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Assessment 1 Instructions: Current Environmental Analysis

Prepare a 5-7 page environmental analysis of a health care organization addressing both the external and internal environments.

Introduction

Note: Each assessment in this course builds upon the work you have completed in previous assessments. Therefore, you must complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

Health care organizations have embraced strategic management and have developed unique processes for their industry. Health care leaders have found that strategic thinking, planning, and managing strategic momentum are essential for coping with the health care industry’s dynamics. Strategic management has become the single clearest demonstration of effective leadership in health care organizations.

Health care organization leaders need to understand the external environment in which they operate. Additionally, they need to anticipate and respond to the significant shifts taking place within that environment. An organization engages in service area competitor analysis to:

  • Determine the geographic service area.
  • Analyze the competitors within that service area for strengths and vulnerabilities.
  • Assess the impact of its strategic actions against specific competitors.
  • Anticipate potential actions a competitor might make that would endanger the organization’s market position.

Analyzing competitors assists organizations in identifying their competitive advantage, the basis on which they are willing to compete with anyone.

Additionally, evaluating the organization’s internal environment is also critical. This requires evaluating functional areas such as clinical operations, information systems, marketing, clinical support, human resources, financial administration, and others. In an internal environmental analysis, leaders carefully examine each function or organizational subsystem and then develop and analyze a list of strengths and weaknesses for each. This approach has been successful in some cases; however, an internal environmental analysis alone does not adequately address strategic issues.

The first assessment will focus on performing an environmental analysis of a health care organization. An environmental analysis enables the organization to identify current challenges and opportunities in preparation for future strategic planning and goal identification. Insightful diagnosis of a company’s external and internal environments is a prerequisite for managers to succeed in crafting a strategy that is an excellent fit within the company’s operations. These evaluations assist the organization in fostering alternative strategies and business models that culminate in leadership choosing a specific strategy.

Demonstration of Proficiency

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 1: Analyze organizational structure, design, culture, and climate in relation to environmental forces.
    • Analyze a health care organization’s external and internal environment.
    • Identify key industry structural features determining the forces governing competition.
  • Competency 3: Recommend an organizational structure and design to optimize a strategic plan.
    • Evaluate a health care organization’s directional strategy.
  • Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in health care administration.
    • Write a clear, concise, well-organized, professional, and generally error-free environmental analysis that supports conclusions with relevant evidence.
    • Follow current APA formatting and style guidelines for citations and references.

Note: Complete the assessments in this course in the order in which they are presented. You will make use of this analysis in the next assessment.

Preparation

For this assessment, you will perform an environmental analysis for a health care organization. To accomplish this, you need to select a health care organization. This may be an organization where you currently work, a place where you want to work, or an organization about which you would like to learn more. You may select one from any of these sectors, or you may select a sector not listed here that directly reflects your career plans:

  • Long-term care.
  • Mid-sized facility.
  • Behavioral health hospital.
  • Large urban hospital.
  • Small rural hospital.
  • Freestanding facility.
  • Telehealth organization.
  • Government/military.
  • Integrated delivery network (IDN).

Make your selection carefully. If you choose your own organization, it will be easier to obtain the kind of information you need to complete the assessment. If you do not select your own organization, you might want to consider a larger health care provider (for example, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, UnitedHealth Group, or Blue Cross Blue Shield) that publishes the organization’s directional strategy. You may also select a type of organization from the provided list, but recognize you will still be expected to gather marketing information, benchmark data, financial summaries, and other relevant information.

In addition, you may wish to review the assessment instructions and scoring guide to ensure that you understand the work you will be asked to complete.

Note: Remember that you can submit all, or a portion, of your draft analysis to Smarthinking Tutoring for feedback before you submit the final version for this assessment. If you plan to use this free service, be mindful that the turnaround time to receive feedback is 24–48 hours.

Scenario

Your manager is responsible for updating the organization’s strategic plan. She has asked you to do some of the legwork and complete an environmental analysis. This analysis will help your organization scan the external and internal environments and identify current challenges and opportunities that will enable it to prepare for the future.

Requirements

Analyze your selected organization’s external and internal environments. The MHA Program Library Guide can help direct your research. The Supplemental Resources and Research Resources, both linked in the navigation menu in your courseroom, provide additional resources to support you.

You may use any contemporary environmental analysis tool included in the strategic management planning process to conduct your analysis. Examples include PESTLE analysis, Michael Porter’s 5 Forces model, and Levels of Competition model.

Remember, your analysis must address both your selected organization’s external and internal environments. In addition, your analysis must include all of the elements listed below.

ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS REQUIREMENTS

The requirements, outlined below, correspond to the grading criteria in the Current Environmental Analysis Scoring Guide, so be sure to address each point. Read the performance-level descriptions for each criterion to see how your work will be assessed.

