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Developing Corporate Culture

Based on your chosen organization being Amazon:
1. Explain any two models of organizational culture which would help achieve your
chosen organization’s goals and objectives.
(Assessment Criteria 1.1: Explain how models of organizational culture can be
used to achieve organizational objectives).
2. Understand your national culture and your chosen organizational culture. Based on
your understanding, explain the difference between the national culture and your
chosen organizational culture.
(Assessment Criteria 1.2: Explain the difference between organizational and
national culture).
3. Analyze the corporate cultural profile of your chosen organization by considering a
minimum of five major key features, as part of the corporate cultural profile.
(Assessment Criteria 1.3: Analyze the corporate cultural profile in an
organization).
4. Discuss the impact of your chosen organization’s corporate culture in achieving its
objectives.
(Assessment Criteria 1.4: Discuss the impact of an organization’s corporate
culture in achieving its objectives).
5. Evaluate the existing climate of your chosen organization. Your evaluation should also
be based on what your organization wants to achieve in terms of its culture. Thereafter,
recommend ways to improve corporate climate in your organization.
(Assessment Criteria 2.1: Evaluate the existing climate of an organization;
Assessment Criteria 2.2: Recommend ways to improve corporate climate in an
organization).
6. Understand how the current organizational values of your chosen organization are
linked to the organizational objectives and propose a framework of organizational
values that can meet the specific strategic and operational needs of your chosen
organization.
(Assessment Criteria 2.3: Propose a framework of organizational values that
meet the specific strategic and operational needs of an organization).
7. Identify internal and external stakeholders of your chosen organization.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your chosen organization’s existing communication
strategies, by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
Develop new communication strategies for internal and external stakeholders of your
a chosen organization that addresses differences in belief, values, customs, and language.
(Assessment Criteria 3.1: Identify internal and external stakeholders of an
organization; Assessment Criteria 3.2: Evaluate the effectiveness of an
organization’s existing communication strategies; Assessment Criteria 3.3:
Develop new communication strategies for stakeholders of an organization that
address differences in belief, values, customs, and language).

Home Depot Audit

will analyze the annual report, the 10-K, other company SEC filings, and industry data for a selected publicly-held company. You will prepare a broad audit plan for one of the following companies:
• Home Depot Inc.
• Gap Inc.
• Darden Restaurants Inc.

The broad-based audit plan should identify control risks and areas of focus for the audit. You will provide recommendations for which accounts should be audited using analytical procedures and which accounts should be tested using substantive tests of detail. Additionally, you will address going-concern considerations, the prior year’s audit opinion, and audit locations.

Use the SEC Edgar and Reuters websites to find the information you need.

Requirements:

Complete an analysis and prepare a broad-based audit plan (suggested length of 10–15 pages, excluding the appendix) for your chosen company (i.e., Home Depot Inc., Gap Inc., or Darden Restaurants Inc.) by completing the requirements below in accordance with GAAS. Your analysis and audit plan should be based upon the information obtained in the 2013 annual report, the 10-K, and other 2013 SEC filings, along with industry data:
A. Complete the attached “Company Information Template” for your chosen company based on the 2013 10-K and the 2013 annual report by doing the following:
1. Identify the company’s basic information, including each of the following:
• the company’s name
• the company’s date of formation
• the industry in which the company operates
• the company’s size in terms of annual sales
• the company’s size in terms of total assets
• the company’s size in terms of employees (all full- and part-time)
• the company’s size in terms of total market value
• the location of company headquarters, including the states and countries in which it operates
2. Identify the company’s top three customers and/or suppliers.
3. Identify the company’s sources of financing (e.g., bonds, stocks, loans, etc.).
4. Identify the company’s related parties (if any), including people and other companies.
5. Identify the current stage in the company’s life cycle.
6. Identify three risks associated with this business and/or industry.
7. Identify two key economic factors that affect the company and how it stands with respect to these factors.
8. Describe one unique accounting consideration for companies in this industry.
9. Describe one of each of the following matters that are relevant to your chosen company:
• a legal matter
• a regulatory matter
• social matter
10. Recommend two additional questions you would ask a company representative in an interview setting.
a. Justify your question recommendations from part A10.
b. Identify the individuals within the company to whom you would ask each question identified in part A10.

B. Analyze the data compiled in Part A and, based upon your analysis, discuss the three primary audit concerns.

C. Perform preliminary analytical procedures by doing the following:
1. Prepare a vertical analysis of the financial statements for 2011 through 2013.
2. Evaluate whether your chosen company is growing or declining.
a. Identify any major increases or decreases in accounts.
i. Justify your identifications made in part C2a.
3. Determine how the stock price of your chosen company has moved since the issuance of the last annual report and 10-k.
4. Choose two financial strengths for your chosen company during the year and do the following:
a. Discuss each financial strength in comparison to prior periods.
b. Discuss each financial strength in comparison to the strength of the industry.

D. Prepare a broad-based audit plan for 2013 based upon your findings in parts A–C by doing the following:
1. Determine the impact of the prior year’s audit opinion for the current year’s audit plan.
2. Recommend whether the control risk of your chosen company should be assessed at the maximum level or below.
a. Justify your recommendation made in part D2.
3. Discuss the control risk assessment identified in D2 and what impact it will have on the audit procedures to be performed. Include in your discussion each of the following:
• nature
• timing
• extent
4. Identify areas of focus for the upcoming audit, including specific balance sheet and income statement accounts based upon the significance of those accounts and their related risks.
5. Recommend which accounts identified in part D4 should be tested using analytical procedures and which accounts should be tested through substantive tests of detail.
a. Justify your recommendation made in part D5.
6. Discuss whether or not there is a going-concern consideration.
7. Recommend whether the audit should be conducted at one main location or if the audit team should be dispersed to other locations.
a. Justify your recommendation made in part D7.
8. Describe the five main steps the audit team will perform.

Be the manager

Question

A group of investors in your city is considering opening a new upscale supermarket to compete with the major supermarket chains that are currently dominating the city’s marketplace. They have called you in to help them determine what kind of upscale supermarket they should open. In other words, how can they best develop a competitive advantage against existing supermarket chains?
Questions
1. List the supermarket chains in the Kansas City area, and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
2. What business-level strategies are these supermarkets currently pursuing?
3. What kind of supermarket would do best against the competition? What kind of business-level strategy should it pursue?

Sample paper

ALDI

Casentino’s

price chopper

Trader’s Joe

  1. ALDI

Aldi Strengths

Low pricing is the major strength of Aldi. The company offers relatively low prices to customers for goods that are used on a daily basis. The pricing offered by the company is relatively lower than those of other competitors enhancing their competitiveness in the sector.

ALDI has also developed a strong ecosystem that has contributed to its competitiveness in the market. Apart from offering discount prices, the store chain added other elements such as multiple distribution locations, an assortment of merchandise to enhance the shopping convenience for customers.

A quality customer support system: ALDI has a quality customer support system that offers adequate assistance to consumers. The highly informed customer care staff ensures that the needs of the customers are met and that their feedback is promptly addressed

The low cost offered by ALDI ensures that the customers achieve maximum saving from their saving experience. The company has in place a strategy that supports the provision of a 50% discount to the customers, making it one of the most preferred store outlets in the region.

Aldi has a good product mix that has enhanced its competitiveness in the sector. Aldi has a product mix consisting of general merchandise goods that takes up more than 25 percent of the total shelf space. The company also has premium brands that are mostly not- discounted as well as private label brands. The highly differentiated products and quality brands under each category of the product offered by the company has contributed significantly towards the competitiveness of ALDI in the market

MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT VBD REPORT

QUESTION

Your task is to write a report where you: Analyze and identify the most critical underlying cause(s) to the chosen organizational problem.  You should aim to analyze TWO (2)  underlying causes. Use any of the management theories, tools or frameworks from the topics covered. TWO (2) solutions to eliminate the critical underlying cause(s) to the chosen organizational problems. The proposed solutions have to be justified by the concepts and principles used in the chosen theories, tools or frameworks (one to as many). Make TWO (2) concise recommendations to address the issues and challenges you have discussed and identified in your analysis of the problem. Your recommendations should Translate the proposed solution(s) into action plans that are justified by the theories used. For instance, what type of leadership skills, control methods, planning process, organizational structure and more, are suitable to translate the proposed solutions into reality. Suit the Australian environment. Have ONE (1) recommendation for each of the two (2) proposed solutions.

SUGGESTED STRUCTURE:

  • INTRODUCTION (APPROX.100 WORDS)
    • Purpose of the report
    • A brief statement of the organizational problem

2.0      ANALYSIS OF (PROBLEM ISSUE) IN (NAME OF COMPANY) (500 WORDS)

Introduction to this section (50 words)

2.1 Problem Identification in the assigned country (250 words)

In this section, you need to analyze why the problem has occurred.

  • Generate two(2) to three(3) underlying causes and use the concepts and principles of the functions of management or any of the management topics that had been covered in this unit to explain the underlying causes.
  • Give supporting evidence
  • Identify the underlying cause(s) to the organizational problem (200 words)
    • Evaluate these underlying cause(s) to the organization problem which you are solving. Why do you think this is critical to your virtual business?
    • What if, it is not solved and how does it impact your virtual business?
  • PROPOSED SOLUTION(S) (600 WORDS)

This section needs to incorporate the outcome of your analysis in relation to the most critical underlying cause to the organization problem.

  • Discuss what should have been done to avoid the identified underlying cause(s) of the organization problem.
  • Use management theories (e.g. planning), tools (e.g. profitability ratios), and frameworks (e.g. feedback control model) preferably from the functions of management to justify your view.

4.0    RECOMMENDATIONS (300 WORDS)

This section starts with a concluding statement that should be forward-looking. (20-30 words).

For example: Upward Airlines Ltd failed to define the direction for the VB operation due to its lack of supporting goals and contingency plan. Thus to have a clear vision and direction for the company, the following two action plans are recommended.

  • TWO (2) concise recommendations of what specific actions will need to be taken to fix the critical underlying cause identified for the organisational problem.
  • Your recommendations should come directly from Section 3.0proposed solution(s). It is preferred you start with a bullet point follow by an active verb, for example, implement, train and more. You are required to state the two(2) courses of actions your VBD business should take and each of these has to be linked to the proposed solution(s) that are justified by the chosen theories (refer to Section 3.0) and suit the Australian environment .
  • Need Two (2) references.

5.0      REFERENCE LIST

SAMPLE PAPER

1.0. Introduction

Customer satisfaction refers to the extent through which the services and/or products offered by an organization meets or surpasses the consumers’ expectation. According to Gounaris and Boukis (2013) a higher level of customer satisfaction is positively associated with the performance of the organization. Satisfied customers are likely to be loyal to the organization and make future purchases thus translating to higher profitability (Khan & Haseeb, 2015). In the current case, the Upward Airlines organization has reported a reduced level of customer satisfaction in its provision of flight services to students and travelers within and without Australia. The current report presents and analyses two major underlying causes of the reduced level of customer satisfaction. The report also present the possible solutions to the problems identified as well as the recommendations that needs to be adopted by the management of the company to improve their customer satisfaction levels.

2.0. Analysis of the Problem

This section presents the analysis of the issue of reduced customer satisfaction as reported by Upward Airlines. The underlying cause (s) of the reduced level of customer satisfaction is also presented using the principles and concepts of the functions of management.

2.1. Problem Identification

The major underlying cause of the reduced level of customer satisfaction is the failure by the organization to incorporate e-business strategy in their operations. It is reported that the expectations of the customers is largely influenced by the changes on the business environment (Phillips & Moutinho, 2014). According to Oliver (2014) the advancement in information technology has led to the changes in interaction between travelers and flight service providers that every organization needs to comply with to meet the expectation of the customers. The failure by the management to set in place scenario plans that takes into considerations the changes in business environment led to their inability to improve the quality of their services through the adoption of B2C e-business strategy, thus leading to reduced customer satisfaction.

