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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ikea - Porter's Generic Strategies and Strategy Clock

Flowchart: Process: Critically discuss the purpose and application of the following two models and highlight any differences between them:
a. Porter’s Generic Strategies
b. The Strategy Clock
In Porter’s Generic  Strategies, it states that if the main factor that affects the company’s profitability is their attractiveness in the industry in which they operates, the next thing that the company must consider is the position of the company in their industry. Which means despite that the industry is not good in terms of profits; the company that is in better position can still generate excellent and superior returns.  As argued by Michael Porter in this strategy, a company usually positions itself by leveraging their strengths.  And speaking of strengths, a firm's strengths could be either cost advantage or differentiation.  In application of these strengths, three generic strategies result needs consideration such as cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.  As these strategies are applied at the business unit level they tend to become generic strategies for the reason that they are not firm or industry dependent.  Even though this strategy considers cost leadership, differentiation and focus, the strategy is not considering the issue against competitors.  Meaning, there is no determinants whether they win or lost against other competitors.
 Apparently, the Strategy Clock is a model used in marketing that aims to evaluate the competitive position of a company as compared to the offering of other competitors.  That means that this model considers the business trend and reviews their position against leading businesses in the industry which also means that this model sees whether the company is winning or losing against their competitor. In references to Porter’s Generic  Strategies, Strategy Clock was an elaboration. That means strategy clock model considers competitive advantage in relation to cost advantage or differentiation advantage.

Flowchart: Process: With reference to the strategy clock, what strategy is IKEA pursuing and what evidence is there in the case to support your conclusion?
With regards to the practices of IKEA, the company are considering the hybrid strategy such as cost and differentiation.  For instance, in terms of differentiation, Normann & Ramirez (1993) identify the importance of customer and supplier involvement in the ‘value creating system’. They use the example of Ikea to illustrate the role the customer may take in creating value. They highlighted a number of tasks assumed by customers that are usually undertaken by the retailer. The approach can be used with suppliers and distributors using transaction cost analysis. Hence, customers, suppliers and distributors become involved in value creation and this co-productivity is an important value driver.
In addition, IKEA also put a restaurant in the middle of the store which offers the shoppers a breather and encourage them to keep going.  The design of the store, placement of merchandises, the self-service trend and functional efforts of IKEA also adds to company’s differentiation.
In terms of cost, IKEA continuously cuts the prices of their offerings.  As for evidence, the IKEA’s best-selling Klippan sofas, displaying models from 1999 to 2006 with their euro price tags.  In 1999 the Klippan was $354 but in 2006 it becomes $202 only.  Basically, IKEA has a policy of cutting their prices for about 2-3% per year.  They were also providing low cost design/package and carefully assessing low cost materials from their source.  The company also reviews economies of scale in consideration to tight control of cost and materials. Subcontact to low cost suppliers was also considered by IKEA and of course their 2 in 1 concept retails and warehouse also adds up to their differentiation strategy.
Flowchart: Process: Why do you thing this strategy may be hard for competitors to imitate?
The strategy developed by IKEA is not easy for competitors to imitate.  Competitors cannot copy self-service and culture of IKEA.  Specially, in the way that IKEA cut their prices.  Aside from the impressive efforts of the company in looking for suppliers, they were also visiting the customer to see what other goods they are needed.  As seen this efforts is not easy to imitate as they were established in the company’s culture which was developed and groomed by their founder Kamprad.

Flowchart: Process: What are the dangers of this strategy and how can managers avoid the potential pitfalls?
As argued, the danger of this model was the possibility that the organization will drift into a “stuck in the middle” position or being “out-flanked” by both low-priced and differentiating competitors at the same time.  But as for the managers to avoid it, they only need was their extensive effort towards learning and maintaining the company’s culture.   As seen, IKEA was still run by managers trained by their founder Kamprad and they were all personally devoted to him.  Thus, these managers only need to follow what Kamprad taught to them and teach it to other members of IKEA to avoid the potential pitfalls.  As stated, these managers also need to have extensive effort towards learning as different markets such as US & Japan adapt into markets they need to learn the culture on different markets.

