MGF5976 Strategic Management – Assessment 2 (20%) – S2.2022 Individual Argumentative Essay: Between Profit and Planet
The pursuit of competitive advantage may sometimes come at odds with environmental sustainability. Can companies reconcile these tensions? Students are asked to compose an argumentative essay addressing the following topic by following the steps below:
- Draw on the larger strategic management literature to identify strategic capabilities that have been identified to help companies with the pursuit of both competitive advantage and environmental sustainability.
- Be sure to provide a working definition of these concepts.
- Ensure your academic literature search is encompassing and drawing on high quality research evidence (e.g., sourced from A/A* and FT50 journals).
- Read the Greenpeace Report (also provided on Moodle) and familiarise yourself more generally with the complexities of the case. Pick a company that has been allegedly implicated in the Greenpeace report: ‘Burning Down the House’.
- Determine the extent to which the chosen company has (or not) the capabilities identified in point 1 above (i.e., conduct a VRIN analysis).
- Are any of these capabilities core competencies (i.e., can they be considered as the basis of the competitive advantage of this firm based on the VRIN criteria)?
- Based on the aforementioned, critically argue why you believe the company failed to balance the pursuit of competitive advantage and environmental sustainability. From a Resource-Based perspective of strategy, argue your stance as to whether you believe the company’s alleged actions were due to, for instance:
- Incapacity (e.g., they did/do not have the necessary strategic capabilities to be competitive and sustainable).
- Negligence (e.g., they have the strategic capabilities to be competitive and sustainable, but failed to leverage them effectively).
- Malice (e.g., they have the capabilities but deliberately chose not to leverage them).
- Other: ….
- Given your stance in point 3 above, conclude with your recommendation on what the
company’s senior leadership should do next.
The steps above represent the bulk of the body of the essay. As an argumentative essay, your assignment should adopt a clear point of view. This should be made explicit in your Introduction. Your critical analysis should consider both sides of the topic, and argue why one side is more powerful/greater than the other. This must be justified and reinforced by the application of relevant key strategic management concepts and theories, especially the Resource, Capabilities, Competencies view (and allied conceptual vocabulary).
Organise and structure the essay in a clear, logical essay format,
i.e. Introduction, Discussion/Body paragraphs and Conclusion. See Essay Marking and Feedback Sheet on the MGF5976 Moodle site and the Q-Manual for guidelines on how to structure academic
essays. Your essay must include a reference list according to the APA style (7th edition) at the end of the essay, as outlined in the Q-Manual. A mix of academic journals, peer-reviewed articles, business reports, company websites and newspaper articles can be used, but there should be a strong emphasis on academic journals. As such, you MUST include AT LEAST 10 academic journal article sources that are not part of the assigned/recommended readings for this unit, with a recommended MINIMUM of 7 articles sourced from academic journals ranked on the Financial Times Top 50 (“FT50”) list
- When submitting, please name your document according to this
logic: “StudentNumber_StudentSurname_AssessmentNumber.PDF” (or *.doc/docx)
· References and appendices are NOT counted in the word limit.
- Words in tables and diagrams are counted in the word limit, but tables and diagrams should not drive the analysis. Instead, tables should provide summaries of what is contained in the body of the essay. The analysis is contained in the sentences and paragraphs.
- PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that researching widely is a necessary condition for producing an acceptable essay (i.e., you need to read and learn more than is strictly necessary for the essay). Some have failed the assignment because of lack of sufficient research, so it is important to start work on it early.
- All assignments MUST be submitted in 12-point Times New Roman, double spaced, A4 paper size, portrait layout, and follow APA in-text citation and bibliographic reference style.
Indicative Marking Rubric
|INTRODUCTION: 10% (Purpose of the essay; company background; statement of position; outline of the essay)|
|BODY/DISCUSSION: 60% (Application of relevant key strategic management concepts/models/theory; demonstrates understanding of relevant ethical issues and concepts; integration of relevant literature from appropriate sources; demonstrates logical and evidence-based reasoning)|
|CONCLUSION: 10% (Concise summary of the main points; consistent with discussion; implications/significance/ consequences)|
|EVIDENCE OF RESEARCH: 10% (Minimum 10 academic journal articles with minimum 7 from FT50 ranked journals)|
|REFERENCING: 5% (Correct and consistent APA style, including reference list on a separate page, listed alphabetically, and including only the sources cited in the essay)|
|PRESENTATION: 5% (Quality of expression; logical flow of arguments; grammar; spelling; punctuation; evidence of proofreading; professional layout; includes a signed cover sheet & title)|
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