This project is the last of four projects. You will generate a pool of alternative strategies, evaluate these alternative strategies, and select the best strategy using the tools and concepts learned throughout the course. You will develop implementation plans, evaluative plans to control the implementation process, and plan for post-evaluation measures. You will also draw from previous business courses to understand how organizations develop and manage strategies to establish, safeguard, and sustain their position in a competitive market.
In this project, you build many different skills, including research, critical thinking, writing, and developing analytical skills related to various financial analysis tools and strategy tools used in business. In addition, you will select optimal strategies, design how to implement them, and evaluate the implementation process of the optimal strategies.
Outcomes Met With This Project:
- Examine the impact of ethical decision making, social responsibility, stakeholder analysis, and corporate governance on organizations and society;
- 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;
- Analyze and synthesize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to generate, prioritize, and implement alternative strategies to revise a current plan or write a new plan and present a strategic plan;
- Evaluate the outcomes of identified strategies to determine their success and impact on short-term and long-term objectives.
Step 1 Course Material and Research
You must research information about the focal company and the environment for this project. You are accountable for using the course materials to support the ideas, reasoning, and conclusions made. Course material’s use goes beyond defining terms and explains 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 research results 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 of 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. The opinion does not earn credit, nor does it use 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.
Step 2 Research
In completing the report, you will use the chapters in the eBook as a guide and perform research on the same company as in Projects 1 and 2. Answer the required elements below in narrative form following the steps.
Note: Your report is based on the research results 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 of any source material that puts together any of the tools or techniques whether from the Internet, for-pay websites, or any document, video or source material. A zero will be earned for not doing your own analysis.
Library Resources (Company Required)
- Statista – All the information needed for your assigned company must be obtained from one of the library’s suggested online company research databases. To use these resources, go to the main navigation bar in the classroom, select Academic Support and then select Library. Next, select Databases by Title (A – Z). Since your primary online company research database is Statista, select S from the alphabet list, and scroll down to select Statista Online.
- Dun and Bradstreet’s Hoovers Database, among others, is another excellent source for company research, competitor, and industry information.
- You can find relevant and significant additional information required for company project research by using https://libguides.umgc.edu/business-research
Additional Library Resources
- Research for Company Financial Ratios: Financial Research.
- Research for Industry Financial Ratios: CSI Market.
- Use “OneSearch” to find scholarly articles by clicking Library under Academic Support on the classroom main menu bar and checkmark “Scholarly Journals Only” prior to starting a search.
Library Support Personal Assistance
- 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. In addition, the UMGC Library provides research assistance in creating search strategies, selecting relevant databases, and evaluating and citing resources in various formats via its “Ask a Librarian” service at https://www.umgc.edu/library/libask/index.cfm.
Step 3 Specific Company for All Four Projects
For this project, your instructor has specifically assigned each student to write an independent report on one focal company. The assigned company must be used for all four projects in this course. You cannot write reports on any other company different from the company specifically assigned by your instructor. Students who fail to use the specifically assigned companies from the list or use an unapproved company will receive a zero for the project.
The company that your instructor has assigned to you will be used for this project.
(The company is Exxon Mobile Corporation)
Step 4 Preparation for the Project
Before you begin writing the report, you will read the following requirements that will help you meet the writing and APA requirements.
- You will be analyzing the selected company. When doing analysis, you are not merely making statements that may be cited. Instead, you will be supporting the statements made. “Support” is the process of explaining, discussing, and analyzing “why” and “how,” which is a higher-level critical analytical skill that is required for this class. Support is needed to do well on this project.
- Read the grading rubric for the project. Then, use the grading rubric while writing the report to ensure all requirements are met, leading to the highest possible grade.
Step 5 How to Set Up the Project
- The document has to be written in Word or RTF. No other format is acceptable. No pdf files will be graded. Use 12-point font for a double-spaced report. The final product is expected 10-12 pages. The final project may not be more than 12 pages, excluding the title page and reference page. Those items identified in the implementation and action plans should appear under the appropriate heading in the paper. Do not use an Appendix.
- Create a title page with the title, your name, date, the course number, and the instructor’s name.Create Topic Headings that correspond to exact sections of the project requirements. Use the exact Headings and Heading Numbers listed below.
Use the following template using the headings to separate elements. Do not use bullets in your paper as the required format is in narrative format with indented paragraphs and no extra space between paragraphs.
