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INSTRUCTIONS FOR GROUP ASSIGNMENTS

BSP3001 Strategic Management
Lecturer: Marleen Dieleman
Group Assignment: Analyze the Strategy of a Firm
For the group assignment in this course, you will assume the role of a strategy consultant, giving strategic
advice to a firm. Assume that you are hired by the board of the firm. You are asked to evaluate the
company’s current situation, how it got there, and to provide advice on how to lead the company in the next
five years. Please focus on a salient strategic issue in the company of your choice. The project has two
components: a written plan and a presentation - both will be considered to determine the grade for your
group assignment.
Company Selection
Groups should select an ASEAN-based company of their own choice. The target organization should be of
a certain minimal size, so as to enable real strategic issues to come out. As a rule of thumb: companies with
over 100 employees and a turnover counted in millions of dollars. It is preferable to have direct access to
the company, in particular to managers or owners. Find a target company on which you can get some
information, either in person or through public information (e.g. annual reports).
Ethical Issues
If you have direct contact with the company please bear in mind that some information given to you may
be confidential. While analyzing the company, you are likely to run into sensitive issues or sources of
conflict. Act responsibly towards the company. Think carefully about communicating your ideas and about
transmitting your valuable knowledge and analysis to the company in an elegant manner. Managing your
role is part of the learning experience.
Contents of the paper
Please take into account that great papers tend to have the following components:
 Problem Definition. A paper must always begin with an indication of why it is being written. The
problem definition outlines which issue(s) you are analyzing (e.g. the company is facing a
succession problem, or the company has witnessed limited growth and wants to analyze why this
is the case), and also why this particular problem is important to the company.
 Solution Method. Please state how you plan to address the problem you defined as important to
resolve.
 Analytical Depth. The most common problem of papers is that they merely scratch the surface,
which is usually justified by referring to the page limit. However, the need for brevity may be no
excuse for superficiality. The page limit refers to how much one may report, not to how much one
may think.
 Use of Theory. You can use frameworks or theories from this course, or from other courses, or
create some of your own. One must, however, keep the right sequence in mind; for a practitioner
theories should not be looking for appropriate problems, but problems looking for appropriate
theory.
 Structured Reasoning. Brainstorming is good, as long as it is constrained to one's brain. Wait until
the storm is over and things have been straightened out before confiding anything to paper. This
should be done in a structured manner, with a clear line of argumentation. Checklists may be used
as a structuring tool, but in themselves argue nothing. Checklists need to be explained and woven
into the line of reasoning. It is this structured reasoning which is usually more important than the
solutions that it bears.

so make sure you have a strategy to capture the attention of the audience. Presentation of the Report The written report should not exceed 10 pages (references. You are free to form groups yourselves. annexes etc all included). Groups. Presentations can become boring. Ensure that each team member gets a chance to speak.g. resulting in motivated solutions (including an overview of costs and benefits. a film. Creativity. so that readers may determine whether they share them or not. business administration is an actionoriented science and therefore necessarily interested in solutions. but unfamiliarity with the language may not become an excuse for laxity. and the only way to overcome such fear is by a lot of practice. Dare to be witty. but please bear in mind that if you increase the heterogeneity of the members. It cannot be expected of non-native English speakers that their English rivals that of the Queen. However. the learning curve and results are likely to be better. and detailed indications of how implementation could be assured) or a well-motivated lack of solution (including alternative lines of action). Late submissions will incur a penalty. Methodology You may base yourself on secondary research such as annual reports. please note:  Clear Slides. Please check your submission for plagiarism. If you are using powerpoint slides. is an important element in the strategist's arsenal and therefore actively encouraged.  Humor. In terms of writing style. It almost goes without saying that the whole structure of the paper should be clear at a glance. but that the structure must be visible to the reader. make sure they are visible and that the number of slides fits with the time limit. Obvious helps are clearly named and numbered chapters and paragraphs. .  Upload your report and slides on IVLE. Motivated Solutions. Please take the following advice into account:  Clear Structure and Layout. Every argument will be partially based on assumptions and estimations. Although from an academic point of view reasoning is more important than actual solutions (process more important than the product). No peer evaluation will be conducted: the grade will be based on true group work. with generous margin. single-spaced. Creativity. for instance in terms of original responses to company problems. a website) that is fine. For example by using humor to bring your point across. Of course. Hence. This not only means that the content should be structured.   Explicit Assumptions. please be concrete.  Language and Writing. to the point and exciting. This is no large problem if the writer points them out to the readers. Rereading of texts and use of a spelling check program can easily resolve 90% of all errors. table of contents or clarifying diagram). entertaining and different -your reader is human and will probably enjoy it! Presentations (15 min max) When preparing for your presentation.g. it is expected that the paper's line of reasoning is carried through to its logical end.  Presentation. Remember that public speaking is feared more than death. as long as you communicate your message. if you want to structure your presentation in an innovative way (e. please note that your methodology should be explicit. 12pts font. use of bold and italic typesetting and use of a structure guide (e. and/or on first-hand interviews or other ways of information gathering. Practicalities  Groups will consist of 3-5 students. There is no need to submit a hard copy.