University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Business models: a strategic management approach
The 21st century presents new and exciting opportunities for doing business; the entrepreneurial realm is greatly expanding and becoming an excellent platform for personal and societal growth. Individuals and institutions are realizing the significance embedded in the development of vibrant business ideas. Doing business has become a lucrative venture in the world of today with the emergence of budding entrepreneurs in a quest to yield huge benefits in the corporate world. Indeed, the sale of goods and services to make profits is not a reserve of a chosen few as it was conventionally perceived, but it is a dynamic venture for virtually any innovative and growth-centered entrepreneur.
Nevertheless, the fundamentals of doing business have not changed; success in business requires immense input and dedication. What is it that makes businesses grow exponentially? With the advent of technology, continuous globalization influence and the ever-increasing rate of competitors in the market, what are the appraisal factors for business expansion and development? These imperative questions should continually linger in the mind of an entrepreneur. Developing a feasible business concept is the most elemental factor for one to consider while venturing into the entrepreneurial real (Nagendra, 2010, p 146).
The business concept, based on an entrepreneurial idea, should be in a position to integrate well into the market place. Of course, the integration process requires a substantial analysis of the pivotal factors influencing the growth of the business. This necessitates a deliberate evaluation of the internal and external environments of the business. Comprehending the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business concept is extremely important (Hannagan & Bennett, 2000 p 46).Outlining and executing the strategies for growth and development is equally vital in the process. Thus, this paper seeks to bring out the fundamentals of developing a business and ensuring its success. Moreover, a detailed analysis of the concepts involved will definitely unearth the drivers and constraints of business development.
In the corporate world today, it has become increasingly important to develop strong corporate leadership capacity to drive the dynamic instruments in the business. The corporate leadership concept is significant in various fronts. It provides management solutions by streamlining the internal and external environments of a business enterprise (Davis, 2003, p 16). Of importance still, corporate leadership is the platform in which dynamism and innovation is accrued in a business through investing in the relevant resources. Accomplishing this calls for the management to put in best practices in accordance with a business’ goals and objectives. Human resource management is another imperative aspect in the business world. As the driving force in respect to capacity development, it is vital for businesses and corporate bodies to invest expansively in human resource development (Sims, 2007, p 361). Companies are realizing the need to enhance corporate leadership and develop vibrant human resource frameworks.
In reference to the statements above, I believe that there is a gap in the corporate world that needs to be filled; an opportunity to provide solutions to the prevailing trends in many businesses today. In order to bridge this gap, I strongly believe that offering consultation services to corporate bodies in the areas of corporate leadership and human resource management will go a long way in addressing the inadequacies of the two elements in many businesses today. In other words, the need for strong corporate leadership structures and vibrant human resource management frameworks in corporate institutions offers me an entrepreneurial idea to develop a consultation firm in the significant areas. The business concept involves providing consultation services to companies in the realms of corporate leadership and human resource development. Given the need for corporate institutions to find lasting solutions in feasible management practices and investing in their employees, and the experience as well as the passion I have for consultancy in the areas, the business concept is certainly a viable entrepreneurial idea.
Developing the Strategies for the Business Concept
Developing strategies for a business concept aims at improving its value in the market place. It is a process of ensuring that the structures of a business have a means of transition from one point to another. Successful strategies for growth are flexible and have the ability to foster growth; they encompass the instrumental elements of running a business (Nilsson & Rapp, 2005, p 361). Therefore, developing the most feasible business strategies for operating the corporate leadership and human resource development, consultancy firm will be an important starting point.Developing a business strategy with utmost proficiency will encompass the following areas:
The purpose or aspirations for the business-This will simply portray the position of the business and what it aspires to achieve in respect to its aims and objectives. Clear goals and objectives will empower the employees of the firm as well as giving a clear-cut picture to its potential clients. A feasible purpose will also connect the business well with its expansive stakeholders.
Instilling competitive advantage and creating a market niche. Ideally, this is coming up with excellent ways of convincing clients about the adeptness and quality of services in the firm (Effron, Gandossy & Goldsmith, 2003, p 61).