I. Executive Summary
(The Executive Summary is the first paragraph of the paper and will describe to the reader the intent of the paper, explaining the main points covered in the paper and summarizing the findings. It is similar to an Abstract commonly found in academic research papers. The Executive Summary should be clearly understood before reading the remainder of the paper so the reader knows exactly what is being covered in the paper. Therefore, write the Executive Summary last to ensure all of the main points are covered.)
Write an Executive Summary explaining the purpose of the report and summarizing the general findings of the report. Use course materials and company research for support.
II. Strategy Generation
- To generate a pool of strategies, you will look at the organization’s business-level strategy, corporate-level strategy, and global strategy.
- Then, using the information and data collected from your research and the analytical outcomes from (a) external factor analysis in your Project 1 and (b) internal factor analysis in Project 2, you will generate a pool of strategies.
- Finally, use the Grand Strategy Matrix from Project 2 to narrow down your strategies a minimum of three strategies that fit in the appropriate quadrant of the Grand Strategy Matrix for your company. Use course materials and company research for support. (Note to maximize your grade in this area a minimum of five strategies should be proposed.)
III. Cultural and Organizational Factors to Consider
Identify and discuss cultural and organizational factors that should be considered in analyzing and choosing among the alternative strategies. Use course materials and company research for support.
IV. Strategy Prioritization using QSPM
(The QSPM produces a composite analysis that allows you to prioritize strategies. A composite analysis is one in which you will bring in a combination of relevant factors from the various analyses (EFE Matrix, IFE matrix, CPM matrix, SWOT, Grand Strategy Matrix, and QSPM). The QSPM is a tool that helps determine the relative attractiveness of feasible alternative strategies based on the external and internal key success factors. (PLEASE See attached for Week Five Tools and Techniques and Instructor’s Notes for Week Five.)
IV. A. – Explain Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix or QSPM – Explain how the QSPM can be developed in order to prioritize strategies. Use course materials to support your explanation.
IV. B – Develop a QSPM – Prioritize strategies by completing the Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix or QSPM. Use course materials to support justifications and conclusions made about this matrix.
V. Strategy Selection and Recommendation
Your strategy selection will be based on the use of the Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) that you completed in Section IV.
V. A. Strategy Selection – Identify which one or two strategies is best using the Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) analysis completed in section IV. Give examples from company research and use course materials for support.
V. B. Strategy Recommendation Details – Expand on the strategy selected in V.A discussing the overall strategy from a corporate, business and functional level and expanding on goals, objectives, and tactics of this recommendation. Use both course materials and company research for support.
VI. Strategy Implementation
VI. A. Strategy Implementation Procedures – Describe procedures for the recommended strategy’s implementation. Use both course materials and company research for support.
VI. B. – Who, What and How – Discuss who, what and how to implement the selected strategy or strategies at the corporate level, business-unit level, and functional level. Use both course materials and company research for support.
VII. Strategy Evaluation
VII. A. Evaluation Procedures – Discuss procedures for strategy review and evaluation for the recommended strategy. Use course materials and company research for support.
VII. B. Evaluative Measures – Discuss the appropriate evaluative measures (including who, what, when, and how at the corporate level, business-unit level, and functional level). Use course materials and company research for support.
VIII. Corrective Action Plan – Discuss a corrective action plan (including who, what, when, and how) at the corporate, business unit, and functional levels. Use course materials and company research for support.
- Create a conclusion. The Conclusion is intended to emphasize the purpose/significance of the analysis, emphasize the significance/consequence of findings, and indicate the wider applications derived from the main points of the project’s requirements. Use course materials and company research for support.
Course materials to use:
Please see attached for previous projects (1,2 & 3) for more information.
Bradley, C., Hirt, M., & Smit, S. (2011, January). Have you tested your strategy lately? McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/have-you-tested-your-strategy-lately
Cook, B. (2012). Strategy evaluation and control [VIDEO]. Finance Learning Academy. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfKLoGZiR4s
Rumelt, R. (2011, June). The perils of bad strategy. McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-perils-of-bad-strategy
The Saylor Foundation. (2014). Mastering Strategic Management. Retrieved from https://learn.umgc.edu/d2l/le/content/525837/viewContent/18557183/View
- Chapter 7: Competing in International Markets (scroll down for link to this chapter)
- Chapter 8: Selecting Corporate-Level Strategies (scroll down for link to this chapter)
- (Brinker, 2014) Strategy, Marketing, and Technology are all Intertwined
- (Hansen & Nohria, 2004) How to Build Collaborative Advantage
Tools and Techniques: