Undertake a Porter ‘Five Forces Analysis’ for an industry of your choice (1000 words).
ULSB Assessment Brief
This module is assessed by an individual assignment of 3,000 words. The assignment accounts for 100% of the mark awarded. For the assignment, you should choose ONE option from the choice of three below:
Assignment Option 1: Strategy from the Outside-In
- Undertake a Porter ‘Five Forces Analysis’ for an industry of your choice (1000 words).
- Strategically, which are the most important forces for organizations in this industry to consider, and why? (500 words)
- Critically evaluate the outside-in approach to strategy formulation. (1500 words)
Assignment Option 2: Strategy from the Inside-Out
- For an organisation with which you are familiar, apply the principle components of Prahalad and Hamel’s theory of core competence to explain the basis of the organisation’s competitive advantage (1500 words)
- Critically evaluate the inside-out approach to strategy formulation. (1500 words)
Assignment Option 3: Debating Strategy
relevant theories, concepts and real-world examples, critically discuss the
following statement: ‘Strategy should only ever develop from
detailed rational planning’. (3000 words)
Assignment Further Guidance
Assignment Option 1
The assignment should:
- Provide an introduction to the chosen industry (including relevant core characteristics such as location, size, spread, etc.).
- You are not permitted to draw on the cases covered in the seminars. Instead, you must develop your own case study on an industry of your choice.
- Provide a detailed application of the five forces framework to the chosen industry, using appropriate and relevant terminology.
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of the five forces framework and any other relevant theories, tools and frameworks, as evidenced through the quality of application and discussion.
- Produce a balanced and critical evaluation of the outside-in approach to strategy formulation, drawing on a wide-ranging literature. Note that this evaluation should not be restricted to the work of Porter but to the broader notion of strategy as an outside-in process.
Assignment Option 2
The assignment should:
- Provide a brief introduction to the chosen organization (including relevant core characteristics such as location, size, industry, etc)
- You are not permitted to draw on the cases covered in the seminars. Instead, you must develop your own case study on an organization of your choice.
- Provide a detailed application of the core competence approach, using appropriate and relevant terminology.
- Produce a balanced and critical evaluation of the inside-out approach to strategy formulation, drawing on a wide-ranging literature. Note that this evaluation should not be restricted to the work of Hamel and Prahalad but to the broader notion of strategy as an inside-out process.
Assignment Option 3
The assignment should:
- Begin with a clear and concise introduction that addresses the topic under investigation, interprets the basic premise of the debating statement, and outlines the aims and the structure of the assignment;
- Provide a balanced and detailed answer to the statement. Try to avoid simply describing phenomena and instead seek to analyse, challenge and critique the ideas you are discussing. In this assignment you are engaging with one of the key debates in the strategy field, and it is important to demonstrate that you are able to consider competing perspectives on the validity of the claim that is being made. You should also make use of real world examples of strategy in practice to substantiate your discussion.
- You should finish with a robust and persuasive conclusion that summarizes the arguments that have been made and then offers a final ‘response’ to the statement. In this case, do you agree with the statement?
Please observe the following for all assignment options:
Sources and Referencing
It is important that you use a range of sources in order to formulate your ideas and arguments. The weekly study guides are a useful starting place but do not be restricted to them. Try and collect a range of readings and examples from a variety of sources. It is possible that you may need to draw upon Internet sources in the production of this assignment. However, try to keep this to a bare minimum, especially where academic credibility of material cannot be verified. Academic credibility depends upon the quality of the host – for instance, a popular .com site may have unverifiable or even inaccurate information. Referencing should strictly adhere to the Harvard referencing system (full details of which can be found in your Programme Handbook). All sources, directly or indirectly used for completing the assignment (including Internet sources and any organizational documents), should be clearly identified and appropriately referenced in the main text and in the list of references. Any unacknowledged or insufficiently acknowledged use of sources could be qualified as plagiarism and may be subject to the appropriate penalties (again, see your Programme Handbook for information about the School’s plagiarism policy).
The assignment should:
- be word word-processed, double-spaced throughout, in point 12 size font, left justified, with standard margins (at least 2.5 cm on all sides), with all pages consecutively numbered;
- be formally structured, i.e. divided into sections (and, if necessary, subsections) with meaningful headings;
- include the list of references, documenting all the sources used in the preparation of the assignment.
