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SG7001 MANAGING STRATEGY, OPERATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS

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ROYAL DOCKS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND LAW

Assessment Guide

MANAGING STRATEGY, OPERATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS SG7001

Level 7

Term 1

Academic Year 2019/20

Room Number: CW.3.21

Assessment 1:  Individual Report

Summary

          Word count:         2000 words                   Weighting:  50%

          Appendix up to:  1000 words                   Due:  3.00 pm  18.11.19.

Learning outcomes evidenced by this assessment:

Knowledge 

  1. Understand the impact of current and emerging trends on organisations. 

Thinking skills  

  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively analyse problems and issues employing a range of appropriate concepts, theories and approaches. 

Subject-based practical skills 

  • Apply the tools and techniques of strategic and operations analysis. 

Skills for life and work (general skills) 

8.   Developing succinct business reports.  

Submission procedure: 

Your report should be prepared as explained in the following pages, presented as described on page 11 and uploaded to the appropriate Turnitin link.  A cover page will be provided in Moodle above the Turnitin link. 

Written feedback will be provided via Turnitin within 15 working days of submission.

Introduction

In this assessment you are to analyse the factors contributing to competitive advantage in Leon’s Restaurants.  You should concentrate on demonstrating your ability to use the tools and techniques taught during the first part of the term.  Most of the data you will require can be found on the organisation’s web pages, and you are guided towards any further research requirements. Do note the final Learning outcome being assessed.  The word count is tight.

Leon’s Restaurants are fast food outlets designed to meet the desires of a health-conscious clientele as well as establishing a reputation for sustainable practice. 

Individually: Prepare a report of 2000 words that:

  • Critically evaluates the environment of the industry in which Leon operates.
    • Critically evaluates the strategy and operation of the organisation against its vision and industry success factors
    • Identifies a range of relevant emerging issues and explores their potential impact at different points within the company’s value chain.
    • Identifies areas of potential vulnerability facing Leon Restaurants

Details of the task.

You should take this task in steps.  You are being asked to show that you can use the tools and techniques to assist with an analysis.  Take the following steps one at a time.  The word counts for each section should be taken as a guide and are not monitored.  However, the total word count should not exceed 2000 words ±10%.  If the lecturer marking your work considers the word count is too high, it will be checked, and marking will stop at the word count.

Introduction                                                                                                 150 words

  1. Provide the necessary background:
    1. A brief overview of Leon’s Restaurant including their vision.
  2. An explanation of the purpose of the report.
  3. An overview of the structure.
  4. Explanation of potentially ambiguous terms.

Critical evaluation of the environment of the industry in which the Leon’s Restaurant operates                 600 words

  1. Conduct a PEST(LE).
  2. Review emerging megatrends and identify
    those that apply to the restaurant trade
  • Determine the strength of Porter’s 5 forces.
  • Summarise the industry environment
    • Identify what it takes to succeed in the industry.
    • Identify how the industry’s environment is likely
      to change in the future given the influence of
      the megatrends you identified

The most frequent error made in this stage is to assess the organisation’s environment, not that of the industry

Necessary Research

You will have to conduct the research for this section.  When doing so you will probably find PEST and/or Porters Forces analysis that have already been undertaken.  However, we want you to conduct your own and the full version of both, complete with citations should be in the appendix.  This should be presented in a table with your notes or findings in the left column, supported by a citation in the right hand.  The word count of the left-hand column should not exceed 1000 words.  If the citations prove to be inappropriate, a mark of 0 will be given for this section of your work.  Only summarise key points in your report.

Critical evaluation of the strategy of Leon’s Restaurant.                600 words

Using the information in the resources below:

  1. identify the resources of the organisation.
  • Identify the capabilities of the organisation
  • Evaluate the resources and capabilities (VRIN).
  • Compare sustainable resources and capabilities
    with the industry success factors developed above
    including consideration of the impact of megatrends

The most frequent error made in this stage is to describe rather than evaluate, and to omit stage 4.

Critical evaluation of the operation of Leon’s Restaurant.             500 words

In the above section you would have identified what Leon’s Restaurant do.  In this section you would investigate how they do it.  Return to the value chain and identify the elements that fall under their direct control. 

  1. Using the information that you gather from the resources
    below briefly describe the operation of Leon Restaurant.
  2. Refer briefly to the vision of Leon Restaurant.
  3. Critically assess the extent to which the operation supports
    the delivery of the vision.
  4. Evaluate the extent to which the operation is sustainable

The challenge: keep the description to just enough to support the analysis

Conclusion`                                                                                                 150 words

The purpose of the conclusion is to provide a very brief overview of the main body of your work and answer the question underlying the purpose of the report.

