GROUP TERM PROJECT (GTP)
RESEARCH PAPER & PRESENTATION
Each group will pick a company from a list of public companies (Fortune 500 2017 or 2018) to write (and submit for grading) a research paper; and will give a 15-minute presentation to the class on the results of your research. The objective is to provide data (specifically following a very detailed outline that I am providing to the class) on how the company’s competitive strategy, and the successes or failures of the company to date. You will conclude with an assessment and recommendations for the company (or similar industries) on how to improve it’s current competitive position
PAPER EVALUATION –
Grading Considerations include:
- Format & organization of the paper
- Content – meeting criteria (applying critical thinking and comprehensiveness of the content, addressing all strategic aspects of the business/ corporate strategy, covering all topics)
- Accuracy and recency of data
- Assessment of company’s success/failure in its core competitive strategy/strategies
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Citing references appropriately
Word Doc only (minimum of 12 pages (not including cover, appendices, or bibliography).
Double Spaced and should have:
- Cover page – title and group members presenting; class section
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Section titles (to match table of contents)
- Financial reports (minimally, an income statement)
- Conclusion – group assessment and recommendations for the company
- Appendix (if used)
- Bibliography page(s)
Your GTP paper and PowerPoint presentation are both due (submit both via D2L designated drop box) on the day that the groups are scheduled to present to the class.
FORMAT OF PAPER
Follow the outline format exactly – each section and subsection should be titled accordingly – addressing and expanding on all points relative to the business and corporate strategy, competitive advantages, disadvantages, weaknesses, etc., that you are researching.
YOU SHOULD BE USING TERMS FROM THE BOOK TO DESCRIBE:
How the business is operating – i.e. exporting, joint venture, turnkey project, green-field investment, just-in-time inventory, TQM, distribution channels, push/pull strategies, predatory pricing, expatriate, low cost strategy, differentiation strategy, niche strategy, etc.
Describe the external environment of the firm– i.e. key competitors, competitiveness of the industry, regulations intensity (highly regulated, moderately or slightly regulated, social environment of the firm such as stakeholders’ engagement and activism, stakeholders’ power, and customers’ awareness, social responsibility, also describe the economies of scale, efficient/inefficient markets, experience/learning effects, first-mover advantage/disadvantage, etc.
You must have detailed information for your financial projections etc. – at minimum you should be presenting a recent income statement and show the determinants of ROI. What other metrics are being used by the company to reflect their successes?
Be sure to proofread your final paper for spelling and grammar – each team member is responsible for the entire final product!
PRESENTATION EVALUATION –
- Style – creativity, attractiveness, ability to keep your audience interested
- Content – covering all pertinent topics; accuracy of data
- Projection and clarity – success of your audience understanding
- Questions and answers – ability to answer questions sufficiently
The presentation should be 10-15 minutes (your team will lose points if it goes beyond 15 minutes). Do NOT attempt to cover your entire paper in your presentation – remember who your audience is and what you want to convey to them. They are executives – time is money – and they do not have a lot of time to sit and listen to fluff – get to the point and make your points substantial.
Table of Contents
- INTRODUCTION OF YOUR BUSINESS
- Introduce business
- Business type (service, production etc)
- Who are they marketing to and why?
- HISTORY OF YOUR COMPANY
- Number of employees
- Current revenue and profitability
- Existing clientele
- VISION AND MISSION
- BUSINESS INITIATIVES
- Current business key objectives
- Future business key objectives
- Core competitive strategies
- What is/are the company’s core competitive strategies
- How was/were and why they were selected?
- Were they all successful? Did any of them experience failures? Why?
Awareness of competitors is critical to successfully planning and implementing business activities. You can learn valuable lessons (without experiencing them yourself) by studying the successes and challenges of other organizations that are similar to yours. Considerations for research are:
- Potential competitor analysis by identifying companies that have similar or related business activities that operate in the same market.
- Competitive advantages that companies may have (i.e. having access to raw materials, while others may gain an advantage through the use of technology for production and distribution).
- International strategies comparison and how companies make use of standardized products and operating policies. Or do they adapt to various foreign markets (e.g. detergents are adapted to clothes washing habits and water hardness).
- Determinants of the selected competitive strategies.
- entry barriers
- exit barriers
- internal environment of the firm
- external environment of the firm.
