1. Report :

Appropriate headings in the individual report might include:

– Executive Summary: Assessment of current business level and corporate strategy and the capacity to sustain competitive advantage.

– Body: Findings from external and internal analysis utilising the Business Systems Model and Porters Five Forces (referring to appendices). The link to theory is established.

– Conclusion: Key strategic issues/findings (at least 2) related to the firm’s current performance, issues it faces and options and recommendations for the future.

– Reference list

– Appendices: In-depth analysis conducted before the report is written.

For the internal analysis students are required to demonstrate an understanding of the distinctions between resources and capabilities together with the capacity to identify strategic capabilities.

For the external analysis students are required to comment on the organisation’s industry context and overall competitive landscape.

2. Appendices

Only two (2) analytical tools must be used to be capable of completing this report. The Components of a Business System (p.104 of text) with analysis of the Resource Base/ Stock of Assets (tangible and intangible, relational and competencies see text p. 116), Activity System (complete a generic value chain analysis p. 114 of text) and Product Offering / Value Proposition must be used. Porters Five Forces Industry analysis (text p.335) must also be undertaken.

Any data and information completed during research should be placed into appendices. The report should refer to these appendices but focus on the findings in the body. The findings are discussed in the report body and linked to a central argument about the firm’s current performance, issues it faces and options and recommendations for the future. The report must be underpinned with solid contemporary research showing an understanding of strategy process, content and context.

Extensive description of data without critical evaluation and analysis will score very low marks.

When identifying key strategic issues students should consider the extent of alignment between the organisations internal capabilities and its changing industry and market. “Gaps” should be identified and options to address those “gaps” evaluated. This involves the use of both analysis and critical thinking.

Both the above assessment of the company’s alignment with its environment and the evaluation of future strategic options must be underpinned by the individual’s competent use of appropriate business and industry level analytical tools. The report however should only include the conclusions and summative discussion from this analysis (detailed results from the analysis should only be presented in appendices not in the body).

Recommendations for the organisation need to be provided as a result of the individual investigation. An explanation needs to be provided as to how and why this recommendation is the one that will provide the company with sustained competitive advantage (supported with theory and data analysis).

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