  1. Briefly re-iterate the purpose of the report.
  2. Summarise your key findings.
  3. Clearly indicate where you have identified vulnerabilities.

It should not:

  1. Contain new information
    1. List tasks rather than summarise the key findings

Resources 

The first links in the resources below will provide a lot of useful information relating to the strategy and the remainder focus more on their operations. Some of the links provide good detail for both.

When referring to financial information, always check the date of the report.

  • https://www.businessleader.co.uk/why-are-leon-restaurants-at-the-forefront-of-the-healthy-food-revolution/63504/
  • http://www.foodchainmagazine.com/2015/04/13/leon-restaurants/
  • https://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Article/2015/06/08/Business-Profile-Leon
  • https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/552028/leon-reports-record-sales-and-fifth-year-of-revenue-growth
  • https://www.verdictfoodservice.com/news/leon-restaurants-financial-results/
  • https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/511757/leon-reports-record-revenue-as-it-breaks-50m-mark
  • www.leon.co.uk– Explore all of the links at the top and bottom on this page.
  • https://leon.co/blog/
  • Look for information in their blog that describes how they operate.  For instance:
    • https://leon.co/magazine/blog/three-stars-by-the-sra/
    • https://leon.co/magazine/blog/plastic/
    • https://leon.co/magazine/blog/leonxgizzi/

Reviews from staff provide their perspective of the operation.  Much is about the staff management element, but there are a few references to the operation itself.

  • https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Leon-Restaurants/reviews?fcountry=ALL

Referencing Requirement.

You have been asked to produce a business report.  These are not referenced in the same way as academic work.  You should not reference any material that is from any of the above resources, or in your appendix.  Additional references should be in the form of footnotes.

Structure and presentation

To complete your submission, you should add the final elements to produce the following:

Cover sheet (in the assessment area in Moodle)

Title page containing a title for your work and your student number.

Executive summary. (No more than 100 words)

Contents page structured in the same way as in this handbook.

Introduction.

Main body using the headings in bold in the detail section.

Conclusion

Word count from the end of the contents to the end of the conclusion.

Appendices as described above.

Your work should be word processed in accordance with the following:

Font size 12, using a sans serif font such as Arial or similar

1.5 line spacing

The page orientation should be ‘portrait’ (large diagrams and tables can be in landscape orientation if that enables them to fit on fewer pages)

Margins on both sides of the page should be no less than 2 cm

Pages should be numbered

Your name should not appear on the script

Your student number should be included on every page.

Marking Criteria

Evaluation of the business environment             15%

Evaluation of the strategy.                                      30%

Evaluation of the operations.                                 20%

Recognition of the impact of megatrends            15%

Identification of vulnerabilities                               10%

Presentation                                                              10%

For marking standards please refer to the rubric overleaf.

Please note that in both cases these rubrics are used: The rubric will provide a guide mark that may be modified to accommodate qualities that do not conform to the grid. This will apply unless it is incomprehensible when the mark will be zero for the criteria, or for the proportion of text that can be understood:

