The Final Assessment is a 4500 words paper divided into two parts. The aim of the Final Assessment is for you to demonstrate understanding of key concepts in strategic management and capacity to craft a professional document. Part One (approx 3000 words)
1. Chosen a concept/model in strategic management is Mergers and Acquisitions
2. Critically examine the concept: define the concept; identify when it was first discussed and what the arguments were for its creation; discuss how the concept then evolved by identifying the arguments for and against it over time and by noting any adaptations.
3. Explain how the concept fits today with other concepts of strategic management, and discuss how/if the concept is relevant or not to today’s business challenges. Part One must demonstrate research and develop a deep understanding of a concept by identifying, examining and challenging different views of it. A minimum of 10 academic sources: academic books and/or articles from academic journals that are peer-reviewed. This excludes textbooks, articles from business magazines and ‘popular’ books you may find in airport bookstores. All sources should be correctly referenced using the Harvard system, as for any professional academic document. Part Two (approx 1500 words)
4. Present a real life case study of the concept from Part One ‘in action’. Us organisation of your choice Part Two should be like a mini-case study, presenting the situation of the organisation, the issues faced, and how the concept was or is being used to solve the issues and raise the general performance of the organisation. In Part Two, must show integration of theory and practice. Do this by giving examples of the theory in action, and by evaluating the approach taken and how effective it was in delivering the desired results. By reflecting on events, challenge the theory itself
– From the events describe, is the theory valid? How can it be improved? Assessment will be graded using grading criteria of: Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning; Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context; Use of literature; Organisation of Material. Scripts that are excessively long (i.e. exceeding the 4500 word limit of the main report by more than 10%) will not be read beyond the point of the word limit; there is no minimum word limit.
The Interim Assignment is a test run for Part Two of the Final Assessment. Here are the main questions the reader will be considering when they read your Part Two:
Have you introduced the organisation to the reader? Using as few words as possible, you need to quickly and efficiently give enough information about the organisation so the reader can understand the context in which you discuss the strategic management concept. Without a clear context, it is difficult for the reader to understand your arguments.
Can your observations be trusted? When you describe and discuss (you must both describe and discuss) the strategic management concept in your organisation, why should the reader believe what you say? What supporting evidence can you provide? Have you discussed your observations with other people – what do they see?
Do you understand the limitations of the data that is available to you for analysis? When you apply your chosen concept you will not, as a student, have all the data you need to make the analysis 100% complete. Actually, in real life many strategic decisions get made on incomplete data, so a good manager must recognise the limitations of their analysis caused by the limitations of the data available. Therefore, you must identify what further data is needed to confirm your conclusions.
Do you understand the limitations of using a single concept/tool/model? A good strategic manager will never use only one concept to analyse the situation in their organisation or to plan the future. For reasons of space, we ask you to focus on only one concept, but what other concepts are needed to complement the concept you focus on and to fill in the gaps?
Do you understand the limitations of the concept/tool/model? No concept is perfect. What have the various critics said about the concept? (Refer to the peer-reviewed academic articles you use in Part One of the Final Assessment.) When applying the concept, what are its weaknesses that you must be aware of and that will influence the nature of your conclusions?
In conclusion, what can be done to improve the concept/tool/model? From your experience of applying the concept and from experiencing its limitations, what do you think could be done to improve it?
The overall structure should be as follows:
1. Cover Page (1 page)
2. Table of Contents/List of Exhibits (1 page)
3. Executive Summary
4. Main Report (within the 4,500 word limit as above)
5. Exhibits (if any) 6. List of references