Setting the boundaries for the strategy- This refers to the jurisdictions of the business; the products, services and markets that the firm will deal with. According to Kozami (2005),
setting strategic boundaries will enhance its effectiveness and flexibility; hence, leading to growth. In this reference, too many boundaries create inflexible business patterns, while too few boundaries diminish the focus required by a company.
Prioritizing- This involves emphasizing on the most significant goods and services in the market. In addition, it is important to identify the most significant clients and markets. This is a strategic move in fostering the much-needed growth and development in the business. This will also require the employees of the firm to have strategic responsibilities of unearthing the potential in the priorities.
Management practices- Developing viable internal management practices are critical in integrating the functioning of the firm’s diverse structures.
a) Purpose of the business
The consultancy firm is based on an entrepreneurial idea whereby it will offer consultation services and products to corporate bodies for a fee. The firm aims at providing consultation services in corporate leadership and human resource development to other companies. The firm’s objectives are:
Providing in-depth training to managers on efficient management practices to foster growth in their companies
Training employers on capacity building and how to empowering their employees for sustained growth
Providing corporate leadership and human resource development services to companies
Raising professional corporate leaders through mentorship programs
Enhancing entrepreneurial skills to emerging entrepreneurs
Creating effective manuals as viable products for reference to managers in corporate leadership and human resource development
Goals of the firm include:
To be the best consultancy firm in corporate leadership and human resource development
To serve a wide clientele ranging from companies and businesses
To offer dynamic and up to date services and products in the area of corporate leadership and human resource
b) Creating a market niche
Creating a competitive advantage for a business in the market is a significant tool in advancing the purposes of the company (Barney & Hesterly, 2006, p 122). Competitive advantage improves the performance of a business enterprise in respect to other businesses. Ideally, creating a niche involves capitalizing on practices that attract customers more. In order to have a competitive advantage over other businesses in the industry, the consultancy firm will offer quality services to its clients. Offering quality services will certainly put the firm in a strategic position and attract more clients. Clients find it more satisfying to work with quality service providers (Rao, 2011, p 374). Moreover, offering quality consultation services to clients will undoubtedly enhance the firm’s corporate reputation. Corporate leadership and human resource development are extremely instrumental concepts that require services of utmost proficiency. Of significance still, is the firm’s pricing index. Depending on the market trends in the industry, the firm’s products and services pricing policy seeks to accommodate all clients across the board. This is a competitive advantage platform of winning out the ever-increasing competition.
c) The company’s boundaries
This refers to the strategic placements of the company in respect to its services provision. The firm will concentrate on offering consultation services to companies that wish to enhance their corporate leadership and human resource development functions. The company will work closely with companies that wish to outsource the above functions. Moreover, the firm’s jurisdiction also covers individuals who desire to grow their corporate leadership and human resource management portfolios. Apart from the consultancy market, the firm’s boundary accommodates training at part of its corporate jurisdiction. The training structures of the firm in corporate leadership encompass the mentoring of corporate leaders. In addition, offering manuals on effective human resource practices to companies is a significant product offering. The firm’s jurisdiction is also in the e-commerce realm where it offers its services and products through the internet. The ability of the company to stick to its corporate jurisdiction is an imperative growth impetus. Furthermore, the capacity of the consultancy firm to communicate clearly to its clients about the services offered is significantly vital in growing the client base. The business will foster a viable communication platform to allow clients to understand clearly its portfolio in the market. Setting and maintaining feasible boundaries in respect to the firm’s service and product offering is a pertinent aspect in the growth and development of the firm’s corporate identity and image.
