One of the objectives of this class is to increase your awareness of and experience with group dynamics. To facilitate this learning, your instructor will assign students into teams of 3-4 members each.
A second objective is to apply the principles and concepts of strategy that you will learn in class to become an effective manager. Thus, to complete this project, you will assume the role of management consultants. Your team will contact, meet, gain cooperation with, and collect information from managers in a firm of your choice. You will also conduct secondary (library) research and synthesize analyses based on what is learned in both pursuits.
You will be expected to apply concepts and models from each chapter in the book in your project. You will execute an analysis of the firm’s present situation and recommend a future direction for your chosen enterprise. Too, you will be expected to integrate your knowledge of all chapters – to tell a consistent story – across each segment of the project. Thus, one key to your project will be recognizing whether your firm has attained a sustained competitive advantage, a sustained competitive disadvantage, or neither. A second key will be explaining why the firm has performed in this manner. Finally, a third key will be recommending what future course(s) of action might improve the firm’s performance.
A guideline for the final project is provided below.
FIRM INTRODUCTION: Briefly summarize, in approximately one page or less, your chosen firm. This can include the history of your chosen firm, its products and markets, its geographic diversification, its relative size, its organizational structure, its competitors, its ownership, etc. This description should occupy one page at most!
FINANCIAL ANALYSIS: Conduct a thorough financial assessment of the firm and its peers. Use the measures of return we have discussed in class. Compare your firm’s performance to relevant competitors over at least five years here. A thorough analysis will also include examination of the firms’ financial statements for obvious anomalous changes (e.g., extraordinary items), identification of such anomalies, and correction for such anomalies if possible. Other firm financial data may also be included if it is relevant to your story. You should conclude, based on your financial analysis, whether your firm has a sustained advantage, a sustained, disadvantage, or neither.
VISION / MISSION / OBJECTIVES: Identify the current vision, mission, and high-level objectives of your chosen firm. Evaluate these statements in light of your firm’s competitive position and in light of what we have learned about such statements during the course.
EXTERNAL ANALYSIS: Utilize models we have discussed in class to assess the firm’s environment. This should include models of the general (macro-) environment, the task environment (Porter’s Five Forces), and competition (strategic group maps). You should assess whether your firm’s environment is favorable, unfavorable, or neutral. In addition, it is very important that you address how the firm’s environment might be changing over time. The result of this exercise should be the identification of opportunities and threats which will be addressed in your recommendations section.
INTERNAL ANALYSIS: Utilize models we have discussed in class to assess the firm’s strengths and weaknesses. This can include assessments using models of resources and capabilities, generic strategies, and value chains. Classification into tangible resources, intangible resources, and combinations of resources may help support your arguments, especially those concerning sustained advantage. This section should result in a clear identification of your firm’s key strengths and weaknesses which will also be utilized in your recommendations section.
STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONS: Based upon your conclusions regarding your firm’s competitive position (advantage/disadvantage), the opportunities and threats it faces in its environment, and its strengths and weaknesses, identify and recommend the major strategic options your firm should pursue in the future. You may draw upon the models presented in Chapters 6-8 in framing this discussion.
STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION: Use the models presented in your book’s Chapter 10 to explain how you will implement your recommendations.
CONCLUSION: Briefly summarize the team project and provide concluding remarks in approximately one page or less.
The project output includes:
– A written report consisting of 9 pages (minimum) to 10 pages (maximum), word processed, 11-point Arial font, double-spaced with 1” margins. Page count excludes cover page (required), references (required), and appendices (graphs, tables, charts, etc). Evaluations will be based on the quality of the analysis and strategic recommendations, conciseness, professionalism, etc. (see the Rubrics below).
– An oral presentation to the class (not to exceed 15 minutes) scheduled towards the end of the semester. Professionalism is assumed.The presentation should encapsulate and summarize the main points outlined in the guideline above and include substantial visual aids (PowerPoint, Prezi, or film).