Assignment Deadline – 4th
|Mark||Postgraduate Grade Descriptor|
|85-100%||Scholarship: Excellent application of a rigorous and extensive knowledge of subject matter; perceptive; demonstrates a critical appreciation of subject and extensive and detailed critical analysis of the key issues; displays independence of thought and/ or a novel and relevant approach to the subject; reveals both breadth and depth of understanding, showing insight and appreciation of argument. Independent learning: Work draws on a wide range of relevant literature and is not confined to reading lists, textbooks or lecture notes; arguments are well supported by a variety of means. Writing skills: Writing skills are excellent; writing is clear and precise; arguments are logical, well-structured and sustained, and demonstrate thorough understanding; conclusions are reasoned and justified by evidence. Analysis: Work demonstrates a robust approach to analysis that is evident of a deep understanding of relevant concepts, theories, principles and techniques. For quantitative modules analysis is complete and entirely relevant to the problem.|
|70-84%||Scholarship: Very good application of a rigorous and extensive knowledge of subject matter; demonstrates a critical appreciation of subject; displays detailed thought and consideration of the subject; reveals very good breadth and depth of understanding. Independent learning: Work draws on a range of relevant literature and is not confined to reading lists, textbooks or lecture notes. Writing skills: Writing skills are well-developed; writing is clear and precise; arguments are logical, well-structured and demonstrate thorough understanding; conclusions are justified by evidence. Analysis: Analytical steps carried out carefully and correctly demonstrating that it is based on a sound understanding. Analysis is relevant to the problem and is complete and is placed in a clear context.|
|60-69%||Scholarship: Good, broad-based understanding of subject manner; makes effective use of understanding to provide an informative, balanced argument that is focussed on the topic; reveals some attempt at creative, independent thinking; main points well covered, displaying breadth or depth but not necessarily both; broadly complete and relevant argument; Independent learning: Sources range beyond textbooks and lecture material and are used effectively to illustrate points and justify arguments. Writing skills: Arguments are presented logically and coherently within a clear structure and are justified with appropriate supporting evidence; capably written with good use of English throughout; free from major errors; complex ideas are expressed clearly and fluently using specialist technical terminology where appropriate. Analysis: Some minor slips in the steps of the analysis and some minor gaps in understanding of underlying principles. Analysis is relevant to the problem and mostly complete. A good interpretation which conveys most of its meaning.|
|50-59%||Scholarship: Some but limited engagement with, and understanding of, relevant material but may lack focus, organisation, breadth, and/or depth; relatively straightforward ideas are expressed clearly and fluently though there may be little or no attempt to synthesise or evaluate more complex ideas; exhibits limited independent creative thought; adequate analysis but some key points only mentioned in passing; arguments satisfactory but some errors and perhaps lacking completeness and relevance in parts. Independent learning: Sources restricted to core lecture material with limited or no evidence of wider reading. Writing skills: The question is addressed in a reasonably clear, coherent and structured manner but some sections may be poorly written making the essay difficult to follow, obscuring key points or leading to over-generalisation; competently written with a good use of English throughout (few, if any, errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation). Answers that have merit class qualities may fall into this category if they are too short, unfinished or badly organised. Analysis: Minor slips and occasional basic errors in analysis. Underlying principles are mostly understood, but clear gaps are apparent.Analysis falls short of completeness and is a little irrelevant in place but a reasonable interpretation which goes some way to convey its meaning|
|Minimum requirements have not been met. Scholarship: Inadequate understanding of key issues and concepts; some material may be used inappropriately; uninspired and unoriginal; relies on limited knowledge; analysis poor or obscure, superficial or inconsistent in places; arguments incomplete, partly irrelevant or naive. Independent learning: Restricted to a basic awareness of course material and textbooks; meagre use of material to support assertions. Writing skills: Poor use of English exhibiting errors. Answer may be poorly focussed on the question, lack rigour and/or consist of a series of repetitive, poorly organised points or unsubstantiated assertions that do not relate well to one another or to the question, although some structure discernible. Analysis: Inadequate knowledge of the analysis to be followed, with frequent errors. Some attention paid to underlying principles, but lacking in understandingand frequently irrelevant. Some interpretation is given, but it does not place the analysis in any real context|
|40-44%||Scholarship: Poor knowledge of relevant material; omission of key ideas/material; significant parts may be irrelevant, superficial or factually incorrect; inappropriate use of some material; mere paraphrasing of course texts or lecture notes; key points barely mentioned; very weak grasp or complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material; does not address the topic or question. Independent learning: Restricted to a basic awareness or no awareness of course material and textbooks; very meagre use of supporting material or unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material. Writing skills: Unacceptable use of English (i.e. comprehension obscured by significant and intrusive errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar); poor and unclear, or totally incoherent, structure. Answers that ‘run out of time’ or miss the point of the question may fall into this (or a lower) class. Analysis: Erroneous analysis with mistakes. Very little attention paid to the underlying principles of the analysis. Far from complete with little relevance to the problem. Limited interpretation that reveals little, if anything, about the meaning|
|20-39%||Scholarship: Displays a superficial appreciation of the demands and broad context of the question but is largely irrelevant, fundamentally flawed, or factually incorrect; inappropriate use of material; mere paraphrasing of course texts or lecture notes; key points barely mentioned; complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material. Independent learning: Restricted to a limited awareness of basic course material; unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material. Writing skills: Minimal structure, though may only list key themes or ideas with limited comment or explanation. Analysis: Analysis has very significant omissions demonstrating little understanding of problem or underlying principles. Analysis may be ill suited to problem. Very little interpretation of meaning of the analysis.|
|0-19%||Scholarship: No recognition of the demands or scope of the question and no serious attempt to answer it. Complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material. May have simply failed to address the question/topic set. Independent learning: No evidence that the most basic course material has been understood; unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material. Writing skills: Without structure; comprehension may be completely obscured by poor grammar, spelling, punctuation. Analysis: Virtually complete failure to carry out analysis. No evidence of understanding of underlying principles and bears no relevance to the problem. No attempt to interpret or explain the meaning of the analysis.|