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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN

Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) Singapore

Business Strategy (BMGT3001S)

STUDY GUIDE

BBS 47 PT Singapore

Copyright January 2016

Author: Dr. Claudine Kearney (2016)

This manual was prepared for University College Dublin as a comprehensive support for students
completing the above mentioned Degree programme.

This publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part without permission from University
College Dublin.

Module Co-ordinator:

Dr. Claudine Kearney

Email: claudine.kearney@ucd.ie

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE
WELCOME MESSAGE

1. INTRODUCTION

a. Background Details
b. Module Aims
c. Programme Goals

5
6
6

2. MODULE OUTLINE

a. Module Learning Outcomes


b. Preparation
c. Themes and Topics
3. MODULE DELIVERY SCHEDULE
a.
b.
c.
d.

Session Arrangements
Student Engagement
Office Hours Arrangements
Important Documents

4. ASSESSMENT DETAILS
a. Assessment Overview
b. Module Assessment Components
i. Assignment 1: Individual Project
ii. Assignment 2: Group Project
iii. Examination

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8
9
12
12
14
14
14
16
16
18
18
19
23

5. GRADING
a. University Grading Policy
b. Grade Descriptors for Assessment Components

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24
25

6. CONCLUDING COMMENTS

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APPENDICES

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WELCOME MESSAGE

Dear Students,

As coordinator of the Business Strategy module, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you
to this module on Business Strategy. I sincerely hope that you enjoy this module and find it an
interesting and stimulating module that will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the
key aspects of Business Strategy.

Business Strategy is fundamental to effectively operate in todays Global, Dynamic, Competitive


Environment. On completing this module it is my objective that you will have a comprehensive
understanding of the issues involved in Business Strategy as well as practical application of key
theories and principles from your coursework which will help prepare you in your current and future
careers in a dynamic and globalized economy.

Should you require clarification on any matter pertaining to the module, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

I look forward to meeting you all in Singapore.

Kind Regards,
Dr. Claudine Kearney
E-Mail: Claudine.Kearney@ucd.ie

PART 1: INTRODUCTION
This Study Guide is designed to provide you with details of the Business Strategy module, the
learning outcomes, delivery, and assessment arrangements. The Study Guide consists of 6 parts.
Part 1: Introduction and background details to the subject area is provided and the broad aims of the
module are set out.
Part 2: Includes the module outline. This part is principally about the module learning outcomes, the
themes and topics to be explored are explained along with the learning supports to be used.
Part 3: Details of the module delivery arrangements. It sets out the session arrangements and the
expectations in relation to your engagement as a student in this module.
Part 4: Details of the assessment techniques used in this module explaining the assessment
components, their rationale and details the three assignments: (i) Assignment 1 (ii) Assignment 2 and
(iii) Examination (closed book).
Part 5: Explains the UCD grading policy and grade descriptors drawing on the university document
are provided for each assessment component.
Part 6: Presents the concluding comments.

a. Background Details
In todays challenging global environment organizations are frequently challenged with their strategic
management and planning processes. They might find it challenging to reconcile short-term tactical
moves with long-term strategic goals, or have difficulty building the capabilities needed to execute
their strategies. The increasingly dynamic and complex environment in which most organizations
operate calls for more fully developed professional employees within industries, who are better aware
of the impact of strategic decisions on the business operations. In this module students will develop
an understanding of the various activities involved in the formulation and implementation of strategic
initiatives: evaluating a firms external and internal environments, assessing and designing its
planning and control systems, acquiring and allocating financial and non-financial resources and
implementing strategic initiatives.

This Study Guide is designed to provide you with details of the module entitled Business Strategy
(BMGT3001S) outlining the content and themes (theory and practice) to be considered along with

delivery, learning and assessment arrangements. The learning supports used in the module are set out
with an explanation provided in relation to their design and importance.

b. Module Aims
This module equips students with the strategic concepts that they need to know as they face the issues
that all organizations must build upon to push their businesses forward. It will require you to reflect
on your own business experiences, and help prepare you for the future challenges of an international
business career. The module draws on prior learning and work experience and combines insights from
strategy, cross cultural management, human resource management and other areas. The assessment
tasks for this module have been designed with this in mind as detailed later in the study guide.

The acquisition of knowledge, skills and reflective practices by students is essential in higher
education today and this module outline provides information in relation to these requirements. The
module aims to contribute to your independent thinking, research skills development, teamwork and
personal responsibility.

c. Programme Goals
Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) Singapore
PROGRAMME
GOAL

LEARNING OUTCOME

MODULE
TITLE:
Business
Strategy

Management
Specific Knowledge

Explain current theoretical underpinnings of business and


organization management.

Lectures

Apply business models and theory to identify and resolve


problems in functional and across functional areas.

Assignment 2

Demonstrate knowledge of and the usefulness of


quantitative techniques and controls in the business
environment.
Business
Communication

Prepare short business presentations (written and oral) on a


current topic to key stakeholders.
Research and analyze specific business case studies /
problems / topics and write a concise report detailing the

Assignment 1
and
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findings and recommended actions.

Assignment 2

Locate information sources to facilitate the completion of


research projects and the technologies to analyze and
interpret the data collected.
Engage in module-related team activities
outside class.

Personal
Development

within

and

Lectures/
Assignment 2

&
Reflective Explain the essence of Business Strategy pertinent to
Learning
business managers and how they may apply in the
workplace environment.

