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Strategic Management for Competitive Advantage

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an individual report (word limit 4,000 words).  This report will consist of the following sections laid out EXACTLY as follows:

  1. Front page, with your name, ID, Seminar Group number, Team number and word count.
  1. Contents (with page numbers)
  1. Introduction: A brief (maximum 50 words) statement of the business objectives (from Assignment A) and a brief (maximum 100 words) summary of the company performance during the game and how far you succeeded in meeting the business objectives; a table showing total sales, total unsold stock, shareholder funds, closing bank balance and outstanding loan at the end of each of the four rounds.  These figures should be in £m, to the nearest £1 million.
  1. Company Performance: A clear analysis and explanation (2000 words) of what happened during the game supported by graphs/tables of key financial and non-financial data for the company. [50%]
Guidance: It is important to show that you now fully understand what happened during the game – even if you didn’t understand during the game.  To so do, you MUST start with the Round 1 forecast of key performance measures (KPMs), compare the Round 1 results with the forecast, explain the differences in detail, and the key issues that arose.  Go on to explain the rationale for the Round 2 decisions, what these were, then present the Round 2 forecast.  Follow this approach for all four rounds.  You should then comment on the trends in KPMs over the game.  The KPMs should include as a minimum production, sales, gross margin, unsold stock, post-tax profit, net cash position and market share.  It is suggested that you discuss suitable KPMs with the tutors for each of the four functional areas.  Effective comparisons with competitors (where possible) will earn additional marks.


  1. Learning: A critical reflection (1000 words) on how the team used the financial, marketing, operations and human resources management material taught during the semester to make responsible business decisions affecting at least one stakeholder group internal to the organisation and at least one stakeholder group external to the organisation. [30%]
Guidance: For each of the decisions, explain how you made the decisions during the game.  Looking back, discuss how you could have made better decisions by making better use of the material taught during the semester, particularly how the functions integrate and how the decisions act in the best interest of the individuals, groups or organisations affected.

Include citations within the text to refer to relevant readings covered in class.


  1. Conclusion: An evaluation (150 words) of the extent to which your organisation met the key strategic objectives set out in part 3 above, with an indication for the reasons these objectives were fully met, partially met or not met at all.


  1. Team Performance: A critical evaluation (700 words) of the performance of the team and a personal reflection on your role in the team [20%].


Guidance: Discuss, for example, the organisation of the team, the effectiveness of the decision-making process, and the roles played by individuals including leadership.  How effective was your contribution to the team?  What did you learn from the game about effective teamwork and decision making?  What would you do differently if you played the game again?  It is important to go beyond simply “telling a story” and to make use of relevant material from the Semester 2 Residential and the Developing Self module.  Make use of the meeting logs that you kept during the game.  Do not talk about the specific areas of contribution, e.g. how you made financial or marketing decisions, but how you developed as a team member and how you would approach a similar exercise differently should such an opportunity arise.


  1. References: Remember that all sources cited in the assignment should appear in the reference list.
  1. Appendices (not more than 6 pages). These should be used for supporting data and can include tables and graphs.  However, Section 4 should include graphs of key data to support the explanation of performance. Key graphs and tables should appear in the body of your work

When submitting Assignments B and C, submit as two separate pieces of work.

Marks will be deducted for reports that do not conform to the structure above and which fall below the presentation and writing standards expected for a professional report.

Submission of Assessment:

Both assignments should conform to the following specification:

  • Word-processed in Arial 11pt, 1½ spacing
  • Each section should start on a new page
  • Pages should be numbered
  • If possible, please print the assignment double-sided
  • Do NOT staple the sheets together.
  • The assignments should be submitted in a polypocket (the type that has a set of holes down one side).
  • Assignments B and C should be submitted as two separate pieces of work.

Marked assignments will be returned to the team/student.  Your mark will be returned on the Assessed Work Form via the Postgraduate Programme Office.

Word limits and penalties for assignments

If the assignment is within +10% of the stated word limit no penalty will apply.

The word count is to be declared on the front page of your assignment and the assignment cover sheet.  The word count does not include:

·      Title and Contents page ·      Reference list ·      Appendices ·      Appropriate tables, figures and illustrations
·      Glossary ·      Bibliography ·      Quotes from interviews and focus groups.

Please note, in text citations [e.g. (Smith, 2011)] and direct secondary quotations [e.g. “dib-dab nonsense analysis” (Smith, 2011 p.123)] are INCLUDED in the word count.

If this word count is falsified, students are reminded that under ARNA page 30 Section 3.4 this will be regarded as academic misconduct.

If the word limit of the full assignment exceeds the +10% limit, 10% of the mark provisionally awarded to the assignment will be deducted.  For example: if the assignment is worth 70 marks but is above the word limit by more than 10%, a penalty of 7 marks will be imposed, giving a final mark of 63

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