Normann, R. & Ramirez, R. (1993). ‘From value chain to value constellation: designing interactive strategy’, Harvard Business Review, July/August.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How are Families Changing - Introduction and Global Perspective

How are families changing?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a family is a group of people related to each other. There are different types of families but the most common one is nuclear family which comprises of the parents, and the children, living together. Some even say that there is no single ‘true’ family.There are family structures which are simple, like nuclear families, extended families, single- parent family. There are also families with parents who are not married, or not living together. Over the decades, families are changing gradually. Like for example, the average modern family nowadays mostly has technology devices like cellphones, tablets and laptops. But before, in around 1980’s to 1990’s, most families do labor especially the men. The women mostly do the housework. Comparing these days, there are families who hire people for labor work. According to the Australian institute, the marriage rates have fallen from 9.3 in 1970 to 7.4 in 1980. In 2015, the percentage rose to 26% for America.
Global Perspective
Terrorism has been affecting families since the world war. Recently, the ISIS has been threatening countries for bombings, gunshots, especially in Syria. People have been migrating to other countries for them not to witness the chaos and to make their family safe. According to, highly publicized atrocities or acts of destruction, such as burning to death a Jordanian pilot, decapitating prisoners and destroying the remains of ancient cities, are deliberately staged as demonstrations of strength and acts of defiance. Some families have moved to Great Britain, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other neighboring countries. Families who have been caught fleeing are forced to come back to their home.
Another challenge to families is poverty. Poverty can affect any family in the social level class. The main common consequence of poverty is that the families would have experience malnutrition. One example of a country that is experiencing poverty is Niger, Africa. According to The Richest, Niger is considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Niger’s poverty is exacerbated by political instability, extreme vulnerability to exogenous shocks and inequality which affects girls, women and children disproportionately. This affects their health, education, economy and society. This also affects the resources because they have limited resources.

Another challenge to families is alcoholism. The effects of alcoholism on families can cause more damage and pain than any other internal or external influence on the family unit. According to, the Czech Republic is considered the 5th country as alcohol consumption. Alcoholism can affect children and even unborn babies. Alcoholism can also affect families by addiction, can cause crimes, and can even harm their family by the means of physical abuse. According to, this can affect children by letting them feel depressed, anxious, stressed, guilt, despair and others. It can also affect their spouse or partner by having poor spousal communication, increased anger and distress and even depleting finances spent on alcohol. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How important is Local Market Knowledge to the Success of a Business? A case study of Virgin Airlines: Literature Review