Lectures

Identify the main factors and variables that influence


and multinational entities business operations, planning and
competitive positioning.

Lectures

Recognize ethical and social responsibility issues in the


business environment and know how to apply a process of
ethical inquiry.

Lectures

Examine ethical and legal implications of managerial


decisions and their effect on organizational stakeholders.

Lectures

Identify business opportunities/problems and develop


alternative solutions, taking account of possible
consequences (intended or unintended).

Assignment 2

Global,
Multicultural
Diversity
Perspectives

Strategic Thinking

Evaluate qualitative and quantitative data from multiple


perspectives paying attention to sourcing, biases and logic.
Analyze developments in key business sectors and
comment critically on a firm operating in the sector.

Lectures

PART 2: MODULE OUTLINE


Module Title:

Business Strategy

Module Code:

BMGT 3001S

No. of ECTS:

10 ECTS

a. Module Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of business strategy and the strategic planning and
management process;

Identify and assess key internal and external factors that affect businesses today;

Analyze and synthesize the different concepts and frameworks and their application to a range
of organizational settings that contribute to your understanding and development of
competitive strategies;

Apply appropriate frameworks (including industry analysis, competitive strategy and resource
and capability tools) and techniques to the formulation and analysis of value creation and
competitiveness;

Review and understand how to recognize competitive practices and develop sources of
competitive advantage;

Recognize the interface between the key organizational functions and the overall corporate
structure and appreciate the expectations of stakeholders in the business and the means of
achieving their expectations.

b. Preparation
There will be one main text for this course. Eleven chapters have been assigned for this module and
you are expected to be fully familiar with all of them. Each chapter contains clear explanation and
practical illustrations of the key issues, many of which will be readily recognizable in the surrounding
business environment. These readings together with session content and lecture slides are your
principal and most important learning source for this module.

Module Text:

Wheelen, T.L., Hunger, J.D., Hoffman, A.N, & Bamford, C.E. (2014).
Strategic Management and Business Policy: Globalization, Innovation, and
Sustainability. Prentice Hall. (Essential Reading). Thereafter referred to as
your textbook.

In addition to assignment 1 (which is completed in advance of lectures), you are expected to do the
following in advance of your lectures:

Familiarize yourself with lecture slides in advance of each class.

Revise assigned chapters in advance of each class.

Familiarize yourself with the UCD E-library and how to access electronic resources at
http://www.ucd.ie/library/

Other Useful Sources


Students completing the Business Strategy module are expected to participate in session discussions
and learning activities and be familiar with recent developments in the business world. To facilitate
this, the following may be useful
Key Academic Journals

Academy of Management Journal

Strategic Management Journal

Journal of Business Venturing

Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice

Small Business Economics

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

Newspapers/ Current Affairs Publications


o

The Economist

The Wall Street Journal

The South China Morning Post

The Straits Times

The Financial Times

Business Week

Fortune

c. Themes and Topics


The list of module themes, associated readings and planned session schedule are as follows:

Session 1: Introduction to Strategic Management and Business Policy


The objective is to discuss the topic of strategic management and business policy. This requires
developing an understanding of the benefits of strategic management and the basic model of strategic
management and its components. Discuss the trends in corporate governance and understand the
relationship between social responsibility and corporate performance.
Readings:

Chapter One: Basic Concepts of Strategic Management


Chapter Two: Corporate Governance
Chapter Three: Social Responsibility and Ethics in Strategic Management

Session 2: Scanning and the Environment


The objective is to recognize aspects of an organizations environment that can influence its long-term
decisions. We assess and evaluate ways to undertake an industry analysis to understand the
competitive forces that influence the intensity of rivalry within an industry. We apply the resourcebased view of the firm to determine core and distinctive competencies.
Readings:

Chapter Four: Environmental Scanning and Industry Analysis


Chapter Five: Internal Scanning: Organizational Analysis

Session 3: Strategy Formulation {Part 1}


The objective is to organize environmental and organizational information using a SWOT approach.
This requires developing an understanding of the competitive and cooperative strategies available to
corporations and ways to develop a parenting strategy for a multiple-business corporation.
Readings:

Chapter Six: Strategy Formulation: Situational Analysis and Business Strategy

Chapter Seven: Strategy Formulation: Corporate Strategy

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Session 4: Strategy Formulation {Part 2}


The objective is to identify a variety of functional strategies that can be used to achieve organizational
goals and objectives.
Readings:

Chapter Eight: Strategy Formulation: Functional Strategy and Strategic Choice

Strategy Implementation and Control {Part 1}

The objective is to develop programs, budgets and procedures to implement strategic change. Identify
the stages of corporate development and the structure that characterizes each stage.
Readings:

Chapter Nine: Strategy Implementation: Organizing for Action

Session 5: Strategy Implementation and Control {Part 2}


The objective is to understand the link between strategy and staffing decisions. Understand the basic
control process and develop appropriate control systems to support specific strategies including
performance measurement. Previous topics that need further coverage may be addressed in the second
part of the class. In addition, we will devote time to your questions relating to the assignments and the
exam.
Readings:

Chapter Ten: Strategy Implementation: Staffing and Directing

Chapter Eleven: Evaluation and Control

Course Overview - Question and Answer Session

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PART 3: MODULE DELIVERY SCHEDULE


The module delivery relies on students ability to engage in prior preparation, to seek confirmation
and clarification as appropriate and to be actively engaged during the sessions.

a. Session Arrangements
Each student is expected to attend and be prepared for all sessions in the group they are assigned by
their programme manager. Table 1 below outlines the structure for each session.

