1250 word essay (30% weighting), comparing a local company outlet(Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth) with one from the same sector in your own home town(China), using your own observation and experience, and suggesting reasons for the differences. Includes a reflection on the task. Submission: Thursday, December 10th 2015 by 12 noon in Park, 1.13 (Week 12). LO 1 Marks will be available during Week 15 (week beg. 18/1/16)
1. Comparative essay.
You are required to write an essay of 1250 words on a local retail business or service outlet from the customer’s perspective, based on your own experienceand observation ( ie, NOT secondary sources), comparing it with a similar company outlet in your own country. A short reflection (not more than 150 words) on the task should be attached.
It is very important to follow these guidelines.Students who follow these instructions carefully are more likely to receive a good mark!
• Choose a local business outlet, either one selling goods, such as Smiths or Boots, or one selling services, such as Natwest or KFC, which you find easy to visit, make observations and collect data about. Remember that you are asked to compare this company outlet with a similar company outlet in your own country, so you need to have information on this too.
• Visit the company and keep a record of your observations
• Consider the location, size, number of staff, behaviour of staff, types of goods/services sold and presentation of goods/services.
• How does the company persuade customers to buy?
• How ethical is the business?
• Who is the target customer? How do you know?
• Look at the recruitment processes of both your local company and the one in your home town. Find job advertisements from both companies (ideally for both junior and senior staff) if possible and identify the selection criteria: what are the employers looking for in applicants? If it is not possible to find vacancies from the actual companies, look for job opportunities in similar companies (same sector, customer base, size, etc.)
• Group the data collected into categories as suggested in the ‘Presentation of Essay’ section below.
• Briefly research your company, using web sites and/or library sources, for relevant background information. If you use the company’s own website, do
remember that the language used will be very positive and persuasive, and not academic.
• Make a note of when you access any web material and ensure that you have the correct details in order to in-text reference and to create a short bibliography.
• General information about the company should be paraphrased and /or quotations should be used, if the words are not your own.
• Create an outline and ensure that you have information for all parts of the assignment.
• Edit your work using spellchecker and ensure your word count matches or is no more than 10% longer or shorter than the requirement. Print your work well ahead of the submission date.
Presentation of Essay.
Briefly say which local company outlet you will discuss and which company outlet in your home country you will compare it with. Give an outline of the contents of your essay.
ii. Company Details
Briefly describe the business sector your companies belong to and any relevant background.
iii. Description of company outlets
Focus on some of the following elements: (those you have decided are relevant)
• Location and shop layout
• Product range: logos/own brand (if appropriate)/prices/promotions/retailing techniques.
• Advertising/marketing/company policies, e.g. ethical policy, relevant to sales promotion (only those that are readily available to customers).
• Relation to competitors: local/national/international, niche market?
• Employees: working hours/contractual status (if available)/behaviour/attitude to customers, selection criteria for new applicants.
Sections ii and iii above are mainly descriptive and it will be important to select relevant information about your outlets, taking care to show any sources of information, if not from your own observations. Note that most of section iii should be based on your own notes and NOT taken from secondary sources – apart from selection criteria in job adverts), by using in-text referencing. It is important to make clear which information is from your own observation and which is from written sources. Three written sources should be sufficient for this task. Please ensure that they are shown in APA (see student handbook or the Library website)
iv. Differences and possible explanations for them (analysis)
In this part of the study you will comment on major differences that you have noticed concerning how your UK company outlet does business and how this is different from the outlet you have chosen in your country. For example, the staff may behave differently in your country compared to those in your UK company outlet, so you need to give examples of the differences and also explain or suggest reasons why there are differences. Describing differences is not enough!
Summarise the main points of your essay and make a concluding statement about your analysis of the differences.
vi. Bibliography (three references are sufficient)
Reflection (no more than 150 words)
The final part of the task asks you to reflect on what you have learned by doing this assignment. You will need to be concise and analytical, mentioning various learning opportunities that the task presented. You may not have taken advantage of all these learning opportunities, and, on reflection, you may realise that you could have approached the task differently. What is important is to write about the potential for learning that this task offers so as that you are better able to approach future assignments. Include the answers to the following questions:
• Why did you choose those particular companies? If you were to do the same task again, would you choose the same companies?
• How did you prepare for the task?
• How successful were your observations?
• What did you learn from doing this task and, if you had to do the same task again, would you approach it differently?
The reflection should appear AFTER the essay and bibliography.