Week 1 Project

Week 1 Project


Note: This course has major project assignments that will be due in Weeks 3 and 5. It will take more than a week’s effort to adequately complete them. Plan time to start the research and other work for those assignments earlier than the week in which they are due.

In the course project, you will analyze the corporate strategies of several organizations. In Weeks 1 and 2, you will be looking at GE. In Weeks 3 and 4, you will be looking at Alibaba. In Week 5, you will be looking at your own organization. Every week, you will analyze particular elements of an organization’s corporate strategy, eventually producing an integrated analysis of your own organization in the final week. Your textbook readings will help you identify the organizations’ corporate strategies. Use the South University Online Library to research the firms, the Hoover’s database is a good place to start.

Begin by downloading the Course Project Guidelines . From the Guidelines, you will gain an understanding of what will be required in the Week 5 paper. For the Week 5 work, you may select your own organization or a different one (with instructor approval) as the subject of the final paper. Be sure to contact your instructor early in the course if you have questions about whether the organization you intend to use in Week 5 is adequate for the project.

For this week, analyze GE’s corporate strategy. GE is moving away from some of its financial services emphasis and strongly into the healthcare field. Focus on GE’s healthcare strategy. Begin your paper with a one or two paragraph background about GE so that anyone picking up the paper would learn something about who the organization is and how they are involved in the healthcare field.

  • Level of diversification: A firm like GE should have a moderate-to-high level of diversification. What are GE’s areas of diversification? Evaluate the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the diversification approach.
  • International operations: Look at GE’s operations in many countries. Who are their competitors? Evaluate the similarities and differences of GE’s strategy compared to their competitors.
  • Recent events: Look for GE’s engagement in two or more acquisitions or mergers, about which you can collect information. Discuss the corporate strategy and evaluate how it has benefited GE’s acquisition growth and product line.
  • Alliance or joint venture: Select two or more alliances or joint ventures as a meaningful part of one or more of its business units’ business-level strategy. Evaluate the strategy and how well it has worked. Analyze some of the issues encountered. Assess whether the business-level strategy fits their diversification core.

Submission Details:

  • Based on your research, write succinct discussions of each of these items.
  • Present your work as a 4–5-page report in a Microsoft Word document formatted in APA style.
  • Support your responses with examples.  Cite any sources in APA format.
  • Name your document MBA6999_W1_LastName_FirstInitial.doc
  • Submit your document to the Submissions Area by the due date assigned.Course Project Guidelines © 2014 South University

    Course Project Guidelines

    Page 2 of 5 Strategic Development and Implementation

    ©2014 South University


    In the course project, you will analyse the corporate strategy of multibusiness organizations. Every week, you will analyze particular elements of a corporate strategy, culminating in an analysis of the strategy by the end of the course. This is where you put together all the work you have researched and completed in your assignments and the organizations mentioned in the course. Pay close attention to your final assignment and how you will wrap it up. The three overarching questions for this project are:

     What is the business logic and rationale behind the corporate strategy?

     How well do organizational decisions about formulating and implementing corporate strategy fit with that logic and rationale?

     What recommendations would you make to the top management with respect to the decisions made in executing the corporate strategy?

    Be mindful of these questions as you complete each week’s project tasks. Having an idea of how you will answer these questions will make writing your final integrated analysis much easier.

    Tips for Writing

    Both style and substance are important in written communication. Below are a few tips on style and substance. View these tips as examples of writing found in a high-quality, comprehensive report that still permits a great deal of freedom in terms of style and scope. Your report will be complex and your conclusions derived from many hours of research, thinking, and writing. Your objective is to communicate your learning to the reader concisely. Imagine that you’re writing for a group of potential investors interested in learning about your chosen organization. You want to be complete, accurate, and objective in your observations and analysis. All your conclusions should be clear and well supported.

    Inability to write effective business reports is one of the biggest weaknesses of managers. A well- organized report helps simplify complex subjects and shows clear thinking. To do well in this area, just recall the basics of good writing that you learned in high school and college.

    As your paper will cover many different subjects, you should use section and subsection headings to mark transitions from one topic to another. Transitions between paragraphs make for easy reading. Each paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence and should stick to that topic. The complexity of your subject calls for simple sentence structure and the avoidance of jargon and unusual phrasing.

    Tables, charts, and figures that illustrate especially complex points or support conclusions may be included in an appendix at the end of the report. Do not use an exhibit unless you refer to it in your paper. The source of the information in an exhibit must be shown in the exhibit. Proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar are essential. Ensure that the final document is proofread carefully (go beyond simply using spell-check). Be sure to use the APA format. A poorly written report signals to the reader that the substance is also questionable.

