1. You are required to complete the Final Assignment outlined below and submit your completed final paper through the RKC Online Campus by the end of Unit 6. Your grade will be based 100% on this final paper, to which you will also receive written feedback.
2. Please ask any questions about the Final Assignment in the Forum.
The Final Assignment is a 4500 words paper. It is strongly advised to start working on it early in the course. Actions:
1. Identify an organisation whose strategies you will examine. We strongly suggest you review your own organisation as it is easier to collect data about it. If that is not possible, for example if you are not working at the moment, then examine an organisation you are personally familiar with. Do not choose a famous name organisation like Google, IBM, Nestle, etc. unless you work for them. Depending on the concept selected in point 3, you may want to reduce the scope to a strategic business unit in a particular geography, as emphasised already in the interim assignment.
2. Using the SWOT you prepared for the Interim Assignment – you should update it based on the feedback we gave you to your Interim Assignment – write a short evaluation of the current
position of the organisation, its environment and the degree of uncertainty and change going on, its strategies in use and the strategic issues it faces.
3. From the evaluation, you need to propose future strategies for the organisation. There may be many alternative options open to the organisation, what are they? Then choose one direction you recommend the organisation goes in? Choose ONE concept from the following list that you argue is the number one priority concept the organisation should focus on:
o Core competencies
o Generic strategies – either cost leadership or differentiation, or focused cost leadership or differentiation, or outpacing.
o Mergers and acquisitions
o CSR and shared value
o Blue ocean strategy
o Capability development and agility
o Culture change
Make an argument to justify your choice.
4. You must demonstrate you have a deep understanding of the concept you apply. You must do this by critically examining the concept. Research a minimum of 10 peer-reviewed articles about the concept from the research literature. Examine what different researchers say about how the concept is used in practice, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how the concept can be adapted or strengthened to make it effective.
The paper should answer the following questions in a three-part structure:
1. SWOT and its explanation – Where is the organisation now, i.e. its SWOT? What are its current strategies and how effective are they? What are the organisation’s main challenges and opportunities?
(Approximately 1000 words, 20% of the marks)
2. Recommended strategy – Of the alternative futures for the organisation, which direction do you recommend the organisation go in, and what needs to be done to go in that direction? What is your argument for your recommendation?
Within that recommended strategy for the desired future, which ONE concept do you recommend the organisation focuses on, as its number one priority? Exploiting its core competencies? Or adapting its choice of generic strategy; or changing its value chain through M and A or alliances or outsourcing; or improving its relationship to society and the environment through better CSR strategies; or developing its own new and unique market through BOS; or carrying on doing what it is doing but improving the way it implements its current strategies through a BSC or similar framework; or developing its current capabilities to become more agile and robust? What is your argument for your recommendation?
(Approximately 1500 words 30% of the marks)
3. Academic analysis – What do the different researchers say are the strengths and weaknesses of the ONE concept you recommend is the main priority, and what is the best way to make the concept work in practice? What does your chosen organisation need to pay attention to make the concept work? (You MUST critically examine the academic literature about the concept, including at least 10 peer-reviewed articles.)
(Approximately 2000 words 50% of the marks)
All sources should be correctly referenced using the Harvard system, as for any professional academic document.
Your report for the Final Assessment will be graded using the University’s grading criteria of: Knowledge and Clarity of Reasoning; Interface between Theory and Practice in the Professional Context; Use of literature; Organisation of Material.
Papers that are excessively long (i.e. exceeding the 4500 word limit of the main report by more than 10%) will not be read beyond the point of the word limit; there is no minimum word limit. Do not put your name on the paper.