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UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
BUSINESS SCHOOL
2014
Module Title: INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT Stage 2
Module Code: UGB202 Module leader: Gavin Mason
Assessment 1 Code: UGB202CW1213SEM2 Weighting: 100%
Assignment title: Introduction to Strategic Management Report May 2014
Brief description: An individual assignment requiring the preparation of a report discussing the theoretical application of the strategic management process; including a variety of contextual examples for a specific firm; related to each strategic management process stage. The chosen firm must be identified in the first four weeks of study.

Moderated by: Gavin Mason (module leader)
Introduction and summary company profile
An introduction to your paper and to your company including a brief description of the firm and its position within the industry. (Word limit: 300)
Strategic Analysis
For your chosen firm, outline the stages, steps and procedures in the strategic analysis part of the strategic management process; including poignant examples from your chosen firm to highlight theoretical application.
Note: You do not need to actually carry out a fully applied strategic analysis but you should illustrate your theoretical based answer with some specific examples related to your chosen firm. (Word limit: 700- 850 words)
Strategy Formulation
For your chosen firm, outline the stages, steps and processes involved in the formulation of business and corporate strategy as part of the strategic management process.
Note: You do not need to actually carry out a fully applied strategic formulation but you should illustrate your theoretical based answer with some specific examples related to your chosen firm.
(Word limit: 700-850 words)
Strategy Implementation
For your chosen firm, outline the stages, steps and processes involved in the implementation of business or corporate strategy as part of the strategic management process.
Note: You do not need to actually carry out a fully applied strategic implementation but you should illustrate your theoretical based answer with some specific examples related to your chosen firm. (Word limit: 700-850 words)
Conclusion (Word limit: 150 words)
References (no bibliography required)
Appendices
Final Submission: 9 May 2014 (to be confirmed via email, by the SEGI partner)
(Overall maximum word limit; excluding appendices and references is 3,000 words)
The main references are indicated in the module guide and given in the module text book – Henry A. (2011) Understanding Strategic Management 2e Oxford University Press
Please study carefully the assessment criteria and the marking scheme and use it as a guide when writing your report.
Warning: The University’s standard rules and procedures governing assessment regulations apply.
See your module guide for information on the plagiarism detection service.

Commentary on the Assessment Criteria / Marking scheme

Relevance (weighting: 20%)
“Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment”
You need to do what the assignment requires. Read the question or task carefully and do what it asks rather that what you would prefer to do. Keep focused on the task and avoid irrelevant material.
“The aim is to give an outline overview of the ‘strategic management process’. This needs to cover in the three main parts outline overviews of ‘strategic analysis’, ‘strategy formulation’ and ‘strategy implementation’. You need to demonstrate that you understand how each of these stages fits into the strategic management process. You also need to demonstrate that you understand how each of the approaches and techniques fit together and contribute. Remember that an outline overview is all that is required. You do not need to carryout any of the procedures only outline what they involve, how they fit together and how they contribute. The emphasis is on asking the right questions rather than providing the answers. “Under this criterion we are looking to see that you have done the right things rather than the depth of your knowledge, analysis and so on….”

Knowledge (weighting 20%)
“A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues..”
You need to demonstrate your knowledge of the relevant material. Demonstrate to your reader that you really understand the material and that you are not merely paraphrasing. A good use of applications and examples will be useful in doing this.
“Under this criterion we are looking to see that you understand what is meant by the ‘strategic management process’, ‘strategic analysis’, ‘strategy formulation’ ‘strategic implementation’ and their component parts.. There will be a tendency to give definitions either as direct quotations or paraphrased. Students need to demonstrate a real understanding by applying and illustrating the concepts. For example, if you have chosen to focus on a cloth weaving firm then you need to illustrate the concepts as far as possible in relation to cloth weaving.”

Analysis (weighting 20%)
“Good analysis, clear and orderly.”
You need to give a good analysis (explanation) and avoid too much description. Description is relatively superficial whereas analysis gives a deeper explanation.
“Students will tend to describe what is meant by the different stages of the strategic management process and so on. What is needed here is analysis (explanation).For example, when considering the potential impact of fabric safety regulations it is not sufficient to merely say that the regulations will impact on the firms we need some explanation of how they could impact on such a firm”

Argument and Structure (weighting: 20%)
“Generally coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical model(s)”
Your argument needs to be clear, coherent and logical and you should use relevant theoretical models and evidence in support of your argument. Avoid mere assertion. Make sure that you understand what your argument is and avoid merely stringing together a series of points.
“Assertions need to be substantiated either by reference to authoritative sources or by evidence and logical argument. For example, a statement about a firm’s strength in marketing would need to be substantiated by a reference to an authoritative report or article. “This could give it a competitive advantage over rivals because…...............”
Weaknesses in this area would be indicated by marking comments such as ‘Substantiate!’, ‘Why?’, ‘How? and so on..”

Critical Evaluation (weighting 10%)
“May contain some distinctive or independent thinking; may begin to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice.”
To gain these marks you need to be demonstrating your own judgement rather than just relying on the judgements of others. For example, “‘A’ considers that………. ‘B’ considers that……. On balance this report reaches the following conclusion….........”
The requirement of this assignment cannot be completed relying on the work of others so any reasonably successful paper in terms of the earlier criteria should have a fairly high level of originality.

Presentation (weighting 5%)
“Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with acceptable format.”
An “acceptable format” for a report will be relatively formal in style with headings and sub-headings
(See “A Simple Guide to Report Writing”.)

Reference to Literature (weighting: 5%)
“Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature. Recognition of different perspectives. Very good use of source material. Uses a range of sources.” You need to demonstrate a good use of a range and quality of up-to-date materials. Literature use limited to the main text and/or superficial/out-of-date www sources would score badly.

In addition, all work must be referenced correctly using the Harvard style. Marks will be subtracted for poor referencing and more serious cases of plagiarism or collusion will be reported to the Faculty Infringement Panel. (See a guide to Harvard referencing.)

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