Tool Analysis Research Paper

Purpose

This project is the second of four projects.  It also represents the second part of the external environmental analysis that is part of a strategic management plan.  You will use the 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 its competitive position in the 21st century’s (rapidly evolving/shifting/changing), uncertain hyper-competitive business environment.

Monitoring competitors’ performance 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 a partial SWOT (OT), Porter’s Five Forces, External Factor Evaluation (EFE) matrix and Competitive Profile Matrices (CPM).

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 and complete the External Environmental Analysis.

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 company 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.

Skill Building

In this project, you are building many different skills including research, critical thinking, writing and developing analytical skills related to various financial analysis tools and strategy tools used in business.

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;
  • analyze and synthesize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to generate, prioritize, and implement alternative strategies in order to revise a current plan or write a new plan and present a strategic plan

Instructions:

Step 1Specific Company for All Four Projects

The companies that your instructor has assigned to you for Project 1 is the company you will use for this project.  The assigned company must be used for this project and in subsequent projects in the course.  Students must complete the project using the assigned company.  Deviating from the assigned company will result in a zero for the project.

After reading the course material, you will complete the steps below.

Step 2:  Course Material and Research

Although you are required to research information about the focal company and the external environment for this project, you are also accountable for using the course material to support the ideas, reasoning and conclusions made.  Course material 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 material and then relying on Internet source material will earn few points on this 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 student are expected to use the course material 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 material 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.

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 may also use Market Line and should be looking at the focal company’s Annual Report or 10K report.  You are not depending on any one resource to complete the analysis.  It is impossible to complete a Porter’s Five Forces, competitive analysis or OT by using only course material.

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