The provision of poor quality services to the customers have also contributed to their reduced level of satisfaction. The flight booking services, luggage handling and provision of assistance and meals during flights have failed to meet or surpass the expectations of the clients. According to Haines (2016) the nature of power adopted by the managers to the organization has failed to influence positively the employees of the organization. The managers have mainly focused on the adoption of the position power that mainly entails the use of rewards, coercion or legitimacy to get things done by the staff. As Munari, Ielasi & Bajetta, 2013) indicate, relying on the position power approach can only lead to temporary compliance with the rules and regulations set. The employees are likely to go back to their normal ways of providing poor quality services if there are no rewards, coercion or authority from the managers. The use of position power in managing the employees is therefore not effective in influencing them to offer quality services to the customers that are likely to meet their expectations.

2.2. The Underlying Causes of the Organizational Problem

The position power approach is not effective in influencing the employees to comply with the set regulations of work over a longer period of time. According to Prayag, Hosany and Odeh (2013) the provision of rewards, coercing the employees to work, or giving authoritative orders can only influence the employees to work in accordance with the set regulations over a short period of time. In the absence of the above mentioned forms of power from the management, then the employees are likely not to comply with the rules set hence offers poor quality customer services. Torres and Kline (2013) have indicated that the employees are only likely to perform and interact with customers appropriately if they are promised rewards, ordered or coerced to do so. There will be no consistency in the provision of quality services with the adoption of the position power approach in influencing the employees to act (Popli & Rizvi, 2016). When left unresolved, the adoption of the position power by the managers will influence the employees to offer quality services temporarily and will lead to the provision of poor quality services in the long run that are likely to affect negatively the satisfaction of the customers hence reducing the overall organizational performance.

B2C e-business strategy entails the use of the internet in various transactions and communications between the business and customers. Many flight organizations are considering the adoption of the e-business strategy to communicate with the customers, respond swiftly to the queries, and provide an opportunity for them to make online bookings Dabholkar and Sheng (2012). The approach is more convenient to the customers hence they are likely to move to service providers that have put in place the strategy (Veasna, Wu & Huang, 2013). The e-business strategy is therefore critical to the organization since its adoption or abolition will influence the number of clients that the company is likely to retain. In case that the issue is not resolved then the company will not only report a reduced customer satisfaction level but will equally loose a considerable number of clients.

Proposed Solutions

The management of Upward airlines needs to adopt personal power to get things done. According to Hsiao, Lee and Chen (2015), personal power is the ability used by the manager to get things done based on how they are viewed by others. The managers should have adopted the expert power and the referent power that comes from the personal qualities of an individual. The expert power focuses on influencing the employees to act through special expertise (Namasivayam, Guchait & Lei, 2014). The managers should have convinced the employees to comply with the regulation set when dealing with the customers by being an expertise in the interaction process in way that the other employees recognize and copy their expertise in doing the same. Referent power focuses on the ability of influencing the employees to act through identify (Cina, 2013). The managers should have developed a good charisma when dealing with the customer such that the other employees follow sought. This could have resulted into their compliance with the regulations set in a way that they constantly offer quality services when dealing with the customers.

The organization also needs to have a strategic plan that takes into consideration the possible changes in the business environment that are likely to be reported. In the formulation of the long-term goals, the management to the organization needs to look ahead, understand the nature of the environment and evaluate the possible changes that are likely to occur, and develop a plan that will ensure the organization remain competitive regardless of the possible changes in the business environment. Strategic plan should have included the long-term goal of implementing an e-business strategy in the management of business activities.

Scenario planning is planning tool that should have been adopted by the organization to identify the alternative causes of actions that can be implemented to accomplish the strategic plan. Scenario planning provides an opportunity for the management to implement different plans depending on the changing business environment (Kara, Uysal, Sirgy & Lee, 2013). As such, the organization is likely to be more prepared for any changes in business than its competitors.

The management should have also constantly analyzed the external business environment. Through the use of the porters five forces analysis, the management to the organization ought to have established the changes in the bargaining power of the customers so as to know whether there is need to improve the quality of the services/products offered or not. Moreover, carrying out SWOT analysis for internal business analysis was also important to identify the threats to the organization that needs to be managed and the opportunities that ought to be exploited. Analyzing the external and internal business environments would have ensured that the company sets an appropriate scenario plan that would have ensured they introduced the e-business strategy in their operations to enhance the level of customer satisfaction.

4.0. Recommendations

Upward airline organization has reported a reduced level of customer satisfaction due to its failure to incorporate a scenario plan and the adoption of a position power approach in getting things done. The company needs to adopt the following recommendations to improve their customer satisfaction levels

Implement a personal power approach in getting things done. It is recommended that the managers interact actively with the customers when offering flight booking services and responding to their queries. A high level of expertise in doing so needs to be shown such that their knowledge, skills and understanding can be easily copied by the other  staff. Moreover, the managers need to adopt referent power to influence the employees to act through identification. As Hsiao, Lee and Chen (2015) indicate, the adoption of the personal power approach to influence the employees to offer quality services to the customer is effective in ensuring there is a high commitment such that quality services are provided over a longer period of time to enhance customer satisfaction levels.

Adopt the scenario planning technique in developing plans that are capable of managing any changes in technology. It is recommended that the management carries out internal and external business environment analysis to identify the most suitable scenario plans on e-business that needs to be adopted for the organization to be better prepared for any future changes in business technology. According to Kara, Uysal, Sirgy, and Lee (2013), scenario planning is effective in improving flexibility and focus. Focus is vital in ensuring that the company knows the needs of its customers and the possible changes in the needs and expectations that have been reported over time. On the other hand, flexibility is important in ensuring that the company is able to adapt to the shifting circumstances on the business environment and to adopt a scenario plan that is compliant with the changes observed.

Unit 3 Project: Consulting Report

Your Unit 3 Project should include:

  1. Section 1: Organisational Issue: An organisational issue you identified
  2. Section 2: Internal Environmental Analysis: A SWOT analysis of your selected organisation
  3. Section 3: External Environmental Analysis: A PESTLE analysis and additional external analysis of the organisation, with explanation of how external analysis can help you understand the organisational issue you identified
  4. Section 4: Resource Allocation: An explanation of how the identified organisational issue can be addressed through better resource allocation

Organise all of the above into a coherent report you could submit to a CIO, CTO, CEO or COO. Your Unit 3 Project document should be approximately 3,000 words.

Section 1: Organisational Issue

Whether large or small, every organisation will at some point encounter issues that might be challenging. Take for example the global franchise Cold Stone Creamery. Several years ago, Cold Stone Creamery franchises were rapidly expanding, and it seemed there was one on every corner. They had a unique product: high-quality, hand-crafted ice creams with a bevy of toppings and flavour combinations. Cold Stone became trendy and began expanding at an extremely fast pace. Soon, franchises started opening too close to one another and were hurting each other’s sales. As fast as franchises were opening, they were closing as well. This is a perfect example of an organisation that encountered the issue of expanding too quickly.

In this section of your Unit 3 Project, you will identify an organisational issue that will serve as the basis for your Unit 3 Project and to which you will return in Unit 5 Project.

To prepare for this section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Review the Learning Resources from Unit 1 focusing on organisational issues.
  • Identify an issue in the organisation you selected. Organisational issues may include ethical problems, understaffing or overstaffing, overuse or underuse of resources, lack of communication between teams and stakeholders, lack of innovation, decreased profits or other problems or challenges faced by the organisation. The issue should be of strategic importance, with a demonstrable impact on organisational performance.

To complete this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Describe the organisational issue that you have identified.
  • Explain the scope of the issue.
  • Explain how the issue you identified may impact the organisation from an internal perspective.
Section 2: Internal Environmental Analysis

Organisations can face a multitude of challenging issues that need to be addressed. One effective tool an organisation can use to self-evaluate and determine potential issues is a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis can help in the decision-making process for new strategies or ventures. In addition to facilitating analysis of the organisation’s internal characteristics, SWOT analysis also introduces the notion of external environmental analysis, which you will explore in more depth in the next module.

To prepare for this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Review the Learning Resources from Unit 1 focusing on SWOT analysis; use these as a basis to identify one to two additional scholarly sources on internal organisational analysis.

To complete this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Perform a SWOT analysis on the organisation you selected and analyse the results.
  • Provide two to four questions you might need to ask key stakeholders in the organisation in order to obtain additional information that would help in refining your analysis.
Section 3: External Environmental Analysis

In order to be successful in a business environment, you must acquire tools that can help you analyse various environmental factors and situations. One useful tool to analyse external environmental factors is the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental (PESTLE) analysis. The PESTLE analysis is used to view the external environment from many angles in order to make strategic decisions. The political component analyses the extent to which the government regulates the industry.

For example, the hardware industry may have little or no government regulation, while the firearms industry has intense government regulation. The economic component analyses how the economy can affect an organisation or industry. For example, a weak economy may see an increase in budget-friendly stores like Tesco where more upscale stores like Harrods could see a decline in sales. The social component analyses factors such as trends and demographics; the technological component addresses the impact of innovations in technology; the legal component analyses the legal factors that can affect how an organisation operates or the demand for its products; and the environmental component looks at natural resources and other elements of the natural environment. By using the complete PESTLE analysis, you can enhance strategic decision-making and recognise factors you may have not otherwise considered.

This Section of Unit 3 Project will allow you to practise applying two analytical tools, the PESTLE analysis and one additional analysis method of your choosing, and continue working towards your Unit 3 and Unit 5 Project.

To prepare for this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Review Learning Resources from Unit 2 about PESTLE and other external environmental analysis tools and methods; use these as a basis to identify one to two additional scholarly sources on external environmental analysis.
  • Select one external analysis tool or method other than PESTLE to use in this assignment.

To complete this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Apply a PESTLE analysis to the organisation you selected.
  • Apply the second external environmental analysis tool or method you selected to the organisation.
  • Compare the results of each analysis and critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of each analytical method. Justify your answer; provide support for your arguments with citations from the literature.
  • Explain whether PESTLE and other external analysis tools are useful in understanding the organisational issue you identified in Section 1, and if so, how.
  • Provide two to four questions you might need to ask key stakeholders in the organisation in order to obtain additional information that would help in refining your analysis.
Section 4: Resource Allocation

Imagine for a moment you are in charge of a manufacturing company with two locations of operation: Location A and Location B. Location A is overstaffed, space is limited and the equipment is very old. Location B is understaffed and cannot keep up with the amount of product their brand-new equipment is producing. Your budget has been increased, and you have permission to hire 20 new employees. You could assign the extra funds and employees to Location B, which would solve their staffing problem, but the funds might be unnecessary since they have brand-new equipment. If you assign the extra funds and employees to Location A, they would have the money to buy new equipment and possibly expand their space, but they would be adding employees to an already over-employed location. What do you do? There is no right or wrong answer. Deciding where to appropriately distribute funds and employees is a difficult decision. This is what is called ‘resource allocation’.

Resource allocation is not only limited to funds and employees but also includes intellectual property, inventory and facilities. Every organisation will have different resources to allocate. If resources are allocated inappropriately, inefficiencies can undermine the organisation; but if resources are allocated appropriately, an organisation might run more efficiently and optimise organisational performance. This Section of Unit 3 Project allows you to consider ways in which better resource allocation could address the organisational issue you identified in Section 1.

To prepare for this Section of Unit 3 project:

  • Review the organisational issue you previously identified.
  • Review Learning Resources from Unit 3 that focus on resource allocation; use these as a basis to identify one to two additional scholarly sources on resource allocation.
  • Think about how resource allocation is related to organisational issues.

To complete this Section of Unit 3 Project:

  • Explain how resource allocation can impact an organisation.
  • Explain two ways how the organisational issue you identified could be addressed through better resource allocation in the organisation.
  • Provide two to four questions you might need to ask key stakeholders in order to obtain additional information that would help in refining your analysis of organisational performance and resource allocation.

