A strong submission for this assignment would be expected to cover the following issues, however, whether the submission is good or not will depend on the level of evidencing and justification of the arguments made.
a) Identify a key strategic issue
• Introduction to the organisation and some reflections on its strategic position/strategic group
• Analysis of the external environment of the organisation (using PESTEL-type drivers and 5-forces models as appropriate)
o A very good piece of work will build a 5-forces analysis and discussed how these forces may be changing in nature due to the surrounding PESTEL-type forces. For example, identifying any mega-trends and inflection points in the macroenvironment and investigating how this impacts on the 5-forces model. Competitive positioning can also be considered in this section, if the author deems it appropriate.
• Identification of a key strategic issue facing the organisation and the environmental changes associated with it, justifying choice using the preceding analyses. In this should focus on why this issue is more important to the organisation than others highlighted.
• Authors will not have the space in word count to provide detailed descriptions/explanations of all PESTEL factors – DO NOT PROVIDE A FULL PESTEL ANALYSIS, this is below the analytical standards expected at this level of study and will not gain you the marks that you think it does – you also do not have the word count for this.
• Instead, authors should therefore focus on those issues which have the most impact of the organisation’s strategy and justify their focus. 5-forces analysis is far more strategic in nature, and will be awarded more marks is conducted well.
• Questions the authors may wish to think about include:
o What are the key changes/potential changes in the organisation’s environment?
o Where are these environmental changes initiated?
▪ What is causing them?
▪ Who is driving them? (Government, technology advances, consumer taste, etc.)
▪ Are the changes in the environment likely to be permanent, or is the industry in a state of flux?
• Which of these changes is most critical to the core activities of the organisations in the market?
• Why does this change warrant greater attention from the organisation, over other issues found in the analysis?
• By the end of this first stage of the work, it should be clear to the reader which key strategic issue has been identified as the focus for the remainder of the study. Focus on only one key strategic issue. You will not be graded on whether this issue is ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’, this would be impossible. But you will be graded on how you justify the importance of the issue you highlight.
b) Evaluate your organisation’s ability to sustain advantage • Implications for organisational strategy/strategic capabilities of your identified strategic
issue of section a).
• This will include an examination of models and theories of strategic capabilities potentially impacted by the strategic issue and an evaluation of how this informs strategic positioning.
• For example, authors may wish to ask, but are not limited to, the following questions and models:
o Does the issue cause any changes to the stakeholder relationships of the
organisation? (Stakeholder analysis)
o Are there any changes in the competitive environment brought about by the emergence of the issue? (For example: does the make-up of strategic groups change? They may also look to the generic competitive strategies and relative positons on the Bowman’s strategy clock to assess whether their organisation’s current competitive strategy remains appropriate given the changes brought by the strategic issue of a)).
o How does the issue highlighted affect the value chain of the organisation? Which activities are most affected? Does the issue affect the organisation’s internal value chain alone, or does it have implications for the value system as a whole? (Value chain/system analysis)
o Which resources and capabilities are most important considering the nature of the key strategic issue identified? You could establish whether your organisation has any particular strengths or weaknesses in with these capabilities by running some VRIO analyses (resources and capabilities)
o Does the emergence of the strategic issue have any implications for organisational culture? Are there any cultural types which would be better suited to the strategic issue than others (including implications for organisational learning and strategic development)? (cultural analysis)
o Does the key strategic issue identified have any implications for the strategic direction of the organisation? How appropriate is your organisation’s current positioning in the face of the key strategic issue you have identified? What types of strategic changes are necessary?