Business strategy report Reports must be submitted electronically via the MySCU assignment drop box by the due date. A hard copy may also be required if your local lecturer elects to mark via hard copy. Length: 3500 words maximum (excluding executive summary, reference list and any appendices). A penalty of 5% of available marks will be applied for every 100 words over this limit. A key concern of strategic management is making prudent and effective use of an organisation’s resources and capabilities to achieve the organisation’s goals in light of prevailing external conditions. Thus, for this assessment you are required to choose one of two prescribed case study organisations and conduct an analysis of that organisation’s internal and external environments, then make recommendations as to how the organisation might maintain or improve its competitive advantage. Requirements Students must base their report around one of two real-world tourism, hospitality, or event organisations prescribed by the unit assessor. The unit assessor will advise you early on in the session as to which organisations you may base your report around. Students must work in pairs. On-campus students will arrange themselves into pairs, whilst distance education students will be placed into pairs by their lecturer. This assessment must be presented in academic report format, the details of which are specified in the following sub-section. You must cite a minimum of five (5) academic references in compiling this report. You must also cite a minimum of six (6) pieces of ‘applied literature’ (e.g. company websites, newspaper and/or industry/trade journal articles) throughout specified sections of the report. Details of this requirement are spelt out in the following sub-section. Specific instructions This assessment is designed as an experiential learning exercise by having you apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations in a critical manner. You should adopt the mindset of a business strategist for the organisation you have elected to base your report on. Your business strategy report must be presented using academic report format. It should conform to the following format, and should also include a professionally laid-out table of contents prior to the executive summary: Executive summary An executive summary of a report is just that, a summary (and is not included in your total word count for this assessment). It contains a statement of report purpose and an overview of the actual and specific findings. For this assessment, it should be no longer than one page. The summary can only be written after you have completed your report. Write in ‘past’ tense (e.g. The purpose of this report was to … ). If an executive summary is well written the reader should be able to understand the main points, findings, and conclusions of the actual report without having to read the full report. Section One – Introduction (~100 words) This is a brief statement of the purpose of the report, what its objectives are, and an overview of how the report is structured. Section Two – Analysis of the internal environment (~1000 words) In this section you are required to critically analyse the organisation’s internal environment. You should critically evaluate the organisation’s resources, capabilities, strategic capabilities (a.k.a. distinctive competencies), and how these contribute to that organisation’s competitive advantage. In compiling this section you must: critically analyse the organisation’s internal environment. Here you must: a) critically discuss the organisation’s key resources, capabilities, and how those resources and capabilities combine to form distinctive competencies. You should also briefly discuss what you believe is the organisation’s key competitive advantage, and comment on its durability. b) incorporate at least two (2) ‘applied literature’ references into your analysis to demonstrate wider reading on the organisation you are analysing. It is strongly suggested that you make use of sub-headings in this section, and address each concept (i.e. resources, capabilities, distinctive competencies, competitive advantage) in isolation. Remember that the marker is looking for you to demonstrate an understanding of each concept. Section Three – Analysis of the external environments (~1300 words) Here you are required to analyse the organisation’s external environments. There are two components to this section: an analysis of the macro-environment, and an analysis of the industry environment. 3.1 Analysis of the macro-environment In compiling your analysis of the organisation’s macro-environment you must: a) discuss two (2) contemporary macro-environmental trends pertinent to the organisation you are analysing b) incorporate at least two (2) ‘applied literature’ references into your macro-environmental analysis to demonstrate wider reading on such issues. 3.2 Analysis of the industry environment In compiling your discussion on the organisation’s industry environment you must: a) analyse the organisation’s industry environment using Michael Porter’s Five Forces of industry competitiveness model (refer to Topic 3) to frame your analysis b) address all five elements of Porter’s Five Forces model c) incorporate at least two (2) ‘applied literature’ references into your industry environment analysis to demonstrate wider reading on such issues. Again, it is suggested that you use sub-headings to distinguish your discussion of each force. Section Four – Recommended strategic direction (~1000 words) The purpose of this section is for you to make recommendations regarding the strategic direction of the organisation. That is, are the organisation’s current strategies prudent? And, should the organisation change its strategies? You must make recommendations for both business-level strategy and corporate-level strategy in this section: a) Make recommendations regarding business-level strategy by discussing the organisation’s generic strategy (i.e. cost leadership, differentiation, focus, or combination of the strategies). You should discuss why the organisation should retain or change its current generic strategy in order to maintain or improve its competitive advantage. b) Make recommendations regarding corporate-level strategy by discussing whether the organisation could create additional value through any of the corporate-level strategies covered in Topic 6. In this section you must draw upon the analyses you have compiled in Sections Two and Three. That is, there should be a logical link between your discussions in Sections Two and Three and the recommendations you make in Section Four. Failure to make this logical link will result in only minimal marks being awarded for this section. Adopting a critical demeanour here is essential. You should critically discuss why different strategic approaches may or may not work. For example, if you recommend that the organisation changes to a ‘focused differentiation’ strategy, then you should discuss the benefits and pitfalls of a focused differentiation strategy, and also discuss how a focused differentiation strategy will enable the organisation to maintain or increase its competitive advantage. It is important that you use applied (i.e. newspaper, trade journal articles etc.) and/or academic literature to support your recommendations in this section. Failure to adequately support your argument with pertinent literature will result in only minimal marks being awarded for this section. Section Five – Conclusion (~100 words) Within this section restate the purpose of the report, then provide an overview of main points covered in your analysis. Ensure that you do not include any new information, only that which has been discussed within the main body of the report. Reference list All works cited must be included in your reference list. Citations must conform to the referencing style adopted by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, a link to which will be available on the unit's MySCU