Upon successful completion of your MBA degree, you have applied for a job position in the strategic planning unit of an established company offering management consultancy services. The assessment center that is reviewing your job application, has requested from you a brief report to assist in the scenario planning of any organization of your choice, that will critically analyze and evaluate the strategic management process in the following manner.
- a) Applying the PESTLE framework, you need to undertake an audit of the macro environment of your chosen industry sector, to identify the key environmental influences on organizations operating within this industry and the nature of its impact within the industry.
- b) Using the SWOT framework you are expected to conduct a critical analysis of a chosen organization
, to identify such strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats and their implications for the future sustainability of the company.
- c) Drawing on Porter’s Five Forces Analysis Framework, provide a critical discussionofthe factors that determine the level of competitive intensity in your chosen industry and the main changes that are likely to occur in the future that would significantly affect the bases of competition in this industry.
Assignment 1 will focus on your understanding of the various theories in environmental analysis and the application of theories in the case you are studying. However, only a brief overview of the theories is expected. The main focus will be on how the theories are applied to the case in question with the support of evidence and critical evaluation in the context of the chosen industry and organization. Words requirement for this assignment is not more than 3,000 words excluding appendixes and tables.
Coursework Assignment 2
Strategic Development Choices revolves around decisions about an organization’s future and the way it needs to respond to the many pressures and influences it faces. The survival of the organization will depend on its ability to respond to such pressures and influences through strategic direction (new products, new markets, etc) and methods ( internal, merger/acquisition, alliances, etc).
Choose any organization within the pharmaceutical, automobile or electronics industry to consider the nature of its strategic development in terms of direction and methods applied.
- Using the Ansoff product-market matrix, discuss the possible directions in which your chosen organization’s strategy may develop and the possible benefits and limitations that may arise from using this approach.
- b) Critically evaluate the following methods by which the organization’s strategy may develop discussing at the same time, the relative merits and limitations inherent within each of these methods.
- Internal development
- Mergers and acquisition
- Joint development/ strategic alliances
Word Count – The word count is indicative. Try to stay with the allocated word count as far as possible. Marks are gained for facts and conciseness and marks are lost for unnecessary material.
As a postgraduate student, there is no excuse for poor spelling, bad grammar, or lack of formatting. Use one and a half spacing with 12- point font and pages must be numbered. Use New Times Roman.
An Executive summary MUST be provided (before the Contents page). It provides a reader with a summary of why the report (assignment) was prepared, what it covers, and a summation of the conclusions, and/or recommendations. It should be about 10% of the assignment length, single line spacing, and is excluded from formal word counts. It is not an introduction but should function as a totally self-contained removable document for readers who will read no more of the report. It should contain all pertinent information including conclusions and recommendations in a concise summary, but should not contain any theory.
Table of contents and numbering
A comprehensive table of contents is required, with section numbers, section headings, and page numbers. It will include the list of references, a List of appendices, a List of figures, and a List of tables, all with page numbers indicated. All sections and pages should be fully numbered.
An Introduction should be provided at the beginning to summarize the structure of the following sections of the report/assignment. The introduction does not contain theory, nor does it contain any conclusions or recommendations.
Do not assume that the reader has read the Executive Summary, as it is a totally separate document.
Body of assignment
This is an academic assignment, so it is essential that your statements be justified by relevant academic theory. For example, don’t just use terms like ‘stakeholder’– explain why you selected those terms, and the academic theory to justify their use. A major failing of students is to simply ‘describe’ the processes that have happened. At the postgraduate level, you are expected to be able to apply recognized theory to situations and form opinions. You will often find conflicting opinions from so-called ‘experts’. You should be developing analytical and communication skills. You are expected to use your judgment to analyze problems, make value judgments as to whether it is good or bad (or both), use existing academic theory from a range of sources to justify your position, and to argue whether something is valid or not. In the study of management, there is no right or wrong answers, only lots of opinions, many of which change over a period of time. Show that you can act as managers, and communicate your opinions. Major sections should start on a new page. You will be surprised just how much more readable it makes your assignment/report.
Referencing is NOT just inserting a list of publications at the end of the report and this is not acceptable. Referencing is NOT just inserting a citation at the end of each paragraph and is not acceptable.
At the postgraduate level, you are expected to cite at least 10 to 15 different sources of reference material and to make multiple references to such material. References MUST be cited using the Harvard system (which is author/date). Please do not use footnotes, etc. Read your Communication skills handbook for information on how to cite reference materials. References must be listed alphabetically by the author in a single List of References at the end of each assignment. Do not put multiple lists of references at the end of each section or part.
Figures and tables
There are many instances where diagrams and tables would assist in the communication of information and the reduction of word length. For example, if a stakeholder analysis were required, it would be much more clearly understood if presented in a table. Figures and tables must be numbered in some logical way, so they can be listed on the Contents page, and referred to in the text. A recommendation is that you call it Figure/Table X.1, X.2, etc. where ‘X’ represents the section number. Consecutive numbering through the whole document (rather than by section) can mean lots of renumbering if there are changes. Tables should not run over onto the following pages. Start them on a new page to avoid this. If they are multi-page tables, then think about making them into an appendix. Use a smaller font (10 points) and single line spacing to reduce the size of tables.
Larger amounts of relevant material (such as sample documents or supporting material) should be put at the end of the assignment in an Appendix after the List of References. Smaller charts or summaries could be located in the text, but anything over a page becomes a distraction. Appendices should be numbered sequentially (Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc). Unnecessary and irrelevant information should not be attached. The size of assignments has no bearing on marks achieved.