Submit your Project in one Word document. Be sure to include references to all sources, including your Learning Resources, in Harvard Referencing Style.

Word count: The suggested word count for this assignment is 3,000 words.

Advice on word count: Submissions that range from 10% below to 10% above the recommended word count are acceptable. Students should recognise that assignment submissions that fall outside these parameters may be marked down. This restriction encourages the development of a concise writing style, as assignment quality is likely to suffer given the potential for overly verbose submissions. The policy is available to review on page 16 of the University of Roehampton Online Policies document, which can be found here.

Assessment and Grading

This Project submission accounts for 50% of your grade for this module. Review the Project Rubric for information on how your assignment will be graded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consulting Report – Part 1:  LEGO Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Introduction.. 1

Lego: Background information.. 1

Organisational Issue. 2

External and Internal Environment Analysis of LEGO Company. 3

SWOT Analysis. 4

PESTLE Analysis. 7

Political Factors. 7

Economic Factors. 8

Social Factors. 8

Technological Factors. 9

Legal Factors. 9

Environmental Factors. 10

Porter’s five forces. 10

Buyers bargaining power. 10

Suppliers Bargaining Power. 10

Threats of substitutes. 11

Threats of new entrants. 11

Competition rivalry. 11

Resource Allocation.. 12

Conclusion.. 14

References. 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The current report explores the issue of declining profits for LEGO Inc. in the past two years. In so doing, the report scans the internal and external environments in a bid to establish how environmental factors have impacted the business and the implications of the impacts on resource allocation towards solving the problem of declining profits. After giving LEGO’s background, the report analyses the internal environment (SWOT Analysis) and external environment (PESTEL and Five Porters Forces) followed by prescribing resource allocation to address the issue of declining profits in the context of the environment.

Lego: Background information

Founded by Kirk Kristiansen in 1932, Lego Group is a renowned multinational Danish toy manufacturing company with its headquarters in Billund (LEGO, n.d.). The family-owned company that began at a carpenter’s workshop, producing wooden blocks with 7 employees, has grown to become one of the largest global toy makers in the world employing about 19,000 people globally by 2017. LEGO’s most important toy is the plastic interlocking blocks launched in 1958 that have now been improved to come in different shapes, sizes, colors and formations (LEGO Group, 2017). The name LEGO is derived from the Danish phrase “Leg godt” which loosely translates to “play well” (Hatch & Schultz, 2010) By 2015, LEGO had outsmarted the historically leading toy manufacturers Mattel and become the market leader as well as largest toy maker by revenue (LEGO Group, 2017). Over the years, the company has innovatively expanded to china and other countries as well as introducing such new revenue sources as their globally distributed amusement parks branded LegoLand, games, competitions and supporting movies. Its corporate strategy has consistently placed it as one of the most reputable organizations in the globe.

The Mission of LEGO is to motivate and motivate ‘children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their future – experiencing the endless human possibility.” LEGO’s unique selling point (USP) is the manufacturing intrinsically detailed construction toys that can be disassembled and reassembled infinitely, with thousands of combinations and permutations available thus enabling the development of creativity and innovativeness in their target clientele (ages 3-15 years).

Organisational Issue

Since 2017 through to 2018, LEGO Group has been registering a decline in its profitability (Annual Report, 2017; Annual Report, 2018). Although LEGO still remains generally profitable, this decline is disturbing because it is the first time LEGO is registering a decline in sales and profits since 2004 (14 years ago) (Peltz, 2017). In 2017 annual revenues dropped by 8% from the 2016 revenue DKK 38 billion to DKK 35 billion. Subtracting the influence of foreign exchange the revenue drop comes to 7%. Operating profits for 2017 decreased by 17% from DKK 12.4 billion to DKK 10.4 billion while the net profit dropped from DKK 9.4 billion to DKK 7.8 billion (Annual Report, 2017). While this decline would partially be attributed to inventories clean-up across value chain, this would be experienced in 2018 as well. In the first half of 2018, LEGO continued to see a drop in profits, registering a net profit decline of 10% compared to the first half of 2017 (Annual Report, 2018). Interestingly, Lego faced this decline in 2017 and 2018 when its Chinese market saw a double-digital growth. LEGO saw a substantial decline in market share in Europe and North America, two of the most important markets contrary to a stagnation in North America alone in 2016. In 2018, apart from the Chinese market that continued its double digital growth, the rest global markets faced either a decline or stagnation of LEGO’s market share and revenue (Neate, 2018).  This shows a slow spread of the discontent of LEGO’s products and the need for the organization to act with speed. The declining profit is already impacting the internal environment of LEGO. Early 2018, LEGO Group announced its plan to retrench 1400 workers due to redundancy. It has also tried to focus on newer markets and increasing the organization’s focus on the production of more supporting movies that are aimed at painting Lego as the ultimate toy destination. From the retrenching news it is evident that declining profits stimulate the revisiting of resources, streamlining them and reallocating these resources in a way that ensures the overcoming of the challenge.

External and Internal Environment Analysis of LEGO Company

The current business environment is constantly changing due to the increasing globalization and advancement in technology. The changes results in intense competition in the business market putting pressure on organization to always work towards enhancing their competitiveness. Formulation and implementation of effective strategies is a sure way of assisting the company accomplishes an enhanced competitive advantage to remain in business. An understanding of the internal and external environments of the business is a major prerequisite in the formulation of such strategies. The environment of a company affects its operations including the supply chain, marketing and sales operations making it an important factor to be considered in the formulation of strategies. SWOT analysis is a tool used in the analysis of the internal environment of the company. To understand the happenings in the organization’s external environment, tools such as PESTLE and Porter’s five forces model are used. Focusing on SWOT the tool is used to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of the company, as well as the threats and opportunities of the company (Bhasin, 2017). On the other hand PESTLE tool is adopted in the analysis of the macro-environment of the company. It focuses on understanding the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal environment that is likely to affect the operation and success of the company (CIPD, 2013). Porter’s five forces model is employed to understand the forces that influence competition in the specific industry of the company (Porter, 2008). The three tools are used in the analysis of the internal and external environments of LEGO Group Company.

 

 

 

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

·                     A strong brand name

·                     Unique and creative toy building concept

·                     Integration of information technology in its operations and designs

·                     Strong association with top movie stars

 

 

Weaknesses

·                     Failure in understanding the changing needs of customers

·                     Negative influence of some products on children

·                     Premium pricing in relation to other players

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opportunities

·                     Vast opportunity on media platforms

·                     Expansion into the global market

 

Threats

·                     Intense rivalry from competitors producing similar products

·                     Threat from counterfeits toys and cheap imitations

 

 

 

 

 

Lego Company enjoys a strong brand name and reputation in the manufacture and supply of learning and creative toys across the world. The company products are sold in more than 140 nations. The creative and unique concept employed by the company in the manufacture of the toys is a strong growth factor. Also, the integration of information technology in its operations has resulted in the release of quality and safe toys (Bhasin, 2017). Lego Company adheres strictly to the set global quality and safety standards, an approach that has ensured it reports zero product recalls.

Despite the strengths identified, Lego Company has some weak spots. The organization charges a premium price for its toys making it only affordable for individuals in the high-end and upper classes in the society. The company has also failed to keep up with the changing trends in the consumer needs, leading to some of its products being faced out (Peltz, 2017). The negative effects associated with its products such as the video games that are believed to derail the brain development of children have not only affected the reputation of the company negatively, but has also adversely affects its financial performance. Lego has maintained an increase in its sales volume for some time now, however, in 2017; the company reported a significant drop in its sale volume, owing to its weakness in meeting the varying and changing needs of the customers.

The threat of intense competition from other players in the industry has also resulted in the lower sales reported by the company in the last two years. Lego Company faces stiff competition from smartphones and other digital technology platforms that supports kids’ games. The threat from counterfeits products offered at lower prices has also had negative impacts on the sales volume of the company.

Regardless of the threats and weaknesses that have contributed to the reduction in the company’s revenue in the recent past, Lego can still use its strengths to explore the various opportunities present in the market for its further growth. The company has an opportunity of expanding its global presence to several other nations. Lego brand has immensely remained popular thus a suitable strength that can be employed by the company to access other markets across the globe (Reed, 2018). The company also has an opportunity of emphasizing parental focus on its creative toys. The approach will enhance the preferences for their products that will mostly support skill and brain development of the child (Peltz, 2017). Lego also has an opportunity of engaging in the manufacture of activity driven learning toys that are highly acceptable in schools. Since Lego’s strong brand name and reputation has remained immensely popular, the company can exploit the identified opportunities to overcome its weaknesses and manage the threats, to consequently report a higher level of performance.

PESTLE Analysis

Political Factors

European Union regulation for toy manufacturers is one of the political factors that influence the operations of Lego Company. The “Toy Safety Directives” are regulations set by the EU to regulate the activities of the manufacturers and to ensure that all toy companies comply with the recommended safety standards (Beh, n.d). The political environment of the nations where Lego operates also influences its operations. The company’s host nation is Denmark, nevertheless, a significant volume of its sales are obtained from Western part of Europe and North America. The political climate in these regions is overly stable limiting the exposure of the company to political instability. As the company plans to expand its operations in other parts of the world, it is likely to face some political pressures. In addition, the company is distributing its products to other nations, thus there operations are likely to be influenced by the political decisions in those regions.

Economic Factors

Economic parameters such as global financial crisis, hedging currencies, debt crisis amongst other financial decisions are likely to impact on the operations of Lego. Changes in these economic parameters have adverse implications on the on the sales of the company, its revenue and overall business performance. The financial crisis witnessed in 2009 caused a significant drop in the market performance that impacted negatively on the performance of the company. Lego however managed to pull through and report an increase in its performance in the year 2010 (Beh, n.d). Lego receives revenue inflows in different currencies, as such; the organization is faced with the risk of currency hedging. Conversion of the different currencies to home country currency is likely to affect negatively the profitability of Lego. Other economic risks such s debt crisis also impact negatively in the profitability of the company. As such, exposure to a high debt as evident in its Southern Europe market contributed to the lower amount of revenue reported form the region in the recent past.

Social Factors

The preference for toy products is continually changing. The needs and wants of the previous kids are vastly different from the current children. The latter group focuses more on technology-based technology or digital platforms to access different kinds of toys or games. Lego faces significant challenges to keep up with the changing needs and the rejection of the traditional toys by most children (Reed, 2018). However, the company has embarked on the production of toys that are not only for recreational purposes but also encourage learning, to empower the children.

Technological Factors

The increase in the use of the internet, presents the need for producers to offer their products through a web platform. Lego has to be innovative and make products that can be released through the web. The digital transformations also instill pressure on the company to come up with highly creative toys (Tsang, 2017). Moreover, the company has to embark on extensive research and development to come up with unique products to meet the changing technology needs. Lego have to put in place sufficient resources in research and development, as well as possess the desired competencies to manage the challenge of advancement in technology and its resulting effects on demand and preference for the toys.

Legal Factors

Copyright law is the major factor that influences the activities of Lego Company. The poor copyright law in most regions of its operation is a major challenge to the company. Lego is required to abide by all the copyrights laws to enable the company operate smoothly in the regions. Despite the strict copyright laws enforced in different nations Lego group has been unable to preserve its patent, giving room for other players to produce counterfeit goods (Peltz, 2017). The implications are intense competition and threats from other toy manufacturers thus negatively impacting on the overall performance of the company. Lego needs to device strategy of preserving its patent to address the issues of duplication and counterfeits.

Environmental Factors

Lego has focused on conserving the environment through different strategies. Responsible sourcing of raw materials and reduction in carbon emissions are the approaches that have been employed by Lego to conserve the environment. The company become a signatory of the United Nations Global compact and has been working towards accomplishing its goal of using 100% renewable source of energy (Reed, 2018). Lego group is required to come up with raw materials that will ensure that the desired level of environmental conservation is accomplished.

