In a recent interview, Paul Polman described his approach to strategy execution:
Paul Polman: I‘ve always said execution is strategy in our business. This is consumer goods. I cannot
speak for other industries, but for us, execution is strategy. It‘s absolutely important. In fact, the
strategies that we have as companies might differ a little bit, but that‘s 5 percent or 10 percent of the
work. And then the other 90 percent is execution.
I‘ve seldom met a consumer – and I go to a lot of home visits or go around with shoppers – and I‘ve
seldom met a consumer who buys our wonderful Knorr products or Lipton or Omo or Skippy because
they like our strategy. And so, our business is a very simple one of getting the right products at the right
place at the right quality at the right price – all the time.
And in our industry, share movements are often happening because of a lack of execution on the other
side. So, this is a very, very important part of us. Now, organizations normally don‘t tend to gravitate
towards execution, because strategy is the sexy part of all of this. So, we make it very clear that
execution is important here, and we celebrate that. Obviously, we drive in the discipline. We have the
accountability as part of driving the performance culture. And I think all these elements that we‘re
putting in place right now will help us drive that executional element higher in the organisation.
Adam Bird: For you as the CEO, how are you signaling the importance beyond communicating? Are
there other tools that you‘re using to drive home the importance of execution?
Paul Polman: You have to walk the talk here as well. So, when we go to store visits or in-home visits,
we do roll up our sleeves. We talk to consumers, and we put the products that are needed on the shelf.
Obviously, we rigorously look at some of the key performance indicators that we find important behind
the execution and follow up on those, hold people accountable. So, all these things you need to do. And
not surprisingly, you‘ll get results fairly quickly.
A good example of that for us would be customer service levels. We were at best average – we
declared it absolutely a priority. If you cannot deliver the goods to the retailer, it‘s unlikely that the
retailer will work with you longer term. So we‘ve put organisational structures in place, which obviously
is where the CEO comes in, put reward structures and measurements in place. And then, rigorously
following through and holding people accountable. And you see the results.
Adapted from: http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/06/forbes-india-person-of-the-year-paul-polman-unilever.html.
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/unilever-consumption-sustainability-csr-business [Accessed 14 September 2013]
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