Monthly Archives: December 2017

Integration and its Market Influence

Strategic management is all about the initiatives taken by the middle and mostly upper echelons of management with respect to optimum utilization of business resources. This is done as a means of achieving higher profitability and enhanced performance. Horizontal integration is one such tool which is used to strengthen the position and presence of a business in the market. It is basically a marketing-based integration, as opposed to a vertical integration which is a style of management control over the industrial supply chain. While the former is an attempt to influence the market in its favor, the latter attempts to coordinate and control the supply chain of a consolidated vertical production process.

As per definitions provided by Investopedia and Wikipedia respectively, horizontal integration takes place ‘when a company expands its business into different products that are similar to current lines’ and ‘when a firm is being taken over by, or merged with, another firm which is in the same industry and in the same stage of production as the merged firm, for example, a car manufacturer merging with a competitor. In this case, both the companies are in the same stage of production and also in the same industry. This process is also known as a buyout or takeover.’ If we try and dissect both these definitions, two main points come to the fore-same industry and same stage of production.

So the question arises that why would a company want to integrate with another which practically deals with the same product, that too in the same stage of production? Well, there is a very important factor-they share the same market. This form of business strategy is aimed at eliminating competition. Besides buying out, it also brings about economies of scale and scope involved in increased production. Even in terms of marketing efforts, a consolidated campaign is far more effective for customer conversion, than a dozen small business enterprises fighting tooth and nail for a share in the same market.


Examples of horizontal integration can be seen in the form of a number of significant mergers and acquisitions around the world. One of the most prominent instances in recent times was Tata Steel’s acquisition of Corus. The acquiring of a high value product manufacturer by one of the lowest cost steel producers in the world boasting of self-sufficiency in raw materials, meant that the steel market would now have access to a product which boasted of high quality at a lower price.

Another example is GAP Inc. retail clothing corporation, which controls Banana Republic, GAP, and Old Navy. This enables it to cater to different customer needs without having to compete with the other similar brands.

Horizontal Integration Vs. Vertical Integration

Leadership Activities for All

Corporate life is not just about serious work, boring black and white suits, all-day meetings, innumerable cups of coffee, and never-ending hours. There’s a lot more to do at your workplace, where you can learn and sharpen your skills with simple team building exercises and activities. When you are working for long hours without a break, you often require a breather to socialize with your colleagues and break the ice between each other. If you are working for any organization in any position, there is a requirement of displaying or possessing leadership qualities, as you never know when your team might need you. Therefore, even if it is a very important and professional quality, it can be developed by simply taking part in a few interactive leadership activities. These group activities are fun and they include all the teammates so that each can participate and put in their best efforts. If you are looking for such activities, we have a few suggestions coming up just for you. Pick your favorites!

The Significance of Interactive Leadership Exercises
Leadership is a very essential quality, which every individual should possess or develop.
It is a positive quality, which doesn’t need to be used for overpowering and dominating, but to lead a group towards success.
Leadership yields other useful qualities, like confidence, positivity, quick decision-making, creativity, ambition, endurance to bear the consequences of wrong decisions, and to pull up a team from failure to success.
Many corporates and their managements make it a point to have a few interactive leadership activities are a part of their recreation for employees, as they get a chance to emerge as leaders.
A few of these easy yet effective interactive team building activities are compiled in the paragraphs below. All these exercises teach teammates to make decisions and work as a team, considering all the crucial aspects of a project assigned to them.
Roping a Square
This is a very easy exercise, where you have to make a team of 4 and use a 20m rope for the activity.
The team of 4 participants have to tie the rope in a circle, make a square out of it, with blindfolds on their eyes.
The team gets about 15 minutes for planning a strategy, after which they will be blindfolded.
They are then given 10 minutes to turn the circle into a square without seeing, with all the team members holding the rope.
After you think the square is ready, keep the rope on the floor and move out.

