complete 2 business capatone discussions

MUST HAVE TWO PEER REVIEWED REFERENCES EACH

1:

Program Outcome 4 Demonstration

Activity Context

This discussion helps you develop the skills to master the following program outcome:

  • Apply innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches to business practice and planning.

Revisit the MBA6900 Course Alignment Map to review how all activities assist you in achieving the program outcomes.

Activity Instruction

This discussion focuses on Program Outcome 4: Apply innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches to business practice and planning. For this discussion, complete the following:

  • Review Program Outcome 4 in MBA Program Outcomes for more information about the importance and role of this outcome.
  • Review the relevant criterion in the Capstone Project and Presentation Scoring Guide to familiarize yourself with the specific expectations for demonstrating the outcome.
  • Describe how you will demonstrate your achievement of the outcome in your capstone project. Be as specific as possible.

Response Guidelines

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of other learners’ plans for demonstrating the outcome. Note any gaps you see between the expectations outlined and the learner’s plan and help brainstorm ideas to strengthen his or her project.

2:

Program Outcome 5 Demonstration

Activity Context

This discussion helps you develop the skills to master the following program outcome:

  • Lead and collaborate in virtual, global, and culturally diverse environments.

Revisit the MBA6900 Course Alignment Map to review how all activities assist you in achieving the program outcomes.

Activity Instruction

This discussion focuses on Program Outcome 5: Lead and collaborate in virtual, global, and culturally diverse environments. For this discussion, complete the following:

  • Review Program Outcome 5 in MBA Program Outcomes for more information about the importance and role of this outcome.
  • Review the relevant criterion in the Capstone Project and Presentation Scoring Guide to familiarize yourself with the specific expectations for demonstrating the outcome.
  • Describe how you will demonstrate your achievement of the outcome in your capstone project. Be as specific as possible.

OUTCOMES:

Program Outcome 4: Apply innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches to business practice and planning.

Speaker: Lee Gremillion, Faculty

What does this mean and how can this competency be demonstrated in an MBA capstone project?

One of the competencies that the Capella MBA program is designed to deliver is this: “Apply innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches to business practice and planning.” What exactly does that mean? This competency includes three related but distinct concepts – “innovative,” “strategic,” and “sustainable.” Let’s first look at what each of these means individually. Innovative is most often interpreted as “thinking and acting creatively.” And certainly when we think of innovators, we think of people who have done exactly that, such as Steve Jobs, Charles Schwab, or Akio Morita of Sony. But being innovative is not just a matter of thinking up new products or services, it also, and actually more commonly, means recognizing an opportunity to do something new and different and taking active steps to move that new idea to implementation. For example, it was actually a group of researchers at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center who “invented” what we now know as the Graphical User Interface, or GUI, for personal computers. However, it was not the Xerox people, but rather Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who became billionaires, because they recognized this innovation for what it promised, and effectively brought it to market. The other two concepts, strategic and sustainable, are closely related. Strategic means oriented towards the fundamental goals of the organization, rather than just towards the solution of immediate problems. Sustainable means capable of being continued either indefinitely, or at least for a long time; in other words, not something that can only be done for a short while, something with a limited shelf life. Both of these concepts – strategic and sustainable — imply taking a long term point of view. Perhaps one of the best examples of how these three concepts tie together is actually a counterexample – a case where they got it all wrong – the case of the final failure of a company called Circuit City. In the 1980s and 90’s , Circuit City was a successful retailer of consumer electronics. When market conditions turned bad in the 2000s, however, Circuit City senior executives made a series of decisions that were the opposite of innovative, strategic, and sustainable. These culminated in 2007, when they adopted a cost cutting measure they called “wage management.” This actually amounted to laying off approximately 3400 better-paid associates and re-staffing the positions at lower, entry-level salaries. Of course, these better-paid associates were the ones who had the experience and knowledge to provide the service that Circuit City’s customers expected. This decision ignored all three concepts we are discussing. Rather than being innovative, it merely extended commonplace cost-cutting measures to an extreme level. Rather than being strategic, it focused exclusively on the immediate bottom line effect, no matter how it aligned with the company’s fundamental, long-term goals. And rather than being sustainable, it brought about a downgrade in company capabilities that could not possibly be endured for any significant length of time. And, not surprisingly, it backfired – in three months, sales had dropped dramatically, in less than a year the company was in Chapter 11, and in less than 2 years it had been liquidated. In our fiercely competitive business environment, failure to be innovative, strategic and sustainable can be fatal.

