You will need to prepare a 4.000 words report (+/- 10%) where you don’t have to repeat the theories, just use them and reference them in order to provide related answers to the 4 questions.
In general: It is a report (not an essay) thus you will need analytic headings, sub-headings, clearly structured answers. Please follow the particular suggested structure:
Executive Summary (excluded from the word count)
Table of contents
2. Q1 – Analysis of the external environment
Sub-headings here e.g. 1.Macro Environment Analysis – PESTEL, 2 Micro Environment Analysis – Porter’s 5 Forces Model
3. Q2. – Analysis of the internal environment
Sub-headings here: e.g. 1.Resource Based View of the Company, 2 Value Chain etc..
4. Q3. – Analysis of PR crises
Subheadings again here – according to your identified crises/relevant theory
5. Q4. – Strategic Analysis
Subheadings here: e.g. 1. Business Level Strategy, 2. Corporate Strategy, 3. Strategies Suggested for future/Evaluation, 4. Implementation Modes/Techniques and Final Suggestions.
6. Conclusions – Yes, this can be as part/sub-heading of the previous point – it is up to you.
7. Full list of References / Bibliography (excluded from the word count)
8. Appendices. (excluded from the word count)
With regards to theory and application: You are not required to analyse any theory! Briefly mention (within one-two lines max) what it is about and the original/initial reference, not our book all the time, e.g instead of “Christodoulou and Patel, 2015” use “Porter, 1985”
And here are some extra comments:
Make sure that you include ALL the relevant information of your school, department, course, name , ID number, NAME OF BOTH SEMINAR TUTORS THAT YOU BELONG ACCORDING TO YOUR SRS TIMETABLE. – they are the ones to mark your work.
Yes, it must be before the table of contents! It can be max one page and it is excluded from the word count, so please be analytic about it. Use it to impress us, make it professional. Here you need to include all the major points from every part of your report. Again, this is not an introduction, it is an executive summary
Since you have limited word count, the intro should be very small – max one paragraph. Here you simply introduce the reader in what is this report about and what you will analyse. – It is different from the ex.summary.
Q1 – 20%:
Here you are analysing the external environment of COBRA BEER market/industry– thus the focus is not COBRA BEER – the focus is the micro (5 Forces) and macro (PESTEL) environment. That means both PESTEL and 5 forces should not be about COBRA BEER but for the industry that COBRA BEER belongs to… Many of you were asking whether you should focus on UK or other countries or globally. My answer is that it is up to you. Preferably I would like to see either an external environment analysis for Europe, mentioning also some essential global trends OR you can make a Global analysis straightforward. In any case, you will need to make that explicitly clear in your executive summary and introduction, state in which level you make your external environment analysis.
Also, here you will need first to analyse PESTEL – just mention only those relevant trends to your industry . You don’t have to go into describing every dimension. If you want to and already done it – then use tables and/or appendices and mention in the text only the most important trends.
5Forces: Use the “Structural Determinants” slide from the external environment lecture slides – 1st semester. Please mention whether every force is high, moderate or low and in the end conclude whether the industry is attractive and profitable or not.
As to industry life cycle (ILC): You can either clearly incorporate it within the “existing competition” force of 5 forces, by saying whether the industry is in a development or maturity stage along with the market growth rate (which a structural determinant of the particular force) OR you can make a short section only for the industry life cycle theory.
In any case, you will need to reference every single concept and model used above both in text and in the final list of references.
In this question we expect you to use resources and capabilities theory (R+Cs or else Resource Based view of the Company) and/or Value Chain . Yes, please, mention both theories and reference them of course. However, if you feel comfortable using only one then it is still fine – just state it clearly. So, we would like you to: present the key strategic resources. Please see examples of resources and capabilities from our book and lecture slides. Within the financial resources you must mention some key financial indexes either of COBRA BEER’ Strategic Business Unit (SBU) that you can find from Google, published statements, Mintel or Bloomberg databases. As for mentioning comparative measures from a key competitor, yes you can do it. More than that, you will need to state clearly what are the core capabilities/competencies of COBRA BEER and why they are core? E.g. financial control and economies of scale-are they core? Also do they lead to competitive advantage? If yes, is it cost leadership or differentiation or a bit of both (hybrid strategy)? In this way you are actually describing COBRA BEER’ existing business level strategy that you need in the last question.
As for Value Chain. You don’t need to analyse highly descriptive every single activity. If you want to or have done so, please use appendices and tables to avoid the word count. Here, you need to show those linkages (combinations of primary to support activities) that either increase the customer value or reduce the operating cost. In this way, again you can conclude into what competitive advantage(s) are created for COBRA BEER and how. The outcomes of Resources+Capabilities and Value Chain should agree.
