Wrsx Group Case Study

Abstract and learning objectives

Abstract

The Strategy Experience simulation – WRSX: This challenging and rigorous simulation offers teams of students the opportunity to create a strategic analysis of the global advertising & marketing service industry, develop a strategic plan for a mid-sized player in that industry and implement their strategic plan as the Board of WRSX advertising and marketing services group with offices in London, New York, Paris and Singapore. The simulation draws on relevant theoretical frameworks, value creation models and performance measurement criteria that include share price, profitability, CSR, business ethics, customer, supplier and employee non-financial performance indicators. WRSX, the simulated business is multi-cultural and provides challenges and dilemmas that managers face in today’s global markets. Student resources include an on-line video Mentor, audios from the Group’s CEO, Senior Business Analyst and VP Business Development. Timetables for delivery can be scheduled to suit course requirements. All processing of team decisions, production of team results and feedback on each team’s performance is automatic and is via the Learning Dynamics simulation and Pearson Education platforms. Assessment options are: MCQs, peer review and a reflective account. Templates for strategic analysis and strategic plans are incorporated into the simulation Comprehensive teaching resources are available to lecturers. The TSE WRSX simulation enables students to work through the three key phases of the strategy process:

  • Understanding the strategic position (this is concerned with the impact on strategy of the external environment, the organisation’s strategic capability [resources and competences], the organisation’s goals and culture0
  • Evaluating strategic choices (looking at the methods to help move strategy forward)
  • Strategy in Action (how strategies are formed, implemented and evaluated)

Learning objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the impact of global contextual forces on organisational performance
  • Critically assess global markets and customers to find the best strategies for their organisation
  • Critically analyse, categorise and synthesise data to solve business challenges and make business decisions at a strategic level
  • Develop general management skills, team skills and the ability to link management theory with practice in strategic management

Hear how the University of Gloucestershire have embedded The Strategy Experience simulation within their business education courses.

Content & Format

What: The TSE simulation is designed for easy inclusion into undergraduate-level or Masters-level course modules to suit the requirements of their course and assessment. It helps put taught theory into practice and helps develop and experience a real understanding of strategy. Who: Students work individually or in teams of 5 as the board of directors of WRSX advertising and marketing services group with offices in London, New York, Paris and Singapore. How:

  • It can be used within a class group, where students may participate individually or in teams
  • As a learning resource for individual self-study purposes
  • At different levels of the business education curriculum, and with students of differing levels of work or management experience
  • Over a range of time periods – from intensive day-long sessions to an on-going assignment over the course of several weeks or months – to suit the needs of individual courses and/or instructors
  • As a means of formal or informal assessment, or as a revision tool towards the end of the course prior to exams

Educator resources: Simple and practical on-line simulation platform with the following resources:

  • teaching notes for the educator team
  • introductory slides
  • comprehensive student briefing
  • company management reports and industry overview
  • instructor guidance on strategic issues covered within the simulation and detailed guidance on student feedback
  • assessment options: MCQs, peer review and a reflective account
  • plus notification of weekly team results
  • student / team mentoring guidance

An introduction to current users / faculty advisors of the TSE simulation is available as part of the briefing and adoption process. Student team resources include: Engaging on-line multimedia simulation platform with the following resources:

  • comprehensive briefing, company management reports and industry overview
  • explanation of decisions to be taken each week
  • timetable for decisions
  • notification of results and detailed feedback on decisions
  • helpful hints & tips including explanation of financial & non-financial performance terms
  • plus email helpdesk.

How delivered

This simulation is delivered on-line. All resources are downloadable from the simulation website.

How long

The simulation is designed to have a flexible timetable which can be scheduled to fit with course requirements. Specific skills and competencies developed:

  • Evaluate corporate, business and operational strategies, testing strategies in a complex business environment and making key decisions about the long-term direction of their business
  • Analyse, evaluate and develop competitive strategies
  • Manage and organise teams, sharing of roles, responsibilities and workload
  • Think creatively and solve problems based on restricted information and knowledge
  • Assess and mitigate risk
  • Balance financial and non-financial performance indicators
  • Ability to reflect on experience and apply learning into other contexts

Quotes from students:  “Instead of writing boring things on a piece of paper…the simulation is more interactive…..more out there…..you have got decisions to make…..ideas to put forward….and you just feel that you are in a real business environment.” ‘Incorporating your knowledge from lectures into a practical simulation ….is more relevant to the real world.”“We prefer to do this because it is more real life…it’s much more like what we will deal with in the real world.” – Quotes from The WRSX Strategy Experience simulation participants, University of Gloucestershire.

