Strategic Management Project

The purpose of the strategic management project is to apply the concepts and techniques learnt in the module to the analysis of real-world situations or problems, and to critically evaluate different approaches to addressing managerial problems.

Context

Your boss has asked you to craft a restructuring strategy [around some identified business problem(s)]for the company you work for. (If your company is a large one, then focus on a strategic business unit or department. The structure will be aimed at your designation level ie supervisor, team leaders, unit head, head of strategic business unit, CEO etc. Frame the issue at your level so that you are familiar with issues. For example if you are a supervisor it would be inappropriate for you to look at International diversification but this might be something for the CEO.

If you are not employed in a company, exceptionally select a well-known local company and use the same criteria. Delve down to the lowest level commensurate with your designation. The organisation must be approved by your tutor.

Not for profit organisations are fine too. Your tutor will need to approve the company chosen. Your remit, in the form of a strategic management project will be to propose a new design, approach (solution) to restructuring that would make the company more efficient and competitive.

The project is to be undertaken in a number of formative phases, culminating in a final written report.

In phase 1 you will write proposal for your boss (tutor) to set the parameters and scope of the restructuring. You will discuss this with your classmates in seminars and get feedback.

Phase 2 will be a critical literature review.  Your task will be to review research from a range of scholarly articles that relate to organisational structure design issues you are addressing. This is an opportunity to strengthen the project rigour with further theoretical insights. The core text book and supplied articles will form the backbone of the literature review but other strategy literature can supplement this too.

 

You will have learnt from the research methods classes in 7MG001, a literature review is a discussion of the published information on your topic area. It is also a critical, evaluative synthesis, showing the relationships between various writings and how they relate to your own work. A literature review is not a simple summary of a series of articles. A good literature review will look at the research that has been done and synthesise or pull together those elements that are similar or most pertinent to the themes you have chosen.

Phase 3 will be the start of the analysis. You will analyse your chosen company’s internal structures and its external environment using a minimum of two of the frameworks studied that you consider most relevant to your particular situation e.g. Daft’s structural dimensions, Daft’s contingency framework, Porter’s five forces model or any other model etc.  

Your tutor will ask you to present your findings at interim points during the seminar sessions (details will vary depending on iteration and delivery format. The presentations will not be part of the assessment.

Phase 4 will the final Project Report.

The final report should take the form of a maximum 4000 word business report to the organisation’s management team. A business report is a functional piece of writing usually written to communicate a recommendation for change with the appropriate rationale, illustrations and evidence.

Your report should be written in standard business English that favours ease of comprehension. In general, your sentences and paragraphs will be shorter compared to academic English. It is also acceptable to use a limited number of bullet points in your report.

Use the literature review as well as the theoretical foundations given in the core text and additional readings to strengthen your arguments and move beyond subjective opinions. You are also encouraged to support your arguments and analyses with visuals, such as charts and diagrams.

Business reports do not have a set number of sections, nevertheless guidelines are provided in a separate document to aid you. Make sure you do clearly delineate and label your sections with appropriate headings. As a guide, some sections that most reports tend to include are Executive Summary, Introduction, Findings, Recommendations and Conclusion. Use the Business Report Help Sheet from University of Melbourne provided for you under resources.

 

Advice: Make it concise, to the point and convincing. Try to write with a specific audience in mind, and try as best as you can to generate a genuine buy-in from your boss..