d) Areas of priority
In order for the business to grow, there is need for its structures to identify the areas of urgency and works towards improving them. Among the firm’s target market, there is more emphasis in the private sector. The firm sees more business prospects in the private sector, where by it reaches out to the management teams of private institutions for business propositions. Additionally, the firm’s target market is young entrepreneurs who do not have sufficient expertise in corporate leadership and the management of human resource. Through adequate market research, it is possible for the company to identify the areas of priority in the target market, and work towards its growth and development. Putting emphasis on the most significant clients is a viable way of enlarging the firm’s profit margins. In addition, the employees of the firm are an important resource in ensuring the realization of its priorities. Thus, strategies of empowering them go a long way in ensuring success both in the short-term and long-term. In reference to this, the employees have duties and responsibilities that seek to foster growth and development. Mathis & Jackson (2003) assert that an empowered human resource and a culture of high-involvement in any institution are strategic features in enhancing its chances of success.
e) Management practices
The company’s initiative in creating a coherent working environment within its organs is an efficient way of realizing its objectives. The management’s commitment in streamlining the functions of each employee and fostering high-involvement in the internal structures of the firm is instrumental in the development of the best corporate practices.
Evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company will be extremely significant in understanding its objectives as well as the factors that influence them. This is a vital tool in unearthing the positive and negative factors, which affect the functioning processes of the consultancy firm. Given that the company is new in a highly competitive market, it is evident that a SWOT analysis will be beneficial in providing a realistic framework for growth. The analysis is indeed significant for growth as it provides a framework for development.
Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
I. Great expertise in corporate leadership and HRM consultancy
II. Adequate and sufficient number of consultants
III. Vibrant employees
IV. Quality services
The company is relatively new in the market
Increase of emerging companies
Expanding its target market portfolio
An established market niche
Competition from other consultancy firms
Dominance by large companies
Loss of employees to other companies
The company’s strengths place it at a favorable position of enhancing its growth index. Mainly, the strengths are attributed to the internal credentials that consequently contribute to a viable output. Expertise in corporate leadership and HRM concepts is an imperative platform of winning out competition. The availability of qualified consultants plays a pivotal role in creating a market niche and reaching out to clients effectively. Additionally, vibrant employees make it possible for the company to strengthen the internal structures of the company that complement the external success. Provision of quality services is an imperative impetus that attracts customers and enhances the much-needed growth. Building on the strengths calls on the concerted efforts from the internal organization of the firm
Given that the company in new in the market, chances of it taking relatively slow to catch up in the market are high. It places the company at a disadvantage in respect to other companies. Limited infrastructure limits the ability of the company to handle many job propositions. Additionally, lack of a stable financial status to finance the internal, and external functions of the company pose huge challenges to the growth of the company. In reference to this, the company needs to put in place viable measures of addressing the weaknesses in order to enhance its growth prospects. The firm’s management has a duty to ensure that its internal structures are in tandem with growth factors.
The influx in emerging companies is an amazing opportunity for the growth of the company. The emerging companies provide an opportunity for offering consultancy services, given the importance attached to the function. Moreover, the firm has an opportunity to expand to other target markets because of the demand for its specialty. An established market niche because of a ready market provides the company with an immense opportunity to expand its corporate image and identity. Therefore, the opportunities presented by the external forces demonstrate positive prospects for the firm.
Competition is a huge threat to the firm; its ability to penetrate the mainstream market is limited by the ever-increasing competition from other consultancy companies. The dominance by large established companies also threatens the ability of the company to grow. Losing highly qualified employees to other companies is a serious threat that incapacitates the ability of the company to expand its corporate jurisdiction. These constraints limit the goals and objectives of the company; hence, it is pertinent for the firm to articulate strategic platforms of addressing the threats.
Value Innovation Analysis
Kaufman & Woodhead (2006) argue that value innovation analysis refers to the methodologies used in enhancing the value of a product, service or business. This is aimed at increasing the functionality of a service or product in order to enhance the satisfaction of a customer. According to Gregoriou (2010), value innovation analysis offers companies with competitive solutions for remaining relevant in the market by investing in the customer and finding practical answers to the needs of the customer.