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Title: University WRSX Strategy in action
Description: University 3rd year- Strategy in action WRSX case study PESTEL, Porter’s five forces and SWOT analysis CSR, Corporate governance, strategic drift, matrix structure, centralisation. Harvard references included!

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Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

Strategy in Action

Group simulation
...
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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Main body…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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1 Board meeting 1……………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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2 Board meeting 2…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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3 Board meeting 3……………………………………………………………………………………………………
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4 Board meeting 4…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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5 Board meeting 5……………………………………………………………………………………………………………10
2
...
11
3
...
12
4
...
13-15
5
...
16-20

1

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

1
...
It has been made aware to the company of the opportunities that WRSX
could and should pursue
...
The strategic
choices made were to expand into Asia’s growing advertising markets, improve the CSR of the
company, the strategic purpose of providing better CSR and corporate governance and invest in digital
marketing
...
Reflecting on progress of
WRSX through share price and non-financial changes
...


2

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

2
...
1 Board meeting 1
As mentioned previously, amongst other strategies, expanding into the Asian market is one of
WRSX’s priorities
...
As Sylvie Tourre explains (WRSX report), the Asian market is an opportunity of the
future
...
Additionally, it is believed
that China will become the second largest advertising market next to the USA within the next 3 years,
with an increase in advertising spending of 8% per year (WRSX report)
...

In order to enter the Asian market, WRSX should not attempt to compete head on with global agencies
based in the big cities of China due to the fact that WRSX does not yet have the capabilities to do so
...
After 12 months, expansion into a
second tertiary city would be undertaken
...
Analysing
consumer behaviour is essential to predict future trends in the market (Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard,
& Hogg, 2010)
...
Even though the matrix structure was note mentioned in this
board meeting, we decided to implement it in board meeting 3
...
The
board came to the conclusion that this project would be an on-going investment, focusing on the long
term rather than the short term
...
28 to £2
...


3

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

2
...
For a
business to expand and grow there is need for external funding from investors
...
Therefore, investors want to know if the business
is being well managed and is trustworthy
...

Consequently, WRSX’s image and reputation needs to be restored before thinking of moving forward
and expanding the company
...
Both directors involved in the scandal were sacked, a 10 point code of business conduct
was implemented, a PR campaign put into immediate effect publicising these decisions and assemble
a sub-committee to conduct a thorough review of WRSX’s corporate governance model
...
In hindsight, breaking the contract may have
been the better option as recovering from a corruption scandal can take several years (Mallin, 2013)
...
8 to 56
...
As a result, opting for breaking the contract may have been the
best option for WRSX
...
3 Board Meeting 3
According to Barton Consulting Group, WRSX is perceived as suffering from strategic drift and
WRSX must take the decision to either change the way it operates significantly or continue to stagnate
in terms of shareholder value and market perception (WRSX case study)
...
Strategic drift is likely to be experienced if a company has experienced success in the
past (Miller & Friesen, 1980)
...
This is clearly something that needed to be addressed to ensure the future
success of WRSX; with this in mind option B was chosen as a means of restructuring the business to
provide a clear direction
...
This is especially true with WRSX,
they were found to be in a state of strategic drift showing they could not keep up with the environment
as a result of their organizational structure and shows this justifies the reason behind restructuring
...
A matrix structure combines different structural dimensions such as
product divisions and geographical territories (Thomas & D’Annunzio, 2005)
...
On the other hand this structure will result in a longer
decision making process (Johnson et al, 2014), nevertheless it was deemed the pros outweigh the cons
in regard to implementing a matrix structure
...
Making the decision democratic allows communication and ideas to be shared effectively
(Lorinkova, Pearson & Sims, 2013) ultimately resulting in the employees feeling empowered
...


6

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

2
...
Improving sustainability can be used to
improve CSR
...

This was due to WRSX consistently underperforming in this area when compared to the industry
average, thus this area was a target to increase
...
5 it reinforces the importance of this issue as the industry average is 50 (WRSX case
study)
...