In 1980s, Richard Branson who is well-known for the Virgin Records decided to put a pot of big money in the airline industry. After three or more months, the Virgin Atlantic Airways was born (Rifkin, 2004). It began operating with the support of the celebrities and continuously shaking the entire hospitality industry as the first airline that offers different services to their passengers such as the built-in TV for the business class passengers and variety of food for the passengers. Today, the Virgin Atlantic is one of the world’s most recognized brands and being recognized and trusted through their winning awards for their products and innovative marketing (Lothian, 2008).
Business organization is considered to be the organization of people having the varied skills that are also using the properties or talents and produce the goods or services. This is considered as an internal strength in which can applied as a system through which economic activity is organized and directed by those who seek to make a profit. In the fundamental characteristic of the business like VAA, it can distinguish the various activities from other economic activities in order to perform in the market (Doganis, 2006).  In distinguishing the characteristics of the characteristics of the business can be possible only if the climate in the country – the Constitution, the laws, the customs and traditions of the people – will allow those who engage in the business reasonable expectations of profit possibilities.
It is stated that there is an increase in the competition in the airline industry and this tackles the idea on how the business organizations performs well in the competition. In observing the social status of the business, VAA’s social standing can influence the market and had a marked degree towards the satisfaction of their markets (Morrison & Winston, 1995). The competitive situation of industry, in addition, is also always been investigated. The competiveness of the industry situation may be so keen that the margin of profit is narrow or at times non-existent. Since the market is already overcrowded, the VAA should engulf the difficulties that may arise through setting a new corner of strategies to set a motion which in return can create a big difference and gain the competitive edge.
The Concept of Local Market Knowledge
Basically, in identifying the appropriate distribution channels and activities, there involvement and participation of the market is vital because the information that can be gained through the market that serves as knowledge for the organization. In the case of VAA, the customer service and their ability to provide the excellent approach delivers another factor to achieve the customer values. Because of the positive relationship in between the firm and its environment (including the market, competitor, and suppliers) the greatest knowledge can be achieved which will lead to the greatest commitment of the firm. The local market knowledge is assumed to be constrained in the organization’s performance in the foreign market that can be the firm’s direct approach of the organizations. Once an organization is involved in the international business activities, it is anticipated that there will be broader opportunities and yet broader risks. As an advantage in using the local market knowledge, this can promote the successful business and market relationships which are a core in acquiring a competitive position. As a vice versa, the correlation in between the involvement of the business and the market lends further support the need for the local market knowledge for success towards the international business (Beamish & Munro, 1987).
The increasing demand is another factor that that affects the creation of the business strategy. Through this demand in travelling industry, the local market knowledge can be gained through the careful and scientific market study and analysis. There is always a possibility of the potential demand in excess of the current demand, and through the process in gaining the knowledge; the firm can determine the relative factors that can add their competency. This means that the local market knowledge is an important aspect that the organization should practice and can be used in order to achieve the success in their operations (Delfmann, 2005). Gaining the local market knowledge can be easy because it is considered as the primary requirement in the formulation of the firm’s strategic approach in the foreign market. Therefore, it makes up as the most essential knowledge in determining the levels of the local and international competitions, current events and political stability, consumer base, and the determination of the targeted traveller and season of travelling for VAA. Without the knowledge, the firm cannot compete with the competitors or even satisfy the consumer demands. Because of the uniqueness of each market, it is essential to produce such local market and if the firm failed to acquire the knowledge, there is a related consequence is failure to possess the ideal operation knowledge in the area and end it up in a complete loss.
Since the VAA is focused in travelling and delivering the quality in the performance even across the cultures, there they are also targeting the potential customers which can be found in the local market. In general, the local market knowledge serves an all-in-one strategy for the reason that it doesn’t only assist but also as a source to create sound decisions and market strategies. Once the VAA gain the knowledge in the market, they can also gain its needs, tastes, preferences, and expectations. It can also have an idea about the culture, climate, various locations, and economies of scale (Doganis, 2006).  
Research Design
The proposed method in the study is through the use of quantitative method. The appropriate approach is through the help of the survey process that is also considered as the primary source of information. This is promoted in the study because of the contribution that can be provided by the participants, making it appropriate in the study. Furthermore, the conduction of survey is facilitated by consulting the related theories that might be addressed in the study. Through the means and reviewing the related theories, there is an assurance that the result of the survey will explain and interpret the views of the participants regarding the topic presented before them. The objective of the method is to determine the attitudes of the respondents through the quantifiable measurement.
Participants/subjects and Instrument
The participants or subjects came from the organization of Virgin Atlantic Airlines. They were chosen through the means of random sampling and with the coordination of various criteria. The criteria considered are the age of the respondents which can be 30-40, the determination of their role, position, and function in the organization and so on that are all related in their responsibilities in performing for the organization. Through these criteria, the study can ensure that the results of the survey is bound with the concept of reliability thus, the opinions are came from the people concerns with the VAA business operations. It is expected that the study can gather 100 respondents in total to gain the insight and have a broad discussion and other information that is focused in the topic. After the essential data had been collected, the information will be analyzed and organized according to a comprehensive fashion.
As an instrument utilized in the study, the Likert Scale in a five-point form which is designed to determine the attitude of the respondents on the importance of achieving the local market knowledge. The questionnaires are given to the respondents that can be an easy way for the participants to answer. The following are considered wherein each corresponding rates are valuable to determine the participant’s idea.
[5] means
Very Important 
[4] means
[3] means
Moderately Important 
[2] means
Of Little Importance 
[1] means

