Strategic Management

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Project 1:  Starting an External Environmental Analysis 

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BMGT 495 - Project 1:  Starting an External Environmental Analysis (Week 2)

NOTE:  All  submitted work is to be your original work (only your work). You may  not use any work from another student, the Internet or an online  clearinghouse.  You are expected to understand the Academic Integrity  Policy, and know that it is your responsibility to learn about  instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper  citation of sources as specified in the APA Publication Manual, 7th Ed.  (You are held accountable for in-text citations and an associated  reference list only). 

Project 1 is due Tuesday by 11:59 p.m. eastern time of week 2 unless otherwise changed by the instructor.

Purpose:  

This  project is the first of four projects.  This project provides the first  steps in completing an external environmental analysis of your focal  company’s strategic management plan.   You will use tools and apply  concepts learned in this and previous business courses to demonstrate an  understanding of how organizations develop and manage strategies to  establish, safeguard and sustain their competitive positions in the 21st century’s (rapidly evolving/shifting/changing), uncertain hyper-competitive business environment. 

Completing  a company overview and assessing the general environment is a key  aspect of performing an external environment analysis.  This project  provides you with the opportunity to evaluate the competitive position  of one of the organizations listed below and integrate that information  in the beginnings of an external environmental analysis. 

The  company you will be analyzing operates within the global market.  You  will assess the company in terms of the global industry.  Industries  differ widely in their economic characteristics, competitive situation  and future profit potential.

In  this project, you are presenting a report document.  The expectation is  that the report provides the level of details to help the audience  grasp the main topics and to understand the General Environment. 

Analysis  is the operative word.  In analyzing the external environment, you are  expected to thoroughly research and take that research and break it into  small parts to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the  external environment of the business.  In researching an industry, it is  important to understand that every company within an industry is  different so gathering information on one company does not mean that the  collected information is relevant to other companies within that  industry.  When researching, parsing the material is critical to an  accurate analysis.  Avoid presenting just any information as that may  lead to using irrelevant information.

You  will then write the report in your own words to share the external  analysis.  You are expected to present information and support the ideas  and reasoning using the course material and your research.  You will  not lift any information from source documents without properly citing  and referencing.  For the technical analysis aspect of the project, you  are required to create the technique on your own and may not use from  any source material that you happen to find.  No work from a  clearinghouse or similar website may be used or cited as a credible  source. 

Outcomes Met With This Project:

  • utilize a set of useful analytical skills, tools, and techniques for analyzing a company strategically;
  • integrate  ideas, concepts, and theories from previously taken functional courses  including accounting, finance, market, business and human resource  management;

Instructions:

In  completing the report, you will use the chapters in the eBook and other  course material. Moreover, you will perform research on the company and  its industry before responding, in narrative form, to the information  provided in the steps (see below). 

Step 1:  Specific Company for All Four Projects

In this project, you will complete a Company Overview, an Evaluation of the General Environment and a conclusion.

You  will be assigned by your instructor one focal company to complete the  analysis.  The assigned company must be used for all four projects in  this course. You are not allowed to write the report on any other  company different from the company specifically assigned by your  instructor.  If a company other than that assigned to you is used, a  zero will be assigned.

The  instructor will assign you a company from the list below.  (Students  may not select the company).  All companies can be found on Mergent  Online.

  • Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE)
  • BHP Group Ltd. (NYS: BHP)
  • Tesla Inc. (NYS: TSLA)
  • Kraft Heinz Co. (NYS: KHC)
  • Students  must complete the project using the assigned company.  Deviating from  the assigned company will result in a zero for the project.  You will  look for the company assigned to you in the Announcement area of the  classroom.