Based on the designed consultancy firm, it is evidently clear that value innovation analysis will play a significant role in its desire to offer value-centered services to its clients. The company, which is primarily a service provider, will enhance its ability to reach out to its clients by critically analyzing its functions in meeting the needs of an ever-increasing market. Innovation is significant in finding breakthrough in a high competitive market. Given that the consultancy firm is new in an industry that is value-centered, the value innovation analysis will enable it to realize its areas of functionality in order to improve the value of its services.
I. Orientation stage
The orientation stage is the first process in analysis value innovation. This includes identifying the component for analysis. In respect to the consultancy firm, service offering is the most essential component of analysis. Based on its core objectives, the company offers consultation services with a specialty in corporate leadership and human resource management. The need to analyze this component arises from the value attached to it; it is an important aspect in the running of corporate organizations today. Corporate leadership and human resource management are elemental in the growth and development of businesses in the corporate world today (Jockenhofer, 2013, p 34).
The information stage involves understanding the areas of priority in relation to the target customers in the component discussion above. The firm’s most significant clients are emerging companies as well as established companies that need to outsource corporate leadership and HRM functions. The company’s function also encompasses small-scale businesses wishing to develop in the respective specialties. The customers’ opinions are extremely significant in realizing the fundamentals of functionality. Based on the preferences of the clients, it is the mandate of the service provider to enact innovative ways of producing the much-needed value (Murray, Markides & Galavan, 2008, p 63). Therefore, gaining sufficient knowledge and information on the target customer or client attached to the service offered is an important step in building value innovation.
This is important as it entails the transformation of a need into functionality that meets the needs of the client. Ideally, this step of analysis involves identifying the functions of precipitating from a service or product offering (Afuah, 2004, p 112). A detailed analysis of the products or services offered creates the values accrued to diverse functions of the component. Therefore, a deep evaluation and understanding of the service offerings in the consultancy firm indicates varied functions. The functions can be graded in order of importance; hence, giving the firm a platform to accord value to different functions depending on the needs of the clients. The need for efficient corporate leadership and human resource development has been more in high-involvement organizations with many structures and functions. The desire of managements to enhance the internal environments of their companies has precipitated the need for outsourcing the services offered by the consultancy firm. Hence, this implies that high functionality and value is placed on large institutions. Based on the needs of large organizations in enhancing their internal structures, the consultancy firm has a duty to place high functionality and values in them. Emerging companies also place dire need for effective corporate leadership and HRM management policies, thus it is also a valuable area of functionality according to the analysis. On the other hand, though small-scale businesses have a need for the services, there is little value depending on the frequency of services offered. It is worth noting that the price attached to the different functions depends on the values attached to the functions. The diverse clients to the company present different values and consequently, the cost of the services.
This stage involves coming up with viable alternatives of complementing the existing structures or having a complete overhaul. Bilton & Cummings (2010) assert that designing creative strategies is an important innovative component in the growth and development of business functions. Therefore, the innovation stage implies that the consultancy firm needs to evaluate its functions and costs of service offering, and identify ways of either changing or improving the existing functions. It is utterly important for the firm to change its functions capacity and seek for ways of enhancing the value accrued in the small-scale businesses category of clients. This calls for creative measures of turning it from a low functioning ratio to a high functioning ratio. According to the analysis, the service offering needs to seek for ways of expanding its jurisdiction and having a comprehensive approach.
This involves evaluating the alternatives brought forward in the enhancement of value in the functions of the company. The alternatives developed in the innovative stage are critical in defining the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the alternatives. The qualitative techniques involves a critical evaluation of the high value standards that should be advanced to transform the poor performing functions and improve the high performing functions (Rughase, 2006, p 67). Conducting market research and raising awareness among small-scale entrepreneurs is a viable qualitative approach in improving the value of the function. Additionally, the quantitative analysis techniques involve the application of innovative value-based measurements of increasing the value of functions. Budgeting for the effective value-based ways of improving the service offering to small-scale businesses is a viable option in the analysis.
