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This project is the third of four projects. Students will perform an internal environmental analysis using the tools and concepts learned in the course to date. You will also draw from previous business courses to understand how organizations develop and manage strategies to establish, safeguard, and sustain their position in a competitive market.
Students also can review an organization’s objectives and goals and the key functional areas within the organization. Performing an internal environment analysis helps assess a firm’s internal resources and capabilities. It plays a critical role in formulating strategy by identifying a firm’s strengths to capitalize on to effectively overcome weaknesses.
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 internal environment for this project. You are accountable for using the course materials to support the ideas, reasoning, and conclusions made. Course material’s use goes beyond defining terms and explains 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 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. As stated above, you are expected to use the course materials and research on the focal company’s global industry and the focal company to ensure success. The 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 by using only the course material.
You should not be using obscure articles, GlassDoor, or Chron, or similar articles.
Research for Financial Analysis: Financial Research
Research for Industry Analysis CSI Market
The UMGC library is available for providing resources and services. Seek library support for excellence in your academic pursuit.
Extensive library resources and services are available online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at https://www.umgc.edu/library/index.cfm to support you in your studies. In addition, the UMGC Library provides research assistance in creating search strategies, selecting relevant databases, and evaluating and citing resources in various formats via its “Ask a Librarian” service https://www.umgc.edu/library/libask/index.cfm.
Scholarly Research in OneSearch is allowed.
To search for only scholarly resources, you are expected to place a checkmark in the space for “Scholarly journals only” before clicking search.
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 is expected to be 10 – 12 pages. The final project may not be more than 12 pages in length, including all tables and matrices, but excluding the title page and reference page. Do not use an Appendix.
Those items identified in the technical analysis should appear under the appropriate heading in the paper. It is important to format the tables/matrices to fit the report and present the analysis clearly and concisely.
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. Use the exact same Headings and Heading Numbers that are in red font below.
Step 4 Write the Report – use the Headings and Heading Numbers that appear here in Red Font
I. Corporate Level Strategy Analysis
There are three levels of strategy: corporate-level strategy, business-level strategy, and functional-level strategy. Corporate-level strategies are related to businesses or markets the focal company successfully can compete within. Corporate-level strategies affect the entire organization and are formulated by top management using middle and lower management input. Decision-making about corporate-level strategies is considered complex, affects the entire company, and relates to an organization’s resource capabilities. Corporate level strategies align with an organization’s mission statement and ideally are designed around goals and objectives.
Perform an analysis on the Corporate-level strategies of the focal company. Use both course materials and company research for support.
II. Partial SWOT (SW) Table
Create a Partial SWOT Table highlighting at least three strengths and at least three weaknesses for the focal company. Provide a citation from company research for support for each of the strengths and weaknesses. Include these citations within the table.
III. SW Analysis
Perform an SW analysis, and discuss the strategic inferences/implications of the strengths and weaknesses on the focal company. Discuss what strategies would allow the company to capitalize on its major strengths and what strategies would allow the company to improve upon its major weaknesses. Use both course materials and company research for support.
IV. IFE Matrix
Create an IFE matrix and present an analysis of the scores. Make sure to explain how the matrix was developed, provide a justification for the weights and ratings used, and discuss the strategic inferences and implications. Use both course materials and company research for support.
V. Grand Strategy Matrix
Develop a Grand Strategy Matrix in order to identify the correct quadrant for your focal company. Explain how the matrix was developed and discuss the strategic inferences/implications for the focal company. Use both course materials and company research for support. (Note, you don’t have to draw a Grand Strategy Matrix, but at a minimum you must indicate which quadrant the focal company falls in and why. See Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week Five for further guidance on the Grand Strategy Matrix. Note: “Market Growth” means “Industry Growth”. Use 2020 and 2019 Industry Growth from CSI Market for this calculation. See link to CSI market above under Library Resources.)
VI. The Business Level and Business-level Strategies
VI. A.The Business Level
Evaluate the company’s product line, target market. Use company research for support.
VI. B. Business-level Strategies
Identify and explain business-level strategies of the focal company. Use course materials and company research for support.
VII. Functional Level Strategies and Alignment
VII. A. Functional-level Strategies
Assess the company’s organizational structure and the organizational culture. Also, BRIEFLY describe any marketing, production, operations, finance and accounting, and R&D that can be accomplished by viewing the company’s website or interviews.
VII. B. Alignment of Functional-level Strategies
Explain how these strategies align with the company’s vision and mission statements.
VIII. Strategic Financial Analysis for the Last Reported Fiscal Year
VIII. A. Financial Ratios for Company
Use the company’s income statement and balance sheet to calculate four (4) key financial ratios, OR, obtain the 4 ratios from Mergent or CSI Market or other credible library sources (see Library Resources section above). One key ratio must come from each of the four key categories: leverage, liquidity, profitability, and efficiency. The four (4) specific ratios selection must come from the following categories.
Leverage Ratios (Long term debt ratio, Total debt ratio, Debt-to-equity ratio, Times interest earned ratio, and Cash coverage ratio)
Liquidity Ratios (Net working capital to total assets ratio, current ratio, quick ratio, and cash ratio)
Efficiency Ratios (Asset turnover ratio, average collection period, inventory turnover ratio, and Days sales outstanding)
Profitability Ratios (Net Profit Margin, Return on Assets, and Return on Equity)
The selection of the ratios has to be relevant to the focal company, so it is important to choose wisely. Citations should be provided to demonstrate the origin of these ratios from company research.
VIII. B. Financial Ratios for Industry
Quote industry financial average ratios correlate to the four (4) financial ratios selected for the focal company. You may find the industry averages through Mergent or CSI Market (see Library Resouces and Support sections above). Provide a citation from industry research for each ratio.
VIII. C. Financial Analysis
Explain the importance of the four (4) averages you chose to use (in other words, why are these ratios relevant for this company and its industry?). Then compare the company and industry ratios and comment on whether each ratio is Strength or a Weakness for the company, in comparison to the industry average. Support this analysis with both course materials and company research.
IX. Composite Analysis/Conclusion
The one-paragraph conclusion is intended to highlight the key 3-4 key findings, consequences, and recommendations resulting from your analysis. Comment on both the qualitative findings (from the matrices) and the quantitative findings (from the financial analysis). Support this composite analysis with both course materials and company research.
Step 7 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.
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. Therefore, 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 (except videos and podcasts). See Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week One for examples.
Step 8 Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder
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