MN2177: What is a Firm? Give three Reasons for the rise of Firms in the short Twentieth Century: Core Management Concepts Assignment, SIM, Singapore

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University Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)
Subject MN2177: Core Management Concepts

SECTION A

Answer FIVE of the following questions. Each answer should be 200 words or fewer. All questions in this section carry equal marks. When asked to give examples, you should avoid those examples which are used in the core course materials.

a. What is a firm? Give three reasons for the rise of firms in the short twentieth century.

b. What is knowledge management? Give two examples of tacit knowledge.

c. State two ways in which absorption costing differs from activity-based costing.

d. What is a bias? List two specific biases with one example of each in a business context.

e. Identify two variables that queuing models generally take account of, giving an example of each.

f. What is an asset class? Give two examples of securities.

g. What does competitive advantage mean? Provide two examples.

h. What is marketing? How does it differ from promotion?

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SECTION B

Read the case and answer ALL of the following questions. Your answers for all parts of Section B COMBINED should NOT exceed 800 words.

Alex Tan, an engineering graduate from MIT, is Managing Director of Hwa Tiong Engineering, a medium-sized, privately owned family business specializing in the design and manufacturing of precision engineering products. Its customers are major industrial customers in the government-created aerospace, automotive and chemical industries. Hwa Tiong prides itself on the long-term relationships it has built with its customers. This is due to Hwa Tiong’s reputation for engineering excellence, which has gained local and international awards for product and process innovation and quality performance. In addition, it has significant patents for innovative products it has designed.

This is reflected in the recruiting of skilled engineers, both global and local, and investing in research and development which is partly financed by the Economic Development Board. The diversity in skills has contributed to the development of knowledge and hence innovation. Alex epitomizes the ‘can do’ philosophy, always taking on complex engineering challenges. Haw Tiong Engineering wishes to move its present premises closer to where its customers are located, near to the industrial hub at Tuas. The firm performance is measured using traditional financial measures. Alex would like to improve the firm’s performance, as a business is likely to grow after relocation to its new premises, using Balanced Score Card measurements. After attending the MBA program at one of the private universities Alex has come to realize the benefits of the Resource-Based View in achieving sustainable competitive advantage.

a. How can the Resource-Based View be used to explain the performance of Hwa Tiong Engineering?

b. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a Balanced Score Card to better assess the overall performance of Hwa Tiong Engineering?

c. Explain which of Mintzberg’s five organization stereotypes is relevant to Hwa Tiong Engineering and how does it relate to performance?

SECTION C
Answer TWO of the following essay questions. All questions in this section carry equal marks. Each of your answers should not exceed 600 words.

1. Evaluate the role of heuristics in business decision-making, using appropriate examples.

2. ‘Once a good leader, always a good leader.’ Discuss this statement, using at least two competing theories to provide balance to your answer.

3. Explain some of the ways in which a firm’s structure can act as a barrier to it achieving what it would like to. Provide possible ways to overcome these barriers, using examples to illustrate your answer.

4. How can the balance sheet be used for managerial decision-making? Provide examples to illustrate your answer.

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