- Government and politics describing the type of government and recent political developments that could influence the economic and business environment
VII. ECONOMIC-GEOGRAPHIC ENVIRONMENT
The natural infrastructure (such as rivers and seaports) and physical infrastructure (transportation and communication systems) of a nation provide the foundation for economic development. Considerations for research are:
- Geographic factors (climate, terrain, waterways etc.) that influence business activities in the country. (In some countries, for example, mountains make movement of raw materials and production supplies difficult and expensive.)
- Major products (natural resources, agricultural products), major industries, and import/exports in the market area
- Current economic conditions related to GDP, inflation, interest rates, currency value (exchange rates), personal income, and employment that may attract or deter foreign investment.
- Infrastructure of a country with regard to availability of transportation, communication, and utilities. As an example, in some countries, wireless (cell) phones may be more cost efficient rather than build infrastructure for landlines.
- COMPANY STRUCTURE
Successful companies develop a strategic plan related to their goals and organizational structure that may need to be adapted in order to enter new foreign markets. Considerations for research are:
- Strategic planning developing objectives for major goals related to: (a) a description of the product(s) or service(s) being offered, (b) target market and customer benefits, (c) financial aims (market share, return on investment), (d) employee satisfaction, and (e) social contributions. Strategic goals must be measured objectively – e.g. “to provide households with clean drinking water at a moderate price” – but be as specific as possible.
- Organizational culture, values, and beliefs
- FINANCIAL STRATEGIES/RESULTS, PRICING AND BUSINESS RISKS
To expand business globally, a company requires financing. Profit margin, return on investment, and market share are some of the common financial measurements used to assess business success and attract potential investors to finance expansion. Pricing strategies are influenced by production costs, potential demand, actions of competitors, and government regulations. High inflation and import restrictions are just two of the many risks that a company may encounter when doing business in another country. Considerations for research are:
- Financial results should consider: revenue sources (sales/income, market segments); operating costs (cost to produce or obtain, storing, marketing and distributing product/service); start-up costs; profitability expectations and timeline for profit/loss.
- Pricing strategies should consider: economic environment (personal income level, inflation rates, taxes); cost analysis (production costs as well as administrative and overhead expenses); demand analysis for product/service over a time period (will it increase/decrease) based on current and expected market size; and comparative analysis with competitors that are providing identical or similar products/services.
- Business risks should consider: economic and financial risks (e.g. a weak infrastructure or volatile currency increases the risk of doing business in a foreign market); social and cultural risks; political and legal risks (potential for corruption or restrictive regulation will affect business profitability); and risk management techniques (i.e. insurance, diversification of product line, strategic alliances with local partners, and employing local managers).
XII. PROMOTION STRATEGY
International communications create some of the most interesting and difficult aspects of global business initiatives. Considerations for research are:
- Promotional goals that create awareness of your product/service, whether newly introduced or enhanced, or newly discovered uses.
- Business environment understanding of cultural and legal factors (e.g. certain information is required in TV commercials when selling products aimed at children).
- Media plan (including costs and availability) and best or most appropriate methods (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, Internet, billboards, leaflets/brochures) for the country.
- Promotional strategy comparing the benefits of push and pull promotions.
PRODUCT AND TARGET MARKET PLANNING
A clear definition of an organization’s product/service along with a detailed description of potential customers provide the foundation of a marketing plan. Considerations for research are:
- Product concept identifying attributes, features and customer benefits.
- Product life cycle of introduction, growth, maturity and decline in a market.
- Branding and packaging that will create a distinctive identity but also analyzing cultural and legal factors that may influence the packaging of a product.
- Target market by describing the characteristics of potential customers in terms of geographic location, demographics, media habits, consumer behavior patterns, and lifestyle activities.
XIV. HUMAN RESOURCES
People are the resources that make things happen in a company, wherever it may be located. Considerations for research are:
- Staffing by identifying job positions and required skills for employees and managers.
- Training and development related to technical, interpersonal, language, and cultural sensitivity skills.
- Performance appraisal and guidelines for various job positions that would balance organizational goals and individual needs.
- Compensation determining wage and salary levels for various job positions, and proposing an employee benefits package while considering economic and cultural factors.
- What are the successes and failures of the company you researched?
- What are your recommendations to the company?