The growth and development of a company requires excellent communication strategies in the internal and external environments (Das, 2009, p 140). Communication with the stakeholders especially with the customers is an imperative aspect in the growth of the business. Building a reputable website is an excellent platform in enhancing the communication between a company and its customers (Das, 2009, p 141). Therefore, it is important for the consultancy firm to have a functioning website as a marketing strategy. Since it is a new business in the market, the website is indeed a great tool in enhancing its corporate reputation. The following are the website specifications befitting the development of the budding consultancy firm.
a) Home page details
Since the home page is the first point of contact between the firm and potential customers, it should have an appealing effect to the customers and communicate effectively about the business (McGovern & Norton, 2002 p 202). The firm’s logo is the first thing that visitors and customers should see when they visit the website. The professional logo of the company at the home page will play an instrumental role as a marketing tool. This will surely give the site’s visitors a perfect assurance that they are in the right place. Secondly, a tag line that describes the business is also available in the home page as a significant way of connecting with site visitors and creating an enthusiastic environment for potential customers to learn more about the consultancy services in the firm. The descriptive tag line is put strategically next to the company’s logo to connect the two and improve the communication aspect of the company. This is meant to create a strong appeal for clients about the products and service offerings in the company. Thirdly, a reception blurb is also a pertinent home page detail specified in the website. This is simply an advertising platform for customers to have a quick idea of the company’s specialty-consultancy in corporate leadership and human resource development. Finally, a critical aspect in the home page of the company’s website is the content teaser that connects visitors with the content they need. It is the methodology through which the customers will be connected with the information they will need about the company.
b) Formatting details
Every page in the site contains the company’s logo and corporate theme colors. This is an important aspect in defining the identity of the company to the site visitors. A continuous reflection of the logo is critical in reassuring the customers on the firm’s specialty in corporate leadership and human resource development portfolios. Furthermore, the navigation bar is helpful in linking the site visitors with the primary and secondary content in the website. Tables, text effects, images and background colors are important formatting details in the website that make it easier for the customers to learn about the company.
c) Menu structure and rationale
The website is organized in a straightforward way to allow site visitors to get the information they need. The web pages in the site are arranged in a focus-oriented design to allow maximum gain to the visitors (potential clients). The firm’s website is organized in a hierarchical; the web pages are structured well with an easy way of navigation through the different contents. In respect to the website’s menu structure and rationale, there are significant pages defining its content. The Home page, Services and products list page, Services and products details page, About us page and Contact us page are significant in defining the website’s content. The menu structure offers a strategic way of navigating through the content.
d) Reports and management information
Reports and management information are clearly elaborated in the website. Potential clients and site visitors have the opportunity to learn and have a sufficient update on the financial and management information in the company. Quarterly, biannual and annual information is made available for the clients whenever they visit the website. In addition, significant information about the firm’s functions and employees is well articulated in the website content.
e) E-commerce aspects of purchases
The platform for offering services and products on line is also an important aspect of the consultancy firm. This platform helps the company to sell services and products through an on line mechanism. This service is elaborated clearly in the services and products details page in the website. Clients favorable with e-commerce trends are able to connect with the company through the website.
Critique on the design concept, strategy and website specifications
The design concept is indeed a vibrant platform in the industry, thus there is an influx of competitors in the field. Offering consultancy services to corporate institutions is an entrepreneurial approach that attracts many entrepreneurs in the trade. Based on the fact that the business concept is in great demand, the number of competitors is certainly on the increase. Based on the idea, a competitor would capitalize on the weaknesses in the business concept to maneuver ways of competing in the lucrative market. Based on a critical analysis, the concept is narrow in its conceptualization. Its specialties are only applicable to corporate institutions. A competitor would capitalize on the gap to increase the scope of the business venture and incorporate non-corporate bodies as clients. Balling (2006) argues that a limited scope of operations in business gives a competitor an added advantage in securing better returns. With adequate articulation of necessary business structures, a competitor would virtually have an upper hand in the expansion of the business; hence, competing effectively in the industry. Again, the business concept has a narrow boundary in relation to the target client. From a critical analysis, the business concept would accommodate nurturing corporate leadership and HRM fundamentals in learning institutions whereby professionals conduct public speaking forums for a fee, as well as organizing conferences and seminars on corporate leadership and HRM development. These are lucrative ideas lacking in the concept, which a competitor would find extremely beneficial. Thus, from a critical analysis perspective, it is true that the business concept has weaknesses that give advantages to a potential competitor.
