Situational Strategic Management Concept
SIMPLE MATRIX AND STARTING THE ANALYSIS Some suggestions on how to start the past and present analysis: Written Assignments and Good English
• Start with considering the external strategy components and MCPOs 1–4, i.e., in the top left-hand corner of the matrix.
• Consider MCPO 1, customer value, and look at SC 1, strategy connections, and SC 2, KSFs and competitive advantage, to find information on value, KSF and competitive advantage delivery and performance. (Use the marketing mix variables as headings for information search.)
• If it makes sense, e.g., if there is financial information such as income statements and balance sheets, stay with SC 1 and SC 2 and do MCPO 3, financial performance, based on the analysis of the financial information.
• If there is market and customer information, e.g., size of market and segments, and market shares of the company and competitors, stay with SC 1 and SC 2 and move to MCPO 3, market performance, based on analysis of the market information.
• If there is not much information evident re. MCPOs 5, 6, and 7 do not bother with them at this point. They can be revisited later.
• Go back to MCPO 1 for customer value and work through strategy components SC 3 to SC 5. Analyse these strategy components looking to see whether and how they deliver customer value, or not. Again, there may be limited information but it is usually a good idea to get as much as can be found for all of SCs 3, 4, and 5. This information search may throw up more questions than answers.
• The above suggestions can give a way into any case and provide a basic backbone for the analysis. MCPOs not addressed for any of the strategy components then can be considered as they may be perceived relevant, or as information may be available.
STYLE AND FORMAT FOR WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS
Assignment reports should be written in the third person (i.e. he or she).
When analyzing the situation, be specific and precise in the information and findings presented—stick to the facts and do not make value judgements. For example, if a company has a lower price than its competitors, state the prices and make the finding that it is lower. Do not say that the company has a price advantage. Whether or not the company has a price advantage should be an analytical conclusion, not an intuitive judgement at the outset. For example, you may find companies whose products are lower than competitors in functionality and quality, and these companies will charge lower prices, accordingly. This is not a price advantage, per se.
Avoid “marketing speak,” for example,
• “This product is viral.”
• “The ABC company owns this market.” (No company ever owns a market!)
There is no need for a letter of transmittal. There is no need to bind the report or to put it in a folder. A cover page with student and course information and a staple or clip in the top left-hand corner is sufficient.
Layout of the report should be simple and straightforward. A Times New Roman 11pt or 12pt, or Bookman Old Style 11pt font can be used, and 1½ spacing is preferred. Fancy headings, different fonts, page borders, etc., are not necessary. Main headings can be in bold and capitalized. Pages should be numbered, preferably in the top right-hand corner.
When referring to a company as a whole use singular rather than plural, i.e., “it” rather than “they”.
Do NOT use:
• magazine-style contractions, such as, “isn’t”, “doesn’t”, “won’t”, “what’s”, “that’s” and “it’s”.
• American spellings, especially for words ending in “-our”, such as “labour” (not “labor) or “honour” (not “honor”).
• American-isms, such as adding “-y” to words such as “competence” (not “competency”) or “dependence” (not “dependency”).
Figures and tables can be included as exhibits at the end of the written text. There is no need to insert exhibits into the text. There is no need to put each exhibit in a separate appendix with all of the wasted paper that this involves. Exhibits should be numbered sequentially, should have a heading, and should be appropriately referred to in the text of the analysis or report. Case exhibits need not be reproduced in the report, and can be referred to as such.
Data and information can be tabulated, and a listing from highest to lowest values is usually effective unless there is reason to do otherwise. When tabulating data and information for a number of years it is usually effective to put years at the top of the table, for each column, and items of data or information as rows. Rows and columns should be properly and correctly labelled and include dimensions, e.g., units, dollars or percent.
Unformatted and unlabelled printouts of working copies of Excel spreadsheets are not acceptable as exhibits.
Pie charts and histograms should not be included unless they really do show something that a table does not. When including graphs or histograms the axes must be labelled and the data that are plotted also must be included or clearly referenced. Three-dimensional graphs, histograms or charts should not be used.
Although additional references are not expected in the case report, students are advised that the preferred format for documentation in the Faculty of Business Administration is the APA style.
REFERENCES: APA CITATION STYLE EXAMPLES
The citation style examples below follow the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). For more detailed explanations or additional examples consult the APA Style website.
APA uses the author-date in-text citation method, in which the surname of the author and year of publication are inserted in the text of the paper or article, e.g., (Jones, 2005) or, Jones (2005).
• To cite a specific part of a source, a page number can also be given, e.g., (Jones, 2005, p. 55).
• Where reference is made to more than one work by the same author, published in the same year, identify each citation in the text as follows: (Jones, 2005a, 2005b).
• Where reference is made to a work by two authors, cite as: (Smith & Jones, 2008).
• Where multiple authors are listed in the reference, cite in the text as: (Murphy et al, 2008).
A single alphabetical reference list is included at the end of the paper, formatted according to the examples below.
• Firestone, X. (2003). Employment problems and drop-outs in the transition from school to work. The Canadian Review of Sociology, 36(5), 236–248.
• Sanders, D. (2006, May 6). All in a day’s work. Maclean’s, 129(32), 4–11.
• Carpenter, V. (2007, April 7). Canadian universities scramble for students. The Globe and Mail, p. A3.
• Smith, B., & Brown, F. (2005). The gourmet guide for eating thin. New York: St. Jude’s Publishers.
Entry in an Encyclopedia
• Roll, Q. (2002). Sociology of institutional life. In Canadian Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioural Sciences (Vol. 16, pp. 1105–1112). New York: Pearson.
