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Assignment 2: Reflective Statement
Student will be expected to submit a REFLECTIVE STATEMENT addressing THREE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS concerning their SYNOPTIC EXPERIENCE:
1. What knowledge/theory helped you to make sense of the the case study? And how did the case study assignment help you to build on this prior knowledge?
2. In what ways, if any, did the module enhance your learning, professional and/or transferable skills?
3. what issues did the learning processes outlined in your answers to questions (1) and (2) raise for you? What barriers or critical incidents did you face/experience? And how did you cope with them?
Q1. I had used numerous knowledge areas to understand the case study. At a glance, the case study is intimidating because there are apparent detailed analysis, jargons and numerical charts. They reduced my confidence and motivation. However, as I started to read, I observed that common terminologies in business support the case study. This trigged my interest that I had kept on focusing on key terms such as corporate history, marketing, reputation, operations, competition and financial data. The skimming phase confirmed that my initial problems came from jargons and new terminologies about the piano industry, its manufacturing and assurance processes and implications to economy.
In reading the historical account, my knowledge about product life cycle and growth stages of a company helped me to appreciate the importance of its discussion. The reputation of the company which is discussed in the succeeding sections and its organizational culture are easily depicted in its history. Without its century-old beginnings and developments, it could not attain market presence. The investigation of its strategy and marketing approach also gave review of similarity from its history and attitude of its forerunners/ founders.
The section about competition and the declining sales of the company are easily related to each other by consideration of theory on industry contraction and globalization. Global expansion of foreign companies into the market earlier identified as penetration of the company in the past years resulted to mixture of products with different features. The market has more choices and there is increased demand for the company to source its competitiveness both internally (i.e. cost savings) and externally (i.e. market information).
Prior knowledge of the stated theories and concepts is concretized and even improved by the case study assignment. First, reputation (i.e. good management) is build through time which creates a link between innovative strategy and dedicated workers. Without sufficient history, learning curve of the management could not direct human resources to innovate or maintain high level of motivation. By knowing the sources of the firm’s competitive advantage such as manufacturing and quality, my prior knowledge of growth stages of company had evolved to consider such development will affect all facets of firm operations. The early knowledge is only on the growth of product which is merely an output to factors of product which are the important inputs that includes people, machine and managerial capabilities.
With the assignment, I was also reminded with key roles of valuable and inimitable resources to make the competitive advantage of the firm sustainable. Sustainability can be attained through purchase of patents. As a result, the prior knowledge of developing internal and external capabilities is insufficient source of competitiveness. For them to be valuable, it must be protected. Also, merger deal to other companies can increase competitiveness which proves the existence of multi-strategies.
Q2. The module enabled me to consider active reading to have an overview of the case study. This recognition and the advantages derived from skimming can help me to read long and technical articles. It taught me to find key words, sub-titles and phrases that can motivate me to continue a confident reading and to end-up having a comprehension. It reminded me that the presence of jargons should not disrupt the core meaning of ideas as understanding the whole is greater than understanding the sum of its parts.
Further, I have improved my presentation and writing skills because the case study is presented in a professional report with graphs and financial data included. Largely, it helped me to realize how a narrative and explanatory business report should look like. In the past, I have problems in doing reports and writing essays that require chronology in the arrangement of ideas and bring-out thoughts. The case study also suggested intensive research that is required to complete an adequate academic article.
In answering the assignment as mentioned earlier, I also learned that current knowledge about business and financial theories are insufficient to have an appropriate corporate analysis. Advance reading and understanding of strategic marketing, strategic management, international business and even how to calculate financial ratios are essential tools to address question of case studies. This is particularly true for an international firm. This enhanced my awareness that small firms are very different from large/ global companies.
Q3. My answers in Q1 and Q2 raised important issues such as advance reading is required to properly understand, and more so, to answer questions of a case study. Also, the bigger the sources of the knowledge, the larger the chance that issues raised can be addressed with adequate theoretical or practical analysis. There should be caution in laying conclusions for case studies that have global companies as subject matter. Practical experience and local knowledge about business are not necessary compatible to such analysis.
Barriers in tackling the case study are numerous. First, the format and the arrangement of words are difficult and tiring to read. It could have been more readable if it is double-spaced but such demand is not possible because the article is taken from a book. Nonetheless, I had used a pacer (e.g. pen and finger). Second, in reading technical articles, the lack of immediate idea with the title or topic can minimize my interest in reading them. Good thing that this is a business assignment, however, what if it is financial or other topics. This has been mitigated because the lecturer had briefed the class regarding the company, some key issues and objectives of the case study.
The frequent difficulty in covering this case study is inferring the unknown business and financial theories with other books as I go on the reading phase. This practice increased as I answered the assignment. Having several books on top of my desk does not only impede my reading but more importantly minimize my chance to see the big picture as it is continuously combined with theoretical knowledge I read from other books as reference. This problem is not evident in topics that I have deeper understanding such as product life cycle in marketing. This suggests that I should have advance reading to prevent substantial inquiry to secondary sources during the reading phase and speedier resolution of subsequent assignment questions. With this, I can even maximize learning experience as I can integrate my personal reactions within the theories and frameworks.
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