Table 1A: Module Delivery Themes, Readings


No.

Theme /Topic / Title

Textbook Chapters

Introduction to Strategic Management and Business Policy

Chapters 1, 2 and 3

Introduction to Module and Assessment


Basic Concepts of Strategic Management
Corporate Governance
Social Responsibility and Ethics in Strategic Management
2

Scanning and the Environment

Chapters 4 and 5

Environmental Scanning and Industry Analysis


Internal Scanning: Organizational Analysis
3

Strategy Formulation {Part 1}

Chapters 6 and 7

Strategy Formulation: Situational Analysis and Business Strategy


Strategy Formulation: Corporate Strategy
4

Strategy Formulation {Part 2}

Chapters 8 and 9

Strategy Formulation: Functional Strategy and Strategic Choice


Strategy Implementation and Control {Part 1}
Strategy Implementation: Organizing for Action
5

Strategy Implementation and Control {Part 2} Discussion and


conclusion. Assignments and exam matters.

Chapter 10 and 11

Strategy Implementation: Staffing and Directing


Evaluation and Control
CONCLUSION

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Table 1B: Module Delivery Schedule


No

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Dr. C. Kearney

Dr. C. Kearney

Dr. C. Kearney

Dr. C. Kearney

Dr. C. Kearney

February 15th
6.30pm 10.30pm

February 20th
2.00pm 6.00pm

February 24th
6.30pm
10.00pm

February 29th
6.30pm
10.30pm

March 5th
2.00pm
6.00pm

February 16th
6.30pm 10.30pm

February 21st
9.00am 1.00pm

February 25th
6.30pm 10.30pm

March 1st
6.30pm
10.30pm

March 6th
9.00am
1.00pm

February 17th
6.30pm
10.30pm

February 21st
2.00pm 6.00pm

February 26th
6.30pm10.30pm

March 2nd
6.30pm
10.30pm

March 6th
2.00pm
6.00pm

February 18th
6.30pm
10.30pm

February 22nd
6.30pm 10.30pm

February 27th
2.00pm
6.00pm

March 3rd
6.30pm
10.30pm

March 7th
6.30pm
10.30pm

February 19th
6.30pm
10.30pm

February 23rd
6.30pm 10.30pm

February 28th
9.00am
1.00pm

March 4th
6.30pm
10.30pm

March 8th
6.30pm
10.30pm

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b. Student Engagement
During the Business Strategy lecturers, you will be expected to discuss issues arising from the
assigned chapters and readings for the topics as scheduled above. To support your learning Power
Point slides will be available which (on certain occasions) may need to be upgraded / modified during
or following the sessions depending on the issues raised.

Student Input Hours


The following is a broad outline of the amount of time it is expected you will be required to complete
each module.
Class Contact: Lectures & Individual Consultations

20 hours

Specified Learning Activities (assignment preparation & research)

85 hours

Autonomous Student Learning (self-directed learning, textbook reading)

102 hours
207 hours

c. Office Hours Arrangements


Dr. C. Kearney will be available before and after every session should you wish to meet individually
to discuss any aspect of the module, alternatively you can email at: claudine.kearney@ucd.ie

d. Important Documents

Two important documents must be consulted before you commence your studies on this module:
1. Guidelines for the Late Submission of Coursework
This document provides a detailed outline of the rules and regulations surrounding the
presentation, submission and marking of assignments. The guidelines provided must be adhered at
all times to avoid an unnecessary loss of marks.
2. A Briefing Document for Students on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.
The University understands plagiarism to be the inclusion of another persons writings or ideas or
works, in any formally presented work (including essays, theses, examinations, projects,
laboratory reports, oral, poster or slide presentations) which form part of the assessment
requirements for a module or program of study, without due acknowledgement either wholly or in
part of the original source of the material through appropriate citation. Plagiarism is a form of
academic dishonesty. In any assignment, plagiarism means that you have presented information
or ideas belonging to someone else falsely as being your own original thoughts on a subject.
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Students are strongly advised to ensure they are familiar with the above document. Please ensure
that all submissions are entirely your own work for UCDs policy on plagiarism click on the
link below: http://www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/docs/plagiarism_po.pdf

All assessment submitted must be the result of your own work.


The following statement must be included on the cover page of all assignments submitted:
I declare that all materials included in this essay/report/project/dissertation is the end result of my
own work and that due acknowledgement have been given in the bibliography and references to
ALL sources be they printed, electronic or personal.

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PART 4: ASSESSMENT DETAILS


a. Assessment Overview
Assessment is undertaken to establish the extent of student learning on completing a module and
according to Biggs and Tang1 (2009) it is the senior partner of teaching and learning. This module has
three assessment components with specific weightings and marks awarded totalling 100 2 . The
purpose of each assessment is as follows:

Assessment 1 (Assignment 1 - Individual) aims engage you in the importance of Business


Strategy and gives you a starting point to assess strategy in an organization of your choice. It is
also designed to focus your learning in preparation for the face to face sessions.

