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Give a brief overview of the primary external influences to which the organization is subject and briefly explain the particular importance of each to the organization.

Assessment

Module Leader:  

Assessment weighted at 100% assessing all module learning outcomes.

Activity:

Prepare a management report of 3,500 to 4,000 words* on an organization within one of the following industry-sectors**:

  1. Online /Ecommerce/ Digital Marketing sector
  2. Telecommunications
  3. Oil / Gas production companies
  4. Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
  5. Airline / Sea Transport (Any airline, Sea Transport and Freights etc.)
  1. 1.  Note: [An organization profile must be included in your submission as “Appendix 1”.]
  1. 2.  Note that the use of retail organisations is not allowed. E.g. Tesco, McDonalds, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, ASDA, LIDL and other retail organisations are not. The use of any of the retail organisation above will lead to 20 % loss of the final marks on the module.

This report should assess the impact of external business environmental factors on the organization and evaluate the organization’s position and responses. In the case of a large organization it is permissible to confine your report to part of the organization. An organization’s activitiesmayrangebeyondthedesignatedindustrialsectorinwhichcasethefocusofyourreport must be on the organization’s activities within the designatedsector.

You are advised to write between 3.500 and4,000 words and the word limit is 4,000words.This word limit does not include the title page, the executive summary, the contents page, the organization profile, tables, diagrams, appendices or references. You must include an accurate word count on your title page.

Task 1

Give a brief overview of the primary external influences to which the organization is subject and briefly explain the particular importance of each to the organization.

This first task should contribute no more than one third of your overall report.

Task 2

Choose one of the following themes:

1.  Management Information Systems

2.  Marketing Communications Mix

3.  Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

4.  Knowledge management

5.  Customer Relationship Management

In relation to your chosen theme:

  1. Analyse its relevance to your chosen organization and how it influences policies and decision-making within your chosen organization orindustry-sector.
  2. Critically evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’sresponse.
  3. (If possible and appropriate) demonstrate some areas for improvement in the response of the organization.

Guidance notes:

Whatever organization you choose and whichever theme you chose, you must clearly demonstrate knowledge and understanding from research and reading wider than that contained in the module pack and core textbook.

This is a REPORT and so must be presented in business report format and style.

You must also structure your report to cover the tasks including points 2.i to 2.iii above.

This is an academic piece of work therefore you are expected to link theory and practice. You should take care to ensure that the work you submit has a high standard of presentation.

This is an individual assignment. You must acknowledge your sources of information and evidence using the Harvard referencing system. All assignments are subject to the University’s regulations on collusion and plagiarism and must be submitted in electronic form for checking on Canvas for Turnitin and the Turnitin report must be submitted to JIRA along with your assignment.

Summary Assessment Criteria

  1. Relevance: Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment.(10%)
  2. Knowledge: A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues therein. (20%)
  3. Analysis: Good analysis, clear and orderly (20%)
  4. Argument and structure: Coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical model(s). (20%)
  5. Critical evaluation: Contains distinctive or independent thinking; may formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice. (10%)
  6. Presentation: Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with an acceptable format. (10%)
  7. Reference to literature: Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature.

Recognition of different perspectives. Good use of a range of sources. (10%)

(See marking scheme below for more detailed guidance

Guidance on the Assessment Criteria and Marking Scheme

Relevance (weighting: 10%)

“Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment”

You need to do what the assignment requires. Read the question or task carefully and do what it asks rather that what you would prefer to do. Keep focused on the task and avoid irrelevant material. In particular, you must base your report on an appropriate company and on one of the designated themes.

Task one is to “Give a brief overview of the primary external influences to which the organization is subject and explain the particular importance of each to the organization.”

Task two is in relation to a chosen theme to:

  1. i.       “Analyseitsrelevancetoyourchosenorganizationhowitinfluencespoliciesand decision- making within your chosen organization orindustry-sector.”
  2. ii.      “Critically evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’sresponse.”
  1. iii.    “(If possible and appropriate) demonstrate some areas for improvement in the response of theorganization.”

In task one you need to cover a range of external business environment factors but emphasis should vary according to the degree of relevance. In task two more in-depth analysis and evaluation are required and, if possible and appropriate, recommendations.

Knowledge (weighting 20%)

“A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues..”

You need to demonstrate your knowledge of the relevant material. Demonstrate to your reader that you really understand the material and that you are not merely paraphrasing. A good use of applications and examples will be essential in doing this.

“Under this criterion we are looking to see that you understand what is meant by the range of external business environmental factors and understand in some depth the relevance of the chosen theme. ‘There will be a tendency to give facts and definitions either as direct quotations or paraphrased but students need to demonstrate a real understanding by applying and illustrating the concepts. For example........” All of this must be relevant to an appropriate choice of company and theme!

Analysis (weighting 20%)

“Good analysis, clear and orderly.”

You need to give a good analysis (explanation) and avoid too much description. Description is relatively superficial whereas analysis gives a deeper explanation. “Students will tend to  describe what is meant by ...........and so on. What is needed here is analysis (explanation).For example, if considering the potential impact of food-safety regulations it is not sufficient to merely say that the regulations will impact on a firm’s operations we need some explanation of how they could impact on such a firm.” This applies to task one but even more so to tasktwo.

All of this must be relevant to an appropriate choice of company and theme!

Argument and Structure (weighting: 20%)

“Generally coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical model(s)”

Your argument needs to be clear, coherent and logical and you should use relevant theoretical models and evidence in support of your argument. Avoid mere assertion. Make sure that you understand what your argument is and avoid merely stringing together a series of points.

“Assertions need to be substantiated either by reference to authoritative sources or by evidence and logical argument. For example, a statement about a firm’s competitive advantage would need to be substantiated by a reference to an authoritative source or evidence and argument, e.g. “This could give it a competitive advantage over rivals because…...............”

Weaknesses in this area would be indicated by marking comments such as

‘Substantiate!’, ‘Why?’, ‘How? and so on..

All of this must be relevant to an appropriate choice of company and theme!

Critical Evaluation (weighting 10%)

“Should contain some distinctive or independent thinking; should begin to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice.”

This is particularly relevant to task two where any recommendations should be based on and should flow from the analysis and evaluation.

To gain these marks you need to be demonstrating your own judgement rather than just relyingonthejudgementsofothers.Forexample,“‘A’considersthat……….‘B’considers that……. On balance this report reaches the followingconclusion….........”

The requirement of this assignment cannot be completed relying on the work of others so a good paper must have a fairly high level of originality.

All of this must be relevant to an appropriate choice of company and theme!

Presentation (weighting 10%)

“Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with acceptable format.” An “acceptable format” for a report will be relatively formal in style with headings and sub- headings

(See “A Simple Guide to Report Writing”.)

Reference to Literature (weighting: 10%)

“Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature. Recognition of different perspectives. Very good use of source material. Uses a range of sources.” You need to demonstrate a good use of a range and quality of up-to-date materials. Literature use limited to the main text and/or superficial or out-of-date sources will score badly. All of this must be relevant to an appropriate choice of company and theme!

In addition, all work must be referenced correctly using the Harvard style. Marks will be subtracted for poor referencing and more serious cases of plagiarism or collusion will be reported to the University of Sunderland Faculty of Business and Law Infringement Panel. (See a guide to Harvard referencing.)


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