1. [critically] Evaluate the impact of current and emerging trends on organizations.
2. Demonstrate an ability to effectively analyse problems and issues employing a range of appropriate concepts, theories and approaches.
3. Apply tools and techniques of strategic and operations analysis.
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4. Develop succinct business reports.
Assessment guidelines Produce a 4500-word report (+/- 10%) (excluding the list of references) which offers students the ability to demonstrate their developing knowledge and application of the teaching and learning material covered in weeks 1 to 5. It also encourages students to develop their thoughts and perspectives on contemporary business issues, and be intellectually creative (underpinned by credible resources).
Task Students are required to produce a report (LO8) on one international organization of their choosing and address the following issues:
Task 1: Brief introduction to the organisation and sector it operates in, including a summary of the past 3 years’ revenue, operating profits and general overview of the business’s operational activities (LO2).
Task 2: An outline of one strategic business issue they are, or have recently, faced; contextualised within the organisational setting, including an overview of relevant strategic decisions that led to their current position (discussed through relevant literature, tools and techniques) (LO2/3).
Task 3: Critical analysis of why the issue has strategic implications and its impact on its stakeholders (discussed through relevant literature and supported by other contemporary examples) (LO2/6).
In selecting the company to analyse, students will want to spend time identifying an international organization which has experienced, or is experiencing, major issues as a result of current and emerging global trends, and satisfy themselves that there are a number of credible resources from which to refer.
Well established media (e.g. BBC, Financial Times, New York Times, etc) may be used to develop the context of the discussion, but the material used to underpin the research and analysis should be from academic books and/or peer reviewed academic journals.
What is a Report? A report is written for a clear purpose and to a particular audience. Specific information and evidence are presented, analysed and applied to a particular problem or issue. The information is presented in a clearly structured format making use of sections and headings so that the information is easy to locate and follow.
When you are asked to write a report, you will usually be given a report brief which provides you with instructions and guidelines. The report brief may outline the purpose, audience and problem or issue that your report must address, together with any specific requirements for format or structure. This guide offers a general introduction to report writing.
What makes a good Report?
Two of the reasons why reports are used as forms of written assessment are:
• to find out what you have learned from your reading, research or experience;
• to give you experience of an important skill that is widely used in the work place.
An effective report presents and analyses facts and evidence that are relevant to the specific problem or issue of the report brief. All sources used should be acknowledged and referenced throughout, in accordance with the preferred method of your department. The style of writing in a report is usually less discursive than in an essay, with a more direct and economic use of language. A well written report will demonstrate your ability to:
• understand the purpose of the report brief and adhere to its specifications;
• gather, evaluate and analyse relevant information;
• structure material in a logical and coherent order;
• present your report in a consistent manner according to the instructions of the report brief;
• make appropriate conclusions that are supported by the evidence and analysis of the report;
• make thoughtful and practical recommendations where required.
The structure of a Report
The main features of a report are described below to provide a general guide. These should be used in conjunction with the instructions or guidelines provided by your department.
This should briefly but explicitly describe the purpose of the report (if this is not obvious from the title of the work); remember to add your name and student number/assessment number, and which assessment it pertains to.
The summary should briefly describe the content of the report. It should cover the aims of the report, what was found and a brief review of the conclusions. Aim for about 1/2 a page in length and avoid detail or discussion; just outline the main points. Remember that the summary is the first thing that is read. It should provide the reader with a clear, helpful overview of the content of the report.
Contents (Table of Contents)
The contents page should list the different chapters and/or headings together with the page numbers. Your contents page should be presented in such a way that the reader can quickly scan the list of headings and locate a particular part of the report. You may want to number chapter headings and subheadings in addition to providing page references. Whatever numbering system you use, be sure that it is clear and consistent throughout.
Introduction (500 words)
The introduction sets the scene for the main body of the report. The aims and objectives of the report should be explained in detail. Any problems or limitations in the scope of the report should be identified, and a description of research methods, the parameters of the research and any necessary background history should be included.
Information under this heading may include: a list of research methods used (e.g. literature review using ProQuest resources and the filter criteria applied for each search) and other sources of information and details of selection/rejection; reference to any problems encountered and subsequent changes in procedure.
The main body of the report is where you discuss your material. The literature and evidence you have gathered should be summarised, analysed and discussed with specific reference to the problem or issue. If your discussion section is lengthy you might divide it into section headings. Your points should be grouped and arranged in an order that is logical and easy to follow. Use headings and subheadings to create a clear structure for your material. Use bullet points to present a series of points in an easy-to-follow list. As with the whole report, all sources used should be acknowledged and correctly referenced (remember to use the most credible resources available).
Under this heading you should include all the supporting information you have used that is not published. This might include tables, graphs, questionnaires, surveys or transcripts. Refer to the appendices in the body of your report.
Conclusion (500 words)
In the conclusion you should show the overall significance of what has been covered. You may want to remind the reader of the most important points that have been made in the report or highlight what you consider to be the most central issues or findings. However, no new material should be introduced in the conclusion. Remember to specifically answer the initial questions posed.
List of References (not included in the word Document)
A key feature of academic writing, the list of references should list – in alphabetical order by author – all published sources referred to in your report. There are different styles of using references so be sure to refer to the study guide and check your departmental handbook for guidelines.
Please note that the Main Body is 3500 words
The main body structure can be used for discussion of the themes that you have identified:
Topic (sentence to introduce the theme or topic of the paragraph)
Example(you could mention an example here to focus the topic)
Support (bring in supporting information from your research / eg. theory, research studies, statistics, legislation, professional guidelines, examples from practice)
Talk about the ideas (strengths, weaknesses, importance, relevance, usefulness, comparison to other ideas). Evaluation and critical discussion of the supporting materials and how they relate to the question under scrutiny – keep the discussion focused on answering the question in the essay title.
Word count limit: 4500 words +/- 10% (excluding references and appendices)
Your assignment should be MS Word processed (handwritten assignments are not accepted), using Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced, with numbered pages and your student number printed as a footer on every page. Note this is a report supported by academic research so you should adhere to the appropriate referencing guidance. The word limit stated for this assignment excludes the list of references at the end of the assignment but includes all text in the main body of the assignment (including direct quotations, in-text citations, footnotes, tables, diagrams and graphs). Please be aware that exceeding the word limit will affect the academic judgement of the piece of work and may result in the award of a lower mark. Appendices are not considered a supplement and will not be assessed as part of the content of the assignment. As such, they will not contribute to the grade awarded; however, it may be appropriate to use an Appendices section for any material which is a useful reference for the reader. Please note that appendices are not included in the word count. The majority of references should come from primary sources (e.g. journal articles, conference papers, reports, etc.) although you can also utilise area specific textbooks. You must ensure that you use the Harvard style of referencing. Please indicate the word count length at the end of your assignment.