Data Analysis
Once the target participants are identified, the appropriate method should be applied. Since the participants are the primary source of data, their perception will treat seriously and manifested in the results of the survey. Quantitative research method is possible in many ways and the use of surveys or interviews are common. The most important objective of the methodological section is perhaps to make a comprehensive data which can be analyzed and aligned with the aims and objectives of their entire study.
The collected information can be analyzed through the use of factor analysis. With the help of the theoretical basis or background, the result can be posted well. Therefore, there is a need for factoring the result on to two aspects (a) correlation of the results and (b) consideration of the factors, elements, or structure on designing good local market knowledge. In presenting the results, the study will review the theories consulted and determine in which among those theory/ies manifested in the study. At the end of the study, the research can definitely give the strong points that centers in the aims and objectives of the study.
Limitations of the Study
The study is identified the limitations in terms of the inability of the respondents in clarifying the questions which might find difficult for them to answer or they might find the questions unclear. In addition, the response rate for the study might be low which might affect the shortcoming of the study. The issue of bias is also considered as a factor that affects the results of the study which can be traced through the influence of the other respondents.
It is not always possible to predict the future of the business, but through the careful and thorough consideration of creating appropriate research and analysis in the foreign market. Through understanding and learning the various factors that are hidden in the market, the international business can gain their competitive position. Furthermore, it is proved that the through the market consultation, the business can create fine decisions within which in return can influence the market because of their well-defined relationship. The local market knowledge, however, is a basic component towards the success of the organization and can be proved by this study.
Beamish, P.W., & Muro, H.J., 1987. Exporting for Success as a Small Canadian Manufacturer, Journal of Small Business and Entrpreneurship, 4(4): 38.
Bilotkatch, V., 2007. Asymmetric Regulation and Airport Dominance in International Aviation: Evidence from the London-New York Market, Southern Economic Journal, 74(2).
Blue Sky, 2009. Sales and Service Performance Improvement Virgin Atlantic Airways [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 April 2011].
Delfmann, W., 2005. Strategic Management in the Aviation Industry, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.,
Doganis, R.,  2006. The Airline Business, London: Routledge.
Lothian, K., 2008. Case Study: Virgin Atlantic Flies Beyond E-Mail With Skinkers [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 April 2011].
Morrison, S.A., & Winston, C.M., 1995. The Evolution of the Airline Industry, Brookings Institution Press.
Rifkin, G., 2004. How Richard Branson Works Magic [Online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 April 2011].

Monday, December 25, 2017

How important is Local Market Knowledge to the Success of a Business? A case study of Virgin Airlines - INTRODUCTION