  • Evaluate the organization’s directional strategy, as reflected in its vision, mission, and values.
  • Identify key industry structural features determining the forces governing competition.
  • Write a clear, concise, well-organized, professional, and generally error-free environmental analysis that supports conclusions with relevant evidence.
  • Follow current APA formatting and style guidelines for citations and references.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Length: 5–7 double-spaced, typed pages. The goal is to focus on applying new concepts and gaining new insights. Keep it brief and substantive.
    • Note: Feel free to construct images/diagrams, such as PESTL tables, to summarize information where appropriate and to highlight key information.
  • Formatting: Narrative can be written in a memo or white paper format since these are used in the health care workplace. Format citations according to current APA style and formatting guidelines, including a works cited page.
  • Number of sources: Use a minimum of six current, scholarly, and authoritative sources to support your analysis.
  • Scoring guide: Be sure to review this assessment’s scoring guide to understand how your faculty member will evaluate your work.

Proofread your document before you submit it to minimize errors that could distract readers and make it more difficult for them to focus on the substance of your analysis.

Portfolio Prompt: You may choose to save your environmental analysis to your ePortfolio.

Resources: Strategic Planning

The following resources provide an overview of the current state of strategic planning in health care organizations:

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Capella University Teladoc He

Assessment 2: TOWS Matrix Analysis and Strategic Plan

Prepare a TOWS matrix (1-2 page grid) that summarizes a health care organization’s threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths. Write an analysis paper (4-5 pages) highlighting key findings from the TOWS matrix. Create a draft strategic plan (1-2) pages that describes four strategies for the organization to pursue based on findings from the first two course assessments.

Note: Each assessment in this course builds upon the work you have completed in previous assessments. Therefore, you must complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

An essential element in evaluating a health care organization’s overall strategy entails examining the company’s resources and competitive capabilities. Are they sufficient to allow the organization to pursue the best market opportunities, while minimizing external threats?

The most widely used tool in conducting this evaluation is a TOWS matrix. A well-executed TOWS analysis provides the basis for crafting the organization’s strategic plan. A key difference needs to be addressed here. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis has been a popular way to display pertinent external issues and internal strengths and weaknesses. This type of analysis involves listing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and perceived external opportunities and threats. SWOT, however, does not provide much insight into what strategy decisions might result from the list of strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats. As a result, the TOWS matrix (threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths) was developed to provide a better way to develop and evaluate specific adaptive strategic alternatives.

This assessment provides an opportunity for you to complete a TOWS matrix and corresponding analysis, as well as draft a high-level strategic plan based on your TOWS matrix.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 1: Analyze organizational structure, design, culture, and climate in relation to environmental forces.

Incorporate methodologies from the knowledge-economy management approach appropriate for the organization.

  • Integrate recent strategy management research findings into a strategic management plan.

Competency 2: Develop a strategic organizational plan that provides human and financial resources to support targeted organizational outcomes.

  • Synthesize operational and financial components into a strategic planning process.
  • Competency 3: Recommend an organizational structure and design to optimize a strategic plan.
  • Determine the organizational structure that best facilitates the strategy.

Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for professionals in health care administration.

  • Create a clear, concise, well-organized, professional TOWS matrix analysis and strategic plan draft.
  • Apply proper APA formatting and style guidelines to citations and references.

Note: Complete the assessments in this course in the order in which they are presented. For this assessment, you will continue to work with the organization you selected in Assessment 1.

  • Preparation
  • Use the following to complete the assessment.

TOWS Analysis Worksheet [DOCX].

  • Common Strategies and Goals Health Care Organizations Develop and Monitor [DOCX].
  • To prepare for the assessment, you are encouraged to create a practice TOWS matrix, using the TOWS Analysis Worksheet. The practice matrix enables you to jot down your initial thoughts and then come back to it later to see whether anything could be expanded on in the matrix that you submit as part of your next assessment.

Consider your selected organization’s threats, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. In addition, keep the following key points in mind:

Assumptions: What assumptions do people in the organization’s internal and external environment have? What alternative assumptions might be useful in these situations?

Information: What information do your organization’s internal and external stakeholders have? What information are they missing?

Evaluation Criteria: What criteria would you use to evaluate the quality of the information and the effectiveness of existing or suggested strategies?

In addition, you may wish to review the assessment instructions and scoring guide to ensure that you understand the work you will be asked to complete.

  • Note: Remember that you can submit all, or a portion, of your draft analysis and strategic plan to Smarthinking Tutoring for feedback before you submit the final version for this assessment. If you plan to use this free service, be mindful that the turnaround time to receive feedback is 24–48 hours.

Scenario

  • Your manager congratulates you on a fantastic job on the environmental analysis. She now needs your help with the next step in developing a strategic plan for the CEO—completing a TOWS matrix and accompanying analysis. After completing the TOWS matrix and analysis, your manager also wants you to prepare a high-level, draft strategic plan for the organization.