Porter’s five forces

Buyers bargaining power

The buyers in the case of Lego toys have a high bargaining power. This is due to the fact the switching cost from one company to the next is minimal. Also, the presence of many substitute products such as video games enhances the bargaining power of the buyers (Tsang, 2017). Lego thus has to focus on identifying the needs and preference of the customers and work towards accomplishing them.

Suppliers Bargaining Power

Suppliers have an average bargaining power. The toys offered by Lego are mostly made from chemicals and plastics that are readily available. However, as the company contemplate adopting environmentally friendly products the power of suppliers is likely to increase (Reed, 2018). In addition, the company’s desire to focus on electronic games, films and other digital gadgets will lead to an enhanced bargaining power of the suppliers.

Threats of substitutes

There is a significant high threat from substitutes that are equally offered at a relatively lower price. Lego generally focus on providing entertainment to children, this is a sector that is overcrowded by other players offering near similar products that can be easily substituted (Peltz, 2017). As such, the threat from substitutes is high since consumers can easily choose from other types of toys.

Threats of new entrants

The high level of investments needed for one to enter the industry has made the threats of new entrants low. Extensive research and development is also required for a manufacturer to come with creative and unique toys, making it difficult for various companies to access the market. Lego has also build a strong brand overtime thus new entrants cannot pose significant competition threat to the company.

Competition rivalry

Lego group operates in an industry that is characterized with intense competition. The many players in the sector and the emergence of near similar products at relatively lower prices have intensified the competition in the industry. Large companies from the electronic industry also compete with the Lego (Tsang, 2017). This intense competition has contributed to the reduction in the amount of revenue reported by Lego in the last two years. The company needs to device strategies that can be employed to counter the competition from other players in the industry.

 

Resource Allocation

Resource allocation is the most challenging yet vital means of increasing organizational profitability. According to Hall and Andriani (1998) an organization must be able to use its capabilities in a way that not only drives profitability but also ensures the sustainability of the profiteering of the firm. Capabilities in this context are viewed to cover both the organizational resources and the firm’s competencies. These resources can either be tangible or intangible. Hall (1993) notes that since tangible resources such as capital, machines, human resource are transferable and easy to acquire, the do not form the aspect that ensures competitiveness but the intangible. The intangible resources such as brand reputation, knowledge base, organizational culture etc are the aspects of an organization that differentiates towards a competitive advantage (Levinthal, 2017). As such, the value of any organizational resources is not in its ownership but the manner in which the organization deploys it.

Traditionally, an apt deployment or allocation of resources ensured the creation of a competitive advantage that gave an organization an edge over its competitors. This competitive advantage would be created in a red ocean market. The red ocean is a market is one that is rout with competition within which the organization must exploit the existing demand perfectly to ensure he beats competition often through making value cost trade-offs. In the read ocean, the firm must align its operations either with a low cost or differentiation strategic choice. Nevertheless, resource allocation can also be done with an aim of creating a blue ocean where competition is rendered irrelevant through the creation of uncontested market spaces as well as creating and conquering new demand without any value cost trade-off. According to Kim and Mauborgne (2004), the employment of the blue ocean strategy is a sure way of increasing profitability in a sustainable manner. Indeed, it is through the exploration of a blue ocean that LEGO saved its brand from a near collapse after the 2003 crisis when the company was at the brink of financial collapse. Apt resource allocation saves an organization time and enables a significant reduction in costs. According to Barney (2000) the allocation of both intangible and tangible organizational resources in tandem with the blue ocean strategy ensure rapid growth and profitability that can be sustained.

For LEGO to overcome the problem of declining profits, it must allocate sufficient amount of resources in areas that already show signs of sustainable growth and the creation of a blue ocean in the areas where sales are declining. From the analysis presented herein, LEGO can create a Blue ocean by allocating more resources to marketing where it targets the parents and grown-ups who used LEGO toys while young in the tradition markets (Europe and North America) that are experiencing declining sales. This is a deployment of brand which is an intangible resource to drive more sales in stale markets. LeGO can also redeploy the resources allocated to the poorly performing theme parks and board games and instead use them to create a learning brand identity as its mission states. The creation of this learning identity can include creating the toys in a manner that fits the elementary school curriculum as well as creating branded or franchised learning center. This will be a blue ocean because while it will remain within its mission of “learning in play” will be a new market where competition is irrelevant. Instead of the parks, which do not carry the mission, learning centers may be better. While doing so, the company may also consider reducing its dependence on licensing, especially from Disney and use other options like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

Questions to Ask Stakeholders:

Customers

  1. What do you like or hate about our theme parks?
  2. Between the theme park and a learning center, which one would you want us to focus on?

Management

  1. What is the economic value of the theme parks? Are they sustainably profitable?
  2. Should we consider the company’s licensing policy?

Conclusion

LEGO has seen a decline in profitability for the first time between 2017 and 2018 since 2003. This issue calls for the need to review both the internal and external organizational environments to evaluate the best way to conduct a resource allocation process. From the review it is evident that Lego operates in a highly competitive market in a volatile business macro environment. As such, instead of continuing to allocate resources within the read ocean, LEGO should try to allocate resources in a way that ensures the creation of a blue ocean that ascertains rapid and sustainable growth across markets in a bid to overcome the declining profits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Annual Report (2017) LEGO Group

Annual Report (2018) LEGO Group

Barney, J. (2000) Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management 17(1) pp.99-120.

Beh, J (n.d). Lego group PEST analysis. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/14293283/Lego_Groups_PEST_analysis (Accessed 1/1/19)

Bhasin, H. (2017) SWOT analysis of Lego.  Markrting91. Available at https://www.marketing91.com/swot-analysis-lego/ (Accessed: 1/1/2019)

CIPD (2013) Factsheet: PESTLE Analysis. Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/pestle-analysis.aspx (Accessed: 30/12/18).

Hall, R. & Andriani, P. (1998) Analysing intangible resources and managing knowledge in a supply chain context. European Management Journal. 6(6) pp.685-697.

Hall, R. (1993) A framework linking intangible resources and capabilities to sustainable competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal. 14(8) pp.607-618.

Hatch, M. J., & Schultz, M. (2010) Toward a theory of brand co-creation with implications for brand governance. Journal of Brand Management17(8), 590-604.

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004) Blue Ocean Strategy. Harvard Business Review. 82(10) pp.76-84. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/51500629/51500684/ef514f12aeace0a1065e69929543744e (Accessed: 29/12/18).

Lego Group (n.d.) About Us. https://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group/the_lego_history. Accessed on 1/1/19

LEGO Group. (2017) The LEGO Group responsibility report 2016. Mars.

Levinthal, D. A. (2017). Resource allocation and firm boundaries. Journal of Management, 43(8), 2580-2587.

Neate R. (2018) Lego reports first sales fall in 13 years, saying ‘there is no quick fix.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/06/lego-sales-fall-growth-job-cuts. Accessed on 2/1/19

Peltz J.F. (2017) After Lego sales drop for first time in 13 years, the firm plans to cut jobs and ‘reset the company.’ Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lego-cuts-20170905-story.html. Accessed on 2/1/2019

Porter, M. E. (2008) The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review. pp.24-40. Available at: https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/51500629/51500700/8bede817dfe255a5de8d59692cdd3d87 (Accessed: 1/1/19).

Reed, S. (2018) Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing). The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/business/energy-environment/lego-plastic-denmark-environment-toys.html (Accessed 1/1/19)

Tsang, A. (2017) Lego Will Cut 1,400 Jobs as Profit Dips, Despite Big-Screen Heroics. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/business/lego-sales-toys.html (Accessed 1/1/19)

 

 

Current Event Paper

Throughout the semester, we will apply sociological concepts to new items in order to better understand the world around us and to improve our sociological imaginations. This assignment will help you hone your sociological imaginations and demonstrate your understanding of course material through the examination of a news article of your choice.
For this assignment you are to analyze a current news article about a topic or concept related to or directly discussed in the realm of this course (from a reputable source, this includes, newspapers, online news, magazines, etc.) in sociological terms. Find a story that intrigues you about an issue pertaining to our class discussions and/or readings. Critically analyze the article using the concepts we’ve discussed in class. Be sure to discuss how the article frames the issue. Although the first part asks for a brief summary of ‘the facts’ this is the least important part of the assignment. The most important part is the questions that follow! Do not forget to answer all of the questions for full credit and answer them with knowledge gained from this course(you need to demonstrate your understanding and application of course material). Be sure to include the following points in your summary:

Identify the following basic information from the article to place in the summary:
• Who is involved?
• What happened?
• Why did it happen?
• Where did it occur?
• When did it occur?
• What issue(s) are being addressed?
Be sure to thoroughly answer the following questions:
I. How can the issue in question be explained using our course concepts?
II. How (if) could this issue be resolved in this situation?
III. Be sure to clearly state how the groups or people involved are invested in the problem (either in resolving it or perpetuating it).
IV. Was this incident an isolated case or is this an example of a larger issue? Explain.
V. Be sure to apply a sociological theory(select one theory-conflict, structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism- to explain the issue in combination with any applicable key concepts or terms) correctly!
VI. Finally, how is the topic framed in the news source? Why? What impression does the reader get?(look at the phrasing, tone of the story, word choices by the outlet, etc.) Is the author balanced or biased? Explain
Required Format: Follow directions in this prompt and syllabus. This is a minimum three full page, double-spaced, Times New Roman size 12 font, one inch margin paper. Citations should be in ASA, MLA, Chicago or similar format for the article and any course material that you utilize in your explanation.

Your paper should be presented as an essay (not a bullet point list) and should be free of major spelling and grammar errors. Make sure you reference the article you chose.
1. The first part of your paper should be an introduction to the topic or issue that you will be discussing. This is where you state the purpose of your paper for the reader
2. The main portions or the body of the paper should focus on explaining those main points and on answering the questions I have asked you to elaborate on.
3. The last part of your paper should be the conclusion. This is the time to recap your ideas, thoughts or ways of preventing/dealing with the issue. Go back and read your paper and make sure any point you might have brought up has been resolved, discussed, or critically questioned.

Strategic Analysis of Post Holdings buying Weetabix

Present a critical strategic analysis of the current Strategic Change within the following case:

Post Holdings buying Weetabix

You are required to cover the following topics as it relates to the above task:

Strategic Position of the company

Stakeholder Analysis

External Analysis

Industry Analysis

The following structure is required for the submitted report:

Introduction to the report

An evaluation of the relevant levels of strategy

A critical evaluation of the key stakeholders

External Analysis – using PESTEL to identify and explore key trends

Industry Analysis – using 5 Forces to critically analyse the relevant industry factors.

Maximum of 3000 word counts

Conclusion

Post Holdings buying Weetabix

Alan Tang

Advanced Marketing Study

(Project)

Module Code: 300 MKT

Lang Phyu

Febuary 12nd 2018

Abstract

Academic achievements serve as the key qualitative indicator for the competitiveness of educational institutions. Accordingly, measuring or investigating the constructs of this particular indicator tends to facilitate the institutional strategies of enhancing their competitive position in the market. Undoubtedly, the aim is to satisfy the unique needs of the students in an efficient and effective manner. The research has focused on investigating the influential factors of University facilities, Teaching quality, and Students’ satisfaction as the key constructs of the overall academic performance of the university students. Primary qualitative and quantitative data has been collected across the sample size of 200 from Myanmar Imperial College. Besides, certain recommendations have also been presented in terms of adding generalizability to the findings of the research phenomenon.