Internationalization of the business nowadays apparently became a trend for the organizations to expand their market position and gain the competitive advantage among their contemporaries. The extent and nature of business activities are almost as diverse and comprehensive as the totality of the social and economic interest of a man. Various business activities acknowledged the opportunities that the internationalization may deliver. Through their ability and capacity to expand their business operations, internationalization is highly possible. For most of the time, the high degree of the competition under the umbrella of an industry and the number of competitors that are engaged in the creating the same product and/or services or often referred as the competitors that are closely related can cause market stiffening and will tend to saturate the resources. This idea is one of the reasons on why the businesses are moving into foreign markets.
Background of the Study
There are businesses that in the start of the operation had a great investment and one of which is the airline industry which can perform in either local and/or international markets. This kind of service is one of the broad classifications of the business services. Part of the business operation should cater to personal needs of people or with rendering of a personal service. In this industry, the passengers or the travellers needs the efficiency in travelling in form of safe and friendly services. One of the organizations is Virgin Atlantic Airways that is considered as one of the leading airlines. Like the other companies that play actively in the international market, there are challenges and experience different changes in their operation. But unlike the other business’s ideas, the VAA believed in the option that it is more positive and much less risky to invest in a long-term change program to satisfy the need to grow in the future (Blue Sky, 2009).  Apparently, the airport dominance has grown competitive in the hospitality industry. In the accommodation of this competitive growth, the aviation or airline industry plays an essential role in helping the economy to survive although this type of business is a huge investment. The strategies applied in this kind of industry can help the entire organization in finding the dominant position (Bilotkatch, 2007). The connection of the Virgin Airline is outrageous because of the media that serves as a huge market competency advantage. Their strategy is using the media such as television, radio, internet, and even newspaper gave the business an opportunity for promotion.
Virgin Atlantic started back in 1984 with a single 747-200 and flying in route of London to New York. Aside from the gasoline, the business was fuelled with two ideas – to offer low price and have a better service. Passengers are the treated as visitors and the business thought of the things to serve better meals, offer more entertainment, create fun, and acquire smiling and enthusiastic flight crews. For over the years, the airlines shook the industry with the project for innovation to provide the quality of service and entertainment. The airline is the first to offer two choices of meals, even in economy class, and spa-services. Thus, they became the industry most favourite in airlines and second largest long-haul carrier on the route of London to New York (Rifkin, 2004).
Statement of the Problems
Based on the background of the study, it is highlighted that Virgin Atlantic Airlines (VAA) gained the expertise through the market and operational experiences that they performed. In addition, the organization’s openness in the innovation and technology and implementing various marketing strategies to acquire their unique position in the market. But despite of the benefits that the VAA may receive in performing in the competition, the local market knowledge is missing in the marketing formula of the organization. In association to this observation, there are three interrelated problems identified which can be the centre of the study:
·         What is the importance of the local market knowledge in performing even in the international settings?
·         In what ways do the local market knowledge affects the business operations of VAA?
·         What are the key drivers of local market knowledge in determining the success of VAA?
These problems revolves around the local market knowledge and the business operation of the Virgin Atlantic Airlines because of their connection in assessing the market through determining the knowledge involves and then can be used in the business operation of the VAA.
Research Aim and Objectives
The main aim of the study is to investigate the importance of the local market knowledge towards the success of the Virgin Airlines. The local market knowledge is very broad which can definitely affect the current and even the future performance of an organization. In order to facilitate the investigation of the study there are objectives that needs to be considered. First is to determine the factors that need to be considered that are related in recognizing the components of local market knowledge. Second is to assess the applicability of the local market knowledge in the VAA strategies and business operations. Third is to measure the extent of applying the local market knowledge towards the VAA business performance. And fourth is to recognize the impact of the local market knowledge in formulating the desirable business operations. These objectives are used as the guidelines in the study in order to answer what was the paper needed.    
Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is not only to simply consider the importance of the local market knowledge and its components but to apply the local market knowledge in the business settings. It is such a challenge to consider the application of the local market knowledge in international settings because of the characteristics of the business, the business environment, the diversification of markets, the involvement of changes, possibilities, and other expectations. Local market knowledge is a basic concept that is usually applied in the local businesses or in the small and medium enterprises. It is also a part of the business objectives because the creation of business mirrored the present situation of the market. However, when the local market knowledge and concept is applied in the international setting will raise various uncertainties, criticisms, and questions that falls particularly in the effectiveness of the local market knowledge in contributing to their success. Through the assessment of the study, there is an opportunity to answer these queries and can be part of the academic context in promoting the strategic business management and operation. In addition, the study can also serve as another output within which the organization can use as reference in their action in determining the local market knowledge.   

The underpinning principle of the study is based on the concept of applying the local knowledge in international business performance. In observing the past literatures and reviewing the organizations that are formulating their business strategies within the foreign market, there is a great gap identified. For example, taking the view of international business operation of McDonalds; the organization affects and influences the foreign markets through using their organizational culture and operations. As a result, the foreign markets slowly adopted the Western culture and made the company being part of their daily activities. Although there are criticisms on how the McDonalds the change the society, there is still a gap identified on how the McDonalds transferred the Western culture in the international markets. With this idea bearing in mind, the local market knowledge gained by the organization served as an initial or primary strategy in performing in the market. In addition, the local market knowledge appears to be visible mostly in service oriented organizations that eventually became a part of their organizational culture. The study focused on the Virgin Airlines that is also under the service industry believed that it can also trace the local market knowledge and in return make it applicable in the recent business strategy of the organization towards its competitive advantage and success.      

