The First Day

Today, we conducted our first class in the Woodcock Global Honors Fellowship Program. We immediately examined a case study from 2007 about the Starbucks company. By interpreting the data supplied by the research and the value proposition of Starbucks, we discussed whether Starbucks was considered a successful company in 2007 both as a single-goal firm and a multiple-goal firm. We concluded that Starbucks was successful economically, and determined the actions taken for their Corporate Social Responsibility were worthwhile in the long run. However, Starbucks was unsuccessful as a company according to their value proposition in 2007.
To expand on our discussion, we learned about the different stakeholder groups and the claims they have on a firm. Furthermore, we learned about Porter’s Five Forces and broke down exactly what each Force entailed. The concepts of the Stakeholder Theory and Porter’s Five Forces work together to exemplify the complexities that firms face in a complex environment. We continued our discussion to precisely what makes environments complex, which would include forces called drivers and the rate of change within industries. The way companies control these rapid changes in their industry is by using the PESTLE and VUCA theories. PESTLE assesses the general environment that a firm works within, and ties directly into Porter’s Five Forces. To become more familiar with the PESTLE theory, we applied the method to the country of Ireland, where we will be traveling within the next two weeks. After analyzing Ireland’s PESTLE assessment, we learned about the Megatrends that drive the change within an environment. VUCA comes into play with the Megatrends. VUCA is the idea that within a complex situation, the leaders of a firm must use their authority and responsibility to make decisions confidently amid these Megatrend shifts. The Open Systems Hypothesis was discussed next, stating that firms must interact with environments to survive. If the firms decide to hold fast to their usual operations, the forever changing climate will form said firms to be obsolete.
These four theories that we learned (Porter’s Five Forces, Stakeholder Theory, PESTLE, and VUCA) are used by companies to follow the rapidly changing complex environment that is a part of industries today. Without them, companies cannot withstand the external forces that work around the firms in the business environment.
After learning about the four theories, we dissected our StrengthFinder Assessments and discussed how each of our top strengths related to who we are, what struck us as fascinating in the descriptions and learned from one another about strengths that were not in our results. I found it interesting how true all my strengths were, and how everyone’s results attributed to everyone’s personality, even after knowing them for only a few short days.