Criteria Bad fail <40 Bare fail:  40-49% Pass:  50-59% Good:  60-69% Excellent  70% +
Evaluation of the organisation’s business environment (20%) Porter ‘s 5 forces and PEST(LE) Draw out the implications for survival and success in the future. Pure theory that has not been applied = no more than 15% of the marks.   A completely descriptive piece of work that accurately and thoroughly reproduces the facts, but adds nothing, ~ 25%.     Any of : Errors in the use of more difficult elements. E.g., confusion between the firm & its environment.Conclusions evident but have little support from analysis/factual evidence.One of the preparatory stages omitted  (< 45%) Any of: Some relevant theory with gaps in the argument. A thorough analysis but
no implications. Gaps in understanding shown by errors in use of terminology. A plausible, well- argued set of conclusions but not developed using a theoretical model.
Any of: Used relevant theory correctly, & grounded conclusions in factual evidence. Conclusions may lack insight expected at distinction-level   All of: Clear evidence of use of the full range of relevant theory Relevant, insightful conclusions solidly grounded in factual evidence.Theory correctly used, Clearly identified key success factors in the industry.
Appraisal of the organisation’s strategy: (35%) Using: Strategic resources and capabilities Value chain analysis.  VRIN, Assessment of the extent to which its strategy enables it to meet key industry success factors,   Either of: Conclusions are drawn entirely from secondary sources = low grades, Completely accurate and thorough but descriptive work, reproducing the facts, that adds nothing ~ 25%.     Either of Errors in your use of the theory.    Conclusions with little support from analysis or factual evidence.   Any of: Some relevant theory. with gaps in your argument. A thorough analysis with no implications. Gaps in understanding / errors in use of the terminology.A plausible and soundly argued conclusion but with no theoretical basis.   Both Relevant theory used correctly. Conclusions grounded in factual evidence, Conclusions may lack the clarity of insight or may be superficial in some areas, and strong in others. All of Correct use of a full range of relevant theory Relevant, insightful conclusions grounded in factual evidence. A clear and critical appraisal of the strategy. Include thorough usage of frameworks Conclusions may be supported with quantitative data if available.
Appraisal of the organisation’s operations: (20%) Description of the operation compared to vision and potential impact of megatrends   Any of: Conclusions do not flow from analysis.Completely accurate and thorough but descriptive work,  reproducing the facts, that adds nothing ~ 25%.No reference to the vision.     Any of Errors in the use of theory.    Conclusions with little support from analysis or factual evidence.Inadequate coverage of the breadth of operationsScant consideration of the role of the vision.   Any of: Some understanding of operations evident but with gaps in the argument A thorough analysis but with no implications. Errors in use of technical terminology.A plausibly argued set of conclusions, but not supported by analysis.   All of Good breadth of operations covered.Accurate use of technical terms Conclusions grounded in factual evidence. Conclusions may lack clarity of insight or may be superficial in some areas, and strong in others. All of Correct reference to a full range of relevant activities Accurate use of technical terms Relevant, insightful conclusions grounded in factual evidence. A clear and critical appraisal of the operation.  
Recognition of the impact of megatrends    (15%) Identification of megatrends most likely to change the industry Recognition of their potential impact on business strategy and operations. Both of Cursory reference to megatrends. Poor effort to identify their potential impact. Either of Cursory reference to megatrends. Poor effort to identify their potential impact. Any of Adequate identification of megatrends. Accurate Identification of their potential impact.Clear argument evident in conclusion but with poor prior analysis Both Plausible discussion of megatrends. Soundly argued consideration of key potential impacts but without the insight needed at distinction level Both A clear and critical investigation into the potential impact of megatrends. Relevant, insightful conclusions grounded in factual evidence.  
Identification of vulnerabilities (10%) Identification of where the organisation would be advised to make strategic or operational choices to protect its sustainability. Either of: Minimal effort to assess the extent to which the organisation’s strategy and operations would need to change in order to protect against the potential impact of megatrends.Significant inaccuracies Some effort to assess the extent to which the organisation’s strategy and operations would be vulnerable, but with either: Critical issues overlooked or Errors in the argument explaining vulnerabilities that undermine plausibility. Either of At least one plausible vulnerability identified.Superficial analysis but with no significant errors. Either of Some insight evident although it might not be at a standard needed for distinction level work.At least one plausible vulnerability with a robust and critical substantiation. Both Thorough approach in identifying the vulnerability of both Leon’s current strategy and operation to the impact of megatrends. Insightful conclusions that are supported by a critical and perceptive argument.
  Presentation: (10%)   Work should follow a clear and logical structure, is written in correct English that is easy for the reader to follow, and is professionally laid out, with page numbers. Appropriate and (better still) imaginative use of tables and figures will enhance your mark. Persistent poor spelling, inappropriate vocabulary avoidable errors, e.g. a poor or missing Executive Summary. If the English cannot be understood, (e.g. when translation software has been used), this mark will be zero, and the marks for other sections may also be affected. Any of: Infrequent but major grammatical errors.Layout of the work not as requested in the assessment brief.Little attempt to build a logical structure All of: All the work can be clearly understood.  Infrequent minor errorsWork presented as requested in the assessment brief. All of: Minimal grammatical error.Clear attempt to employ technical terminology.Good structure and clear development of argument     Of a standard that could be published: Correct languageAccurate use of terminology,Attention to layout.Clear development of argument.Imaginative use of tables and figures.      

Assessment 2:  Group presentation and reflection (50% of the module)

Summary:   In groups of 4 – 6 students     Due:  3.00 pm  19.12.19.

          Presentation:       30 minutes                  Weighting:  50% of the assessment

          Report:                  2000 words                 Weighting:  50% of the assessment

Learning outcomes evidenced by this assessment:

Knowledge 

1.   Demonstrate critical understanding of the theory and practice of strategic development and operations. 

 Thinking skills 

  • Analyse and synthesise contextual information. 
  • Think strategically and assess the impact of strategic change processes. 

