strategic management

strategic management

THE BRIEF
This resit assignment is an individual report with a strict maximum of 3,000 words (excluding appendices and bibliography). Up to 10% marks will be deducted for excess word count.
The title is as follows:
Choose two companies that are listed on the London (FTSE) or New York Stock Exchange, one that has successfully implemented a strategic initiative and one that has been unsuccessful in implementing a strategic initiative. Compare and contrast the two initiatives using material from the module. Justify your views using at least FOUR of the following FIVE topics discussed in the course: industry attractiveness; resources and capabilities; competitive advantage; portfolio analysis; and industry life cycle. Other material from the course may be used as appropriate.
It is recommended that some of the information on your firms should be available through Mintel via the University’s electronic library.
Your report should reflect your understanding of the topics covered in the course and your ability to critically analyse and apply appropriate strategic concepts. You should also demonstrate your research skills and ability to derive analysis from a range of quality sources. Full in-text citations and references, Harvard style, are required.
GENERAL GUIDANCE
1. Your report should draw on the materials covered in the Strategic Management module. Marks will be awarded for addressing a range of course materials.
2. It is not enough just to describe your chosen firms or strategic initiatives, you must have reference to the specified analytical frameworks.
3. Any academic material must be relevant. Always show your sources. Do not use material from web sites (or anywhere else) without citations. Citations and references must conform to the Harvard Referencing Style. Checks will be made to identify plagiarism, which is a very serious matter and could result in zero or reduced marks. Do not source analysis or ideas from student sources in the UK or abroad.
THE ASSESSMENT GRID is arranged in 3 sections:
? Presentation & style (20%)
? Reading and research (20%)
? Content, knowledge and understanding (20%)
? Application of strategic concepts (20%)
? Overall thinking & analysis (20%).
You should produce a well-structured report that is carefully and logically organised. Use numbering, plenty of white space, and bullet points to give a strong visual impact. Make good use of charts, tables & graphics. Communicate your ideas clearly and coherently, using a writing style that is appropriate to a report. Try to avoid long paragraphs by breaking up your narrative into smaller sections. The reader should be able to scan your document by eye and immediately see the main structure and key points.
There should be evidence of good reading and research, with critical evaluation and analysis. Try to critique the firms’ strategic initiatives by giving your opinions & reasoning, don’t just accept what they say about them.
NOTES ON REPORT WRITING 1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1.1 Introduction
Use an Executive Summary. In business life you will find that people do not have the time to read extensive reports. They will read a one page summary and then scan the main report & any appendices for points of interest. This means you have to ‘sell’ your report in the Executive Summary.
1.2 Content
The Executive Summary should include a summary of the ‘brief’, that is the objective(s) of the report and any special issues that you have been asked to investigate. You should identify your research methodology briefly: don’t discuss it, just state it. Identify your main research findings, keeping them brief and totally relevant. Identify any recommendations, listing them briefly & succinctly. If there are any points that need action, list them as say, Key Actions Needed.
2.0 STRUCTURE
2.1 Style
Your report should be easy to read, visibly appealing, crisply worded, and well- structured with numbered sections. Use white space and avoid visually intense & long paragraphs. Separate paragraphs with a space. Use bullet points as above to identify a number of issues or topics and then address them one at a time. This enables the reader to see your structure at a glance. Keep your paragraphs short and crisp. Don’t drift away from your key argument. Don’t use ten words where five will do.
2.2 Numbering
You can use mathematical numbers in your text as this is a Business Report. It is not an essay. Structure your report sensibly. For example, 1.1.2 is just about acceptable but 1.1.1.2 looks fussy, therefore use 1.1.2 (i). Make sure your numbering is consistent throughout the Report.

2.3 Excessive detail
Don’t give more detailed information than is necessary. In giving numerical data you may be advised to round large numbers to make them easier to absorb.
2.4 Using tables
It may be better to use tables or charts to give summary information. Don’t add more information (numerical data) than is necessary to illustrate your point. You can provide a full table as an Appendix.