There are two motives for improving CSR, the first being altruistic motives, these are woven into the
companies character as part of its intrinsic institutional values and environment (Matten & Moon,
2008)
...
WRSX is
creating advertising and promotional campaigns with a socially responsible message through creating
direct links between customer spending on brands and contributions to socially and environmentally
focused projects
...

In this form, “CSR has a positive impact on society and provides direct benefits to the company through
increased sales revenue” (Nan & Heo, 2007, p
...
Cone (2010 [Online]) reports that 81% of American
consumers want companies to give them the opportunity to purchase a cause-related product
...

WRSX plan to work with clients to develop campaigns that link into education, health and alleviation
of poverty through direct financial contributions from consumers
...

63)
...
Shareholders have high expectations for the
values and conduct of the business and so can have tremendous influence of profitability, so it is in
the best interest of WRSX to meet these expectations
...

7

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

After completion of board meeting 4 CSR increased from 40
...
3 which shows the implementation
has succeeded in improving CSR
...
After
implementing this strategy share price rose from £2
...
68 which proves that improving
sustainability or rather CSR is attractive to shareholders
...
5 Board meeting 5
During the latter stages, the board meeting group felt it was necessary to visit employment
policies of the organisation to reaffirm the original strategic choice of centralising
...
The general consensus was that allowing job rotation and
shadowing would benefit the firm in the long term and relevant to the strategy direction the company
is heading
...
With this policy in full affect, moving
employees around will be easier and allow the company to respond more swiftly to the external
environment, capitalising on opportunities
...
Job
rotation is constantly providing positive results based on empirical studies, allowing employees to gain
a range skills and competencies (Minotti, 2005; Gomez & Lorente, 2004)
...
It shows the right intentions of the firm to have
contingency plans an example of being more strategically aware
...
A key
statistic was the rise in management of growth from 52
...


9

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

2
...
It was the most significant decision since the first strategic choices prior to the
simulation
...
The board managed to cut financial costs from £2
...
The strategic turnaround was applied
in order to prioritise raising share price which increased from £3
...

A significant decision that had to be made was holding a conference that would include middle
managers
...
Using middle managers
as strategic planners would also mean operations of the company may be less efficient for a short
period of time
...
Holding the conference,
however, does have the benefit of following the initial strategy of centralising the business, therefore
it was appropriate
...
Middle
managers normally have the least access to the CEO but ironically have the most knowledge of
implementing strategy
...
Having an
understanding of the strategy at an operational level will bring the organisation closer together,
providing a relevance bridge or sense making (Balogun & Johnson, 2004)
...
The board felt it was
a good way to leave WRSX in a position of control over strategy
...
0 Conclusion
Before the WRSX simulation it was made clear that the shareholders were concerned the
company was in a state of strategic drift
...
This provided a clear direction for the company resulting in
shareholder price to increase to a final price of £5
...
2-50
...

The issue of CSR has been addressed as WRSX has improved its sustainability, which has consistently
been linked to attracting new clients, therefore reinforced as client attraction and retention rose from
58 to 60
...
The opportunity for growth in china was initially attractive however after careful discussion
it was deemed more appropriate to target the fringes or rather suburbs of China as these medium
businesses offered faster growth
...


11

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

4
...
& Shavit, T
...
How Can a Ratings-based Method for Assessing Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Provide an Incentive to Firms Excluded from Socially Responsible Investment
indices to Invest in CSR? Journal of Business Ethics
...

Balogun, J
...
(2004) Organizational restructuring and middle manager sense
making, Academy of Management Journal
...

Carroll, A
...
Corporate Social Responsibility
...
38 (3), 268-295
...
(2010)
...
Available: http://www
...
com/contentmgr/showdetails
...
[Last
accessed 17/03/2015]
...
, Webb, D
...
(2006)
...
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
...

Gomez, P
...
, Lorente, J
...
C
...
V
...
Training practices and organizational
learning capability relationships and implications
...

Guiral, A
...
, & Choi, H
...
Can Excellence in Corporate Social Performance Improve
Investors' Financial Assessments and Credibility of Managers' Forecasts?
...
43 (4), 530-555
...
, Jones, G
...
Strategic Management Theory
...
Canada:
Cengage Learning
...