The three components of the competency — innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches — are demonstrated primarily through the nature of the project’s analyses and recommendations. Specifically, this is found in the answers to three questions: Do the analyses and recommendations consider alternatives beyond the obvious, the “textbook solution,” the “tried and true” approach, and the extension of the status quo? While these may be good starting points for analysis, they are very often not good end points. And it’s the end points that matter. Are these analyses and recommendations oriented towards the organization’s basic goals instead of, or in addition to, immediate tactical issues? And finally, do they address the implications over the longer term instead of or in addition to, the immediate short term problems and solutions? Your instructor will make an assessment of the extent to which each of these three questions is answered in your capstone project . It’s your job to convince him or her that your project does in fact address them satisfactorily. To the extent that you succeed in doing so, you demonstrate achievement of the MBA program outcome that you can “Apply innovative, strategic, and sustainable approaches to business practice and planning.”

Program Outcome 5: Lead and collaborate in virtual, global and culturally diverse environments.

Speaker: Shelley Robbins, Faculty Chair – SOBT

What does this outcome look like in the field?

Leading collaboratively is an essential business outcome and leading collaboratively means that as a leader you will be part of global teams, you will be part of virtual teams, and the skills that you need to work virtually are similar, but different from the kinds of skills that you need to work with others, face-to–face.

As a leader we do not do anything by ourselves, and being virtual means that it is much harder to see the responses and reactions of other people. So a global leader who works virtually, effectively, and works collaboratively is going to be able to employ a set of tools which will enable them to be as effective online as they are effective face-to-face.

What might employers expect from learners in relation to this outcome?

It is really essential for MBA graduates to be able to lead and collaborate in virtual, global and culturally diverse environments and learners and employees who are very successful at doing this in the fields are able to take in and understand and include multiple perspectives in their work as a leader.

They are able to understand that they need to approach problem solving not just from their own perspective, but that the new environment at work includes people from multiple countries and cultures. So as a leader in the field employers want employees who are able to do this.

In addition, they are looking for employees who understand that leading globally is not going to be the same as leading just in one country, because leading globally means that you need to be open to these multiple perspectives that you need to consider the ways in which they impact the organization and you need to become very future oriented, because the business environment is shifting a lot and changing a lot.

How does this outcome help learners become more successful in their field?

There is one additional aspect of working globally and virtually in our current work environment that is really essential, and that is the ability to innovate and create the future more effectively.

Our work environments are changing, they are dynamic, they are complex, they are complicated, and so for our leaders to be able to do well in these kinds of environments, they need to be able to take on the perspective of all we use being present, all we use understanding what’s going on around them, but understanding that the future is going to be changing, and we need to create our current leadership, and innovation, and change, in organizations in light of what we know we are going to see in the future.

A leader needs to help themselves and help the people that they work with, gain the ability to be adaptive, to think towards the future, help the organization to become more innovative. By doing all these kinds of things, a leader is going to be more likely to create an organization that is going to be able to respond effectively to the kinds of changes we are seeing in the future.

So in summary, leaders have a big responsibility in global and virtual work environments. Leaders have a big responsibility in developing communication skills, in knowing who they are as a leader, and improving themselves as a leader, but leaders also have responsibility to the other people they work with, as well as to the organization and helping them to gain the skills that they need to become adaptive and prepare for the future.

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