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Posted: February 9th, 2023

ASSESSMENT BRIEF Strategy in Practice


Academic year and term: 2022/23 – Semester A
Module title: Strategy in Practice
For further module description see Module Brief.
Assessment deadlines: Individual Poster (4 pages, 750 words max.)

Instructions for assessment: Summative components overview

Components of summative assessment
Individual or group submission? Word count Weighting Must Attempt
Y/N Must Pass
Y/N Sub-components

Poster (4 pages, 750 words) Individual
750 75% N N n/a
Instructions for assessment: poster

For the purpose of this assessment component, you should select one firm from the list of 5 companies given (the list can be found on moodle in the Assessment section).

Please note that you are not asked to provide an in-depth analysis and discussion, it is a poster. You will still need to carry out research and analysis in order to address the requirements. Also, marks will not be allocated for displaying generic models or discussing these, so do not waste your words on description (or critical appraisal) of models you have been asked to use. It is all about application and marks will be allocated only for that. Please follow the brief and do exactly what you were asked to do!


For the chosen company, address the following:

Task 1: Business Environment (20%)

External analysis (business environment).
(In total list 6 to 8 external issues in the business environment. Each issue should be named and concluded as an O or a T. No need to address each category).
Clearly state the industry the chosen company is competing in and the context of your research (e.g. geographical location). Then identify 6-8 external business issues in that environment (clearly naming each and concluding each as an Opportunity or a Threat). There is no need to cover each category (e.g. if there are no important legal issues do not list any). Concentrate on important issues specific to that business environment. Provide a short explanation for each issue listed (200 max. in total for the whole PESTEL; provide sources – in-text references). Use PESTEL table in the template provided (on moodle in the Assessment section) to address this task.

Task 2: Organisation’s resources (20%)

Resources (human, physical, intangible) (10%)
Identify 5 specific and unique resources for the firm (from the following categories: human, physical and intangible) naming each and concluding it as a Strength (S) or a Weakness (W) for the organisation. Provide a short discussion/explanation for each (why do you think it is an S or a W), a maximum of 200 words in total. Use Resources table in the template provided (on moodle in the Assessment section) to address this task and do not forget to provide in-text references as appropriate.

Financial resources (10%)
Calculate (or provide references if obtained from elsewhere) 4 ratios (ROCE, Current, Gearing and Interest Cover or Incoming Gearing) and interpret each ratio (what does it mean for the financial position of the organisation). Is financial position of the organisation their Strength or their Weakness)? Use Financial analysis table in the template provided (on moodle in the Assessment section) to address this task.

Task 3: Organisation’s capabilities (activities/competences) (20%)

Identify important distinctive competences (activities/capabilities) for the organisation using the following models:
• Value Chain: List 7-10 distinctive activities (competences/capabilities) for the organisation (use Value Chain table in the template provided, on moodle in the Assessment section, to address this task).
• VRIO: Select 5 activities from the Value Chain and apply VRIO to these (copy these 5 activities to VRIO table) in search of Core Competences. Use VRIO table in the template provided, on moodle in the Assessment section, to address this task.
• Select one of the competences listed in VRIO table and discuss your reasoning behind V, R and I for that competence (100 words max.). Assume that all activities have Organisational Support (satisfy the O criterion). Use a table in the template provided, on moodle in the Assessment section, to address this task.

Task 4 (40%)
The TOWS matrix is a strategic planning tool used to help organizations identify and evaluate potential opportunities and threats, and to develop strategies to respond to them. The TOWS matrix is an acronym for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths.

To use the TOWS matrix, organizations first identify their internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. They then evaluate the potential impact of these factors on their business and develop strategies to respond to them.

One way to do this is to use the matrix to identify possible strategic options. For example, if an organization has a strength that aligns with an opportunity, they might consider a “strength-opportunity” strategy, which involves leveraging their strength to take advantage of the opportunity. If an organization has a weakness that aligns with a threat, they might consider a “weakness-threat” strategy, which involves addressing the weakness in order to mitigate the threat.

The TOWS matrix can be a useful tool for organizations looking to identify and respond to potential opportunities and threats in their business environment. It can help organizations to better understand their internal and external context and to develop strategies that align with their goals and objectives.
Apply the TOWS matrix (TOWS is provided in the template on moodle in the Assessment section) to recommend a set of new strategic options (at least ONE no more than THREE) for the organisation from 2022 to 2027 in one or more beige/yellow fields of the TOWS. Note that there should not be any new issues listed in blue fields (those are issues you already identified as Os, Ts, Ss and Ws in tasks 1, 2 and 3).

Then choose one of the new strategic options and check its Suitability. While justifying your recommendation (Suitability), make references to findings from Task 1 – PESTEL (reflect upon Opportunities and Threats) and Tasks 2 and 3 (reflect upon what resources and competences/capabilities/activities the company should utilise to ensure successful implementation of your recommendation).Clearly demonstrate what issues have been linked while contemplating each recommendation (e.g. S1,S2,S5,S6-O1,O4).

Poster structure and presentation (10%)

You must use the provided template

You should produce a professional, well written and organised poster (not an essay or a report). You still need to provide evidence to support your arguments (all data should be appropriately referenced). To reduce the word count, it is recommended that you mark in-text references in brackets, for example (1) and then provide a list of references at the end. The list of references does not count towards the word count. You can exceed the word count by 10%.

It is important to write in a clear and concise manner. You need to demonstrate that you understand the models by applying these to the chosen company (resources, financial analysis, Value Chain, VRIO) and its business environment (PESTEL). You also need to make at least one recommendation and demonstrate its suitability (TOWS).

An example is provided on moodle, please make sure that you look at it!

Please see the marking scheme (rubric) on the next page.

Marking scheme (rubric)

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