Corporate Strategy by W. Stewart Howe (auth.)

By W. Stewart Howe (auth.)

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When the number of objectives to be pursued simultaneously is greater than two, then the most appealing solution is that of Cyert and March, who suggest that decisionmakers attempt to achieve 'satisfactory' levels of performance in each goal area simultaneously, and emphasise one objective as opposed to another at anyone time depending upon the actual performance relative to the 'satisficing' level. The target or aspiration levels for the various goal areas are set by reference to the past performance and anticipated market environment of the firm.

14 But to take a simple example , while a business which enjoys low production cost levels could envisage increasing its market share by reducing prices against a competitor which did not possess this characteristic, it would be unwise to adopt such an approach against an equally low-cost competitor, particularly in the context of a relatively stagnant market in which price levels are not a major determinant of either individual market share or aggregate demand. In a typically oligopolistic market the adoption of such a price-cutting strategy might simply result in a round of price reductions which left all sellers with unchanged market shares in a very slightly expanded market characterised by significantly reduced profit margins for all.

Sir Charles Forte's statement , although doubtless incomplete in so far as his philosophy of business is concerned , is in the traditional entrepreneurial mould. The objective of the business is to increase profitability, always providing that the level of risk does not rise above some intuitively set threshold level. In the case of Fisons, an organisation less personally identified with its chief executive than is Trust House Forte, certain wider responsibilities are explicitly recognised, but the major goal is nonetheless felt to be profitability , with the suggestion too of a growth goal.

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