    Course Project Guidelines

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    ©2014 South University


    The paper must not exceed 12 pages, single-sided, double-spaced with 1-inch

    margins, and use 12-point font. Do not count the executive summary, title page,

    table of contents, references, and appendices in the 12-page limit.

    The work described here cannot be done quickly. The time you spend on revising

    your paper will be apparent and will produce a superior report.

    Suggested Outline

    This outline is intended to give you an idea of the potential scope of your project. You

    will need to adjust it to suit the specifics of your selected organization.

    I. Title Page

    The organization’s name and your name should be highlighted here. The

    course name and number and the date should also appear on this page.

    II. Executive Summary

    Begin your report by summarizing your findings in one single-spaced page. Do

    not include supporting evidence here. The purpose of a summary is to stress

    the highlights of the report for readers who want to know your conclusions but

    do not have the time to go through the entire report.

    III. Table of Contents

    Begin numbering your pages here and continue consecutive page numbers

    throughout the rest of the paper.

    IV. General Analysis of the Corporate Strategy

    In this section, address the first of the project’s three overarching questions.

    Write a clear overview of the organizational rationale behind the corporate

    strategy. Do not discuss individual actions here. Set out the logic that the

    management uses to guide its various decisions and actions at the corporate


    The items in this section should serve as touchstones in the analysis of those

    strategic actions in the subsequent sections. Measured against this dominant

    logic, the organization’s actions, described in the following sections, can be

    judged as “consistent” or “inconsistent” with its corporate strategy. These will

    also be the comparison points for your recommendations in section VII. A

    Course Project Guidelines

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    well-argued section here will make the rationale for your recommendations

    clear to the readers of your report.

    V. Formulation of the Corporate Strategy

    This section addresses the first part of the second overarching question. Begin your analysis of

    the strategic actions undertaken while formulating its portfolio. Do not simply put these prior

    analyses together sequentially. Instead, weave the three together into a single assessment.

    Note that this is what the organization should be doing-thinking of all three areas

    simultaneously when it makes a strategic decision in any one area.

    Similarly, when you are evaluating each part’s fit with the logic and rationale

    of the corporate strategy, don’t merely examine individual actions in isolation.

    Emphasize the integrated assessment of the actions. In turn, compare this

    integrated perspective on each action for internal consistency with the

    corporate strategy logic you set out in section IV.

    VI. Implementation of the Corporate Strategy

    This section addresses the second part of the second overarching question. You

    will want to build on your analysis in the previous section and address whether or

    not this organization can “make it happen.” If the organization lacks the

    implementation capability, even the most rational and integrated corporate

    strategy will be a failure.

    In writing this part of the report, you wilI want to consider many issues, such as

    whether the strategy wiII receive the support of investors. Pressure for

    performance often forces organizations to implement suboptimal strategies that

    produce the short-term results that Wall Street wants, while foregoing strategic

    alternatives that could be more valuable in the long term. Similarly, you should

    consider the strategic leadership capabilities and the fit of the organization’s

    structure, systems, and culture to its strategy. One of the management team’s

    most important responsibilities is creating these complementary alignments.

    VII. Conclusions and Recommendations

    This section is not simply a short wrap-up. Your recommendations must

    incorporate both analysis in sections V and VI and the logic that guided the

    decisions you set out in section IV. In doing this, you will want to employ the

    tools you have developed during the course, showing that you know how to use

    them and how to interpret what they indicate when applied to a situation. Your

    recommendations need to address strategic issues, not functional ones.

    Course Project Guidelines

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    You do not have to recommend changing the corporate strategy. Whether you

    recommend no, few, or many changes, your recommendations should be

    backed by logical arguments supported by reliable and comprehensive

    information. Be sure to explain why your proposed alternative is superior to the

    other choices.

    VIII. References

    Cite sources of all information and quotes using APA format. All reference

    material used for the paper must be included in this section. All citations must

    be complete; including information such as author names, titles, dates, volume

    numbers, and page numbers. Electronic citations must include complete

    website addresses.

    IX. Appendices

    You can include tables, graphs, and charts in appendices, as well as other

    graphical exhibits. Remember that what you choose to include reflects your

    understanding of what is important. Exhibits in the appendices can be critical in

    supporting a verbal argument, or they can be trivial. Include information and

    supporting material that strengthens the body of the paper, not those that are

    merely fillers.

    Weekly Project Tasks

    Task 1: Corporate Strategy

    Task 2: Acquisition Strategy

    Task 3: International Strategy

    Task 4: Cooperative Strategy and Competitive Advantage

    Task 5: Final Submission—Integrated Analysis of Corporate Strategy

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