This project is the second of four projects. It also represents the second part of the external environmental analysis 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 their competitive position in the 21st century (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 your assigned company 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 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 the company. As part of this effort, you will need to take that research and break it into small parts to understand better 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 companies. 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 must create the technique on your own and may not use 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.
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 to revise a current plan or write a new plan and present a strategic plan.
Step 1 Specific Company for All Four Projects
The company 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 Materials and Research
- You must research information about the focal company and the environment for this project. You are accountable for using the course materials to support the ideas, reasoning, and conclusions made. Using course material extends beyond defining terms—the ‘why and how’ of a situation. Using one or two in-text citations from the course materials and then relying on Internet source material will not earn many points on the 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 research results 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 of 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, you are expected to use the course materials and research on the focal company’s global industry and the focal company. An opinion does not earn credit, nor does the use of external sources when course materials 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.
- 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. Dun and Bradstreet’s Hoovers Database, among others, is another excellent source for competitors and industry information. You are not to depend on one resource to complete the analysis. Moreover, it is impossible to complete Porter’s Five Forces, a competitive analysis, or an OT using only the course material.
- You should not be using obscure articles, GlassDoor, or Chron, or similar types of articles.
- Research for Financial Analysis: Financial Research
- Research for Industry Analysis CSI Market
- UMGC library is available for providing resources and services. Seek library support for excellence in your academic pursuit.
Step 3 How to Set Up the Report
The document has to be written in Word or RTF. No other format is acceptable. No pdf files will be graded. Use 12-point font for a double-spaced report. The final product should be 9 – 10 pages. The final project may not exceed 10 pages, including all tables and matrices, but excluding the title and reference pages. Do no use an Appendix.
- Create a title page with the title, your name, date, the course number, the instructor’s name.
- Create Topic Headings that correspond to exact sections of the project requirements.
Step 4 Industry Analysis
- Perform a Porter Five Forces analysis on the organization’s industry and the focal company in particular.
The industry is the global industry. First, use the course materials to identify the five forces and what components make up each force. Then, perform an analysis of each force that clearly discusses the ‘why and how’ and concludes with the effect of the given force on the fortunes of the industry (industry profitability) and/or industry dynamics; that is, whether the effect of the force on the industry is weak/modest/average/moderate or strong/severe and also on the focal company. You may not use a Porter Five Forces analysis that is already completed and available on the Internet. A zero will result if used as the analysis results from your research and your own development.
Step 5 Competitive Analysis
- Perform a Competitive Analysis using the focal company’s closest three competitors plus the selected company. Explain why these companies are competitors. Analyze the competition’s products and services, explaining features, value, targets, etc. What are the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, and what is the market outlook for the competition?
- Identify and discuss at least eight (8) key success factors (critical success factors). Each industry has different key success factors, so make sure the success factors fit the industry. Review the Competitive Profile Matrix Example under Week 3 Content for clarification.
- Develop a Competitor Profile Matrix (CPM). Explain how you developed the matrix. Make sure to support your reasoning.
Step 6 Partial SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a tool used to assess the strengths and weaknesses (internal environment) and the opportunities and threats (external environment) of an organization. You will complete a partial SWOT analysis only completing an analysis on the OT (Opportunities and Threats). The information presented is not based on your beliefs but fact-based, data-driven information. The items used in the OT are factors that are affecting or might affect the focal company or those companies within the identified industry.
- Develop an OT table using your research to identify at least five (5) opportunities and five (5) threats that influence the industry and the focal company. Make sure to cite the elements within the table.
- Perform an OT analysis (separate from the SWOT table).
- You may not use a SWOT analysis that is already completed and available on the Internet. The OT is for the focal company and no other company. A zero will result if used as the analysis results from your research and your own development.
NOTE: A matrix is a table. It is not an analysis.
Step 7 External Factor Evaluation (EFE) Analysis
The External Factor Evaluation (EFE) matrix will allow you to use the industry analysis and the competitive analysis to assess whether the focal company can effectively take advantage of existing opportunities while minimizing the identified external threats that will help you formulate new strategies and policies. You will use the opportunities and threats from the OT analysis.
- Using the information gathered for the OT analysis, develop an EFE matrix using five (5) opportunities and five (5) threats. Discuss how you developed the EFE matrix and the outcome. Make sure to support your reasoning.
Step 8 Conclusion
Create a conclusion. The Conclusion is intended to emphasize the purpose/significance of the analysis, emphasize the significance/consequence of findings, and indicate the wider applications derived from the main points of the project’s requirements. You will conclude with the findings of the external environment analysis.
Step 9 Review the Paper
Read the paper to ensure all required elements are present.
The following are specific requirements that you will follow. Use the checklist to mark off that you have followed each specific requirement.
|Checklist||Specific Project Requirements|
|Proofread your paper.|
|Read and use the grading rubric while completing the paper to ensure all requirements are met to lead to the highest possible grade.|
|Third-person writing is required. Third-person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first-person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second-person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/first-second-and-third-person.|
|Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them.|
|Paraphrase and do not use direct quotations. Paraphrase means you do not use more than four consecutive words from a source document. Removing quotation marks and citing is inappropriate. Instead, put a passage from a source document into your own words and attribute the passage to the source document. There should be no passages with quotation marks. Using more than four consecutive words from a source document would require direct quotation marks. Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks. If more than four consecutive words are used from source documents, this material will not be included in the grade.|
|You are expected to use the research and weekly course materials to develop the analysis and support the reasoning. There should be a robust use of the course material. The material used from a source document must be cited and referenced. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa. Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks.|
|Use in-text citations and provide a reference list that contains the reference associated with each in-text citation.|
|You may not use books in completing this problem set unless it is part of the course material. Also, do not use a dictionary, Wikipedia, or Investopedia, or similar sources. You may not use Fern Fort University or any other for-fee website.|
|Provide the page or paragraph number in every in-text citation. Since the eBook does not have page numbers, you must include the chapter title, section heading, and paragraph number.For citations using a video, you must provide the minutes and second of the cited material.|
Step 10: Submit the Report in the Assignment Folder
Submitting the project to the Assignment Folder is considered the student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor. It is incumbent upon the student to verify the Project is the correct submission. No exceptions will be considered by the instructor.
NOTE: All submitted work is to be your original work. You may not use any work from another student, the Internet, or an online clearinghouse. You are expected to understand the Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism Policy and know that it is your responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations concerning proper citation sources specified in the APA Publication Manual, 7th Ed. (Students are held accountable for in-text citations and an associated reference list only).
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