Throughout this Module, you have been studying key concepts, frameworks and practices of strategic management. The topics of the Module prepare you to respond to today’s challenging business environment and develop a critical understanding of the purpose, formation and implementation of strategy in maintaining or achieving competitive advantages.
In this assignment, you will apply to an organisation of your choice the material and concepts studied and learnt in the first five topics of the Module. Select a publicly traded company which is listed on a stock exchange either in your country or in another region. Acting as a consultant, you should briefly present the nature of the company, analyse its internal and external environment as well as its resources and capabilities. Finally, you have to provide recommendations about the future strategic posture of the company and how it can ameliorate its performance and develop a competitive advantage in the industry(ies) that operates.
Your submission will be comprised of three sections:
Section 1: Presentation of the chosen organisation (800 words)
Briefly present the organisation you selected (short history of the company and its origins,
organizational size etc), its products and services and industry and market that operates.
Present and critically discuss the mission, vision, strategic aim and objectives of the organization.
(Comment if the company has been consistent towards its purpose and mission/vision over the years.
Does the strategic decisions align with the mission and the vision of the company?).
Analyse the major stakeholders that are essential to strategy formulation and implementation.
Discuss the ethical posture of the company (e.g. Corporate Social Responsibility).
Section 2: Company’s environmental analysis: internal and external issues (1,100 words)
Utilise the PESTEL (political, economic, sociocultural, technological, environmental, and legal)
framework for evaluating the macro-environment in which the firm operates.
Apply the Porter’s Five Forces framework for assessing the structure of the industry that the company
Evaluate the resources and capabilities of the company, using the VRINE model (value, rarity,
inimitability, non-substitutability and exploitability)
Summarize how well the company is performing the last 3 years
Section 3: Evaluation and recommendation (1,100 words)
Which future business level strategy do you consider as more appropriate for the organization so as
to achieve an advantageous position relative to its competitors?
and discuss how the company can gain competitive advantage and achieve superior performance
Previous experience suggests several important differences between excellent and mediocre written case analyses.
Excellent written analyses “tell a story” about a firm’s strategies. Excellent analyses justify each major point with reference to critical facts in the case. Ideas and concepts from lectures and the readings are incorporated into the discussion as appropriate and in a seamless way. The application of these ideas and concepts often leads to surprising, counter-intuitive analyses and recommendations. At the end of these excellent written analyses, the reader is absolutely convinced of the wisdom of any final recommendations.
Mediocre written analyses have few of these attributes. Instead of “telling a story” about a firm’s corporate strategies, these analyses simply repeat the facts and assertions contained in the case. Critical facts in the case are ignored or not integrated into the paper. For example, these mediocre written analyses will often include a summary and cursory analysis of a firm’s profit and loss statement and its balance sheet but will fail to discuss the strategic implications of these analyses. The authors of these reports often seem more interested in making sure that every theory or model mentioned by in the book is mentioned in the report rather than making sure that the report tells an integrated story about a firm’s strategy. Often, the different parts of these mediocre analyses are not linked—almost as if different people wrote different sections, but no one took the time to bring these sections together, to discuss the implications of each section for other sections. These written analyses rarely generate any counter-intuitive or surprising analyses or recommendations. At the end of reading these reports, the reader is only convinced that, in fact, members of the group read the case. The reader is not convinced about the wisdom of any final recommendations. Certainly, just answering the study questions associated with each case almost certainly dooms a written case analysis to mediocrity.
Points for consideration:
Does my case study have the following traits:
Relevant information presented in a comprehensive and unbiased fashion Explains adequately the application of the relevant frameworks Accurate information Appropriate sources/citations Well-written Appropriate structure and flow Selected appropriate scope for firm issues Present competitive data, company history and/or additional data and supporting documentation where needed Relevant data and issues clearly identified (or embedded in the case) for the reader to identify.
General hints about good practices and common problems to avoid in your paper:
• Focus - Strive to develop a small set of actions or tactics that will work together in a coherent manner. By contrast, do not throw all possible ideas into your paper. Creativity is good – and logical consistency for a viable set of actions is just as important.
• Pay attention to assumptions - You will have to make assumptions in any project. For instance, you will likely make assumptions involving: 1) competitive reactions (e.g., if and how competing firms will respond to actions you consider), 2) the outcome of various company actions (e.g., product development or clinical trial efforts), 3) patient/consumer responses (e.g., whether citing clinical data
is enough to convince end users that an intervention has medical value). Try to make these assumptions as reasonable as possible, and indicate why you think your assumptions are reasonable. Also, try to think through the possible implications for your recommendations if each assumption is wrong. Above all, make sure that you explicitly identify the assumptions you make. An important part of effective strategy is making sure you know what you don’t know.
• Specify your proposals in a concise, yet concrete manner - Put recommendations into concrete terms that managers and/or policy makers would understand and be able to act on. For instance, it is much more direct to specify that a product "should run patient testimonial advertisements in magazines targeted to medium- to high-income people over 50 years old” than it would be to simply state that the product "should engage in direct to consumer advertising."
• Balance analytics and creativity - The most rigorous analytical work does not necessarily lead to a great idea (ideas can be right without being exciting). In parallel, the most creative ideas do not necessarily hold up to analytical scrutiny (ideas can be exciting without being right). In the early phase of your work, try to cycle back and forth between brainstorming (for creative ideas) and careful analysis (for correct ideas). This is particularly important when you are trying to identify the concrete offering (e.g., product/service/intervention) that you will evaluate.
Use a combination of sources to back up your arguments. It is important that the sources you use are accurate, thorough and verifiable. Sources that you can use are the following:
scholarly, and/or peer-reviewed articles from the online library of the University; articles from the
Google Scholar and ssrn.com;
business magazine and newspaper articles;
reports from consulting companies, government agencies or institutions; interview and speech
transcripts and recordings;
An appendix contains material which is too detailed or technical to include in the body of the assignment. Appendices are put at the very end of the coursework. Each appendix should be clearly, neatly and numbered In your Appendix ensure that you have included the following information:
Diagrams or table to support your PESTEL, Five Forces and VRINE analysis Structure of the organization and organizational chart Members of the Management Team and Board of Directors
Oganisational Performance summary of the last 3 years. Include both key financial metrics
(e.g. Profit/loss, ROA) and operational measures (e.g. innovation, quality of services)
Investment/Funding Information Product or service illustrations or product packaging samples
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