Table of Contents

Abstract ii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION.. 1

1.1      Background. 1

1.2      Research Aim & Objectives. 2

1.3      Research Questions. 2

1.4      Rationale of the Study. 2

1.5      Structure of the Study. 3

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW… 4

2.1      Students’ Academic Performance and Factors Affecting the Students’ Overall Academic Performance. 4

2.2      Impacts of University Facilities on Students’ Overall Academic Performance. 6

2.3      Impacts of Teaching Quality on Students’ Overall Academic Performance. 8

2.4      Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Overall Academic Performance. 10

2.5      Theoretical Perspectives. 12

2.6      Research Hypotheses. 13

2.7      Conceptual Framework. 14

2.8      Summary. 14

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY. 15

3.1      Research Philosophy. 15

3.2      Research Approach. 16

3.3      Research Design. 16

3.4      Sampling Approach. 16

3.5      Research Setting & Selected Instruments. 17

3.6      Ethical Considerations. 18

3.7      Summary. 19

CHAPTER 4: ANALYSIS & FINDINGS. 20

4.1      Identified Factors in relation to the Overall Academic Performance of the University Students  20

4.1.1      Qualitative Analysis – Semi-Structured Interviews. 20

4.1.1.1      University Facilities. 20

4.1.1.2      Teaching Quality. 21

4.1.1.3      Students’ Satisfaction. 22

4.1.2      Quantitative Analysis – Survey Questionnaire. 23

4.1.2.1      Demographic Analysis. 23

4.1.2.2      T-Test 28

4.1.2.3      Correlation Analysis. 30

4.1.2.4      Regression Analysis. 32

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONS. 34

List of References. 38

Appendices. 43

Appendix I – Qualitative Survey –Guidelines for Semi-Structured Interview.. 43

Appendix II – Quantitative Survey – Questionnaire. 44

 

 

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background

The recent incessant trends of developments across the business and technological domain have affected the educational domain as well. The need of competitive edge is widely recognized even across the educational institutions since the entire domain has turned into a service-oriented domain that eventually determines the success of the organization. Students are the potential customers of these educational institutes who are increasingly obsessed with the service quality of these institutions. Thus, determining their perceived preferences of selecting the institutes for their educational needs is vital to the universities in terms of their marketing campaigns, administrative planning and policies formation. In response to this increasing competitiveness, the universities are more concerned with the satisfied learning experience of their students that is for sure reflected in their academic performance. Therefore, there is a notable increase in institutional efforts to determine the constructs directing the satisfied academic experiences of students.

 

Numerous studies indicate that the factors of university facilities and teaching quality have significant association with the expected learning experience of the students (Clark, and Latshaw, 2012; Calisir, Ecem, and Sevinc, 2016; Sulaiman, and Mohezar, 2006; Stump et al. 2011; Zineldin et al. 2011; Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor, 2010; Johnson, Kraft, and Papay, 2012; Coskun, 2014). However, these two determinants are extensive in nature, which in turn affect the insights into the research phenomenon. The significance of this particular study lies in the fact that the researcher has investigated the most influential prospects of university facilities and teaching quality; thereby, ensuring a focused research that contributes the research paradigm.

 

1.2         Research Aim & Objectives

The study aims at investigating the factors affecting the overall academic performance of university students. Accordingly, the researcher has formulated the following objectives,

  • To explore the major factors affecting the overall academic performance of students
  • To examine the influence of university facilities on overall academic performance
  • To examine the influence of teaching quality on overall academic performance
  • To investigate the relationship between student satisfaction and overall academic performance

 

1.3         Research Questions

The current study explores the following research questions,

Q1: What are the factors that contribute to the academic performance of university students?

Q2: How does the factor of university facilities impact the overall academic performance of university students?

Q3: How does the factor of teaching quality impacts the overall academic performance of university students?

Q4: How do the factors of university facilities and teaching quality influence the satisfaction of university students?

Q5: What is the impact of students’ satisfaction on the overall academic performance of the university students?

 

1.4         Rationale of the Study

In relation to the increasing competitiveness across the educational sector, particularly across the developing nations, universities are in need of significant strategic approaches to attract and thus retain their students. In this regard, it is imperative that the students’ expectations/perceptions must be assessed towards the facilities and services of the universities/colleges. By means of presenting the relevant findings across Myanmar Imperial College (MIC), the study intends to serve the administration of MIC and other institutions to better devise their policies, educational environment, and thus, their competitiveness across the sector.

 

1.5         Structure of the Study

The study follows the structure as below,

 

 

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

It is critical to conduct a literature review when instigating a particular study, as it provides insights into the phenomenon being studied. Besides, it assures the study to be directed towards the scope of the study. In relation to the objectives of the current study, the literature offers an extensive amount of data since students’ satisfaction and academic performance has long been studied. However, different studies have investigated different factors regarding the performance of students at an academic level. Accordingly, the section below presents relevant literature that would facilitate the accomplishment of the objectives of the current study.

 

2.1         Students’ Academic Performance and Factors Affecting the Students’ Overall Academic Performance

The literature based on examining students’ academic performance presents a continual interest of the researchers, while it is notified that the interest has acquired more relevance towards the quality assurance. Meanwhile, it is also noted that the phenomenon of investigating the academic performance of the students is equally challenging since it is influenced by numerous factors (socio-economic, environmental, psychological, etc) that have varying impacts across different students.

 

The study of Bangchang, (2015) has analyzed the impacts of demographic and socio-economic factors on the academic performance of students. The author has used Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) as the dependent variable of the study among 300 undergraduate students. Using Ordered probit model, the author has presented the findings that the employed students have better academic performance as they are increasingly responsible and have efficient time management skills. Besides, the impacts of university facilities have also been noted to be significant, in terms of comparing students’ residence in university dormitory and private dormitory. Moreover, the factors of quality of education and teaching patterns have also received significant interest with respect to the study objectives.

 

Clark and Latshaw, (2012) have assessed academic performance of the accounting students. The process of learning is not a uni-directional process but multi-directional; therefore, analyzing the relevant influential factors is not an easy task. The authors have used Onion model in this regard while taking 11 independent variables in relation to the academic performance of accounting students. More specifically, the research has presented the findings that the impacts of teaching styles are not interlinked with the improvement in academic performance. In other words, it can be stated that the relationship between the teaching styles and academic performance of the students is not insignificant. However, the results are specific to the accounting area of studies that brings to notice the potential efficacy of sensing and reflective learning among the students. Besides, a significant contribution of students’ efforts and attendance has also been observed in relation to the study objectives. However, the smaller sample size of 77 students becomes the potential limitation of the study.

 

Another study has analyzed the performance of university students, particularly for engineering management. The authors Calisir, Ecem, and Sevinc, (2016) have explored the factors of demographic attributes and admission requirements towards the academic achievements of the sampled participants. Using the stepwise method of logistic regression, the authors have presented no significant impact of gender and demographic attributes on GGPA of engineering students. In the same manner, the studies of Stump et al. (2011), and Sulaiman, and Mohezar, (2006) have also presented the similar findings with respect to the insignificant impacts of gender on the academic performance of the students. However, the study of Sheard, (2009) has concluded the similar phenomenon differently, as the impacts of gender on the academic performance of the students have been observed to have significance.

 

Duggal and Mehta, (2015) have also investigated the contribution of academic performance of the students as the prime objective of educational institutions. Stress, learning facilities, regularity, study patterns, guidance, and examination performance, have been noted as the influential factors towards the academic performance of the students. Besides, the study has also presented the significant impact of age factor on the academic performance of students. In essence, it is noted that the influential factors of academic performance have been diverse with respect to different research settings. In this current study, the researcher has focused the factors of University facilities, Teaching Quality, and the respective satisfaction of the students towards their academic performance. The section below presents the relevant findings from the past studies in this regard.

 

2.2         Impacts of University Facilities on Students’ Overall Academic Performance

In general, the academic performance of students at the institutions is greatly affected by the facilities rendered by the place. In more precise words, it eventually directs the satisfaction of the students towards their study experience. This particular factor has extensively been adopted across past studies in relation to assess the academic performance of students (Bangchang, 2015; Nisachon, & Kannat 2016; Duggal, and Mehta, 2015; Zineldin et al. 2011; Bean, 1980; Hoffman et al. 2002; Cardak and Vecci 2013; Marks, 2010; Azoury, Daou, and Khoury, 2014; Siming, 2015; Khosravi, et al., 2013; Gruber, et al., 2010).

 

Duggal and Mehta, (2015) have explored the antecedents of college students’ academic performance. It is noted that the identification of these influential factors serves the institutions, students, and their parents as well, in terms of providing opportunities for improving the quality of education. Besides the factors of age, gender, and others, the authors have identified the significant impact of learning facilities in relation to the academic performance of the study participants. In particular, the facilities of libraries, laboratories, rooms, and college building are referred as crucial to the qualitative education. Accordingly, these facilities are assessed both-way; provided by the university and actually used by the students.

 

In accordance with the study findings of Owoeye and Yara, (2010), the importance of appropriate learning facilities is undeniable with respect to governing the academic performance of the students. Another study has also assessed the performance of students in terms of behavioral dimensions. Using the model of five quality dimensions as 5Qs, the study authors have presented credible findings regarding the implications of university attributes, focusing the assurance of quality management of education (Zineldin et al. 2011).

 

Hoffman et al. (2002) have studied the similar phenomenon of academic performance of students in terms of their sense of belonging towards their institution. In other words, the factors contributing to the students’ sense of belonging towards their learning place have been investigated. The study has focused the approaches to retention programs to mitigate the risky behavior of students in relation to their stay at the campus. The study presented the students’ perceived importance of feeling valued and involved at the campus that determines their likely retention at the institute.

 

Siming, (2015) has stated that the role of institute or university towards the satisfied academic performance of students is critical to the phenomenon. Besides other factors, students tend to perceive the credibility of the university in terms of fulfilling their personal needs at the campus, which eventually shapes their academic performance. In the same manner, the study of Khosravi, et al., (2013) has also favored the findings of Siming (2015), in terms of extracting the factors of campus facilities, and the effectiveness of financial aid towards the improved academic performance of the university students. In essence, it is determined that the educational institutions are also expected to be obsessed with the students’ needs; thus, the institutions can ensure enhanced performance of the students that serves the image of the university.

 

2.3         Impacts of Teaching Quality on Students’ Overall Academic Performance

According to the study of Marks (2010), the impacts of students related predictors are significant on their academic performance. It has been noticed that schooling induces effectiveness to some extent, but the socioeconomic aspects have no contribution towards the academic performance of students in Australia. Accordingly, the impacts of teaching quality have been validated, particularly in terms of the determinants of teachers’ shortage and efficacy of teachers as the significant ones. It is therefore contended that the role of teachers is crucial towards determining the performance of students. Likewise, the study of Khosravi, et al., (2013) has observed significant impacts of teaching quality on the performance of the students at university level, besides the campus related factors. It is contended that students’ perceive academic advising influential to their performance. These findings are also supported by Siming (2015), in terms of investigating the impacts of student-teacher relationship on their academic performance.

 

Clark and Latshaw (2012) has employed Cury’s Onion model to assess the factors affecting the academic performance of accounting students. It has been contended that the typical notions of regarding the impacts of learning styles of students need to be manipulated, as there are significant other factors that affect the performance of the students, either positively or negatively. The significance of the study is associated with its focused investigation of the interaction between students and teachers with respect to their learning and teaching styles. The results of the study affirmed that the students tend to perform better if the teachers satisfy their expected educational needs (Johnson, Kraft, and Papay, 2012; Clark, and Latshaw 2012). As a result, the overall academic performance of the students depends on the credibility of the teachers within the specified discipline (Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor, 2010).

 

In this regard, it has also been reported that the experienced teachers contribute considerably to the educational environment of their students (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Al-Agili, Mamat, Abdullah, and Maad, 2012; Duggal, and Mehta, 2015). The educational settings of diverse disciplines are characterized based on their unique prospects that present challenges to the students. Students require guidance regarding their course goals, objectives and learning outcomes for their academic success (Broder, and Dorfman, 1994; Mushtaq, and Khan, 2012). Duggal and Mehta, (2015) has presented the most influential factor of teaching quality in terms of guidance, approachability, and discussions (feedback) in relation to the improved performance of students.