Assessment 2 (Assignment 2 - Group) is designed to to get you to put into practice the various
themes and issues raised in the course and it will focus on your ability to apply the tools and
frameworks to assess and evaluate the Business Strategy of an organization of your choice in
todays competitive market.

Assessment 3 (The Examination) is the formal examination which aims to get insights on your
understanding of issues (theory and practice) addressed in the module.

You are expected to complete all assignments ensuring that they are submitted by the specified date.
All submissions must be typed, be well presented, written in an academic style, with the use of
appropriate headings (introduction, main section and conclusion) and sections. All sources must be
clearly referenced in the text (Author Name and Year) and in References (Full Reference) using
Harvard Style of reference. All submissions are in hard copy to your local Programme Manager.

Before commencing work on any of the assignments required to be submitted for this module, please
ensure that you have consulted the Grading Criteria (Tables 4 and 5), in addition to the grading
scheme specified for each assignment. The Grading Criteria tables provide you with detailed guidance
on how your assignments will be graded and standard you must demonstrate in order to obtain each
grade.
1

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. 2009, Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Maidenhead: Open
University/McGraw Hill.
2
As the Overseas Programme modules are worth 10 ECTS they should be graded out of 200 marks.

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NOTE: All submissions must be entirely your own work with all materials/ research clearly
referenced. For UCDs policy on plagiarism click on the link below (please see Appendix 2 for further
information on Plagiarism and the policy on the Late Submission of Coursework):
http://www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/plag_pol_proc.pdf

The weighting assigned for each component is shown in Table 2 below. (I = Individual; G = Group)

Table 2: Assessment Components


Assessment components

Weighting

Individual / Group

1. Assignment One

20%

2. Assignment Two

30%

3. Examination

50%

Table 2B: Assignment Deadlines


Assignments
Assignment 1

Assignment Submission Date


Group 1 February 12th 2016
Group 2 February 17th 2016
Group 3 February 22nd 2016
Group 4 February 26th 2016
Group 5 March 2nd 2016

Assignment 2

April 1st 2016 at 5.00pm (local time)

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b. Module Assessment Components


In the following pages, further details of each assessment component are presented along with
expectations in relation to prior preparation and completion.

i. Assignment 1 Individual Project


Sector Analysis Assignment Requirements
For this assignment you must complete a review and analysis of a sector operating in the Singaporean
business environment. You can choose the sector you are currently working in or an alternative sector.
The sector must have significant business operations located in Singapore to enable thorough analysis.
Assume you know an entrepreneur interested in setting up a business in this sector. They have asked
you to review the business sector for them. The objective of the assignment is to analyse the business
environment to ensure you know the opportunities and threats in the market place and can understand
the sectors potential.

Sector Outline Detailing:

Your choice of sector and why

Description of the sector


o

Structural features of the sector (size of establishments, cost structure, etc.)

Brief description of the sectors products and/or services

Current stage of development (e.g. emerging, growing, stagnant, declining)

Who are the key competitors? Where are they from (local or international)?

Key success factors in this sector (what must businesses have to succeed?)

Key markets (from a customer and a geographic location perspective)

NOTE: List the sources of the information used in this assignment

Follow the details above to ensure you do not neglect any important sections and unnecessarily lose
marks.

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Assignment Overview:

Format: 1000-1500 words (excluding title page, appendix or references) Submission must be
based on typed A4 size paper using Times New Roman 12 font and 1.5 spacing. Harvard
Referencing Style.

Submission deadline: 3 days before your course commences (with exception when this falls
on the weekend - see table 2B).

Grading Scheme:

Relevance and clarity of the identified sector, strength of research and presentation of the
case (40%)

Depth and application of key factors e.g. for sector analysis (40 %)

Overall presentation and interpretation of findings (20 %).

ii. Assignment 2 - Group Project


Background
As part of the emphasis on teamwork in the UCD management program, this main assignment is
organized as a group project. The local Programme Manager (Kaplan) will assign you to a group of
five to six students several weeks before class commences. NOTE: There must be no less than five
students and no more than six students per group. Ultimately, it is your responsibility, as a
student, to ensure that you are assigned to a group and to notify your programme manager in
Singapore if you were not. You must know to which group you have been assigned before you come
to the first class. You must be in a group with members of your allocated class. All questions, queries
or potential problems related to the teams and teamwork dynamics are to be addressed with your local
(Kaplan) Programme Manager.

Assignment Specification
As a group of five or six students you are taking the role of External Independent Business
Consultants that has been assigned by the Senior Management Team of the company of your choice
to undertake an Independent Strategic Analysis to help enhance the companys current
competitiveness and seek ways to develop and improve performance. Through your research and
analysis you will critically evaluate what options are most viable for the company to achieve this
development. This assignment requires you to apply your knowledge from the core concepts and
analytical tools in this module to evaluate, analyze and interpret a Business Strategy of an
organization of your choice, with clear recommendations for the future. NOTE: At least one member

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of the group should have access to this organization that will allow all members to engage in an indepth analysis. Be mindful that your audience is the Senior Management Team who have in-depth
knowledge of the company and acquire your independent consulting expertise.

