To what extent has Harley-Davidson’s strategy (o

To what extent has Harley-Davidson’s strategy (or combination of strategies) changed over the years, or been constant?

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Strategic Choices at Harley-Davidson Motor Company


Case Assignment

Strategic Choices at Harley-Davidson Motor Company

To complete Module 5 Case Assignment, please read the information in the background material, look for more information and review some of your previous readings for this class, and then write a 4- to 5-page report for your professor and the executives of HD corporation by answering the following questions:

What strategy (or combination of strategies) did Harley-Davidson use to become such a successful organization?

To what extent has Harley-Davidson’s strategy (or combination of strategies) changed over the years, or been constant?

How does Harley-Davidson’s strategy (or combination of strategies) "fit" with the environment of the motorcycle industry?

How does Harley-Davidson’s strategy (or combination of strategies) “fit” with the internal resources and competencies of the firm?

Based on your analysis and findings, what would you recommend to the executives of Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Corporation?

Note: Please note that your report/assignment will not be accepted without proper citations and references. You must use the sources from the background material together with the sources you find your own.

Assignment Expectations

This paper should include:

An introduction stating the thesis, position, or central theme you plan to take in your paper, a main body discussing focusing on the key assignment specifications, and a conclusion concisely stating the main points of your analysis and the conclusions you reached.

Be sure to document your sources and provide in-text citations whenever you use information you obtained from a background reading or other outside source, as well as a separate reference list at the end of the paper. You may use footnotes instead, if you prefer, but you must document where you got the information you are using in your papers!

The following criteria will also be used to assess your paper:

Precision: Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?

Breadth: Is the full breadth of the subject (i.e., all the keys to the assignment) addressed?

Depth: Does the paper/report address all elements of the topic in sufficient depth? Does it include and apply the background readings and other background resources? Are they included as references?

Critical thinking: Are the concepts of this module applied accurately, logically, and relevantly?

Organization: Is the paper organized in a coherent and systematic manner? Are headings included in all papers longer than 2 pages?

Clarity: Is the writing clear and are the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of response to the questions, or are thoughts conveyed through excessive use of quotations?

Module 5 - Background


Required/Case Assignment/SLP Readings

Strategic Choices or Alternatives

Strategy formulation takes place at three different levels:

Corporate Level: Concerned with the selection and management of a portfolio of businesses in which your company should compete.

Business Level: Concerned with developing and sustaining a competitive advantage for the products/services the business produces.

Functional Level: Concerned with the development and coordination of resources at the operating level.

Making the right choice strategically at each level of the company is what divides the successful company from the ones who are now in the pages of history. In this course, however, we have been focusing mainly on the business level of strategy and we will continue this focus in this module.

In formulating a strategy, which will then influence the day to day choices made by the firm in pursuit of its mission, the organization must:

Take into account their resources and capabilities

Accommodate the restrictions and opportunities imposed by the environment

Integrate knowledge of strategy and organizational architecture

Although companies seem to follow an endless variety of different strategies, in truth, there are only a handful of generic strategies - though the choices of how to implement them may indeed be endless. To learn about the role of the basic four types of strategy in building a competitive advantage read: (2011). Competitive advantage. Retrieved, from:

The key to organizational viability and growth—is to stake out a position that is:

Less vulnerable to attack from competitors, both established and new, and

Less vulnerable to erosion from the direction of customers, suppliers, and substitute products/services.

Required Reading

Review the materials from H-D`s investor Web page.

Harley-Davidson. (2012). Quick Links (Investor relations page). Retrieved from:

Also review materials you have covered in previous modules that will provide you with insights for completing the assignments.

The following readings demonstrate the relationship between Porter`s generic strategies and the threats from competitors. customers, suppliers, and substitute products. (2010). Porter`s Generic Strategies. Quick MBA. Retrieved August 2011 from (2011). Competitive advantage. Retrieved, from:

Also take review the following document that outlines Harley`s alliance with Lehman Trikes:

Looney, D. C., & Ryerson, A. (2011). LEHMAN TRIKES: A STORY WITHIN A STORY. Journal Of The International Academy For Case Studies, 17(7), 45-58. (Available via the Library by way of the EBSCO database).

Strategic Management: Strategic Choices and ImplementationStudent:Professor:Course title:Date:Strategic Management: Strategic Choices and ImplementationThis report describes in detail the strategy that Harley-Davidson used to become such a successful company that it is today. The extent to which H-D’s strategy changed over the years is explained comprehensively, or whether the strategy has been constant. An explanation of how Harley-Davidson’s strategy fits with the environment of the motorcycle industry is also provided, along with how the strategy fits with its internal resources and competencies. Lastly, basing on the analysis and findings, recommendations are offered to H-D’s executives.Strategy used by Harley-Davidson: Differentiation To become successful over the years, Harley-Davidson has applied differentiation strategy which has remained constant over the years; a strategy which is basically concerned with how an organization distinguishes its products and services from those offered by its competitors. Differentiation is of one the 3 generic strategies formulated by Michael Porter, the others being Focus strategy and Cost leadership strategy (Porter, 1998). It is notable that these strategies are utilized at a company’s business unit level. Riley (2011) stated that a differentiation strategy necessitates the development of a service or product which offers exclusive, distinctive traits which are valued by clients and which clients consider as better compared to or different from the competitors’ products. The value which is added by the inimitability of the product might allow the company to charge a premium price for it. In particular, H-D has used Focus-Differentiation strategy over the decades by appealing to what differentiates dissimilar customer groups. Ove...
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