Imagine that you have just completed your business degree at uni and are applying for a very attractive position as Management Consultant in a prominent and reputable Consultancy firm. As part of the selection process applicants are required to research and write an essay about The Five Forces Analysis, to prove to the employer their subject-specific research, analytical, critical and writing skills and ability to use appropriately and confidently the terminology of strategic management.
The selection process is highly competitive, therefore the higher the quality of your essay, the better the chances to be selected.
Research and write an essay about the importance of The Five Forces Analysis as a key element of a thorough situation analysis, which precedes the choice of organisation’s strategy. Selecting the right strategy is instrumental in achieving successful performance and above-average profitability for the benefit of all stakeholders, and in line with the principle of the common good.
The steps involved in developing and completing this assignments are as follows:
Use the Lecture Notes and your textbook to develop an initial understanding of what is Five Forces Analysis and how it is used. Research the seminal literature on this topic to expand further your understanding and appreciation of the concept. Seminal literature consists of books or academic articles, published in high quality journals some time ago, which have proposed and outlined the concept for a first time.
For example, Jay Barney published the article “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage,” in 1991 (in Journal of Management), in which he proposed the concept of the Resource-based View. The latter has since then developed into a powerful and influential theory explaining organisational performance as a direct function of company’s resources. Further guidance on searching for the seminal literature will be provided in a special presentation in class in week 2.
While reading the seminal literature, make sure you understand why the concept is an important part of strategic management (SM) and how it is related to situation analysis and the strategic management process, where does it fit within this process? To which other important strategic management concepts/principles/theories does it relate and how?
After clarifying the exact meaning and origin of the concept, search the electronic databases in ACU Electronic library (e.g. Business Source Complete, Emerald, ABI/Inform, etc.) for some more recent developments of the concept, published in the last 5 years, to trace the evolution in thinking about the 5 Forces Analysis, including articles which critique the concept.
Choose at least 5 appropriate articles using the following selection criteria:
Quality of the journal which published the article. Only the best journals should be used, please check the list of recommended journals in your Unit Outline; The articles should be peer-reviewed, this means that low quality sources, such as trade journals, are totally unsuitable for the purposes of this assignment;
Date of publication:
the article has to have been published in the last 5 years; The nature of the article – use your judgement of whether the article is helpful in providing new insight about the concept, criticism of the concept, new linkages with other SM concepts and new views about its usefulness.
After selecting the 5 articles, you need to read them very carefully and to analyse them in order to identify how they relate to your concept. Do they accept and reinforce the concept, do they add to it, do they critique it, or do they offer an example of how the concept have been successfully used in certain industries. If you aim to obtain a D/HD, then more articles (e.g. 8-10) should be analysed and discussed, to present a richer and more interesting analysis of the concept. Making notes about each of the above item is necessary while reading the literature.
Synthesise the new insight on the concept that you have derived from the articles in your essay. That is, you need to show how the original concept has evolved over time and to indicate clearly in what ways it has evolved, what new extensions, developments, criticism and applications of the concept have been proposed recently. This will take you some time, as you will need to write a couple of drafts before you end up with a clear, interesting and insightful discussion about the concept, its evolution and use is strategic management.
To finish the paper, provide a conclusion, which needs to summarise the main findings of your research and outline why the content of the paper is important for scholars and practitioners of SM.
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