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Coursework Group Project guideline
In the Business strategy research project, students will develop a full industry and company analysis and critics. The group will need to analyze and critically assess a company strategic orientation based on data collection, data analysis, and methodology (qualitative/quantitative), topics covered in class and literature research. The research project will address strategic management issues in order to assess your abilities to critically analyze organizations’ strategic decisions and ultimately to recommend a set of actions. The evaluation of your papers is with particular attention being paid to your application of course reading material, concepts and research references. The research question must be identified and addressed in depth and using strategic frameworks.
Key Structural Elements in Depth
A Key Strategic Issue/Problem Identification section
a) A brief background of key relevant information/facts pertinent to the company
b) State the key research issue/problem facing the organization. The statement should be direct and actionable, e.g., the problem must be stated in some way that the organization can take action to solve the problem. It should also be strategically focused, not tactically or operationally focused. One (of many ways) to determine whether an issue is strategic is to ask yourself “what happens to the organization within the next 3-5 years if the issue is not addressed?” If your answer is “not much” then it is probably not a strategic issue.
c) Evaluate and critically analysis the best case, likely case, and worst case scenarios if the strategic issue/problem is not addressed(i.e., no action is taken)
An Alternatives section to address the key issues
a) Alternatives must be strategic, and they must be mutually exclusive. For example, two alter natives for an issue could be to 1) buy the competitor, or 2) not to buy the competitor—obviously the organization cannot do both. You will usually develop 2 or 3 alternatives in an analysis. Rarely, if ever, is “do nothing” or “continue to do what they are doing” a strategic alternative for a case.
b) Critically asses your alternatives and then:
i)Discuss 2-3 strategic advantages of the alternative
ii)Discuss 2-3 strategic disadvantages of the alternatives
Recommendation section where you select 1 (and only 1) alternative from the list above as the recommendation—this answers the question of “what should the organization do?”
a) Describe 1-3 key decision criteria and/or assumptions, with rationale, that will serve as the basis of the decision.
b) State the recommended course of action (from your list of alternatives) and possibly provide a little more elaboration of the recommendation beyond its description in the alternative section
c) Describe why the recommended course of action is the best alternative and the weaknesses of the other alternatives that prevent them from being selected as the recommendation
d) Describe the goals and objectives the recommendation. This must include: 1) a stated time frame for achieving; 2) appropriate specific goals (profit, market share); 3) expected costs and benefits
A section discussing the Implementation/Action Plan—this answers the question of “how should the organization go about achieving the recommendation”. This is in many respects the most important part of the entire case analysis. This section describes how the organization should go about making the recommendation happen. This section needs to be described in as much detail as possible given the constraints in the case—when you are missing specific data, fill in using sound business judgment. Items to include (this is not necessarily a complete list):
a)Description of specific activities that need to be undertaken
b)Assignation of responsibilities
c)Costs of each activity
d)Time frames for each activity
e)Measures of success/failure for each activity
f) Possible coordination issues
g)Possible obstacles/impediments (might be HRM, Finances, Operations, Ethics,…problems) that need to be considered/dealt with to successfully implement the recommendation
* The paper must be double-spaced, use 1” margins, and use a standard (Times or Times New Roman) 12 pt. font. The case study report should be concise and coherent. The name of the case should be on the first page of the text with your names, date, and course number. The limit is 7500 words (+/- 10%), plus exhibits.
* Exhibits should contain specific types of analyses (application of a framework, table of comparisons, cost analysis, competitive features, data form the field and information that supports and is relevant)
* Please proofread/spell check your paper before turning it in. Papers for this course should be of the same quality that you would provide to the management of the business.
The paper will be comprehensive in scope and include a/an:
• Executive Summary and abstract
• The rational of the strategic analysis
• Research method and design
• Data collection and data analysis
• Analysis of findings
• Critical analysis of the current company’s strategy
• Recommended scenarios