Johnson, G
...
, & Whittingham, R
...
Journal of Management Studies
...

Johnson, G
...
, & Scholes, K
...
Fundamentals of Strategy
...
127-130
...
, Whittington, R
...
(2011)
...
9th ed
...
436-437
...
, Whittington, R
...
, Angwin, D
...
Exploring Strategy
...
Harlow: Pearson Education
...

Jorgensen, M
...
Characteristics of job rotation in the Midwest US manufacturing sector
...
48 (15), 1721-1733
...
, & Nidawiy, M
...
2 (6), 124-144
...
, & Park, J
...
The Effects of the Perceived Motivation Type toward Corporate Social
Responsibility Activities on Customer Loyalty
...
19
(3), 5-16
...
(2001)
...
Journal of
Consumer Marketing
...

Lorinkova, N
...
, & Sims Jr, H
...
Examining the differential longitudinal
performance of directive versus empowering leadership in teams
...
56
(2), 573-591
...
, (2013) Corporate Governance, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press
...

Mantere, S
...

Strategic Organization
...

Mantere, S
...
Journal of
Management Studies
...

Miller, D
...
(1980)
...
Academy
of Management Journal
...

Minotti, J
...
(2005) Effects of learning-style-based homework prescriptions on the achievement
and attitudes of middle school students
...
89 (642), 67-89
...
, & Scultz, M
...
Corporate social responsibility communication: Stakeholder
information, response and involvement strategies
...
15 (4),
323-338
...
, & Heo, K
...
Consumer Responses to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Initiatives
...
36 (2), 63-74
...
, Bamossy, G
...
, & Hogg, M
...
Consumer Behaviour: A European
Perspective
...
Prentice Hall Europe
...

Sweeney, D
...
(1976) Increased profitability through job rotation programs
...
18 (4), 15-19
...
, & D’Annunzio
...
Challenges and strategies of matrix organisations: top-level
and mid-level managers’ perspectives
...
28 (1), 39-48
...
0 Appendices
Appendix 1: Business Plan for the WRSX Group

Participant name: Philip Roynon-Jones, Will Petri, Oliver Berridge

1
...
Go straight to Section 2 of this plan
...
)
A
...
g
...
)
WRSX’s aim is to reach the top 20 advertising companies in the world
...
Company description
i
...

iii
...
WRSX
ii
...
Adopt a matrix structure and invest in Asia

15

Strategy in Action
Report

Group simulation

C
...

ii
...
Mission Statement
(Current WRSX mission statement or a revised statement created by you
...

3
...
)
i
...

iii
...

v
...
Our aim it to be in the top 20 advertising agencies in the world
...
Strategic business units are going to be attained
in Asia and provide online advertising
...
Market Analysis and Strategies

(Key factors impacting on or about to impact on WRSX Group's business taken from your Phase 1
Strategic Analysis and how you plan to deal with them
...
Macro environment economic factors
Doing a PESTEL analysis to encompass changes in the external environment and other strategic
analysis tools that the group has learned from making the initial strategic choices for WRSX
...
Green energy
Legal: Changes in the regulatory and legal environment

B
...
Sector/market analysis
i
...

iii
...
Market segments served by competitors
b
...
Capabilities – marketing, financial, creative, production, other
d
...
With
implementation of good strategic decisions, WRSX could reach the top 20 advertising firms in the
world
...
Marketing activities
i
...
Geographic strategy
b
...
Pricing strategy
d
...
Expanding into Asian market
b
...

b
...
Operations and Environmental Sustainability
A
...
Environmental/sustainability issues that may impact on the WRSX Groups' operations
CSR could damage WRSX
...


6
...
Issues with the organisation structure and your plans to retain or change this
Problem: not enough transparency within the organisation
Resolution: Allowing job rotation and shadowing supervisors – centralizing
Adopting a matrix structure will ensure that all the information is shared throughout the group
...
Skills/experience that give strength to the WRSX Group that you need to retain
Advertising and media

C
...
Financial Data
A
...


B
Title: University WRSX Strategy in action
Description: University 3rd year- Strategy in action WRSX case study PESTEL, Porter’s five forces and SWOT analysis CSR, Corporate governance, strategic drift, matrix structure, centralisation. Harvard references included!

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