Strategic Analysis Assignment


1. Title Page - project title, module and group members (include student numbers)
2. Abstract overview of the project (no more than 150 words)
3. Table of Contents each section, sub-section and page numbers
4. Introduction tells the reader what the project report is about, the project aims and outlines
the process to achieve the aims.
5. Main Body of Report this requires a clear overview of the issues facing the company as
well as an in-depth internal and external analysis.
a. Issues and Outlook Profile:
i. This should focus on the most important issues / challenges facing the
company and their significance?
ii. To date what is the companys level of interest in local and international
activities?
iii. How successful is the company in its activities?
iv. Outline both the current and future (consider the next 3 years) direction of the
company?
b. Internal Analysis:
i. What are the companys sources of competitive advantage?
ii. Currently does the company leverage its competitive advantage and/or
potential for success?
iii. Is the companys strategy appropriate?
iv. Develop a list of internal Strengths and Weaknesses and outline the
importance of each for this company.
c. External Analysis:
i. What environmental forces are most likely to influence the companys
actions and future performance: Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural,
Technological, Legal, Environmental?
ii. Develop a list of external Opportunities and Threats and outline the
importance of each for this company.
6. Recommendations - this should be based on your in-depth analysis and requires you to
demonstrate your ability to apply key knowledge. This is the most important section to show

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your comprehension and ability to think strategically. You must critically evaluate all your
research in the above sections and make specific recommendations and justify the reasons for
those recommendations.
i. State Specific Company Goals strategic goals, financial goals, state the
timeframe by which each goal is to be achieved. Justify the importance of
these goals and ensure they are challenging but realistic.
ii. Strategic Action Plan this must address all of the salient issues identified in
the above sections. For example, you might have identified a new, attractive
industry segment to sell to (external analysis); yet, the firm lacks the
experience and/or resources to move into the market with sufficient speed or
force (internal analysis). You might then recommend that the firm form an
alliance with another firm. However, you must provide more specific details
about the critical aspects of alliance formation: partner selection criteria,
degree of formality (equity-based vs. loose commitment); contributions of
each partner (cash vs. technology vs. distribution channel vs. marketing
knowledge); relative control over alliance for each partner; roles and
responsibilities of each partner; and, expected results for the alliance. NOTE:
This section should be as complete as possible. That is, your strategic action
plan should leave very few issues identified in the External and Internal
analysis sections unresolved.
iii. The best plans are likely to be broken up into discrete, identifiable
components and sub-sections (like those identified in the alliance example
above). Each component of the overall action plan should contain the
following: a label for each strategic action, a set of specific tasks to be carried
out, justifications, a brief description of new resources required/to be
developed, and a brief description as to how this action component will
contribute to the attainment of one or more of the goals identified.
7. Conclusion this will consist of a short paragraph that summarizes the discoveries and
learning from the project completion.
8. Bibliography reference all sources from journals, websites, books et cetera.
9. Appendices
a. Transcript of the interview
b. Detailed log of your team work process
c. Individual Reflective reports

Assignment Format
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Format: the interview report should be no longer than 20 pages excluding title page, abstract,
table of content, references and the appendices. using Time New Roman, 12 pt font and 1.5
spacing. Please ensure that your report is well presented with appropriate headings, content and
references (using the Harvard format).

Submission deadline: April 1st 2016 at 5.00pm local time

Grading Scheme:

Relevance and clarity of your analysis (30%)

Course concepts/models applied (30 %)

Recommendations from the in-depth analysis (40%)

All members must equally participate in their group project. Your final submission must also include
a detailed log of all your team meetings, detailing the roles of each of the team members in each of the
meetings, as well as a breakdown of responsibilities for the final report, this must be signed by all
members of the group (this is to be included in the appendices).
Additionally, each student must submit a 500 word Group Reflective Report on their experience of
working with their group. There is no marks allocated for this Report but any student who fails to
submit this Report will be deducted 5%.

iii. Examination
This is a closed book examination (3 hours) that will focus on module themes and the material
covered in the text, cases, assigned readings, class discussions and power point presentation material.
For this, students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of theory and practice underpinning
Business Strategy and recent developments in the international business world. The examination
question format will be designed to allow you show your understanding of the topics discussed and
also reveal your learning (new and prior). More specific guidelines regarding the examination paper
format and questions will be provided during the final session. Students will have the opportunity to
ask questions about its design and style and be advised the type of answers expected.

NOTE: While there are previous exam papers and sample exam questions included in the
Appendices to this Study Guide, this is a guide and be prepared for slightly different style of
question. Examination questions may be drawn from all areas explored during the course.

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Exam Structure: There will be 5 Questions on the exam paper and students are expected to
answer ANY 3 Questions from the paper. There will be no compulsory question and all questions
carry equal marks.

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PART 5: GRADING
a. University Grading Policy
This section of the Study Guide provides students with details of the UCD grading system and also
explains criterion referenced grading (UCD Policy). Under criterion referenced grading, students are
graded on the quality of their work without reference to other students (norm referenced). For
instance, the submission that meets the required guidelines in terms of writing style, analysis,
description and / or summary will be awarded according to the standards set out. All students work is
graded to indicate the standard attained using the criterion referenced approach.

