Rationale and Methodology
The biblical account of the battle between David and Goliath is a story which offers inexhaustible life-lessons. For instance, when seen within the context of problem solving, one can put on the shoes David and say, “Goliath is so big, I don’t stand a chance”, or “Goliath is so big, I can’t miss. ” Suffice it to say that these perspectives sufficiently determine whether one ends up as triumphant or looser in life.
This paper presents an analysis of the rigors involved in ensuring the continued presence and progressive expansion of BAE Systems in Kava, an island in the South Pacific which, by right of analogy, is one humungous Goliath both literally and figuratively. As such, this paper is not so much concerned with providing concrete alternatives as prospective solutions in view of the aforesaid goal, as this is more an attempt to firstly identify the issues and problems that the company presently faces. It is also to be expected that the norms governing critical thinking shall be employed herein in as many instances as possible.
Circumscribing Goliath: Challenges and Opportunities in Kava Alex’s candid but straightforward assessment of the conditions in Kava clearly states the need for a lot of brainstorming. As in the case for most strategic planning, one sits on a problem with thoughtful consideration to determine all contributing causes in order to address them with correct solutions. Simply put, to solve a problem means to first identify it, give it a name, determine its enormity, measure its impact, and even anticipate its damage. In fact, the rules governing scientific investigation (and even correct logic for that matter) also suggest the same thing.
Solving problems, it maintains, “begins when (one) is confronted with something that appears to need explanation” (Copi and Cohen, p. 552). Unless one is willing to take time in studying the intricate details of the problem, one is most likely to ‘miss’ the target in the process. Besides, most psychologists have noted that “most people’s spontaneous and intuitive approaches to problems” end up “frequently wrong” (Halpern, 1996, p. 6). Taking time to map subsequent courses of action truly starts with going into the problem with much thought and consideration.
After all, having a “well defined” or “ill-defined” problem determines the success rate of anyone who tries to get into the bottom of a given crisis (Halpern, 1996, p. 317) The first task in slaying the Kava-Goliath therefore lies in this: circumscribe it. On the one hand, one can look at Kava with eyes fixed on the challenges it poses; i. e. , one needs to isolate the problems (Sofranac, 2006). First, the problem of geography. Kava is an island; and most likely, its being separated from mainland economies can mean that transporting goods to and from the place will be more costly than doing business in an easily accessible land.
Not only would it mean higher budgetary allocation for transport of BAE Systems goods, it can also spell delays and – in times of typhoons, tornadoes or volcanic eruption – suspension of business all together. Second, the problem of demography and its influence on Kava’s economy. It was said that nearly 50% of the island’s population are 15 years and below. If one were to translate it in economic transcripts, it would be safe to assume that only 40% of the population, or less, are working to fuel the economy. A portion, say 5-10% of the population must be regarded as incapacitated and/or elderly.
Thus, the younger composition of Kava’s demography means that its economy more consumptive than productive. This does not yet consider the state of health of the working populace. In an island – contained as it were – where HIV or Avian flu is reported, the rate of business expansion is most likely to be affected by the workforce either suffering from, or fearing the spread of the diseases thereof. Third, on the viability of return investment for BAE. There is a need to consider the nature of the business the BAE Systems is engaged with, in relation to the needs of the island.
These factors properly determine the health of the supply and demand market which BAE needs to handle. It must be noted well that BAE supplies products which are not so much accessible to, or are needed by general public consumers. BAE Systems deliver products which include, but not limited to communication and identification devices, “navigation and warfare solutions”, warfare systems, fighters and missiles, “countermeasure for both military and commercial aircraft”, among others (Wikipedia). On the other hand, one may also need to look at Kava with eyes fixed on opportunities; i. e. , one needs to also explore alternatives (Sofronac, 2006).
While Kava may be an island full of challenging conditions for the company, it is not an utterly hopeless place to conduct business with. One should also consider that its economy is driven by production of Petroleum, a lucrative and profit generating business to say the least. Surely, this type of business needs to protect itself from threats of terrorism, which the country is not unfamiliar with. Second, one should consider too the cheap but quality cost of labor throughout the island.
It is something that the company can capitalize from, in order to create an excellent workforce for the company. One may also explore the cheaper operation costs for the company as the island seems to produce an array of crop-produces for its own consumption. Preliminary Recommendation: First things first To be sure, the process of formulating problems does not end up with the identification of forces involved only. There is a need to further classify them. At the very least, one needs to see which problems are urgent – and therefore needs immediate attention – as against which ones need long term attention due to complexity.
The continued presence of BAE in Kava demands that it first focus on squaring with the urgent problems at hand: the high cost of having to weather geographical and environmental difficulties, the equally costly transport of goods and services (because it is an island), the need to establish cheap but competent workforce, and the tall prospect of having the business survive the supply-demand market. Since in most decision making process, one would find being confronted with a multitude of goals given a limited number of resources (Betsch and Haberstroh, 2004, p.
1), ensuring that these aforementioned priorities are first met will be fundamental l to the achievement of such goal BAE sets. Critical thinking dictates that in a decision making process, “maximizing payoffs and minimizing risks” is a rule of prime importance (Betsch and Haberstroh, 2004, p. 1). While there are other smaller, but legitimate concerns to address – such as logistics, difference in time frame, re-supply issues, among others – contemplating seriously on solving the most fundamental concerns pertinent to doing business is an essential ingredient to savoring success.
References Betsch, T. and Haberstroh, S, eds. (2004). The Routines of Decision Making. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Copi, I. and Cohen, C. Introduction to Logic (Tenth Edition). Prentice Hall International Editions. Halpern, D. (1996). Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Sofronac, R. (2006). Preparing Business Scenario Analyses. University of Phoenix: Unpublished Reprinted with permission. www. wikipedia. com. Retrieved 09 June 2008.