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Week 1 Questions: This week we’re talking about the Competitive Environment of firms. A lot of it will center on Porter’s “Five Forces” model. Here are our discussion questions for this week: Question: Here is a link to the reading to question below, please read it first to help answer the question. http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/generic.shtml The question: What are Porter’s three generic strategies and explain? Under what circumstances would the application of each of his strategies be the most appropriate? As a manager, what are the conditions you are looking for that would make each of his strategies relevant? PART B I need good and quality reply/response to these discussion board answers. Just read the discussion board answers, and respond to the information you read and add more information. Just three to five Lines response each. A. Kendall Lollis What is a Value Chain and why is it important? The Value Chain is a model that shows a company how it can create value. The primary functions or steps of the model are inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and or sales, and service. These steps have the biggest impact and should add cost efficient value to the product or services being marketed. The Supporting functions include firm infrastructure, HR managements, technology development, and procurement. These steps support the primary functions. Each of the steps in a Value Chain add to the ending value or profitability of what is being marketed. The Value Chain is important because analyzing the value chain can help provide information on ways that IT can result in competitive advantage (Bourgeois, 2014). Something interesting I learned while reading about the Value Chain in the course content was about VAT or value-added tax. I live in Germany now and pay a VAT on a daily basis when shopping for everyday things. I honestly had no idea what the VAT was even for and never questioned it because I have to pay it anyways. VAT is a result of the Value Chain. According to the course content, “[it] is applied at each point in the chain to reflect the increased value of the original raw materials as they move through the production and distribution process” (Kraft, 2016). So I am paying for each step of the process taken or making, selling, and so on in the value chain for products when I purchase them. Bourgeois, D. T., Ph.D. (Ed.). (2014). Information Systems for Business and Beyond. Retrieved September 8, 2016. Kraft, E. (2016). Value Chain—Did You Know? Retrieved September 08, 2016, from https://umuc.equella.ecollege.com/file/86676687-c3fd-4176-92e0-ad8f73fc49ee/1/IFSM300-1202.zip/Modules/M1-Module_1/popups/Value_Chain.html B. Nikole Ferguson What’s “Paving the Cowpaths” — why is it easy to do, what should be done instead? Paving the cowpaths means automating a business process as is, without thinking too much about whether or not that process is effective or efficient which would be easier than Business Re-engineering (BPR). Change managers should re-engineer processes rather than simply automate them. Í¥Paving the cowpaths is often an effective first step in sweeping, paradigmatic change. The real questions are: (1) whether the initial formulation is flexible enough to support migration to a new system, and (2) whether the change managers have the vision and capability to create the conditions favorable for change, and to manage a multi-stage change process. Í¥ Byrnes, J. (2011) Change Management: Paving the Cowpaths. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/1769710/change-management-paving-cowpaths C. Brian Pehrson What is a Value Chain and why is it important? According to our text (UMUC, 2016) a value chain is quite literally everything that goes into a business starting from the initial concept through production to sales. It is anything that a business does or any products/systems it has that could add value. The chain models every asp

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