critically and creatively examine the notion of ‘strategy’
Critical Perspectives in Strategy (2015-2016)
The purpose of this task is to provide you with an opportunity to critically and creatively examine the notion of ‘strategy’. In order to do this, you will be:
• drawing on the material to which you have been introduced in the lectures;
• connecting this with the textbook and your own additional reading from independent research; and,
• applying this to analyse the strategic field you have been investigating with your seminar group.
To complete this task you must adopt the position of an actor in your assigned strategic field and critically evaluate the strategic problems this actor faces in that field. In order to do this you must:
1. Introduce the strategic field
2. Describe how your actor is positioned within that field
3. Consider the strategic priorities as defined by the actor
4. Advance an interpretation of what strategic problems this actor faces
5. Use concepts and frameworks introduced in this course to analyse these problems
6. On the basis of your analysis conclude with a critical evaluation of the notion of strategy
When submitting your assignment, please make sure that the file is named using the strategic field and your student ID in the following form:
• Retail banking ID
• Higher education ID
• Electronic cars ID
• Music industry ID
Your assignment must be word processed according to the required format and presentation of assessed coursework:
o Font size: 12 point font
o Character spacing: 100%, normal position
o Margins: Normal (2.5cm – all sides)
o Alignment: Non-justified
o Line spacing
? Body text: 1.5 lines
? Paragraph: 1.5 lines with one extra line
? Headings: 1.5 lines with one extra line
• The University operates an anonymous marking policy. To ensure that your anonymity from staff and examiners will be preserved only your Student ID number should appear on your assessment. Your ID number should be on all pages of your coursework.
• All pages should be numbered.
Please include a word count (without references).
All standard assessed coursework rules will be strictly enforced in relation to all student work produced as part of this course (including all work produced as part of the seminar programme). For matters relating to plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice please consult the undergraduate handbook since you are expected to be fully familiar with these policies and to fully adhere to their terms at all times.
If your essay is submitted late, penalties will be applied (see section at the end of this document on standard late submission penalties).
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Do I have to choose 1 (one) actor or can I critically explore strategy at the sector level more generally? We have considered the option and we would strongly recommend that you focus on one actor. This is because, assessing “strategy” at the level of the field is very difficult. Moreover, look at the points we make above on employing the actor to position your argument with reference to an example. As is standard for any piece of academic work, you will need to provide evidence to support all of your claims which becomes exponentially more difficult once you introduce multiple actors.
2) Do I have to choose Tesla, Virgin Money, University of Manchester etc.? No, you have the freedom to choose which actor from the strategic field you want to explore in depth. Perhaps the best advice we can give here is that the choice of topic follows the same relationship as any investment – the riskier the choice, the higher the potential on returns (or losses). A risky choice would be a peripheral actor who has not already been investigated extensively in the academic literature. At the same time, this opening might also produce the most interesting assignments. You will not be rewarded just because this is an interesting proposition – rather it may be that the interesting character of this choice lends itself more easily to the task of addressing the more difficult criteria for which only the most ambitious students will likely aim.
3) Can we compare two actors from a strategic field? Yes, of course you can; however, you should make sure that you are focusing your discussion on 1 (one) organisation. This type of comparative analysis may work better on some strategic fields than others – in particular mature fields may provide a useful basis for comparison. If you choose to compare your chosen actor to another one, you’ll need to explicitly discuss why you have made that choice and what it allows you to do that you could not have done without a comparative analysis.
4) What formatting guides do we have to follow? As with all assignments, the formatting rules are laid out in the course outline (pg. 7) and we have included these above.
5) What referencing style should we use? You will need to follow the university’s guidelines on referencing (Harvard style). See also: http://subjects.library.manchester.ac.uk/referencing/referencing-harvard
6) Do I need to reference every source I am using (either through direct citation or through paraphrasing)? YES! You must adhere to all the rules on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice which you can find in the undergraduate handbook (see also paragraph above).
7) What is the word limit? As it says above – it is 2000 words. We would suggest that you stick as close to the 2000 words as possible. Please include a word count at the start of your assignment which indicates how many words are in the main text of your assignment (i.e. do not include the references in the word count).
8) When is the deadline and how do we submit? The deadline is on January 4th 2016 at 3pm and you’ll have to upload the assignment via TurnItIn before 3pm on that date. Note that late submission will carry the penalties listed in your course outline, starting at 3pm sharp on 4 January 2016.
9) Can I reference a lecture in my assignment? No, a lecture is not published material. You should only be referencing published articles, books etc.
10) How many headings/sub-headings should we use? You can use headings/sub-headings, but you should think carefully about when and how you’ll use them. If you use none, it may at times be difficult to follow your argument; if you use too many, your writing will not flow and you will not be able to connect the different aspects successfully.
11) Can we use exhibits? Yes you can use exhibits (e.g. images, graphs, etc.); but once again, you need to carefully assess why and how you will employ them. All plagiarism rules apply so you must reference the source of your data and/or the source of an image according to standard citation requirements (i.e. Harvard style). Exhibits should be used only to make a specific point that will be easier understood in the form of an exhibit compared to writing a paragraph about it. Choosing poor exhibits may also negatively impact on your mark; whereas very good exhibits may boost your mark if they bolster the force of your claims.
12) Should we have a title page/ list of contents? NO!
Penalties for late submission are as follows:
Submission after the designated deadline on the day of submission
For any piece of assessed coursework submitted after the designated deadline on the day of submission:
A penalty of 10 marks per day up to a maximum of 5 days will be deducted from the mark for the piece of assessed work if it is submitted late. After 5 days a mark of zero will be awarded.
A day constitutes the 24 hour period following the submission deadline.
Assuming the maximum number of marks to be gained is 100 and the submission deadline is 3.00pm.
If the coursework would normally be given a mark of 65% and is submitted after 3.00pm (ie 3.01pm onwards) on the submission day but before 3.00pm the following day, a penalty of 10 marks will be applied and a mark of 55% would be awarded.
All days including Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays count. This will be regardless of how much the assessed work counts towards the final mark.
Late penalties are determined by the time on the receipt you receive i.e. it is not the time when you click to upload your work. It follows that you should allow yourself sufficient time to submit your work before the deadline and that you don’t leave it until the last minute.