International Strategic Management and Innovation

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Assessment Guide
International Strategic Management and Innovation
Module assessment
This module is assessed entirely by Individual Coursework. You will write a 5,000 word management report in which you use theory from the module to review an organisation’s business and innovation strategy. This coursework is designed to test all the module learning outcomes as set out in section 4 of the Module Guide.
Reports are submitted electronically through Turnitin, an application that can be accessed via Moodle. The submission date for the report is 5thJanuary 2021
Details of assessment
You should base your report on the case studies “The importance of being Googley” and “Google’s problems are bigger than just the anti-trust case” that have been distributed to you. These case studies contain all the information needed to complete the assessment. You are strongly discouraged from doing supplementary research. There are no marks for introducing facts or ideas not mentioned in the case studies.
This is a report, not an essay. The differences are summarised in the following table.
Target audience is academic
Target audience is a practising manager who wants to reach a quick, well-informed decision
Lengthy discussion of theory and what it is used for.
NO discussion of theory. Your understanding of the theory is assessed by how well you apply it.
Discursive style. Paragraphs can be lengthy.
Punchy style. Paragraphs 3-5 lines – no longer. Bullet points used to help.
Few or no tables or diagrams
Tables and diagrams encouraged as ways of presenting complex information and arguments.
You are expected to produce your own analysis and to draw your own conclusions. If your conclusions are drawn entirely from what you have read from secondary sources, then you cannot expect more than 20% of the available marks, however reliable and well-referenced those sources may be. We want to know what you think – and why you think it.
You should avoid all sites set up to assist students with essays. The analyses you find on these sites are usually superficial and often use the theory incorrectly. They will also be out of date compared with the case studies. Any material that draws upon these sources, whether referenced or not, will be ignored when we mark the assessment. Such sources include, but are not limited to:
Datamonitor, SlideShare
Blogs on LinkedIn and elsewhere and similar sites,, and
Other students’ essays, dissertations and presentations; these cannot be cited as reliable data sources, since their authors may know less than you do.
Unreliable sources that can poison your credibility. Any information that is drawn from these sources
You do not need to give references for the case study material, for theory taught on the module or for theory drawn from textbooks on the module reading list. If you introduce theory from outside the module, you should provide a reference to a reputable journal or textbook; websites such as mindtools or netMBA are not acceptable. If you do ignore our advice and introduce factual sources from outside the case study, they too should properly referenced using LSBU’s preferred referencing system.
Please ensure that any sources you cite actually say what you claim that they say. We check, and we shall disregard any material for which the cited source is not accurate – even if the facts are correct! References to large works like textbooks will be assumed to be inaccurate unless a page number is included in the reference.
Word limit
The upper word limit for this assessment is 5,000 words. There is no lower word limit, but you are likely to need close to 5,000 words to do justice to the report requirements. The following are excluded when computing the number of words:
Cover and contents pages
Tables and appendices – but see below.
The exclusions listed above only apply to items that we do not have to read in order to follow your arguments. Tables, footnotes and appendices should only be used to supplement your main analysis with extra data or detail. If they are carrying your main argument, so we have to read them in order to make sense of it, then they will be counted as part of the main body of your report, in the order in which they are referred to. You cannot use them to get around the word limit.
Anything after the 5,000th word will be ignored when assessing your mark. There is no 10% margin for error.
Breakdown of marks
Analysis of macro-environment
Analysis of micro-environment and competitive success factor
Analysis of business model and business strategy
Analysis of innovation strategy
Appraisal of organisation’s strategic situation
Analysis of the macro-environment: 10%
You are expected to identify the key trends affecting the online search industry and to discuss their likely impact upon the industry. You are likely to use PESTEL analysis in arriving at your conclusions, but do not have to present your analysis under the PESTEL headings. Some issues will span several PESTEL headings, and there may be no issues in some of the PESTEL categories. Good reports use the theory but are not limited by it.
Analysis of the micro-environment and of competitive success factors: 15%
You are expected to use theory from the module, such as value capture and Porter’s 5 Forces Model, to analyse the micro environment, and draw out the factors for future success in the industry. You should take account of the impact of the trends you have identified in the macro-environment (see above)
Analysis of the business model and business strategy: 25%
You are expected to use theory from the module, such as value proposition/differentiation, the business model canvas, and strategic resources and capabilities, to analyse Google’s strategy.
You should try to avoid too much focus on SWOT. In general, SWOT fails to provide the depth and detailed analyses we are seeking at Masters level. It can also be surprisingly difficult to do well.
Analysis of innovation strategy: 15%
You are expected to use theory from the module to:
Identify, with examples, the form of innovation that the firm is pursuing
Analyse, again using examples, the firm’s sources of innovation and how it is seeking to foster it.
Appraisal of organisation’s strategic situation: 25%
You are expected to arrive at a clear conclusion as to how strong and how sustainable Google’s competitive advantage is. You should aim to do the following:
A structured comparison between Google’s business strategy and the competitive success factors that you have identified. A table is ideal for this purpose
A VRIN analysis of the key resources and capabilities that you have identified within your business model canvas. Please note that a simple matrix of yes/no judgements is not adequate for this purpose – you should provide brief supporting arguments for any conclusions you reach within the VRIN
An appraisal of Google’s innovation strategy and the extent to which it fits with the firm’s strategic needs.
Presentation: 10%
You are expected to submit work that follows 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 and numbered sections. Appropriate and (better still) imaginative use of tables and figures will enhance your mark.
Persistent poor spelling and other avoidable errors will lower your mark. If the English is too poor to be understood, as typically happens when translation software has been used, the mark under this heading will be zero, and the marks for other sections may also be affected.
General marking criteria
In marking your work, we shall be looking for:
Accuracy in your choice and use of theory. You should not use theory developed for, say, the analysis of an industry to analyse the behaviour of an individual firm. You should also be careful and accurate in your use of the individual elements of a model or framework; this may mean checking the textbook or lecture to make sure you know what terms mean in that specific context
Rigour. Your arguments must make sense. You must use the theory to structure the facts you have researched, and then draw conclusions that follow logically – even if they are show the company in a poor light.
Insight. You should look beyond describing what is happening in the firm or industry, and strive to identify the root causes; the theory is there to help you
Creativity and originality. In both your diagnosis and your proposals, you should look beyond what is obvious. You are encouraged to use creativity techniques taught on other MScIBM modules. You should also feel empowered to go against received wisdom. The case studies may imply views about the industry or Google – you do not have to agree with them, or with the views of the firm’s managers.

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