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 Assignment Brief

As part of the formal assessment for the Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership programme you are required to submit an assignment for each module. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

After completing the module you should be able to:

LO1 - Understand the external environment affecting an organisation
LO2 - Be able to review existing business plans and strategies of an organisation
LO3 - Be able to develop options for strategic planning for an organisation
LO4 - Be able to construct a strategy plan for an organisation
LO5 - Be able to examine factors affecting an organisational strategy plan
LO6 - Be able to plan for the implementation of a strategy plan
Assignment Task

In March 2016, many of the financial markets were struggling as economies slowed down, oil prices continued to drop along with the price of corn and gold leading to reduced growth forecasts by many governments along with measures intended to boost economies.

You are the Managing Director of a small organisation or a start-up company (less than 25 employees) of your choice located where you currently reside.  You are naturally concerned about the future of your organisation and have decided to undertake a strategic planning exercise to help you focus on the organisations future.  The finished report may be used to secure additional funding from bank and/or new institutional investors (if required) and so should be written as a formal report.  You need to introduce the organisation advising what it currently does, where it is located and other appropriate background information before considering the:

Task 1     General environmental analysis and existing business plans

Using appropriate tools analyse the environment and identify the key factors which are currently affecting your organisation.  Explain the importance of analysing the external and internal environment when determining strategy.  
(Assessment Criteria 1.1, 1.3)

Identify the key stakeholders and analyse their needs and expectations of the organisation
(Assessment Criterion 1.2)

Using an appropriate model, evaluate the organisations current product range and considering its reputation for quality and price, its overall position within its current market.
(Assessment Criteria 2.1,2.2)

Identify the organisation’s current strategy.  With reference to your environmental analysis, evaluate the competitive strengths and weaknesses of its current business strategy.
(Assessment Criterion 2.3)

Task 2     Determine strategic options

Using appropriate tools develop strategic options for the organisation and based upon your general environmental analysis, propose recommendations for a future strategy. This should consider
Generic competitive strategies which the organisation can adopt 
(Assessment Criteria 3.1, 3.2)
Service / product expansion options 
Before presenting a brief strategic plan which considers 
the impact of the recommendation on stakeholders identified in task 1 and how their participation can be secured 
(Assessment Criterion 4.1)
implementation ie strategic growth / retrenchment options
(Assessment Criterion 4.2)
likely resource implications for strategy implementation 
(Assessment Criterion 4.3)

Task 3     Implement and Evaluate a Strategy

Discuss how and why the strategy implementation needs to be planned and develop a schedule showing likely key tasks to achieve this.  
(Assessment Criteria 6.1, 6.2)

You need to prepare an explanation of the strengths of your plan to any potential future lenders / funders and so it should
Determine what organisational values the proposed strategy will depend upon and how these align with the current organisational values
(Assessment Criterion 5.1)
Include an appropriate vision and mission statement for the organisation 
(Assessment Criterion 5.2)
Detail appropriate objectives for the coming year which will assist the organisation in achieving your proposed strategy  
(Assessment Criterion 5.3)
explain how the organisation can measure and evaluate the progress and success of the strategic plan that you have proposed once it has been implemented 
(Assessment Criteria 5.4, 6.3)
Formative Feedback Opportunity
Students will be given the opportunity to receive formative feedback during the 'assignment workshop' sessions for this module.

Student Guidelines

1. You should write this assignment as an informal report

2. You must ensure that the submitted assignment is all your own work and that all sources used are correctly attributed. Penalties apply to assignments which show evidence of academic unfair practice. (See the Student Handbook which is in the Induction Area).  Please also refer to the ‘Guide to Unfair Practice in Assessment’ on the module page on SunSpace.

3. You MUST underpin your analysis and evaluation of the key issues with appropriate and wide ranging academic research and ensure this is referenced using the Bournemouth University (BU) Harvard system. The ‘My Study Skills’ area contains the following useful resources; Study Skills Guide (containing a BU Harvard Referencing section) and a BU Harvard Referencing Interactive Tutorial. You must use the BU Harvard Referencing method in your assignment.

4. You should use diagrams and tables of figures where appropriate ensuring to reference their source using the BU Harvard Referencing method. 

5. You are required to write your assignment within 3,500 words in order for your research and summarising skills to be developed, and for effective time management. You are required to ensure that the assignment addresses all of the assessment tasks. In the interests of good academic practice, an assignment submitted with excessive word counts (i.e. more than 10% in excess of the limit) will be returned to you. You will be given a maximum of 48 hours to edit the work to reduce the word count to the permitted maximum. In the event that the submission is still regarded as excessively long then, in line with advice received from Pearson, we will be unable to accept it for marking and you will receive a Refer grade for Non-Submission.

The word count excludes the title page, reference list and appendices.  Where assessment questions have been reprinted from the assessment brief these will also be excluded from the word count.  ALL other printed words ARE included in the word count.   Printed words include those contained within charts and tables.

6. Your assignment should be submitted as a single document. For more information please see the “Guide to Submitting an Assignment” document available on the module page on SunSpace. 
Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria
In order to pass this unit, the evidence that the learner presents for assessment needs to demonstrate that they can meet all the learning outcomes for the unit. The assessment criteria determine the standard required to achieve the unit.

On completion of this unit a learner should:
Assessment Criteria to Pass
To achieve a pass you must meet all of the assessment criteria as stated below. Failure to cover all of the assessment criteria will result in a referral grade and you will be required to re-submit your assignment.
Further guidance on completion of your assignment can be found in the group learning space by your module tutor. For additional support please post questions onto the group learning space, or email David.Mui@sunderland.edu.hkLearning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria metCriteria Met
For tutor use
(you may wish to use this in your preparation for your assignment submission)   
Understand the external environment affecting an organisation
1.1 Explain the importance of external factors affecting an organisation
Analyse the needs and expectations of stakeholders of an organisation
Analyse the major changes taking place in the external environment that will affect strategy
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