In view of the company’s business strategy, it is clear that it is not highly strategized because of the narrow scope of the business concept. A business concept has a huge impact on the goals and objectives that an entrepreneur enacts (Grant, 2008, p 18). This implies that it is important for a business concept to have a wide focus that will consequently affect its goals and objectives. In reference to the discussion above, the consultancy firm has a narrowed focus; hence, limiting its purpose. Based on the vibrancy of the industry, it is evident that a competitor would seek ways of enlarging the strategic jurisdiction of the industry. Through a wide scope business concept, a competitor has the capacity to increase goals and objectives of his business. This implies that the competitor will have a wider range of clientele compared to the existing consultancy firm.
A competitor can look at the ways of enhancing competitive advantage to clients capitalized by the consultancy firm and unearth means of winning out the competition. Since there are many ways of creating competitive advantage, a competitor can offer price subsidies to a section of clients to attract more clients as well as to retain the existing ones. This is a strategy that the consultancy firm does not practice, thus giving the competitor a reasonable advantage in the market. Indeed, this is a strategic move in winning out competition from the firm. Offering quality products at a reduced cost is indeed a strategic move in advancing the competitive advantage of a company. It is certainly a creative way of increasing the value of the services offered by a company.
The management practices of the company do not have a feasible platform of addressing the external environments of the company. A competitor can capitalize on increasing the opportunities in the market through this serious lapse. Williams (2000) asserts that it is through viable management practices that a company is able to grasp the needs of the external stakeholders effectively. By ensuring that the internal and external management practices of a company are working together to add value to the functions of the competitor, it is highly likely that the competitor will realize more opportunities than the consultancy firm will. Consequently, it is vital for companies to input the most strategic management functions in order to realize their full potential.
In respect to the website specifications, there is an important aspect that the company gives advantage to competitors. This is about an outline of the companies that have benefitted from its consultation services. This imperative section sets the pace for other companies, and encourages them to seek their services. A website is an instrumental tool in communicating with customers and attracting potential customers as well. Therefore, it is significant for companies to include such details in their website specifications. This is a challenge to new companies that have not yet developed a wide client base. Thus, the lack of concrete historical background on the successes of the consultancy firm puts off some clients, and benefits a competitor with such web applications.
The critique shows that there are various aspects, which would limit the company compared to other companies. The business concept, strategy outline and website specifications present lapses that could give an upper hand to competitors in the market. Despite the lapses, the consultancy firm has a high prospect of growing if more actions that are deliberate are put in place.
In conclusion, it is apparent that entrepreneurship plays a huge role in the growth and development of markets and the corporate realm. This requires immense investment in the relevant structures of ensuring success. Individuals and companies need to put in place the most fundamental business platforms of ensuring success. Primarily, designing a viable business concept is significant in starting the entrepreneurship journey. One has to consider the market trends and growth factors surrounding the idea. This will ultimately play a huge role in defining the growth of the company. After coming up with an entrepreneurial idea, it is imperative to set strategic factors and steps of ensuring the success of the business concept. Ideally, the growth and development of a business concept depends on the capacity to integrate the internal and external environments of a business. Such initiatives, of course, by the careful articulation of management practices are integral in realizing the full potential of a business enterprise.
Moreover, it is imperative to continually, conduct a value innovation analysis in order to enhance the functions of a business concept and explore new opportunities in the market. The dynamism in the market in today’s business world calls for companies to invest in value innovation to increase their chances of survival in the highly competitive environment. Additionally, effective communication with clients and customers is immensely essential, that is why the website is an instrumental tool in advancing the need. With efficient communication strategies, a company is able to connect and relate with its stakeholders in a practical manner. Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is a growing venture that will continue to influence the society greatly.
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