The above are the essential ones that we want for Q2.
As for leadership, decision making, culture, politics etc. Yes, you can mention them within the resources appraisal above! OR, if you want to make a separate section/part for those (since you have a limited word count), please keep it short and practically focused. In any case, please reference properly/academically every single of those concepts. The essential part of this question is R+Cs and Value Chain.
NOTE ABOUT SWOT: We didn’t and we don’t want you to do a SWOT analysis. Essentially you have analysed OT from Q1 and SW from Q2. If you want or have already done a SWOT please use is as framework to summarize your key points from questions one and two. You can put them in a table after Q2 and before Q3.
In this question you are required to identify one, two or three issues that affected the image of the company, either internal or external. You will need to briefly analyse what happened applying theories on organisational ethics theory,, corporate governance CSR concepts, stakeholder applications & reputation management concepts/metrics. Not all of them are required, but the more you apply and reference inside the PR crisis/issue the better it is. We want you to demonstrate application of relevant theories.
Q4 – 30%
This is obviously the most important question. Here you need to:
a) Identify the business level strategy of COBRA BEER (this could be also been found/linked from question 2. That is either cost leadership or differentiation or hybrid (both). Of course you will need to reference all concepts such as “Porter, 1985”. In Q2 you conclude justifying the competitive advantages –> thus, if they are mostly on uniqueness (differentiation) then the competitive strategy is most probably differentiation leadership and so on :-).
b) Identify the corporate level strategies. These could be growth: e.g. market penetration, market development, product development, vertical/horizontal integration, related/unrelated diversification. Here you can use the Ansoff’s matrix/directional policy table (it is essentially the same). Of course there are turnaround corporate strategies (e.g. downsizing, liquidation, divesture etc) and stability strategies ( no-change strategy, pause, etc)
So in a) and b) you can identify/record plenty of strategies but please use the terminology and reference properly every concept.
c) Suggest strategies: Either you can suggest sustaining the existing ones, or developing the existing ones, or developing new.
d) Choose two (advisable)-three (max) strategies to evaluate them according to certain criteria. These can be:
– suitability – acceptability – feasibility, that is SAF (highly recommended, simple and straightforward)
– or any other properly referenced model.
You don’t need to use more than one of the above.
Extra HELP for these models above: you can either found them on our slides (apart from SUITS) and in the following sources:
SAF check (also attached in the same link as the word document that you read now):
pages 365 of Johnson et al.; Exploring Corporate Strategy, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 7th edition 200*
RACES in Haberberg & Rieple – the extra textbook of our module-see it in our module handbook and library.
STAIR – our slides.
And of course you can always reference our slides as teaching notes
e) Finally, you will need to say a few words about the implementation techniques/modes of those suggested strategies. Examples of implementation modes: licensing, franchising, merger/acquisition, joint venture, direct investment/wholly owned subsidiary. Remember, these are ways of implementing strategies – they are not strategies themselves. You can also combine this part with part d) if you want.
For this question, please avoid suggesting simple actions like “enhancing the CRS policies” “or improve the quality”– these are not strategies. In such a case the strategy is “differentiation” and it entails improving the quality etc…
Yes, appendices should be avoided for this question, but if you want to use tables you are free to do so, or if you want to mention additional e.g. theoretical explanation of a strategy you can put it in the appendix.
Presentation – Structure – Clarity – Referencing – 20%
Additional to the guidelines existing in the complementary previous file:
• PLEASE make sure that this is a report that you are writing – not an essay. Essay type reports are not acceptable.
• All seminar tutors will mark according to the above guidelines.
• Tables and appendices are excluded from word count but they must not in any way exceed the length of the actual report. Also, please don’t make tables that are huge – e.g. two pages long!
• It is really important to cross check your work. Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes – use the spelling check of word before submission.
• Again, there is going to be ONLY ONE submission on turn-it-in. Make sure you upload the right file and the complete report answering all questions. No additional files will be accepted in any form.
• Works without in-text referencing and full list of references/bibliography are not acceptable. Yes, you need more than 10 academic references and theories. If you simply mention all the original references for every concept mentioned above you will have more than 10 for sure – this should not be an issue.
• Please don’t put the book reference all the time or only electronic sources. You need academic textbooks, papers and additional valid sources for the company. Again, you need to use the initial/original sources for every theory/concept from the book that you can find in the end of each chapter.(for chapters in the part B of the book you have the sources electronically on Blackboard)
• Finally, you can reference and you need to reference the case study (mentioning the page you took the info from) in the form of teaching notes according to Harvard Referencing Style. This is the style of referencing that we are using in general.
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