APA makes a distinction between two broad categories of electronic sources:
1. electronic versions of print sources: for a document which is an exact duplicate of a print version (often in PDF or page-image form), APA suggests following the format for the print form with the insertion of the phrase “[Electronic version]” after the title. References to most e-journal articles may follow this format. References to other document types based on print versions, such as e-books or online encyclopedia articles, may either follow this format or the alternate format described in the note that follows the examples below. (Specific examples for the alternate format are not provided.
2. Documents that are NOT duplicates of print sources: APA requires the inclusion of a retrieval statement that gives the date retrieved, and the source (URL or database) for a document that is:
a. only available in electronic form, or
b. has been somehow changed or reformatted from a print version (often in HTML or plain text form, and with no page numbers indicated), or
c. has additional data not in the print version,
E-Journal Article (based on a print version)
• Bile, T., & Hoskins, K. (2004). Information literacy in the selection of information by undergraduates [Electronic version]. Journal of Library Research, 8, 11–18.
E-Journal Article from a Database (reformatted)
• Swift, D., & Gordon, S. (2008). The impacts of cruise ships on a tourist location: Some evidence from Newfoundland. Review of Travel and Tourism, 43(1), 363–372. Retrieved January 9, 2009, from Business Current Info database.
E-Journal Article from an Internet-Only Journal
• Tambur, R. (2005). Teenagers and fast-food: An examination of the Canadian experience. Real Good Info, 13(2). Retrieved June 4, 2005, from http://realgoodinfo.com/issue13_2/tambur/index.html
Newspaper Article from a Database
• Wright, J. (2003, October 3). New national study into hearing loss caused by digital devices. The Evening Telegram. Retrieved January 6, 2004, from ReportScan database.
• Taylor-Swift, K. (2004). Living on the street: What you do to survive. Boston: College Press. Retrieved October 6, 2005, from local.elibrary.ca/elib/Doc=16098332
Entry in an Online Encyclopedia
• Dolmont, Z. (2003). Sociology of student experience. In International Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Studies. Retrieved November 23, 2004, from iz.mix.org/11.12376/DE-68-1563874-3/05018
Stand-Alone Website (no author or date of publication/update given)
• The Center for Risk Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2006, from RiskAssessment.Edu/
Specific Document on a Website
• Racine, T. (2007). AIG = Arrogance, Incompetence and Greed. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from New York University, Operation Bailout
Note on indenting, italics and spacing
Some instructors still prefer the older APA method, which requires regular paragraph (first-line) indents instead of hanging indents, and underlining of titles instead of italics. APA continues to allow for these alternatives. Also note that APA normally requires double-spacing, but does allow the option of single spacing references.
For more citation style examples and additional details see:
• Publication Manual of The American Psychological Association (5th ed.). (2001).
• APA Style.org: Electronic References
THE WRITING CENTRE
Students who are able to travel to the St. John’s campus may wish to access the services of the Writing Centre, Room SN 2053, tel. (709) 864–3168 or (709) 864–7681.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD WRITING
These are described in University Regulation 4.8.3, as follows:
University Regulation 4.8.3
Students at all university levels should have reasonably sophisticated and effective communication skills and are expected to demonstrate proficiency in logical organization, clarity of expression and grammatical correctness. Good writing is expected of students in all courses. Upon graduation students should be capable of expressing complicated ideas clearly and concisely and should be able to develop arguments in a logical manner. When, in the judgement of the instructor, a student persistently fails to display a reasonable standard of writing, the instructor may consider this when assigning a final grade.
Good writing is characterized by the following qualities:
• critical insight and freshness of thought,
• clear and penetrating ideas,
• perceptive, pure grasp of subject,
• intelligent use of primary and secondary sources, and
• a sense of completeness about the handling of the topic.
• effective introduction and conclusion,
• main idea is clear and logical development follows,
• smooth transitions, and
• good use of details.
• appropriate, accurate, precise and idiomatic diction, and
• sentences varied in kind, length and effect.
• consistently correct spelling,
• accurate use of punctuation,
• grammatically correct sentences, and
• well organized paragraphing.
WRITING STYLE AND MECHANICS: ERRORS AND PENALTIES
In line with University Regulation 4.8.3., and over and above Content and Organization, writing Style and Mechanics will be assessed as follows:
• Occasional and minimal stylistic or mechanical errors will be ignored.
• For each instance of seriously bad style, and for each serious mechanical error students can expect one mark to be deducted.
• Where there is a continuing, systemic spelling or grammatical error, students can expect one mark to be deducted for each occurrence of the error.
As has been stated above, do NOT:
• use magazine-style contractions, such as, “isn’t”, “doesn’t”, “won’t”, “what’s”, “that’s” and “it’s”.
• use American spellings, especially for words ending in “-our”, such as “labour” (not “labor) or “honour” (not “honor”).
• use American-isms, such as adding “-y” to words such as “competence” (not “competency”) or “dependence” (not “dependency”).
• use taken-for-granted American abbreviations such as, “tv” to mean “television” and “ads” to mean “advertisements.”
Students can expect one mark to be deducted for each occurrence of any of these usages.
EXAMPLES OF SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS
Particular examples of such errors that continually occur in written assignments are noted below.
1. Incorrect usage of the words: “company’s” versus “companies,” “strategy’s” versus “strategies,” “industry’s” versus “industries,” and other similar pairs of words.
2. Incorrect usage of the words:
o principle versus principal
o effect versus affect
o complement versus compliment
SIMPLE MATRIX AND STARTING THE ANALYSIS
Some suggestions on how to start the past and present analysis:
Written Assignments and Good English