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Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the tools and frameworks of strategy in order to select the appropriate ones with which to perform meaningful analysis to generate coherent strategic options and choice.

Coursework Information Sheet

Coursework Information Sheet

The Task

Your task is to produce a management report providing strategic solutions for an issue or Strategic issue or issues that you have identified in your own organisation or Strategic Business Unit.

The solution(s) should be based on thorough analysis and should involve critical evaluation of a range of potential solutions. The emphasis must be aiming to achieve competitive advantage. The choice of the final strategic decision should be justified. The solutions must not be descriptive of what the organisation is actually doing but analytical and proposing what it could and should do. This may be different to the actual decisions made by your organisation. It may however be a justification of what is actually proposed by the organisation but must justify it in the light of other options and through analysis. Which approach you take depends on the circumstances of your organisation

Important Note:

As Masters Students and senior business people you should look critically at your organisation. This is not disrespectful but a way of developing your business skills (which is the point of the Exec MBA). You should not therefore merely accept that what is being done is the only potential option. You should look at it from a critical perspective and think if there are different or better options. In business this approach forms part of a healthy discussion which leads the company forward.

The nature of Strategic Issues:

  • Identification of the issue(s) is essential to the success of your assignment. You must therefore avoidoperational issues such as Marketing, HR etc.
  • Success depends on you being able to understand the difference between operational and strategic issues and actions

Choosing the Strategic Issue. Below are some examples of the sorts of issues that might be investigated. Please note that this is not a complete list and that different ones may be relevant. (Generally you would only focus on one but there may be more that you could consider). The emphasis on the options that are considered should be on achieving competitive advantage:

  • Decision about which markets to enter
  • Decisions about potential product or service development
  • Decisions about which business units to invest in and grow and which to reduce
  • Growing a new business
  • Finding a new source of differentiation in the face of competitive pressure
  • Finding innovative ways to compete hence avoiding competition
  • Decisions about trade-offs
  • Decisions about continuing on the current path.

Non-Profit or Government Agencies. Despite the fact that some of these may be quite inflexible you should not let this restrict your thinking. You should be prepared to think about the following types of issues:

  • Development of new services for different segments
  • Better Value Propositions to satisfy stakeholder groups

The Analysis:

This should be based on extensive study and use of data. The analysis must appear in your appendices. It is not necessary to do this in full report form but should be in the form of a series of annexes which will contain your notes. These must identifiably be your own work and will also be examined through Turnitin. The analysis and appendices must be referred to in your report as evidence and justification for your options and decisions.

Things to avoid:

  • Descriptions of the tools and frameworks. You are not writing a text book and you will be assessed on your ability to think strategically rather than providing a lit review. This style of writing will lead to a low grade or failure.
  • Inappropriate referencing. Any evidence must be properly referenced within the text of the main report.
  • Out of date evidence. Business moves quickly, so a report that uses old data is not valid.
  • Descriptions of the current situation. This assignment must look at future potential options.
  • Focusing on operational issues. This is a strategy report and should focus on strategic issues and solutions.

1 You may not choose companies which feature in the large case studies in the Johnson & Scholes and Grant textbooks, or companies used for in-class teaching. Please confirm your choice of company with your tutor before proceeding. Collecting information can be done in groups.

Core learning outcomes


On completion of this unit you should be able to:

Assessment number


Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the tools and frameworks of strategy in order to select the appropriate ones with which to perform meaningful analysis to generate coherent strategic options and choice.



Select and apply a range of strategy tools, concepts and frameworks to analyse unstructured problems based on the issues presented by the external and internal business environment and use the analysis to evaluate and design appropriate strategies.



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