Throughout this course, you should complete the SLP before you undertake the Case analysis. Before you begin the SLP, read the Background materials thoroughly.
Several of the Background readings refer to gathering data to support the external analysis. Be sure to review those readings carefully so you know what kind of data is used when conducting an external analysis. The purpose of this SLP is to develop the component of our strategic toolkit that relates to Five Forces and PEST analysis. This SLP is challenging; however, understanding how to perform basic business research is a procedure that is part and parcel to the skill set of any MBA.
Session Long Project
The key aspects of this assignment that should be covered in your paper are:
- Step One: Research Web and library sources that would give you the kinds of data you would need to conduct a Porter Five Forces analysis. Use the Kraft Foods Group (and thus, the foods industry) as the basis for this SLP. Note: We are not looking for sites that describe the Five Forces, but sites that will provide you with data that you will be able to use to conduct your own external environmental analysis (e.g., to analyze the degree of competition in an industry, or the ease of substitution). You have undoubtedly run into such websites and publications before in your core courses. Typically, they are government sources providing statistical data, industry or trade magazines or journals, general business publications, finance websites, websites for trade associations, etc.
- Step Two: This is a two-stepprocess:
- Determine what kinds of information you would need to evaluate each of Porter's forces (see the background materials), and then find a source that will give you that information. Find a minimum of one or two sources for each of Porter's forces.
- Research Web and library sources that would give you data to support a PEST analysis. Find at least one or two sources for each PEST variable.
- Step Three: For each source you have given above, provide a title and a URL (if applicable), and write a sentence or two explaining what information is provided by the source and how the source would be useful in conducting an external analysis, and critiquing the source (e.g., what are the strengths and limitations of the source)?
- Note: There are no length requirements for the SLP, however, you must address the above requirements precisely (two sources for each Porter and PEST factor), and you must critique the validity of each source with adequate depth.
SLP Assignment Expectations
Your paper will be evaluated using the following five (5) criteria:
- Assignment-Driven Criteria (Precision and Breadth): Does the paper fully address all Keys to the Assignment? Are the concepts behind the Keys to the Assignment addressed accurately and precisely using sound logic? Does the paper meet minimum length requirements?
- Critical Thinking (Critical Thinking and Depth): Does the paper demonstrate graduate-level analysis, in which information derived from multiple sources, expert opinions, and assumptions has been critically evaluated and synthesized in the formulation of a logical set of conclusions? Does the paper address the topic with sufficient depth of discussion and analysis?
- Business Writing (Clarity and Organization): Is the paper well written (clear, developed logically, and well organized)? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are section headings included in all papers? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the Keys to the Assignment, or is justification/support instead conveyed through excessive use of direct quotations?
- Effective Use of Information (Information Literacy and References): Does the paper demonstrate that the student has read, understood and can apply the background materials for the module? If required, has the student demonstrated effective research, as evidenced by student’s use of relevant and quality (library?) sources? Do additional sources used in paper provide strong support for conclusions drawn, and do they help in shaping the overall paper?
- Citing Sources: Does the student demonstrate understanding of APA Style of referencing, by inclusion of proper end references and in-text citations (for paraphrased text and direct quotations) as appropriate? Have all sources (e.g., references used from the Background page, the assignment readings, and outside research) been included, and are these properly cited? Have all end references been included within the body of the paper as in-text citations?
Tips and Suggestions
- Brint.com is an excellent business search engine that can help you with all aspects of the SLP assignments for Modules 2, 3, and 5.
- You may be concise in your presentation of this SLP. It does not have to follow the conventions of a written Case paper. Tables or bulleted lists may help you present the information concisely and make it easy for the reader to quickly grasp the information.
- Some people find this SLP assignment easier to conceptualize if they have a particular company in mind. This is fine, because the sources you find for a given company will probably have information for other companies as well. Just be sure you keep the analysis focused on factors that will affect the entire industry—not just a specific company.
- Include a cover and reference page.
- Include section headings for all papers longer than two pages, but do not use headings as "space fillers."
- Cite and reference all sources, including those you paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than five words, and citations for information you have "borrowed" or paraphrased from other sources.
- Follow TUI Guidelines for Well-Written Papers.
- Submit your analysis by the end of this module.