 

The study of Price, Arthur, & Pauli, (2016) has investigated the phenomenon across the online learning platforms. The factor of teaching quality finds great significance across the prospects of course clarity, participants’ interaction and learner control, leading to greater performance of the students (Aman, 2009; Price, et al., 2016; Biggs, 2011; Carrell, and West, 2010; Sampson, Leonard, Ballenger, Coleman, 2010). Coskun, (2014) has emphasized the needs of interactive learning environments with supportive teachers and staff over the typical efficacies of the technology-oriented educational environment. Accordingly, it has been contended that these factors if considered tend to lead the institution towards a competitive landscape.

 

2.4         Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Overall Academic Performance

According to the study of Azoury, Daou, and Khoury, (2014), the satisfaction of the students at the university level is equally affected by the determinants specific to the university, like facilities provided by the university or the image of the university among the students. With respect to the perceptions of students regarding the university’s credibility, the students feel protected at their university, particularly when the educational setting is supportive to the unique needs of students. Accordingly, the students having satisfaction with respect to the faculties and services of the university tend to represent productive performance in academic content. It leads to the assertion that the factor of students’ satisfaction cannot be overlooked when assessing their performance level (Aman, 2009; Coskun, 2014; Johnson, Kraft, and Papay, 2012; Khosravi, et al., 2013; Price, Arthur, & Pauli, 2016; Sampson, et al., 2010; Styron, 2010; Zineldin, et al., 2011).

 

In relation to the objectives of this current study, it has been observed in the literature that the motivation and satisfaction of the students at academic level vary from student to student. Therefore, different factors would determine satisfaction of different students, particularly in terms of their perceived determinants. However, significant amount of literature is observed of the view that the impacts of learning styles are not as significant as compared to the factors related to the institution and instructors’ credibility (Duggal, and Mehta, 2015; Owoeye and Yara, 2010; Hoffman et al. 2002; Siming, 2015; Marks 2010; Khosravi, et al., 2013; Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor, 2010; Johnson, Kraft, and Papay, 2012; Clark, and Latshaw 2012; Coskun, 2014). Studies of Siming, (2015), Marks (2010), Salanova, et al., (2010), and Khosravi, et al., (2013) have examined the impacts of approachability of teachers, availability of financial aid, accessibility of course related assistance and content, and guidance and feedback from the teachers as the most importance factors of satisfied academic performance of the students.

 

Gruber, et al., (2010) has presented the findings leading to the satisfaction of the students during their learning experience at the institute. It has been affirmed that quality instructors are the key assets of an institute, particularly in terms of competitive educational needs. In the similar context, Salanova, et al., (2010) have contributed to the literature with their unique approach to assessing the phenomenon under study. The authors have investigated the psychosocial (facilitators and obstacles to performance) and psychological (engagement and burnout) prospects in relation to the satisfaction of the students. Accordingly, the construct of students’ GPA was used for exploring the objectives of the study. It has been commended that the psychological considerations of students tend to improve their performance; meanwhile, the impacts of past performance are also significant on their future academic results.

 

Styron, (2010) has related the satisfaction of students at the academic level to their likely retention at the educational institute. The author argues that retention of the students is simply related to their level of engagement and involvement in the learning settings. It eventually correlates to the academic advising and university facilities offered at the campus. Therefore, the satisfaction of the students has been validated to be really important for expecting the enhanced academic performance of the students. If the teachers are incompetent towards the particular discipline, or the educational environment lacks in an interactive student-teacher relationship, the system cannot expect satisfaction of the students. Besides, if the university facilities are not aligned with the unique needs of its students, the competitive position of the institute is quite uncertain (Aman, 2009; Azoury, Daoum and Khoury, 2014; Coskun, 2014; Johnson, Kraft, and Papay, 2012; Price, Arthur, & Pauli, 2016; Sampson, et al., 2010; Siming, 2015; Zineldin, et al., 2011).

 

2.5         Theoretical Perspectives

Reviewing the literature focused on the interlinked phenomenon of satisfaction-performance of students at the academic level, the current study has employed the non-recursive model of Bean, and Bradley, (1986) (figure below). It is stated that the academic performance of the students tends to potentially improve in relation to the quality of services and educational opportunities at the campus.

 

Figure 1: Theoretical Framework

 

It is notified here that the satisfaction of the students at educational institute determines their likely academic achievements. Therefore, the importance of students’ satisfaction is undeniable. Accordingly, the contribution of students’ cognition or perceptions regarding the academic situation that involves facilities offered at the university and the credibility and competence of the instructors at the campus is extremely significant to their academic performance.

 

2.6         Research Hypotheses

In relation to the identified factors affecting the overall academic performance, following hypotheses are developed,

H1: There is a significant relationship between university facilities and overall academic performance of university students.

H2: There is a significant relationship between teaching quality and overall academic performance of university students.

H3: There is a significant impact of university facilities and teaching quality on students’ satisfaction.

H4: There is a significant relationship between satisfaction and overall academic performance of university students.

 

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Advanced Marketing Study (Project)

Coursework 3 of 3 (75% of total module mark): Final Report

 

Word Length; minimum 7,200 maximum 7,500, excluding word count for references

 

Submission Due Date: 18 Oct 2019 for FT students and 20 Oct 2019 for PT students

 

Overview:

The final report is the culmination of your independent research study.  This assessment item follows through from the first piece of assessment, taking the proposal to its logical conclusions with you actually carrying out the research, interpreting and discussing the data collected, and drawing conclusions.  It should incorporate your abstract, introduction, updated literature review, methodology, findings, analysis and conclusions.  It should be fully and accurately referenced in Coventry University Harvard Style and should include your research instruments (e.g. questionnaire) and other relevant documents.

 

The aim of Coursework 3 is to produce a ‘mini research thesis’. Thus the final report will include refined versions of material submitted for Coursework 1 and 2.  Although these sections would contain similar information, they should NOT be copied and pasted into Coursework 3, albeit improved where necessary according to the feedback provided. However, these sections are not reassessed, and therefore do not count towards the marks for Assignment 3. The content of each project may vary slightly. However, the general structure of all reports will be the same and should adhere to the following guidelines.

 

Submission of your project will be online via Turnitin on the module web.

 

Credits/Weighting:

This assessment contributes 75% to total module mark (15 credits). The final complete project will incorporate your literature review from CW2 but it is expected that this work will have been developed and refined from the earlier version submitted for this stage. You should incorporate any developments in your topic area right up to your final project submission date and you should also use the feedback you received from CW2 to enhance your submission here.

 

To pre-empt any misunderstanding the mark awarded for your literature review chapter will contribute towards the 75% of credits available for CW3, it will not change your previous mark for CW2.

 

The Brief:

Your final complete project should include the following sections:

 

  • Abstract/Executive Summary (~200 words)
  • Introduction (~500 words)
  • Literature Review (~1700 words)
  • Methodology (~2100 words)
  • Analysis/ Results (~2000 words)
  • Conclusions (~1000 words)
  • References (not incl. in word count)
  • Appendices (not incl. in word count)
  • Might also want to include Acknowledgments, Limitations and Implications for Future Research

 

More detailed descriptions of each chapter are provided below.

 

Abstract/Executive Summary

 

The abstract is a brief overview of what your project is about and to provide a taster of what is to come.  You can get an idea of different styles and forms of abstract from any of the journal papers that you have read for your project.  Similarly, executive summary is a summary of the problem, your methodological approach to it, your results, and some of the implications. It is crucial that this reads well. One should not reveal everything. It should entice the reader to read more. It should orient the reader as to what the report is about. If done well, it helps the reader enjoy the reading of your report. Note, this should not be longer than one page.

 

Typically this is framed around the following questions:

  • What were my research questions and why were they important?
  • How did I go about answering them?
  • What did I find out in response to my research questions?
  • What conclusions did I draw regarding my research questions?
  • Don’t give it all away though!

 

Introduction

The introduction should provide a lead into your project including the background of the industry, product, company or issue you are researching, explain the gap in the existing research and guide the reader through the rest of your project. You may find that some of the introduction to your original literature review can be incorporated here now that the lit review forms part of a larger document.  Typically this is framed around the following sections:

 

  • Central issue of your research
  • Why it was worth researching?
  • Background on the theoretical/academic basis of your research
  • Brief background about company/market if relevant?
  • Brief background of the research setting
  • Route map for the rest of the project
  • Rationale for your research
  • Your research aims and objectives

 

Literature Review

 

The literature review should provide the theoretical foundation for your study. It should include all the relevant theories and models relating to your research study and should provide a framework for your methodological design and analysis. As it is now part of a complete project there is less need for a detailed introduction as it will follow on from the chapter before, however the work should still be coherent, well-structured and have a clear storyline. In addition it should be an updated and improved version of the lit review that you submitted for CW2. Any new developments in your topic area should be incorporated and you should also use the feedback you received from CW2 to enhance the quality of your chapter generally. Typically it addresses the following purposes:

 

  • Set your study within the wider context
  • How it supplements previous work on the topic.
  • May inform research questions
  • Develop hypotheses
  • Suggest a methodological approach
  • Show how the academic theories discussed underpin your research project
  • The title should reflect content of chapter.

 

Methodology

Your methodology should explain and justify your chosen research philosophy (e.g. positivist/interpretivist, inductive/deductive etc…). You should explain why it is your preferred philosophy in terms of the way that you view knowledge and why it is the most appropriate approach for your particular research questions/objectives. The second part of your methodology should outline your research design, sampling approach, research setting, research instrument (e.g. questionnaire, interview questions), any ethical considerations and the validity, reliability and generalizability aspects.

 

 

Analysis/Results

 

Your findings/analysis/results/discussion can be structured in a number of ways depending on what works best for your particular project. Quantitative and qualitative analysis chapters will tend to differ quite significantly from each other. Again you can get ideas by looking at some of the journal articles that you reviewed in your lit review.

 

Some general rules are that for quantitative results you should make the best use of tables, charts and diagrams to present your analysis. You are likely to have developed some hypotheses for testing and the results of these are quite often summarised in one overall table as well as individual tables generated from SPSS/Excel. The most important tests/analyses may be included in the body copy of the chapter and less important tests in the appendices. Quantitative analyses often report the findings first and then include a follow-up chapter to discuss the findings (called Discussion). This is sometimes incorporated into Conclusions also.

 

For qualitative analysis it is usual to present your analyses in themes, outlining the crux of each theme in your own words and supporting your arguments with verbatim quotes (from your participants). You may include full transcripts in your appendices however it is preferred for you to include your analyses output such as ‘large sheet of paper’ in the appendices and it is good practice to include a profile table analysis of your participants. In both qualitative and quantitative you should compare your findings with those of previous studies so refer back to your literature review and reference those comparisons.

 

As a general rule you should follow the guidelines below:

 

  • Report the facts that your research discovered
  • Include tables/graphs
  • Include verbatim quotes from participants
  • Include narrative accounts of observations
  • Purpose is to present facts – not comment
  • Structure clearly and logically

– Correspond with research objectives

– Thematically

  • Compare to previous research
  • Be selective – important parts

 

Conclusions

 

This is your final chapter and if you have conducted your study well you should have sufficient knowledge and evidence to express your opinion so finally your chance to put your head above the parapet (although still in the third person). The conclusion should be selective and pull out the most important and significant aspects of your findings. It MUST answer all of your research questions/objectives and it should compare your findings with previous literature and theories and show where you have extended knowledge (found new things).

 

In comparison to your findings/analysis it should draw implications and make judgments about your study and in some cases make recommendations to the company or industry concerned. You may wish to include a discussion section in here or implications for Marketing Managers, and it is good practice to acknowledge the limitations of your study (e.g. small sample) and to make recommendations for future research.

