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Strategy Dynamics Course - Class 9 – Intangible resources

NOTE: The frameworks in this class can be applied on their own, as well as being used as part of a more complete business model.

We all know that intangible or "soft" factors have a big impact on organizational performance – a damaged reputation can destroy a business, strong staff motivation can drive powerful growth, proprietary knowledge can give rise to market-leading products, and so on. But there is a challenge in making practical use of this general understanding to steer strategy, because we have largely talked about these issues in terms that are ambiguous and inconsistent.

This class offers definitions of tangible and intangible resources that is clear and usable, and identifies three major categories into which intangible factors mostly divide:

  1. Psychological factors concerning the state of mind of key groups, especially customers and staff, but also investors and other stakeholders
  2. Information-based resources, such as data, technology, knowledge
  3. Certain quality-related factors that must be built up and sustained over time

The class gives frameworks for working with these types of intangible, and examples of how they feature in real-world situations.

Key issues addressed

  • Classifying resources and capabilities to give a clear specification of intangible resources
  • Three classes of intangibles affecting the tangible heart of the strategic architecture: state-of-mind factors, information-based resources, and quality-related items
  • The distinction that current quality drives behavior for current customers whereas reputation influences potential customers
  • States-of-mind that build up to threshold levels where they trigger big changes in behavior
  • The decay of information-related intangibles, causing a need to rebuild
  • Knowledge as a higher-level concept than data or information, requiring effort to develop and maintain, but with important effects for many firms
  • How quality factors, not all of which are strictly "resources" contribute to strategic performance
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Other resources and links

Books

Charles J. Fombrun, 1996, Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image, Harvard Business School Press; Boston. Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

Mark Lutchen, 2004, Managing IT as a Business: A Survival Guide for CEO's, Wiley: Hoboken NJ. Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell, 2004, Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations, Wiley: Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

Barrie Dale, 2003, Managing Quality (4th Edn), Blackwell: Oxford, Chapter 3. Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

George Eckes, 2001, The Six Sigma Revolution: How General Electric and Others Turned Process into Profits, Wiley Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

John Maxey, David Rowlands, Michael George and Malcolm Upton, 2005, The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to 70 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed, McGraw-Hill: New York Amazon.com   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada

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