Thursday, 26 January 2012

Strategic Issue vs Strategic Alternatives

Students often loose track of what the main issue is. Many people often read the case and right away write down each of the strategic alternatives as the strategic issues, which is not wrong in itself as each of the strategic alternatives is a strategic issue in a way but these are not the main issue that the company is facing. All of these strategic issues have something in common, and once you identify it, you will know what the main strategic issue is.

Examples of Strategic Alternatives:
  • Diversify into health food products
  • Expand into Europe
  • Offer a new brand
  • Introduce a new service
The main Strategic Issue may be to 'increase market share and profitability' and these strategic alternatives are the potential alternatives that are available for consideration in order to increase market share and profitability and hence address the main strategic issue.

You can look at it as the Strategic Issue representing the problem at hand, with the strategic alternatives representing the possible solutions.

In the 2012 CMA Case Exam, identify the Main Strategic Issue and then provide 4 Strategic Alternatives. It is important to list the Strategic Alternatives in priority order, starting with the most significant alternative.


  1. cma should really stop referring to them as strategic issues, that is probably why the confusion exists

  2. so are you suggesting that in the exam we state what the overall issue is and then proceed to list the alternatives?

  3. Exactly! so you can have a heading stating 'Strategic Issue' and then afterwards another heading stating 'Strategic Alternatives'. Then, in your recommendations make sure to state how your recommended strategic alternative address and resolves the strategic issue.

  4. Do we get ID marks for stating "Strategic Issue" ? or the marks are for stating alternatives?

  5. Identifying the overall strategic issue makes your report well structured and when you clearly identify in your recommendations how the overall strategic issue is resolved, it helps bring the report full circle and solidify your recommendations. It is important for your recommendations to be believable and reasonable.

  6. I watched the G.R Hotel video again and it was important to identify the major strategic issue/s that need/s to be addressed. She indicated to try and capture it in one sentence.

  7. Thanks for this tip. I will make sure to incorporate it in the Case Exam next week.


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