Table 3: UCD Grading System


Grade

Description

A+
A

Grade Point
4.2

Excellent

4.0

A-

3.8

B+

3.6

Very good

3.4

B-

3.2

C+

3.0

Good

2.8

C-

2.6

D+

2.4

Acceptable

D-

2.2
2.0

Marginal

1.6

Fail (unacceptable, no compensation)

1.0

Fail (Wholly unacceptable; no compensation)

0.4

NG

Fail (Wholly unacceptable; no relevant attempt)

0.0

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More specific grade descriptors are set out for your assessment components in the following pages.
Table 4 below provides descriptors for Assignment 1 please read them prior to submitting your
work.
Table 4: Grade Descriptors Assignment 1

Grade

A3

Criteria
Excellent A comprehensive, concise, highly structured response to the assignment.
Demonstrating a comprehensive knowledge of the subject area and an excellent
ability to apply that knowledge. Evidence of extensive background research and
resadings. The student raises relevant questions and makes astute observations. The
submission is excellent in terms of structure, content, writing style and presentation.
The source material / references used are listed using Harvard Style (in alphabetical
order).
Very Good A thorough and well organised response to the assignment.
Demonstrating a broad knowledge of the subject area and a very good ability to
apply that knowledge. There is some evidence of fresh thinking in the submission
and effective research and use is made of appropriate material and readings. The
submission is very well structured, written and presented. The source material used
in completing the assignment is listed using an appropriate style.
Good An adequate and competent response to the assignment. Demonstrating
sufficient knowledge of the subject area with an adequate ability to apply that
knowledge. Some evidence of background research and readings. Submission is
sufficient in terms of structure, writing, and presentation. The source material used
is listed using a proper format.
Satisfactory An acceptable response to the assignment. Demonstrating a basic
knowledge of the subject area with limited application of that knowledge. Limited
evidence of background research and readings. The submission format is acceptable
(structure may have been better) and the source materials used are detailed.
Marginal This submission fails to meet the minimal acceptable standards. The
submission is descriptive and presents no attempts at analytical thoughts. There is
virtually no evidence of comprehensive or application of the subject area, with an
incomplete submission that is vague and limited. The submission format is
acceptable (structure may have been better) and the source materials used are not
detailed.
Unacceptable The submission does not fully follow the requirements explained in
the instructions. For example, the topic is not related to the specified subject matter.

Wholly unacceptable The submission does not follow the assignment instructions.
G

*While the criteria detailed above refer to A D grades (inclusive) only, please note that all bands will be
used (A+, A and A-; B+, B and B- etc.) for grading assignments.

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No grade This submission does not follow the assignment instructions and the
student did not attempt to do so.
NG

Table 5: Grade Descriptors Assignment 2


Grade

Characteristics

Excellent The assignment analysis is concise with the purpose and key concepts
and issues identified, and their relevance and importance explained. Excellent
application of knowledge. The submission is excellent in terms of structure,
content, writing style and presentation and uses appropriate headings. The
source material / references used are listed using an appropriate style (in
alphabetical order). The reflective comments are clearly spelt out, are original
with fresh thinking being evident in the submission demonstrating the ability to
apply knowledge and reflect upon it. The submission is excellent in terms of
structure, content, writing style and presentation. The source material /
references used are listed using Harvard Style (in alphabetical order).
Very Good A thorough and comprehensive response to the assignment. A
broad knowledge of the subject area and a very good application of acquired
knowledge. There is evidence of creative thinking in the submission and
effective use is made of appropriate material and readings. The submission is
very well structured, written and presented. The source material used in
completing the assignment is listed using an appropriate style.
Good An adequate and competent response to the assignment. Demonstrates
adequate comprehension of acquired knowledge. Some gaps and limitations
throughout. Submission is sufficient in terms of structure, writing, and
presentation. The source material used is listed using a proper format.
Satisfactory An acceptable response to the assignment task. Basic grasp of
subject area, but somewhat limited in application and focus. Limited detail and
application of acquired knowledge. The submission format is acceptable
(structure may have been better) and the source materials used are detailed.
Marginal A response to the assignment task that fails to meet acceptable
standards. There is virtually no evidence of comprehensive or application of the
subject area, with an incomplete submission that is vague and limited. The
submission format is acceptable (structure may have been better) and the source
materials used are not detailed.
Unacceptable A response to the assignmentt task that is unacceptable, with a
failure to address the assignment specification resulting in a largely irrelevant
answer or material of marginal relevance predominating. Unacceptable
standards of presentation, such as grammar, spelling.
Wholly unacceptable There is a complete failure to address the assignment
resulting in an entirely irrelevant answer. Virtually no knowledge displayed
relative to the specification. Inadequate presentation with unacceptable errors.

26

No Grade
No work was submitted by the student, or the student was absent from the
assessment, or work submitted did not merit a grade.

NG

NB All students are advised to read the UCD Business School Code of Practice for
Team work see Appendix 1.

