Strategic Choice: Vodafone Case Study

Strategic management is a set of decisions and processes that lead to the development of a successful approach to achieve the organization’s goals. Once the fundamentals such as mission and vision statements, are drawn, those processes that follow “undergo analysis, choice, implementation and evaluation”. The framework by which strategic management is known, and can be applied to business corporations, is based on processes. As opposed to organizational effectiveness, there is more universal consensus regarding the foundations of strategic management in both the process methodology and the nature of the processes. In this context, an analysis of the conflict an organization faces while designing strategies is essential (Tseng, 223).

The corporation chosen for this case study is Vodafone Group Plc.  Vodafone has been a leading player in the telecommunications industry in the United Kingdom.  Its success here had prompted plans for expansion across the globe.  So Vodafone is in an important stage of its evolution as a multinational company.  The decisions that the Vodafone management takes in any independent unit can have implications for the organization as a whole.  Any corporation’s strategic management goes beyond process planning. Though planning receives much attention, it is just one of a number of processes that must be implemented if a corporation is going to participate in a strategic management framework.  This paper presents an empirical study of Vodafone Plc. and explicates reasons for success or failure in its implementation of strategic decisions (Krebs, 532).

As one management guru put it:

“to complete implementation, achieve everything which is intended, and do all of this in a way which is acceptable to organization members – that is, to attain comprehensive success – there needs to be support (especially from influential persons, and those implementing the decision), clarity about what the objectives are and how to reach them, a favourable climate within the organization and a little bit of luck–or at least no bad luck.” (Tseng, 223)

At Vodafone there was complete support from both decision makers and those acting on those decisions. This is evident from the way CoreMedia’s comprehensive digital rights management (DRM) infrastructure was installed in a streamlined fashion during 2004.  Overhauling the technology upon which an organization runs is no easy task.  Vodafone would not have pulled this off without proper co-ordination across all levels.  The successful integration of cutting-edge technology helped reduce costs significantly and made operations more efficient. In this case, all the criteria for success, as drawn up by Vodafone’s strategic framework, were executed flawlessly (Krebs, 534).

However, Vodafone’s decision to acquire Tele2’s business units in Italy and Spain has proved to be a challenging operation so far.  The decision to acquire was made in October of 2007, so it is early days yet.  But if industry analysts’ predictions come true the balance sheet at the end of this financial quarter will show negative results.  The reason for this probable glitch in Vodafone’s impressive strategic management record is this:

“Though senior managers were in favour, those directly affected by the acquisition are suspicious and unlikely to give wholehearted support. What the acquisition was to achieve was never made explicit, so what had to be done was unclear. The two divisions operated in completely different ways; a sharper cultural contrast could hardly be found, with each division having different values and ways of working. It is now believed that no propitious factors could help to overcome this daunting combination” (Krebs, 535).

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