Situational Leadership Theory Explained

The situational leadership theory was developed by P. Hersey and Kenneth H. Blanchard. They have explained the theory in their books The Situational Manager and Leadership and the One Minute Manager, respectively.
Someone has quite rightly said uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Being a leader is not an easy task. A leader has to shoulder many responsibilities; albeit, he has been conferred to do so. Defining leadership or how to be a good leader in one line can be tough ask because he has to be multidimensional and possess many abilities.

Throughout history, many famous and prominent people such as King Alexander, Mauryan King Ashoka, Julius Caesar, Franklin Roosevelt, etc., have taught us leadership lessons. Many researchers have studied leadership and formulated theorems and models on good and efficient leadership styles. The situational leadership theory by Hersey-Blanchard states that every employee has to be treated differently according to his/her capabilities, to harness his potential in the best interest of the organization. Being flexible and adapting to the situations is more important. This theory tells you that any leader should have varied approach while dealing with different levels of employees.
Types of Situational Leadership Styles
Telling/Directing (S1)
This style of leadership demands the employees to act as per the directions given, without providing much scope to the employee to analyze or take decisions on his own. In this method, the employee follows whatever is told to him.

Selling/Coaching (S2)
In this type, the leader ‘sells’ his ideas, and leaves the implementation to his subordinates. Such employees are good followers, but lack commitment to come up with new ideas.

Participating/Counseling (S3)
In this style, the leader simply monitors the performance and lets the employees come up with new ideas and strategies. The leader supports and does not have much of a directive role in this case.

Delegating (S4)
Delegating simply involves entrusting the employee with completing the task, where he is given whole authority and right to perform the task.
When Should They Be Employed
According to the situational leadership theory, the aforesaid 4 types of leadership styles are to be followed for employees possessing these development and maturity models, respectively. For example, Telling/Directing style leadership (S1) is suited for D1 and M1 employees or subordinates. Likewise, according to the theory, each style subscribes to the corresponding development and maturity levels.
Development Level of the Employees
Competence Commitment
D1 Low High
D2 Some Low
D3 High Variable
D4 High High
Maturity Level of the Employees
Maturity Levels
M1 At the lowest level of maturity, these employees lack the skill sets, and are not confident enough.
M2 At this level, employees are willing to do the job, but are not competent enough to implement it without guidance.
M3 With increased maturity, employees have higher skills and competence. However, they need motivation and participation from the manager.
M4 Possessing highest level of maturity and confidence about their skill set, these employees can be entrusted with a particular task.

Business Grants for Veterans

The Obama administration recently passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which set aside USD 831 billion to revitalize the ailing economy. Out of the said amount, USD 275 billion has been earmarked for federal government grants. You can avail funding from this sum if you meet the stringent eligibility criteria. Financial assistance received through the government is the best way to fund a business as the money need not be repaid.

These disbursements are mostly given to nonprofit organizations and institutes working towards the betterment of society. The government also provides financial aid to businesses dealing in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. The Obama government has even set up a task force on veterans small business development, to support these citizens to start their businesses.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

If you are looking for grants, then one of the first things you could do is talk to the local office of the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has set up the Office of Veterans Business Development, and you can check out the location of an office near you, on their website. The SBA is also the right place to check for aid provided to disabled veterans.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)

Another resource for checking small business government grants for veterans is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) website. The website has free details of over two thousand federal assistance programs. The website also has a help desk number which you can call for assistance regarding grants and loans.

Local Chamber of Commerce

The local chapter of the chamber of commerce is also a good start if you are looking for small business loans and grants. They have several funding opportunities and if you fit the eligibility criteria, you could qualify for a grant, and if not, you could check their list of available loan opportunities. They also have specific programs for minority and women veterans.

If you have seen advertisements that offer financing for a small fee, stay away as most of the information they offer is available free on the government website. If you have identified a program which best qualifies you from the website, you can use the identification number to apply for that particular scheme.
Nonprofit Organizations

Another resource worth keeping in mind are the nonprofit organizations (NPOs). There are many NPOs who work for the betterment of veterans and their families. The Internet is the best medium to look for an organization which will accommodate your needs. Try organizations like Rotary as they have a lot of community development programs under which they could provide financial help to veterans.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has instituted the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which is a body that provides assistance to minority-owned businesses including those started by veterans.