TABLE 6: Grade Descriptors Formal Closed Book Examination


Grade

Characteristics

Excellent crafted essay that engages with the full implications of the question.
Well-developed key arguments and critique, and a clear and complete
understanding of the material, and vocabulary/terminology. Integration of
knowledge and/or understanding across different modules and/or disciplines
where relevant. Examples, scenarios and case studies drawn from wide range of
reading. Originality of thought and interpretation. The answer demonstrates a
deep awareness of the nature and complexity of management tools,
methodologies and interpretations.
Work that engages with the question concisely deploying relevant module
content. The structure of the answers is clear with a key argument, using the
correct vocabulary. The answer demonstrates a good understanding of the
relevant literature, themes and issues discussed in the module. Appropriate
examples and scenarios are used and discussed. The answer demonstrates
intellectual independence, perhaps drawing on ideas from elsewhere in the
course. The answer demonstrates an awareness of the nature and complexity of
management tools, methodologies and interpretations.
Work that engages with the question within the context relevant module
content. The structure of the answers is clear with some good arguments, using
the correct vocabulary. The answer demonstrates a fair understanding of the
relevant literature, themes and issues discussed in the module. Appropriate
examples and scenarios were explored. The answer demonstrates intellectual
independence, although not beyond the module content. The answer suggests an
awareness of the nature and complexity of management tools, methodologies
and interpretations.
Work that understands the question. Most points are covered from module
content, but include minor factual or theoretical errors. The structure of the
answer breakdowns at times and the answer may be predominantly descriptive
or a key argument may not be strongly developed. The answer describes some
of the key themes and issues raised in the module, based on standard reading.
Examples, scenarios and case studies are mentioned but their full potential or
significance is not recognized. The work does not demonstrate original thought.
The answer may acknowledge the nature and complexity of management tools,
methodologies and interpretations.

27

The answer is descriptive and demonstrates a limited understanding of the


question. Factual and conceptual errors in the answer.
E

The submission does not fully follow the requirements explained in the
instructions. For example, the answer covers only half of the expected topics as
explained in the question.
The work does not follow the instructions of the question.

The submission did not attempt to answer the question.


NG

28

PART 6: CONCLUDING COMMENTS


This Study Guide is designed to assist and guide your learning for the Business Strategy module. It is
important that you read it regularly in conjunction with the textbook, and lecture slides. Should you
need clarification on issues covered, please let us know during the seminar sessions in February/
March, 2016.
I hope you enjoy the module and wish you every success with your continued studies and future
career.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Claudine Kearney,


UCD Business Strategy Module Coordinator and Lecturer

Date: January, 2016

29

APPENDIX 1
UCD SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
STUDENT CODE OF PRACTICE TEAM WORK4
There are many reasons for using team work in higher education such as enhancing student learning,
promoting social interaction among students, developing generic skills (including negotiation,
delegation and leadership) and the individual students strengths and expertise. There is an onus on
the team to ensure that individual members provide maximum effort in completing the assigned
task/project. There is evidence to suggest that individuals frequently exert less effort on collective
tasks than on individual tasks (Williams and Karau, 1991) 5 . As the team size increases the
Ringlemann Effect emerges: there can be an inverse relationship between the size of the team and
effort expended. It is fair to assume that team effectiveness will increase when members work on
tasks that are mutually important and when each member believes they are contributing to an end
goal.
UCD School of Business personnel are obliged to ensure that the operation and management of
assigned team-work are consistent with the integrity of the university assessment process. It is also
expected that, where the team-work contributes to a module grade, members are awarded grades that
accurately reflect their contribution to the completion of the task.
This Code of Practice is developed to guide the work of student teams within an academic setting and
safeguard the integrity of team-based projects as part of our assessment of student learning outcomes.
1. All Team members (whether assigned or self-selected) are expected to contribute actively and
equitably to the completion of the exercise/project.
2. All teams will set out and agree basic ground rules for their team in terms of team communication
procedures, performance targets, arranging and organizing meetings, records, progress reports,
solving problems, finalizing the project and signing off.
3. Roles (such as leader, convener or facilitator) might be assigned to particular team members to
facilitate the working of the team and specific milestones (weekly) agreed.
4. Team membership diversity (cultural, professional etc.) needs to be acknowledged, valued and
utilized as appropriate.
5. Team work undertaken by UCD School of Business students is subject to UCD policy on
academic programmes. For further details on this policy go to
http://www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/student_code.pdf
4

Members of the School of Business Teaching and Learning Committee contributed to the development of this
protocol.
5
Williams, K.D., & Karau, S. J. (1991). Social loafing and social compensation: The effects of expectations of
co-worker performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(4), 570-581.

30

6. UCD promotes an environment upholding the dignity and respect of all students as set out in its
policy on Dignity and Respect
University College Dublin is committed to the promotion of an environment for work and
study which upholds the dignity and respect of the individual and which supports every
individuals right to study and/or work in an environment which is free of any form of
harassment, intimidation or bullying.
The university recognizes the right of every individual to such an environment and requires
all members of the University community to recognize their responsibilities in this regard.
Students are advised to read this policy document click on:
http://www.ucd.ie/equality/policieslegislation/dignity_respect_policy.pdf
7. Any team member who is concerned about a members contribution to the team work (and
associated activities) must firstly communicate this (at the earliest time possible) to the team
members, and they must strive to resolve the problem.
8. If a team member believes that his/her concerns have not been addressed satisfactorily within the
team, the matter should be brought to the attention of the module coordinator. The module
coordinator/learning support officer (LSO) should strive to resolve the issue at team level. Where
this has not been achieved, the Academic Coordinator and/or the School Head of Teaching and
Learning will be informed.
9. Should the issues not be resolved, the parties above, taking into consideration the stipulations of
this code and the University policy documents to which it refers, will to seek to mediate to find a
solution, which is acceptable to team members and which retains the integrity of the team work
assessment process.