 

References

 

Your project should be fully and accurately referenced in CU Harvard Style (guides can be found on the 300MKT module web). Ensure that any direct quotes are properly referenced to avoid plagiarism charges and make sure that you reference your paraphrased content too (they are still someone else’s ideas!).

 

Appendices

 

Be selective here. Do not include everything just in case. Consider whether each item is really necessary. Ensure that it is referred to somewhere in the main body of the report otherwise there is no point. Ensure that you do include:

 

  • Research instrument e.g. blank questionnaire, interview questions (discussion guide)
  • Ethics documentation

– Participant info, informed consent form, etc

– Proof of ethics approval

  • You do not need to include completed questionnaires though!

 

Intended Learning Outcomes

 

  1. Take responsibility for the identification, planning, research and writing of a major written project.
  2. Apply appropriate research methods in the investigation of a business issue
  3. Identify and critically review relevant business concepts and theories from the available academic literature
  4. Draw conclusions based on the analysis of evidence collected
  5. Communicate research findings in an effective manner.

 

N.B.

 

  1. Please note that work submitted late (where an extension/deferral has not been granted) will automatically attract a result of 0%. This will count as a failed attempt, and may result in you failing the module overall. You may be eligible to resit the failed assessment(s), subject to the University’s regulations on reassessment. The maximum module mark that can be awarded for resit work is 40%.
  2. Extensions will be in accordance with University and Faculty policy.

 

Submission Information

 

Submission of your project will be online via Turnitin on the 300MKT module web. Submit by          to the CW3 icon. You may submit more than one draft in order to check your Turnitin plagiarism score (although only one per day). The submission uploaded at the deadline date and time will be the version marked.

 

Checklist:

 

– 7,500 word report (+/- 10%)
– Double/ 1½ line spaced
– Arial/Times New Roman font size 12
– Referenced in CU Harvard style
– Include Cover sheet (Appendix 1), Submission Form (Appendix 2) and Ethics Approval Certificate plus associated documents (if any)
– Include Contents page
– Include page numbers on every page

 

Students MUST keep copies (electronic file if done on computer) of their assignment.

The electronic version of your assignment will be used to enable checks to be made using antiplagiarism software and approved plagiarism checking websites.

 

There will be a penalty of a deduction of 10% of the mark (after internal moderation) for work exceeding the word limits by 10% or more.

 

Marking Criteria

 

A copy of the marking scheme and feedback for this coursework is attached. The final report checklist explains what assessors are looking for when they mark your work.

 

How to submit your assessment

 

The assessment must be submitted by (given date).  No paper copies are required. You can access the submission link through the module web.

 

  • Your coursework will be given a zero mark if you do not submit a copy through Turnitin. Please take care to ensure that you have fully submitted your work.
  • All work submitted after the submission deadline without a valid and approved reason (see extenuating circumstances below) will be given a mark of zero.
  • Extenuating Circumstances – The University wants you to do your best. However we know that sometimes events happen which mean that you can’t submit your coursework by the deadline – these events should be beyond your control and not easy to predict.  If this happens, you can apply for an extension to your deadline for up to two weeks, or if you need longer, you can apply for a deferral, which takes you to the next assessment period (for example, to the resit period following the main Assessment Boards). You must apply before the deadline. You will find information about the process and what is or is not considered to be an event beyond your control at https://share.coventry.ac.uk/students/Registry/Pages/Deferrals-and-Extension.aspx

 

 

Plagiarism

 

As part of your study you will be involved in carrying out research and using this when writing up your coursework. It is important that you correctly acknowledge someone else’s writing, thoughts or ideas and that you do not attempt to pass this off as your own work.  Doing so is known as plagiarism.  It is not acceptable to copy from another source without acknowledging that it is someone else’s writing or thinking. This includes using paraphrasing as well as direct quotations. You are expected to correctly cite and reference the works of others. The Centre for Academic Writing provides documents to help you get this right. If you are unsure, please visit www.coventry.ac.uk/caw.  You can also check your understanding of academic conduct by completing the Good Academic Practice quiz available on Moodle.

 

Moodle includes a plagiarism detection system and assessors are experienced enough to recognise plagiarism when it occurs. Copying another student’s work, using previous work of your own or copying large sections from a book or the internet are examples of plagiarism and carry serious consequences. Please familiarise yourself with the CU Harvard Reference Style (on Moodle) and use it correctly to avoid a case of plagiarism or cheating being brought.  Again, if you are unsure, please contact the Centre for Academic Writing, your Academic Personal Tutor or a member of the course team.

 

 

Return of Marked Work

 

Marked work will be available online in Turnitin. You can expect to have marked work available to you by about 2 – 3 weeks after the submission date. If you fail this coursework you must contact your supervisor asap and arrange a meeting to discuss what you need to do to bring your work up to a pass standard.

 

Note:

 

Please make sure that your name, ID number and the module number appear on the actual coursework assignment as well as on your cover sheet.

 

In addition indicate on your cover sheet your supervisor’s name to ensure that your assignment goes to the correct person for marking.

 

 

 

 

 

300MKT DISSERTATION FINAL REPORT CHECKLIST

The following checklist is for the guidance of students, supervisors and markers in judging the merits of each section of the dissertation report.

 

Overall Outcomes:

Focus on a specific marketing issue.

Formulate a marketing issue into a set of specific research objectives.

Critically analyse the literature relating to a marketing issue.

Apply appropriate research methods in the investigation of a marketing issue.

Analyse valid and reliable evidence to draw valid conclusions.

 

Abstract/Executive Summary

How well has the complete report been summarised?

Introduction

How well does the background set the scene?

How clear is the rationale for the project?

How clear and realistic are the research objectives?

 

Literature Review How widely/deeply has the student read the subject?

Have the key seminal texts been mentioned?

Have the most relevant theories been covered?

Has there been critical analysis of the literature?

Is there a theoretical framework?

Is there a clear and logical need for the research proposed?

To what extent is the text adequately referenced?

 

Methodology

Has the student justified their research plan in terms of perspective, design and data collection and

analysis?

Have the issues of validity, reliability and generalisability been addressed?

Have the data collection methods been fully explained?

How sound is the sampling method and make-up of the sample?

Have ethical issues been fully addressed?

 

Analysis/Results

How successful was the data collection?

Has the data been analysed using appropriate techniques?

Is the data clearly and accurately presented in an appropriate format?

Is there a transparent link between the data and the findings?

Has the student attempted to apply the theories discussed to their findings?

Are the research findings synthesised?

How well does the analysis address the research objectives?

 

Conclusions

Are the conclusions consistent with the analysis?

How closely do the conclusions address the objectives?

Has knowledge been extended?

How appropriate/feasible are any recommendations made?

Has the need for any further research been addressed?

 

Overall

How structured, presented, integrated, logical and coherent is the dissertation?

How clear and persuasive is the dissertation?

How well does the dissertation flow?

How well are issues argued?

Quality of references, accuracy and format

 

Individual Asset Allocation Exercise

Individual Asset Allocation Exercise

This exercise involves an analysis of general economic conditions or systematic risk, i.e., the risk that affects all industries and companies, in the U.S. economy. You are asked to determine in percentage terms an optimal allocation of $1,000,000 among the following three asset classes: U.S. equities, U.S. Treasury bonds, and cash. The goal is to maximize your expected return over the next 12 months. You are asked to write a 1-2 page paper providing your analysis of the asset classes’ return prospects and your justification of your allocation of monies among them.

First, consider historical returns on various asset classes in the U.S. Look at Figure 10.4 on p. 298 of your textbook. Also, in Table 10.2 on p. 305 you can see that historically equities outperform bonds in terms of average return but they also carry more risk as defined by their standard deviations. These historical results show that on average the return on equities is highest but in some specific years this may not be true. For example, look at Table 10.1 on pp. 302-303 and you can see that in three out of the five years from 2000 to 2004 the annual return on large-company stocks (defined in the text as the S&P 500)[1] was negative.

In this exercise your investment horizon is one year. In considering your allocation among U.S. equities, long-term Treasury bonds, and cash to maximize your prospective return over the next twelve months, we might next more precisely define these asset classes. We can define U.S. equities as the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) composite index [“At present…includes 500 of the largest (in terms of market value) stocks in the United States.” (p. 304)]. More detailed information is available directly from Standard & Poor’s:

http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500

Excel spreadsheets of Index returns dating from 2009 back to the late 1980’s are available to download at

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/SP500/downloaddata

 

 

Web-based finance sites also customarily carry data on the S&P 500. For example,

–at CNNMoney.com: http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/?

–at Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/SPX:IND

–at Yahoo! Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5Egspc+interactive

 

We can define long-term Treasury bonds as 30-year U.S. government bonds. Historical data on yields on debt claims are available from the Federal Reserve via  http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/data.htm. For historical daily rates on the 30-year T-bond, defined as “Market yield on U.S. Treasury securities at 30-year constant maturity, quoted on investment basis” go to

https://www.federalreserve.gov/datadownload/Preview.aspx?pi=400&rel=H15&preview=H15/H15/RIFLGFCY30_N.B

 

Long-bond Treasury rates are also available from the following sites:

http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/domestic-finance/debt-management/interest-rate/yield.shtml

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/rates/index.html

The third alternative is cash. Assume no return on that share of your monies held in cash.

This analysis necessarily involves your assessment of systematic risk, i.e., the risk that affects all industries and companies, in the U.S. economy over the next twelve months. Let’s more fully define systematic risk. According to the textbook, systematic risk “…influences a large number of assets, each to a greater or lesser extent…[and is] sometimes called market risk…Uncertainties about general economic conditions, such as GDP, interest rates, or inflation, are examples of systematic risks. These conditions affect nearly all companies to some degree” (p. 340-341). Your task is to consider your investment alternatives in light of systematic risk expected over the coming year.

Your considerations about investing in U.S. equities will thus involve your determination of the near-term prospects for the U.S. economy and the implications of these prospects for U.S. equities.

A useful site for recent and upcoming U.S. macroeconomic data releases is https://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar . Click on the highlighted report or “Consensus” next to any particular report to get data (either recently reported or the near-term consensus, respectively), the schedule of future data releases, and a definition. More generally, many other sites provide information on macroeconomic data, such as:

http://info.wsj.com/classroom/Indicators/guide.html

http://www.bea.gov/

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=ECONI

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/

 

Finally, the decision to invest in 30-year U.S. T-bonds importantly involves expectations about future inflation and the term structure of interest rates,  i.e., “the relationship between short- and long-term interest rates” (p. 158). On p. 155-156 of the textbook the distinction is made between “real” interest rates and “nominal” interest rates.  “Nominal” interest rates are the rates that are quoted in the financial press; they are the rates at which we borrow and lend. Per the approximated Fisher equation (Eq. 5.4 on p. 156), the nominal rate includes the so-called inflation premium, h, so that the higher the expected inflation, h, the higher the nominal rate, all else equal. In considering longer-term T-bonds one must also be aware that, in addition to expected long-term inflation, there is greater interest rate risk: “…longer term bonds have much greater risk of loss resulting from changes in interest rates than do shorter-term bonds” (p. 158). Specifically, should interest rates increase, the market value of 30-year bonds will fall and the fall will be more dramatic for a 30-year T-bond than for a 10-year Treasury note. Conversely, price gains from any drop in rates will be more dramatic the longer the term to maturity on a bond. One should also keep in mind that while in general longer-term rates are typically higher than short-term rates for the same level of overall risk, there have been occasions when the reverse is true, and the term structure of interest rates is inverted. (Please see Figure 5.5 on p. 157 on the historical relationship between long-term and short-term U.S. interest rates.) Finally, in finance we assume that there is no credit or default risk on Treasury securities. It is assumed that there is no risk that the U.S. government will fail to meet its outstanding debt obligations. This is, of course, not the case for corporate issuers.