You know that a TOWS matrix is a decision-making tool for developing strategic alternatives. You also know that you will be better able to develop a more effective strategic plan based on an in-depth analysis and understanding of the current environment.

Requirements

Complete this assessment in two parts:

Part 1: TOWS Matrix and Analysis

  • Complete a TOWS matrix and accompanying analysis. Download the TOWS Analysis Worksheet and complete it for your selected health care organization. Incorporate your findings from the current environmental analysis you completed in Assessment 1. Be sure to include a minimum of 3–5 items in each quadrant of your matrix, which will give you a total of 12–20 identified and categorized items.
  • After completing your matrix, summarize the findings from your analysis of each of the four quadrants and develop a high-level, draft strategic plan containing alternative strategies.
  • Part 2: Draft Strategic Plan

Prepare a high-level, draft strategic plan for your selected organization.

The focus of this assessment is to apply the insights you have gained from your TOWS matrix and the environmental analysis you completed in Assessment 1 to the strategic plan. The information from the matrix quadrants will serve as the foundational criteria for developing your draft plan.

You must be able to look at your TOWS matrix results and then formulate four overarching strategies with at least one operational goal to support each strategy. Whether your strategies are to enhance the strengths you have identified or to improve weaknesses, your draft strategic plan must align with your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

As you prepare your plan, it may be helpful to review common strategies and goals that many health care organizations develop and monitor. Use the following document to guide your analysis of the TOWS results for your selected health care organization: Common Strategies and Goals Health Care Organizations Develop and Monitor.

Include with each of your strategies the core assumptions regarding environmental opportunities and threats, organizational strengths and weaknesses, and organizational behavioral dynamics that are foundational to the strategy. For example, consider:

Service/product life cycle.

Product development.

Organizational culture.

Available funding to execute strategies.

Strategic Plan Requirements

The requirements, outlined below, correspond to the grading criteria in the TOWS Matrix Analysis and Strategic Plan Scoring Guide, so be sure to address each point. Read the performance-level descriptions for each criterion to see how your work will be assessed.

Incorporate methodologies from the knowledge-economy management approach in a strategic plan appropriate for your organization.

Integrate recent strategy management research findings into your strategic plan.

Synthesize operational and financial components into your strategic planning process.

Include your determination of the organizational structure (functional, divisional, or matrix) that best facilitates your strategies.

Create a clear, concise, well-organized, and professional TOWS matrix analysis and strategic plan draft.

Apply proper APA formatting and style guidelines to citations and references.

Additional Requirements

  • Formatting: Prepare your TOWS matrix analysis and draft strategic plan using a familiar and appropriate document format used by health care organizations, such as a memo, business report, or white paper.
  • Length: 1–2 pages for TOWS matrix.
  • 4–5 pages for TOWS matrix analysis (roughly one page per quadrant).
  • 1–2 pages for the draft strategic plan.
Submit all three documents for this assessment: 1) TOWS matrix, 2) TOWS matrix analysis, and 3) Draft strategic plan. Remember, you do not need to submit your practice matrix.Proofread each document to minimize errors that could distract readers and make it more difficult for them to focus on the substance of your work.Portfolio Prompt: You may choose to save your TOWS matrix analysis to your ePortfolio.Supporting Evidence
Health care is an evidence-based field. Consequently, readers of these documents will want to know the sources of your information, so be sure to include applicable APA-formatted source citations and references.

Resources: Knowledge-Economy Management Methodologies

Knowledge-Economy Management Methodologies

Shahmoradi, L., Darrudi, A., Arji, G., & Nejad, A. F. (2017). Electronic health record implementation: A SWOT analysis. Acta Medica Iranica, 55(10), 642–649.

Although this article focuses on a SWOT analysis, rather than on a TOWS matrix, it provides valuable insight into how health care organizations can consider EHR improvement as one of their strategies. This is a growing reality for health care facilities.

  • Activity: TOWS Matrix Analysis
  • TOWS MATRIX ANALYSIS
    Click the linked TOWS Matrix Analysis title above to examine a list of common findings that appear on the TOWS Matrix Analysis of a variety of health care organizations. Your task will be to place each of these findings into the appropriate TOWS matrix quadrant (threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths). This practice will serve you well as you complete this assessment.

PREPARATION

Use the following to complete the assessment.

To prepare for the assessment, you are encouraged to create a practice TOWS matrix, using the TOWS Analysis Worksheet. The practice matrix enables you to jot down your initial thoughts and then come back to it later to see whether anything could be expanded on in the matrix that you submit as part of your next assessment.

Consider your selected organization’s threats, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. In addition, keep the following key points in mind:

  • Assumptions: What assumptions do people in the organization’s internal and external environment have? What alternative assumptions might be useful in these situations?
  • Information: What information do your organization’s internal and external stakeholders have? What information are they missing?
  • Evaluation Criteria: What criteria would you use to evaluate the quality of the information and the effectiveness of existing or suggested strategies? 

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