31

Please note that the contribution of each team member to the assignment must be included
in the appendices. APPENDIX 2: TEAM AGREEMENT FOR TEAM X [DATE:
TEAM MEMBERS

CONTACT DETAILS
MOBILE

EMAIL

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
INFORMAL COMMUNICATION
We have decided
1)
2)
3)
MEETINGS
We have decided
1)
2)
3)
MAKING DECISIONS
We have agreed
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
SANCTIONS
We hope to work in harmony together. We have different strengths. We accept that this is a team
piece of work and we are all responsible for doing our best. However we agree now that

If individuals have difficulties in working with the team or on the task, we


will try to sort them out promptly by talking with each other

We will seek advice - as soon as is possible - from our tutor for those serious
problems which we cannot resolve ourselves.
SIGNED

32

APPENDIX 3: 2 Important Documents


You are advised to read the following important documents before you commence your studies on this
module:

3. Guidelines for the Late Submission of Coursework


This document provides a detailed outline of the rules and regulations surrounding the
presentation, submission and marking of assignments. The guidelines provided must be adhered
at all times to avoid an unnecessary loss of marks. Further details on
www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/late_sub.pdf
4. A Briefing Document for Students on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.
The University understands plagiarism to be the inclusion of another persons writings or ideas or
works, in any formally presented work (including essays, theses, examinations, projects, laboratory
reports, oral, poster or slide presentations) which form part of the assessment requirements for a
module or programme of study, without due acknowledgement either wholly or in part of the
original source of the material through appropriate citation. Further details please go to
www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/plag_pol_proc.pdf

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. In any assignment, plagiarism means that you have
presented information or ideas belonging to someone else falsely as being your own original
thoughts on a subject.

All assessments/projects submitted must be the result of your own work.


The following statement must be included on the cover page of all assignments submitted:
I declare that all materials included in this essay/report/project/dissertation is the end result
of my own work and that due acknowledgement have been given in the bibliography and
references to ALL sources be they printed, electronic or personal.

Signed: Student name/s, student number


Date:

33

APPENDIX 4
Note to Students: Providing a copy of this paper does not signify that future papers will
follow the exact same format.

SEMESTER I EXAMINATION 2015


Academic Year 2014/15

BACHELOR OFSCIENCE (Singapore) BSc45 Part-Time


Business Strategy
BMGT3001S
Professor Thomas Lawton
Professor Brian Fynes
Dr Sean Cassidy
Prof. John Hulpke*

Time Allowed: 3 Hours


Instructions to Candidates:
Answer any THREE (3) questions.
My advice is use all three hours. All questions carry equal marks. Make each essay
convincing, showing how your analysis leads to your conclusions. The major cases we
covered in class were Byte Products, Tesla Motors, iRobot, Whole Foods, and
Carnival. Please do not use any one firm in TWO answers.
34

1. A good manager follows the business news. In assignment one you located a recent news
item relating to an Asian firm. Name and briefly describe that firm, and show how your
article relates to corporate strategy. What was the key takeaway from your analysis of that
article?
2. We discussed how Porter's five forces model can help analyze an industrys
attractiveness. Apply this model to one of the firms we discussed in this class. Please give
sufficient detail to illustrate that you understand the model and can apply it correctly.
Also mention weaknesses of this model, as discussed in class and in the text.
3. In your team project you suggested a strategy to lead an Asian organization to the year
2025. Tell me what company you studied, and list the most important recommendations
in your report. Do not discuss the companys past or current strategy in any detail, focus
instead on your recommendations to take your company forward to the year 2025. Justify
your points.
4. We spent considerable time discussing the BCG growth share matrix. Describe that
matrix, and show its strengths and weaknesses. Use a specific organization to illustrate
how this model can help an organization craft its strategy.
5. We discussed a number of cases in class including those listed above. Give advice to the
decision maker(s) from ONE of these cases and justify your recommendations. Please
specify what decision-maker you are advising.
6. The famous but old SWOT analysis has been criticized but as discussed in class, it can still be
useful for a quick look at an organization. Make (draw) a SWOT analysis chart for any of the
organizations we discussed in class. Discuss implications of your analysis on the recommended
future strategy of that organization.

oOo
35

_____________________________________

SEMESTER I EXAMINATIONS 2014


ACADEMIC YEAR 2014/2015
__________________________________

Bachelor of Science (Singapore) BSc44 Part Time

BMGT3001S

Business Strategy

Professor Thomas Lawton


Professor Brian Fynes
Dr Sean Cassidy
Dr Eric Clinton*

Time Allowed: 3 Hours


Instructions to candidates:
Answer THREE (3) questions

36

1. A SWOT analysis looks at both the internal and external environment.


Discuss the importance of aligning the internal and external environment in strategic
management.
(33 marks)

2. Explain the characteristics and fundamental differences of Blue Ocean and Red Ocean strategies
(Kim & Mauborgne, 2005).
(33 marks)

3. Evaluate Porters two generic competitive strategies for outperforming other corporations in a
particular industry (Porter, 1990).
(33 marks)

4. Analyse the components of a firms value chain, support your answer with reference to an
organisational example.
(33 marks)

5. A central component of external environmental analysis is industry analysis.

Using an industry of your choice apply Porters (1980) industry analysis to explain the industries
competitiveness.
(23 marks)

Porter encourages firms not to be stuck in the middle. Discuss.


(10 marks)

37