site. Appendices This is an optional section in which you are able to place relevant material which would have otherwise disrupted the logical flow of your report e.g. business data reports. Material included in this section will not count towards the overall word count for this assessment. Be conservative with the volume of information you include in your appendix. Inserting vast volumes of material here will not necessarily earn you extra marks. General instructions and information Being a third-year unit, demonstrating an ability to critically analyse the material you read and present is an important marking criterion for this assessment. Merely re-stating information will generally result in a low mark. Under no circumstances are you to approach any organisations to obtain information. Your analysis must be based entirely on secondary information from sources such as academic or applied literature and other web-based sources. You will find the Factiva database, hosted through the SCU Library website a useful tool for sourcing relevant newspaper/trade journal articles. Consult with SCU Library staff if you are not familiar with this database. Your executive summary, reference list and any appendices do not count towards the word count for this assessment. Refer to the SCU Academic Skills Development website for resources and more information on how to undertake critical analysis. The website can be accessed at http://www.scu.edu.au/teachinglearning/download.php?doc_id=12759&site_id=301&file_ext=.pdf Please note that due to the complexity of this assignment, return of marks and feedback may be subject to a slightly longer timeframe than is normal. Your lecturer will provide updates if this is the case. Turnitin and submitting your business strategy report All business strategy reports must be submitted electronically via the specified Turnitin dropbox in MySCU. Your report must be submitted by the due date and time, or a late penalty will apply. Further, it is now mandatory that all written assignments in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management be submitted to Turnitin prior to formal submission for the purposes of plagiarism checking. The procedures used in this unit are as follows: Information on Turnitin can be found at http://study.scu.edu.au/turnitin/index.php/2/ There will be a Turnitin dropbox set up in MySCU. Some time before the actual due date/time, submit your paper to the Turnitin drop box. This will then generate an originality report by checking to see whether any passages in your paper match up with other written sources on the Internet or other papers stored on the Turnitin repository. Turnitin has been set up to ignore passages within inverted commas (quote marks), so correctly cited direct quotes will not be flagged. If Turnitin identifies any text that matches other sources, you will need to make revisions to your paper either by further paraphrasing the material, or correctly placing direct quotes within inverted commas. Once you have made revisions to your paper you must again submit your paper to Turnitin to ensure that a satisfactory originality report is generated. Your lecturer may check this final originality report when marking your assessment. There is no limit on the number of times you may submit your paper to Turnitin up until the due date/time. Please be aware that your initial Turnitin submission will generate an originality report instantaneously. However, any subsequent submissions can take up to 24 hours for an originality report to be generated. For this reason, it is recommended that you undertake your plagiarism check well before the due date. Assignments will not be marked in the absence of a final originality report, and this will not be accepted as an excuse for late submission of an assignment. Distribution of marks Section Two Analysis of the internal environment: 12 Section Three Analysis of macro-environment: 9 Analysis of industry environment: 14 Section Four Recommended strategic direction: 15 Referencing In-text referencing: 1 Reference list: 2 Other Table of contents, executive summary, introduction, conclusion: 2 Total marks: 55 General marking criteria The marking criteria for this assessment can be categorised as general – which apply to the report as a whole; and specific – which apply to specific sections of the report. Below is the general marking criteria that will be used to mark your report: Demonstrated ability to critically analyse sources You are expected to ask critical questions of the material you read. Only minimal marks will be awarded in cases where you have merely re-stated what the authors have already said. Can you identify any potential flaws in the concepts? Is there a difference in opinion between scholars on a particular theory relating to strategic management? Who do you think is right, and why? These are potential areas of critical analysis you could focus on. Evidence of original thought and creativity You must show that you have developed an ability to think about how the theories and concepts covered might be applied in the real world. Quality of presentation structure; overall content; quality of bibliographic details; written expression You should present your work in a logical, easy to read format. It should also conform to the structure outlined previously. Students will be marked down for poor written expression, bad grammar, and spelling errors. Being a third-year student, the expectation is that you have the ability to hone your writing skills, and should thus present well-written and presented work. Correct referencing, both in-text and reference list, is essential. You should ensure that your referencing conforms to the referencing style adopted by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, a link to which will be available on the unit's MySCU site. Specific marking criteria Below is the marking criteria specific to each section that will be used to mark your report: Table of contents Professionally laid-out table of contents. Executive Summary Quality of executive summary, i.e. details the objectives of the report and summarises the key findings and recommended strategic direction. Section One: Introduction Quality of introduction, i.e. sets out the objectives of the report, gives a brief overview of the organisation, and gives an overview of how the report is structured. Section Two: Internal environment Quality of your critical discussion regarding the organisation’s internal environment (resources, capabilities & distinctive competencies) and competitive advantage. Understanding of relevant theoretical concepts. Use of at least two (2) ‘applied literature’ references in the analysis. Section Three: External environments Quality of your critical discussion of two (2) pertinent macro-environmental trends. Use of at least two (2) newspaper and/or industry/trade journal article references in the macro-environmental analysis. Quality of your critical discussion relating to all five (5) elements of Porter’s Five Forces of industry competitiveness model. Use of at least two (2) ‘applied literature’ references in the industry analysis. Section Four: Recommended strategic direction Quality of synthesis in drawing together your analyses of the organisation’s internal and external environments and subsequent recommendations for the organisation’s strategic direction to maintain or improve competitive advantage. Quality of business-level strategy recommendations. Quality of corporate-level strategy recommendations. Effectiveness of your use of applied and/or academic literature in critically evaluating why the recommended strategies are a prudent course of action. Section Five: Conclusion Quality of conclusion, i.e. closes the report and reiterates the key findings in light of the report’s objectives. No new information included. Reference list Correctly laid out reference list with all citations formatted according to the referencing style adopted by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.