• Analysis of the case and application of concepts carries a mark out of 50. These criteria reward understanding of the case and clear knowledge and application of course concepts.
• Argument and conclusions, structure, organisation and overall cohesion also carry a mark out of 50. These criteria reward building up an argument based on your analysis of the case, and drawing clear and robust conclusions based on this. Additionally they reward a clearly laid out and well presented answer.
The required Harvard referencing system is explained on pages 9-13. So it is important that you keep within the specified word count limit and use a clear referencing system.
If you decide to use a report structure, please refer to the explanations given on pages 25-27. There is no need (!) to embellish the report with a fictitious business scenario, as is the custom in some other courses.
If you write an introduction or an executive summary, please don’t just explain your methodological approach or repeat factual information about the content of the articles. What is important in a summary is to sum up the major findings of your analysis and the strategic conclusions or recommendations that you draw from them.
Important concepts and frameworks
Most of the learning thus far deals with external analysis. This corresponds to the first part of strategy process after Johnson and Scholes.
The most relevant analytical models for external analysis are
· STEP analysis
· Industry group and industry space
· 5 Forces Analysis
· Value Net model.
STEP-Analysis looks at the macro-environment in which industries and industry groups operate.
Five-Forces Analysis looks at the competitive forces within an industry. Whichever analytical model is used, in external analysis they are often applied to analyse external factors and forces which to entire industries and not only to individual firms.
Industry group analysis tries to identify the big trends and issues over which the firms in an industry compete. For example, in the pharma industry, these would be R&D and marketing. In the telecom industry, these would be extensions of markets and product portfolios. These would form the dimensions of an industry map. Firms are then plotted into the map and, hopefully, the emerging clusters would denote the various industry groups. Strategic space would represent the unoccupied or thinly populated areas on a map. These positions could be attractive because there is a low level of competition.
Porter’s notion of competitive forces is essentially negative: competition poses a threat and even suppliers and customers are competitors use their bargaining power in order to improve their position. Nalebuff and Brandenburger’s emphasis, on the other hand, is on value creation though co-operation.
• There is just one question which counts for 100%.
• TMA 01 counts for 20% of all TMAs. TMA02 and TMA03 weigh 40% respectively.
• Maximum word count: 3000 words. Unfortunately, penalties must be applied for exceeding the word count. Check assignment booklet for details.
• Plagiarism is a very serious offense. See assignment booklet for OU policies.
• Format: Any format you choose. An example of a report structure is in the assignment booklet.
• Referencing is according to the Harvard referencing system. Penalties for incorrect referencing! Check assignment booklet!
• Cut-off date: 8 June 2011. Extensions must be negotiated well in advance.