On your choice of the target organisation for analysis: You can use any organisation for the analysis, although using your own organisation will provide added value to the experience. If you elect to use an organisation other than ‘your own’ you will be not be disadvantaged in any way. Students have very successfully chosen a wide range of organisations and industries, and completed exceptional assignments by using information from annual reports, the internet, the press and other sources.
Before making your choice, note that the analytical process covered in this course is as valid for the ‘not for profit sector’ as it is for your typical ‘for profit’ organisation. It is true that if you target a ‘not for profit’ some of the analytical tools covered by the course are not indicated however the assessments are designed to enable you to demonstrate your understanding of what you have learned. Where a particular analytical tool or concept cannot be used it is enough for you to demonstrate your understanding of these by demonstrating why they do not fit.
Similarly do not be put off targeting organisations that are in complete strategic chaos, they are great subject material for these assignments, and a lack of access to specific information vary rarely poses a major problem.
Importantly, if you do have any concerns re the choice of the target organisation make contact, we will find the way forward easily enough!
What I am looking for in the assignment:
In broad terms, in marking these assignments I will be looking for the following:
a) An in-depth understanding of the strategic management issues and concepts covered.
b) A crystal clear understanding of the target organisation’s external environment.
c) High level skills in demonstrating an understanding of the organisations resource position, its capabilities and competitiveness.
d) Explicit and detailed use of the indicated concepts and analytical tools from the course.
e) Excellent use of strategic management terminology.
f) Submissions which are well written, structured efficiently and effectively, and which succinctly detail your analysis and conclusions.
g) Correct referencing.
You must demonstrate what you have learned from the course to date, the choice of organisation and the subsequent analysis is the vehicle for you to demonstrate what you know. You will not have access to all the information you require! This is fine! Strategists never do. You may well have make use of a fair bit of poetic license, this is also fine, I am more interested in the use of the concepts, tools and insights from the course than the veracity of information provided.
Other points to note:
1. Although there are three specific questions to address in the assignment, I do not allocate marks to each individual question. You will receive a global mark for each assignment based on the marking template provided. The reason is that your focus may vary depending on the state of ‘your organisation’s’ strategic management. You must address the questions, if you do not, the analysis will not be complete, but I stop short of dictating how much time you should spend on each assignment question.
2. I have allocated 2500 words for the assignment (note the worksheets do not count towards the word count). The worksheets are to be used in putting together your first assignment, they are invaluable, use them.
My role: With respect to the assignment you should view my role as that of a consultant. I am available to help throughout the development of each assignment. I have no doubt that you will all have questions and come across some problem areas. I welcome as many questions as you wish. Please take note of this opportunity and use it!
Structuring your assignments: Make sure you make extensive use of headings and subheadings (make it easy to mark). This course delivers a structured approach to strategic management, use this structure to best advantage when putting your analysis down on paper.
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