Step 2:  Course Materials and Research

  • You  are required to research information about the focal company and the  external environment for this project. You are accountable for using the  course materials to support the ideas, reasoning and conclusions made.   Course materials use goes beyond defining terms but is used to explain  the 'why and how' of a situation.  Using one or two in-text citations  from the course materials and then relying on Internet source material  will not earn many points on the assignment.  A variety of source  material is expected and what is presented must be relevant and  applicable to the topic being discussed.   Avoid merely making  statements but close the loop of the discussion by explaining how something happens or why something happens,  which focuses on importance and impact.  In closing the loop, you will  demonstrate the ability to think clearly and rationally showing an  understanding of the logical connections between the ideas presented  from the research, the course material and the question(s) being asked.
  • Note: Your  report is based on the results of the research performed and not on any  prepared documentation.  What this means is that you will research and  draw your own conclusions that are supported by the research and the  course material rather than the use any source material that puts  together any of the tools or techniques whether from the Internet,  for-pay websites or any pre-prepared document, video or source  material.  A zero will be earned for not doing your own analysis.
  • Success:  The  analysis is based on research and not opinion.  You are not making  recommendations and you will not attempt to position the focal company  in a better or worse light than other companies within the industry  merely because you are completing an analysis on this particular  company.  The analysis must be based on factual information.  Any  conclusions drawn have to be based on factual information rather than  leaps of faith.  To  ensure success, as stated above, you are expected to use the course  materials and research on the focal company's global industry and the  focal company.  Opinion does not earn credit nor does using external  sources when course materials can be used.  It is necessary to provide  explanations (the why and how) rather than making statements.   Avoid  stringing one citation after another as doing so does not show detailed  explanations. Also, page and paragraph numbers are required for  all citations in this course. See the Checklist under Step 5 for an  explanation about providing this information from this class's ebook or  from videos.

Library Resources

  • On  the main navigation bar in the classroom select, Resources and then  select Library.  Select Databases by Title (A - Z).  Select M from the  alphabet list, and then select Mergent Online.  You should also be  looking at the focal company's Annual Report or 10K report on either  Mergent or your focal company's website.  Dun and Bradstreet's Hoovers  Database is also an excellent source comparable to Mergent and has  significant industry competitor information. The point is, you need not  depend on any one resource to complete the analysis.  For example, it is  impossible to complete a PESTEL analysis by using only course material.  (See Dr. Kathy's Notes for Week Two for how to cite and  reference information from Mergent, as well as how to cite and reference  information from a company's Annual Report).
  • You should not be using obscure articles, GlassDoor, or Chron or similar types of articles.  
  • Research for Financial Analysis: Financial Research
  • Research for Industry Analysis.  Note that your focal company may or may not be found on this link, but  your focal company's industry is. See Dr. Kathy's Notes for Week Two for  which Industry you should be analyzing. CSI Market 
  • UMGC library is available for providing resources and services. Seek library support for excellence in your academic pursuit.  
  • The  Analysis provided for this project must be your own. Using Tables or  Analyses that are already developed and available on the Internet will  result in a zero. Remember all Projects are submitted to Turnitin.

Library Support

  • Extensive library resources and services are available online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at https://www.umgc.edu/library/index.cfm to support you in your studies.  The UMGC Library provides research assistance in creating search strategies,  selecting relevant databases, and evaluating and citing resources in a  variety of formats via its Ask a Librarian service at https://www.umgc.edu/library/libask/index.cfm.
  • Scholarly Research in OneSearch is allowed.
  • To  search for only scholarly resources, you are expected to place a check  mark in the space for "Scholarly journals only" before clicking search.

Step 3: How to Set Up the Report:

  • The  document must be written in Word or rtf.  No other format is  acceptable.  Pdf files will not be graded.  Use 12-point font for a  double-spaced report.  The final product should  be approximately 6-8 pages in length, but should not be longer than 8  pages in length, which includes all tables and matrices but excludes the  title page and reference page.  Do not use an Appendix.
  • Create a title page with title, your name, the course number, the instructor's name.
  • Use section headings and numbering as outlined below.

Step 4: Write  the Report - The Report should be written in sections with section  headings and section numbering as outlined in red below (heading numbers  and titles are listed below in red font for you ease of identification.  Red font should not be used in your assignment).

I. Company Overview - Provide  a company overview, which is an essential component to the strategic  management process.  The company overview includes the purpose(s) for  the founding of the company, i.e, what problems was it formed to solve  and/or opportunities it was formed to exploit, who are the founders,  home country or state, current management, employee headcount, last  year’s revenue, etc.).