Finally, what are the implications of interest rate changes for the equity market? Here is one response to this question: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/06/interestaffectsmarket.asp

Here is another: https://www.tiaa.org/public/pdf/C37368_impact_of_rising_int_rates_on_equity_markets.pdf

 

Questions for Individual Asset Allocation Exercise:

1.      Allocate your fictional $1,000,000 among the following three asset categories:

AssetU.S. EquitiesU.S. 30-Year Treasury BondsCash
                      Allocation 

 

                    100%

2.      Justify your allocation based on your outlook for systematic risk in the U.S. economy over the next year.

 

 

Amount available for investment is $1,000,000, and it can be allocated to the equity, US 30-year Treasury bonds, and cash. There are various factors that influence the allocation of funds.

Asset

U.S. Equities

U.S. 30-Year Treasury Bonds

Cash

Allocation

70%

20%

10%

100%

 

GDP forecast for 2015 is expected to be about 3%. Various sources predicted the GDP of US is expected to increase due to the economic stability except for United Nations forecast all forecasted that GDP of US will be greater than 3% from the current level of 2% to 2.5% (Lapitskiy, 2014). Inflation rate of US is expected to increase slightly from the current level which cannot expect to have any adverse impact over the economic growth (Knoema.com, 2014).

But the great advantage for the country is the continuously reducing unemployment rate. About 5.7% to 6.05% is the expected unemployment rate which decreased from about 7.4% during 2013 (Knoema.com, 2014). This clearly indicates that the overall growth in the economy will be beneficial. Any investment made at this point of time will be beneficial for the investor. It indicates that the overall productivity and industrial growth will be high. It will have a direct impact over the stock price of the company. If overall stock price increases, then entire stock market will improve and get stabilized.

Overall there is expected increase in the current account deficit balance of US (Knoema.com, 2014). It indicates that economy will spend more and will require more time to get stabilize. But only with this balance one cannot predict the performance of the economy. US economy is growing, and the amount of availability of skilled labors is increasing in the market. There are some structural difficulties faced by the country, but it is not expected to have an adverse impact over the entire economy (Conerly, 2014). US stocks are expected to beat the global equity market the overall increase the stock index was 11% when compared to 7.4% of Japan and 3.2% of Europe (Wang, 2014).

Let us take for example growth in health care industry is tremendous and is creating 25,000 jobs per month, and it indicates a significant growth (Diamond, 2014). Investing in this industry will provide a higher return. This enables in making a decision of investing 70% in stocks. US 10-year Treasury yield is expected to reach about 3%  which is at current level of 2.35% it is implied that there will be either increase or will remain constant for the 30-year Treasury yield (Wang, 2014). It is the reason for allocating about 20% of the portfolio in the Treasury bonds.

US dollar is expected to remain stronger in the future; it is clear from the level of expected growth in GDP and decrease in the unemployment rate. When the economy grows, it indicates that the exchange rate of the country will remain stronger (Wang, 2014). Mostly it is expected to strengthen against yen and euro. Thus, only 10% of the portfolio is held as cash.

Expected growth rate and historical growth rate indicates about the future performance of the stock market. Stock market return is expected to be good in the coming year which enable in allocating 70% of the funds in the equity investment. In the case of 30-year Treasury bond, there will be either no change or increase in the yield is expected which enable in allocating 20% of the funds. Finally, 10% is expected to maintain as cash as US dollar is expected to strengthen.

 

 

Appendix:

Source: Yahoo Finance, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Conerly, B. (2014, January 22). Economic Forecast 2014-2015: Looking Better With Help From Oil And Gas – Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2014/01/22/economic-forecast-2014-2015-looking-better-with-help-from-oil-and-gas/

Diamond, D. (2014, June 6). Since Obamacare Passed 50 Months Ago, Healthcare Has Gained Almost 1 Million Jobs – Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2014/06/06/since-obamacare-passed-50-months-ago-healthcare-has-gained-almost-1-million-jobs/

Knoema.com. (2014). US Inflation Forecast 2013-2015 and up to 2060, Data and Charts – knoema.com. Retrieved from

http://knoema.com/kyaewad/us-inflation-forecast-2013-2015-and-up-to-2060-data-and-charts

Lapitskiy, I. (2014). US GDP Growth Forecast 2014-2015 and up to 2060, Data and Charts – knoema.com. Retrieved from

http://knoema.com/qhswwkc/us-gdp-growth-forecast-2014-2015-and-up-to-2060-data-and-charts

Wang, L. (2014, November 20). Goldman Sachs Sees ‘Low Return World’ in 2015 With Stocks Rising – Bloomberg. Retrieved from

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-19/goldman-sachs-sees-low-return-world-in-2015-with-stocks-rising.html

 

Yahoo Finance. (2014). ^GSPC Historical Prices | S&P 500 Stock – Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC&a=11&b=5&c=1980&d=11&e=5&f=2014&g=m

[1] For a brief history of the S&P 500 see https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/041015/what-history-sp-500.asp

 

Introduction to computing skills

Word processors, presentation and spreadsheet software

Questions 

Your assignment consists of two tasks
Task 1
A. To calculate the total marks for English Maths and ICT
B. To calculate the average marks for each student and state! whether they
received a pass or fail
Task 2
To describe some benefits and features of word processing spreadsheet and
PowerPoint presentation software in a report format

Answer 

Task 1

Task 2

1.0. Introduction

Word processor, spreadsheet and powerpoint presentation are the major software in a computing system used for the restoration, retrieval, analysis, and presentation of data. The current paper presents the description of the three software (word processor, powerpoint presentation and spreadsheet), as well as explores the key features and benefits of each to provide a better understanding, which will consequently lead to improved data productivity and enhanced quality of data and information management.

2.0. Word Processing Software

2.1. Description

Word processor performs the function of composition, formatting, editing, and printing of documents. The word processing software also has a function of correcting the spelling and grammar in the documents. According to Patterson and Hennessy (2013), there are different kinds of word processing software available for users worldwide. The most common type is the word that forms part of Microsoft office. WordPerfect, OpenOffice, and Pages are other word processors that are availed by Corel Corporation, Apache and Apple respectively (Mossoff, 2014). As much as there might be vast differences between the different kinds of word processors, they actually have the same functions and accomplish the same task of document creation, formatting, and printing.

2.2. Key features

Basic command features-this feature supports the operations that make it necessary for the document to be viewed, saved, printed or to close the document. Common basic command feature include open, save/save as, print preview, print, and close (Preacher & Selig, 2012)

Editing features the editing features of a word processor allow the users to locate, correct, revise, or rearrange texts within the document. Features such as copy, cut, find, paste, replace, select, redo, type over, undo, and spell check allows for the proper editing of the word document (Patterson & Hennessy, 2013).

Enhancement Features-the enhancement features of the word processor are adopted to emphasize the important words or sentences within the document. This feature also assists in improving the appearance of the document. Features such as borders, bold, bullets, drop cap, font italic, underline and change case accomplish the aforementioned functions of the enhancement features (Mossoff, 2014).

Formatting Features-this feature supports the change in the arrangement of pages or layout. These features include text alignment (left, right, center, justify), hyphenation, indent, line spacing, page break, and text wrapping.

Graphics-the word processor supports the insertion of smart art, clip art, and pictures to a document. These features exhibited by the processor contribute towards the graphical improvement of the document. Other available graphic formatting options are wrapping and cropping.

Other Features-other word processing features include, grammar checking, spell checking and collaborative editing (review and track changes) that allows two individuals to work on a document and shows areas where editing has been made.

2.3. Benefits

Time saving-word processors allow the users to create a document within a limited time since words can be typed faster than can be written using a pen

Clarity-the font features of the word processor assist in making the document clear and easy to read

Spell checking-the spell checking feature assist in the elimination of errors and correction of grammar. This, therefore, improves the quality of the document that can be produced through a word processor

Synchronization-word processor support synchronization that is beneficial to the users since it allows two users from different locations to create and edit a document almost simultaneously.

3.0. Presentation Software

3.1. Definition

Presentation software is used for information display in the form of a slide show. Microsoft powerpoint presentation is the most commonly used presentation software

3.2. Key Features

Clip arts-presentation software have pre-designed images that makes them capable of importing graphic images

Plugin-this feature of the presentation software is useful in enhancing the capabilities of the program. For instance, the feature can be used in the export of a PowerPoint presentation as a PDF document or as a Flash animation

3.3. Benefits

PowerPoint is known as the most accessible and useful way to create and make a presentation. The presentation software is beneficial since it is easy to create using attractive designs. The presence of standard themes and templates makes it easier for the users to modify the presentation contents as opposed to the difficulties observed in the modification of other visual aids such as charts.

The presentation software also makes it easy for the users to make a presentation to a large audience eliminating the need for handouts for the audience to follow up the message.

4.0. Spreadsheet Software

4.1. Definition

A spreadsheet is a computer program that is used for the analysis and storage of data in table form. The software allows for data to be entered in columns and rows to facilitate their manipulation and analysis using mathematical formulas, graphs, and charts (Zhu, 2014). Microsoft Excel is the most commonly used spreadsheet in data entry and analysis due to its accessibility and ease of use (Alexander & Walkenbach, 2013).

4.2. Key Features

Functions-the excel spreadsheet has mathematical and logical functions needed for the analysis of the data entered in the spreadsheet

Sorting and Filtering-this feature allows for sorting and filtering of data to remove any repetitive or redundant data easily

Charts and tables-this feature allow for clear representation of data and other information in the spreadsheet

Data validation-this feature is used for the consolidation of data in the spreadsheet

4.3. Benefits

Data analysis-excel spreadsheets enable users to analyze large volumes of data. The spreadsheet can store huge amounts of data up to 16000columns by a million rows thus making it possible for the users to handle large data volumes (Zhu, 2014).

Formulas-the formulas featured by the spreadsheet allow the users to perform numerous calculations from basic ones such as multiplication and addition to more complex ones such as inventory management and salary tax reduction (Reed, Kaplan & Brewer, 2012).

Collaboration-the excel web app enables the users to maintain a worksheet in an updated manner. This is due to the fact that the web app allows for simultaneous access and edit of the spreadsheet.

5.0. Two commands on Microsoft 2010

Track changes-is a command in the standard toolbar of the Microsoft 2010 word processor. The command allows for tracking all the changes made to the word document including the deletions, insertions and formatting changes made. The tracking command is suitable in editing especially when the user wants to distinguish between correction and comments.

Text highlight color-this is a command on the formatting toolbar that is used for highlighting the selected text. This command is necessary for making a certain part of the sentence visible to the readers.

6.0. Recommendations

  • Users of the three discussed software should learn and be conversant with all their features for better analysis, processing, and presentation of information and data
  • Spreadsheets, word processor and presentation software should also be used constantly in an organization to reduce the workload and enhance the quality of information and data management and communication within the organization

7.0. Conclusion

Presentation, spreadsheets, and word processors are software used for the management of information and data, and the presentation of the same to the targeted audience. This software has unique features as identified above that enable them to accomplish the function of data and information management. Apart from enhancing the quality of information and data, the use of the software also leads to an improvement in data and information productivity, hence should be used more often in the processing and management of data.

8.0. References

Patterson, D. A., & Hennessy, J. L. (2013). Computer organization and design: the hardware/software interface. Newness

Mossoff, A. (2014). A Brief History of Software Patents (And Why They’re Valid). Arizona Law Review Syllabus, December, 14-41

Zhu, J. (2014). Quantitative models for performance evaluation and benchmarking: data envelopment analysis with spreadsheets (Vol. 213). Springer

Reed, D. D., Kaplan, B. A., & Brewer, A. T. (2012). A Tutorial on the Use of Excel 2010 and Excel For Mac 2011 For Conducting Delay‐Discounting Analyses. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 45 (2), 375-386

Alexander, M., & Walkenbach, J. (2013). Excel Dashboards and Reports. John Wiley & Sons.

Preacher, K. J., & Selig, J. P. (2012). Advantages of Monte Carlo confidence intervals for indirect effects, Communication Methods and Measures6(2), 77-98