Friday, December 22, 2017

Total Quality Management

1.1  Total Quality Management
            The materialization of TQM is considered as one of the most important developments in management practice in the last 20 years. TQM was first brought up into the USA around 1980 in order to focus on the severe competitive challenge from companies from Japan. Consequently, TQM had been recognized as a source of competitive advantage in the world, particularly in the Western countries, specifically in the manufacturing sector (Dean and Bowen, 1994).Different studies, surveys and researches showed that even though TQM offer mixed results in terms of benefits and advantages, in general, TQM help to offer advantages for those organizations which implement it properly (Samson and Terziovski, 1999)
            TQM is considered as the process and art of managing the whole in order to accomplish excellence. TQM can be defined as both a philosophy and a set of guiding standards and principles which correspond to the underpinnings of an endless improving and evolving organization. Thus, it pertains on the implementation of different qualitative methods and human resources in order to develop and improve all the procedures being done inside the organization, at the same time, meet and exceed the needs of the customers in the current environment and in the future. TQM incorporates the basic management techniques, current improvements as well as the different technical tools under a disciplined strategy (Talukder and Ghosh, 2004). With these, it shows that TQM pertains on the understanding that organizations must be considered as systems which the different processes and procedures which main goal is to serve the customers. Therefore, TQM looks for in order to inflict standards, acquire efficiencies and effectiveness, describe the roles of every individual in processes as well as the organization as a whole, lessen errors and defects by implementation of different statistical process control, and to make use of teams in order to plan and carry out procedures in more efficient manner. It also enables leaders who are willing to establish a culture wherein people can describe and define their roles and responsibility pertaining on the quality outputs towards the customers (Moghaddam and Moballeghi, 2008).

            On the other hand, TQM also focus on the issues related to customer satisfaction and guidance towards the implementation and application of different marketing concepts. In 1980’s the issue related to the process of constant improvement in order to satisfy the needs of customers emerged (Churchill and Paul, 1994). The concept of total quality is considered as the general viewpoint of management which goes well beyond the marketing customer-perceived view of quality by counting all vital requirements and necessities which help not just towards the perceived quality of the customer but also towards satisfaction of the customers (Price and Chen, 1993).

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Impact of Total Quality Management (TQM) on Effectiveness of Customer Retention Plan in New Zealand Professional Services - Statement of the Problem

1.1  Statement of the Problem
The problem that will be addressed in the study is the impact of TQM on the customer retention plan in the professional services in New Zealand. The following will be the questions to be answered in the study:
·         What are the different factors which drive and motivate customer satisfaction and loyalty in the service sector?
·         How does TQM help professional service firms in New Zealand in terms of customer retention?
·         What is the impact of customer retention in the overall performance of companies in the professional service sector?
1.2  Objectives of the Study
            The main aim of the study is to analyze the impact of TQM on the effectiveness of customer retention plan in New Zealand professional service industry. In line with this, the following are the specific objectives of the study:
·         To examine the current professional service sector of New Zealand;
·         To assess the importance of service quality towards the customer relationship aspects of companies in service sector; and
·         To evaluate the significance of TQM towards the success of maintaining good relationship with the customers; and
1.3  Significance of the Study

The issue of quality is always an important aspect in any sector or industry. This is because of the fact that quality, particularly in the service sector is the vital factors which connect the customers to a specific company. The quality of service being offered by a specific company motivates customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention, which are vital in the marketing and management aspect. This study will be helpful in order to analyze how TQM influence the customer relationship of organizations in the service environment. Therefore, this paper will be helpful towards firms and companies in the service sector of New Zealand to focus more on their TQM processes and standards in order to come up with established and competitive customer relationship.