Instructions for assessment
This assignment is focused on the selected organisation, its industry and business environment. By week 2 you will be given a list of organisations (cases) to choose from. Please choose one case (featuring an organisation) for the purposes of this assignment.
Formative work in weekly seminars will guide students through analytical techniques and processes required to complete the task.
1) Carry out external analysis (business environment and industry) to identify a set of Opportunities and Threats and assess industry attractiveness. (30%)
2) Analyse the resources and key competences of the organisation to identify a set of Strengths and Weaknesses and identify core competences (key factors that may give the company its competitive advantage). (30%)
3) Evaluate the given strategy (as per chosen case) using SAFe criteria. (30%)
A further 10% is available for clarity, structure, grammar, correct Harvard referencing and overall professional presentation showing clear report style.
Please note that the emphasis is on application! This assignment is not about general (or critical) discussion of strategic models. You are asked to apply these models to the case chosen. Appropriately referenced data should be used in support of your arguments and discussion.
There will be weekly references to the assessment task in seminars and weekly activities in those seminars will be helpful in creating “scaffolding” for eventual submission.
The formative mini-casework in seminars will be of direct help in the application of relevant strategic tools. There will be regular Q&A sessions linked to the assessment report and in the final weeks of teaching there will be an opportunity to review and reflect upon work from previous cohorts.
Your work will be assessed by a subject expert who will use the marking scheme indicated below. Feedback will be given in the Turnitin/Grademark system with script comments plus overall points. When you access your marked work it is important that you reflect on the feedback so that you can use it to improve future assignments.
In this Strategic Report, high marks come from using strategic concepts and analysis from the module clearly applied to the organisation. Harvard referencing, a professional report style plus appropriate diagrams/tables are also required. Outline marking expectations are as follows:
Discuss the business environment and identify a number of Opportunities - Os and Threats - Ts (we expect 6 issues from business environment to be discussed in total each of which concluded as an O or a T). Please note that there is no need to address each factor (if for example there are no important legal or technological issues do not discuss these factors). Your task is to identify and discuss 6 most important issues in your opinion. Demonstrate how an issue is an Opportunity or a Threat.
The Strategic Report should address the following:
Industry analysis (5 Forces) should be applied to assess industry attractiveness (each force should be discussed and assessed as High, Moderate or Low and industry attractiveness should be assessed having these forces in mind).
Please make sure that you use appropriately referenced data (charts, figures, quotes etc) to support your arguments. Also, note that this is an external analysis so it is not about the firm but about issues in that industry (in context).
Identify and discuss organisation’s unique resources & distinctive capabilities (at least 6 Strengths and Weaknesses should be covered in total). Discuss resources (what a company has) and competences (activities) separately.
While addressing unique resources (physical – e.g. retail outlets, manufacturing facilities, products etc.; human – e.g. people and teams crucial for successful strategic development; intangible – e.g. brands, links to external stakeholders etc. and possibly financial) make sure that each is discussed separately and concluded as an S or a W.
While discussing distinctive competences construct Value Chain for the organisation and within list a number of specific and distinctive activities for your organisation. Demonstrate how unique capabilities link to competitive advantage (each distinctive competence from Value Chain should be “pushed” through VRIO to identify Core Competences for the organisation). Once you identify one (or two at most) core competence provide a discussion about these below Value Chain or VRIO (what is the activity and how does it contribute to firm’s competitive advantage). Note that all competences listed in value chain (and VRIO) should be company’s Strengths (Weaknesses could be discussed in a descriptive fashion separately). Again, use properly referenced data to support your arguments. This question is about the company (internal analysis).
Evaluate the given strategy – please see “Cases for the assignment” on moodle) using the three SAFe tests:
Construct TOWS populating Os, Ts, Ss and Ws fully (all Os and Ts obtained from Q1, all Ss and Ws obtained from Q2). Place the strategy you are evaluating in one of the inner sections and try to associate it to one or more internal and one or more external items while addressing Suitability (e.g. if you place a strategy in S-O quadrant identify appropriate S or Ss combined with O or Os while contemplating this strategy).
Construct Power/Interest matrix with a number of relevant stakeholders, then choose two stakeholder groups that will be affected with the strategy and for each discuss if the strategy you are evaluating is acceptable or not and why.
While addressing Feasibility, comment on financial resources and skills required for implementation of the strategy being evaluated.
We expect a professional report with clear report style (not an essay) e.g. frontsheet, contents, clear sections, tables & diagrams and relevant Harvard referencing. The word count should not be exceeded by more than 10%.
(In addition to marker feedback, a full marking rubric will be available within the Turnitin submission system for student consideration.)
The Business School requires a digital version of all assignment submissions. These must be submitted via Turnitin on the module’s Moodle site. They must be submitted as a Word file (not a pdf) and must not include scanned in text or text boxes. They must be submitted by 2pm on the given date. For further general details on coursework preparation refer to the online information via Student.
If you cannot submit a piece of work and wish to submit Mitigating Circumstances, the University Mitigating Circumstances Policy can be found on the University website - Mitigating Circumstances Policy
Between you handing in your work and then receiving your feedback and marks, there are a number of quality assurance processes that we go through to ensure that students receive marks which reflects their work. A brief summary is provided below:
- Step 1 – The module and marking team meet to agree standards, expectations and how feedback will be provided.
- Step 2 – A subject expert will mark your work using the criteria provided in the assessment brief.
- Step 3 – A moderation meeting takes place where all members of the teaching and marking team will review the marking of others to confirm whether they agree with the mark and feedback.
- Step 4 – Work at Levels 5 and 6 then goes to an external examiner who will review a sample of work to confirm that the marking between different staff is consistent and fair.
- Step 5 – The Office process your mark & feedback & it is made available to you.
You are required to re-work your original submission in line with the original assessment brief and criteria. Your re-submission must address the feedback comments provided by the marker on the original submission. You should provide a summary of the marker’s original feedback from your first submission together with a commentary [between 400 and 500 words) that explains how your revisions improve the original submission by addressing the original feedback.