Subject-based practical skills 

7.   Influence the strategic direction of an organization. 

Skills for life and work (general skills) 

  • Appreciating complexity, diversity, and multiplicity of perspectives accommodated in management decisions. 

Submission procedure: 

Submission procedure: PowerPoint slides of each presentation uploaded to Turnitin link. Front page of presentation to contain full names and student numbers of all group members, either with a usable link to a video of the group presentation[1] or the videos should be embedded in the presentation[2].

Feedback will be provided via Turnitin within 15 working days of submission.

Introduction

This group assessment builds on the individual reports prepared for assessment 1.  Having identified areas where Leon Restaurant is potentially vulnerable either now or in the future, you are to prepare a presentation in which you recommend future action at both a strategic and operational level.  This should be accompanied by a group report reflecting on the level of complexity encountered. Each group member is expected to contribute equally to every part of the assessment and will receive equal marks.  Please refer to Group work provision at the end of this assessment brief for exceptions to this condition.

In groups of 4 – 6, prepare a 30-minute presentation that:

  1. Summarises and prioritises the issues that face Leon’s restaurants.
  2. Develop strategic proposals for at least 2 issues,
  3. Identifies the impact of the proposals on the operations of the organisation
  4. Evaluate the proposals against an appropriate recognised framework.
  5. Identifies changes that should be made to the operations of the business including their partnerships,

Details of the task

The Presentation:

As with the first assessment, this assessment should be approached in steps.

  1. As a group, collate and categorise the strategic issues that you identified when completing assignment 1.
  2. Critically evaluate your list and identify that pose the greatest risk and select the most significant two or three. 
    1. The choice should be fully justified.
  3. Reviewing block 2, develop a range of solutions. 
    1. You should differentiate between those that are strategic and those that are operational.
    1. Concentrate on just the strategic ones.
  4. Evaluate your solutions using a recognised framework such as RACES.
    1. Recommend the most appropriate strategic option(s)
  5. Recommend changes to operations including partnerships in order to ensure that the new strategy becomes embedded in the organisation.
    1. These should be fully justified using theory or logical argument.

The Report:

With reference to your experience in developing the individual and group assessments, your group is to submit a 2000 word report with a title of:

“A reflection on the need to accommodate complexity in management decisions”

Reflective work requires a different approach. The material that you are considering is an event that has already occurred. The focus you should take requires you to think through the process undertaken and the implications of the outcome. That means very little research will be required to complete this piece of work. It requires logical and analytical thought processes.

For this report you should:

  1. Briefly summarise the different types of analysis and sources of information required to complete your individual reports and group presentation.
  2. Critically assess the need for each of these stages.
  3. Identify the business case for your new strategy.
  4. Examine how your proposed strategy would affect different stakeholder groups and identify the underlying reason for the impact.

Presentation

Your work should be word processed in accordance with the following:

Font size 12, using a sans serif font such as Arial or similar

1.5 line spacing

The page orientation should be ‘portrait’ (large diagrams and tables can be in landscape orientation if that enables them to fit on fewer pages)

Margins on both sides of the page should be no less than 2 cm

Pages should be numbered

Your name should not appear on the script

Your student number should be included on every page.

Marking Criteria

The Presentation (50%

  1. Prioritisation of issues                                        15%
  2. Strategy development                                        25%
  3. Development of operations plan                      25%
  4. Critical evaluation of proposals.                       25%
  5. Presentation                                                        10%

The Report:

  1. The descriptive element.                                  10%
  2. Analysis of the process.                                   30%
  3. Identification of the business case.                15%
  4. Stakeholder analysis.                                       35%
  5. Presentation.                                                      10%

Refer to page 17 for the rubrics for both components of assessment 2.

Group Work Provision

Both the group tasks require collaboration through every stage.  You will be provided with an area in which the necessary collaboration can take place.  Every group member should post regularly (at least twice a week) to the area with their contributions to the group assignment. To start with, these may be web links or summaries of research conducted. As the presentation comes closer, these should be drafts of slides, or of what the group should be saying during the presentation.

People who make no postings or who are not among the presenters of their group’s video will receive zero for the presentation. This will also apply to people who make no definitive input during the week leading up to the presentation.

People whose input during the presentation preparation process is insubstantial (for example, copies of other people’s work with just small changes, or irrelevant comments or links) will have their mark for the presentation capped at 40. This is a fail for this assessment but can be rescued if you achieved good marks for the individual coursework.

Return to Introduction

[1] Access to the video should be maintained until the end of the academic year. DO NOT DELETE IT 

[2] If you use this option, short clips should be embedded on each slide.  https://biteable.com/blog/tips/embed-video-powerpoint/