II. Evaluation of the General Environment

i. Global Industry -  Identify the global industry in which the company operates.  This will  come from Mergent Online. (See instructions above for how to access  Mergent Online.) This is a CRITICAL first step for the rest of this  course! If multiple industries are identified for your company, click on  the link "Business Segments" under Company Details. Focus on the  business segment with the most revenue. See Dr. Kathy's Notes for more  details.

ii. PESTEL Analysis  - Discuss the company's general environment by developing a PESTEL  analysis.  First, use the course material to identify the elements of  the PESTEL and what components make up each element.  Then, complete the  analysis using research on the industry and the focal company. Be sure  to thoroughly present and support the reasoning for what is presented.   You may not use a PESTEL analysis that is already completed and  available on the Internet.   A zero will result if used as the analysis  has to be the result of your research and your own development.  NOTE:   A PESTEL analysis is not a table and it is not a bulleted assessment.

iii. Six Key Trends - Identify and discuss one key trend for each letter of the PESTEL for the industry (six in total).  Key trends are separate from the PESTEL analysis.

iv. One Key Trend for this Company - Select one of the six trends identified in the previous requirement and discuss how the focal company  could be affected by this selected trend. This is different from the  last question, which requires a discussion about the trends for the  industry.

v. Areas of Uncertainty  - Discuss key areas of uncertainty related to the identified trend for  the focal company that could potentially impact the company's strategy.

vi. Strategic Analysis  - Perform a strategic analysis of the company's mission, vision and  objectives. (Note in some cases a company may only have a published  mission and not a published vision, or vice versa. If that is the case,  indicate as such.)

III. Conclusion - Create  a concluding paragraph.  The Conclusion is intended to emphasize the  purpose/significance of the analysis, emphasize the  significance/consequence of findings, and indicate the wider  applications that are derived from the main points of the project’s  requirements.  You will draw conclusions about the findings of the  external environment analysis.

Step 5:  Review the Paper 

Read the paper to ensure all required elements are present.

The  following are specific requirements that you will follow.  Use the  checklist to mark off that you have followed each specific  requirement.  

   

Checklist


Specific Project Requirements

 


Proofread your paper

 


Read  and use the grading rubric while completing the paper to ensure all  requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade. 

 


Third  person writing is required.  Third person means that there are no words  such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use  of “you or your” (second person writing).  If uncertain how to write in  the third person, view this link: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person

 


Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them.  

 


Paraphrase  and do not use direct quotations.  Paraphrase means you do not use more  than four consecutive words from a source document.  Removing quotation  marks and citing is inappropriate.  Instead put a passage from a source  document into your own words and attribute the passage to the source  document.  There should be no passages with quotation marks.  Using more  than four consecutive words from a source document would require direct  quotation marks.  Changing words from a passage does not exclude the  passage from having quotation marks.   If more than four consecutive  words are used from source documents, this material will not be included  in the grade.  

 


You  are expected to use the research and weekly course materials to develop  the analysis and support the reasoning.   There should be a robust use  of the course material.  Material used from a source document must be  cited and referenced.  A reference within a reference list cannot exist  without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.  Changing words  from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation  marks.   

 


Use in-text citations and provide a reference list that contains the reference associated with each in-text citation.

 


You  may not use books in completing this problem set unless part of the  course material.  Also, do not use a dictionary, Wikipedia or  Investopedia or similar sources. You may not use Fern Fort University, Ibis World or any other for-fee website.  

 


Provide  the page or paragraph number in every in-text citation presented.  If  the page numbers in the eBook are not visible to you, include the  chapter title and topic heading.  Page or paragraph numbers are not  required for citations of videos or podcasts in this course.

 Step 6:  Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder (The  assignment submitted to the Assignment Folder will be considered  the student's final product and therefore ready for grading by the  instructor.  It is incumbent upon the student to verify the assignment  is the correct submission.  No exceptions will be considered by the  instructor).

Self-Plagiarism: Self-plagiarism  is the act of reusing significant, identical or nearly identical  portions of one's own work.  You cannot re-use any portion of a paper or  other graded work that was submitted to another class even if you are  retaking this course.  

NOTE:  All  submitted work is to be your original work. You may not use any work  from another student, the Internet or an online clearinghouse.  You are  expected to understand the Academic Integrity Policy, and know that it  is your responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic  expectations with regard to proper citation of sources as specified in  the APA Publication Manual, 7th Ed. (Students are held accountable for  in-text citations and an associated reference list only). 

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