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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Strategy as a Process and Measures of Success: An Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

What is an organisation?

Our understanding of strategy is enhanced by appreciating what organisations are, what they do and why they exist.

There are five mutually inclusive indicators of what constitutes an organisation – they are typically a collection of people, a legal entity, an economic actor, an accumulation of knowledge and learning, and a bundle of resources.

The cases we will explore in this module are mostly a collection of economically driven actors in regulated environments united for a value-delivery purpose using the knowledge and resources at their disposal. On the other hand, the cases we will not directly explore are trusts, charities and socially driven actors set up to meet unfulfilled needs in the community.

However, regardless of actors’ motives – economic or social – strategy is the set of actions through which organisations, by accident or design, develop resources and use them to deliver products or services that users find valuable, while meeting the financial and non-financial objectives and constraints imposed by key stakeholders.

For strategy to be successful, it must bestow two things on the organisation:

  • A unique or distinctive asset (in the form of a product, service, process or intellectual property)
  • Competitive advantage (in the form of higher than average revenue streams, superior product- or service features)

Your task

In the comments area, describe the organisation you work at – or, if you are not in employment, describe your favourite brand.

Then consider the following questions:

Who are the key people in the organisation? What is its legal status (private or public)? What are its economic interests? What kind of knowledge and resources does it combine to deliver value? Lastly, what distinctive asset(s) and competitive advantage does the organisation possess?

Access the organisation’s strategic plan, mission statement, financial statement, target customers, products and services for this task. See the example of Versarien Plc in the Downloads section at the bottom of this step.

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This article is from the free online course:

Strategy as a Process and Measures of Success: An Introduction

Coventry University