Any business organization, when it expand and innovates, its alliances too expand. And the choice of an alliance partner can be very crucial. The Maidique & Patch topology is a useful framework of guidance in arriving at a decision. Statistical information from a pool of 110 large-sized corporations indicate that “first movers may focus on home government relationships but do not rely on foreign government ones” (Theodorou, 110). Moreover, most alliances happen between organizations that are structurally similar and whose strategic focus is convergent. We see a clear manifestation of this phenomenon in Vodafone’s overseas collaborations. For example, Vodafone has been looking for sometime now, to gain a foothold in the Indian telecommunications market. The management is confronted with a strategic choice. It could expand its own operations to this region, or, it can acquire a similarly structured regional corporation. Vodafone chose the latter option. This led to the acquisition of Hutch Essar India quite recently. It would be premature to comment on the success of this development. But, given the empirical data on Vodafone’s strategic choices and the validity of Maidique & Patch topology, this is likely to be another right decision (Dasgupta, 395) .
James Brian Quinn makes the following observation about the outcomes of strategic development:
“A sustainable pattern of response to market needs, consciously selected in light of probable shifts in the environment, relative competencies of the firm, and the anticipated moves of intelligent competitors. Such patterns initially develop through superior business insight and are maintained through entrepreneurial instinct. Sooner or later, though – and increasingly sooner – it becomes necessary to formalize the call for insight and instinct.” (Shipilov, 18)
Quinn also asserts that any business that is committed to principles of Corporate Social Responsibility automatically marks itself as a sustainable enterprise. According to Quinn, by upholding a socially responsible code of operations, the firm is also securing the availability of a healthy consumer base for the future. There is also evidence that consumption volumes are higher in markets with more pleasant climatic conditions. So, by endeavouring to preserve the environment, the business corporation is also laying the foundation for sustained consumption (Dasgupta, 401) .
The absence of a comprehensive database of empirical information can keep an organization stagnant and would ultimately lead to decline. Gaining new knowledge by analyzing empirical databases is essential to develop competitive advantage. At its most advanced level, this fact-gathering goes well beyond the “collective experience of customers, suppliers, distributors, and internal process managers” (Shipilov, 16) . It is also not possible to departmentalize research on strategic planning. Hence, it is imperative that everyone should be involved in gathering primary data outside the range of their normal experience so that their individual objectives are synchronous with the broader strategic objectives. Developing a robust database for such purposes can be a daunting task, as researchers try to extend the boundaries of inquiry. In this light, the launch of Vodafone India Foundation is relevant. Though it comes under the purview of the corporate social responsibility program, a record of the Foundation’s activities will provide the necessary market data about one of the important emerging markets – India. An investment of ten million dollars, in a high potential emerging market is very prudent indeed (Gietzmann , 602).
In the words of Henry Mintzberg,
“All organizations are perfectly designed to achieve the results they are getting. While management texts argue that “form follows function,” once cast, form invariably limits function. A three-business-unit design, for example, will often impede cross-selling, geographic focus, or the achievement of enterprise-wide synergies. Deliberations on strategy that don’t consider design barriers to new behaviour unwittingly accept the limits imposed by reporting relationships, work flows, and other elements of organizational architecture.” (Gietzmann , 600)
In fact many negative consequences could be traced to organization design, going beyond a general criticism, to a specific taxonomy of design decisions – structure, reward systems, information flows, and decision protocols. The design also affects strategic choices regarding participation, organization of data, and the expression of strategy itself. So ideally, while it is generally agreed that a strong structural framework gives any organization a head-start, contingency measures will have to be laid out alongside. This is essential if the organization does not want to lose focus on the broader objectives of growth and development in a maze of details. The early years of Vodafone’s history reveal this undesirable rigidity. But under the leadership of Arun Sarin, some concrete measures were taken to address this deficiency. As a result, the business model of Vodafone is now recognized by analysts as very robust and sustainable (Carr, 672).