Starting an External Environmental Analysis

PurposeThis project is the first of four projects. This project provides the first steps in completing an external environmental analysis of your focal company’s strategic management plan. You will use tools and apply concepts learned in this and previous business courses to demonstrate an understanding of how organizations develop and manage strategies to establish, safeguard and sustain their competitive position in the 21st century (rapidly evolving/shifting/changing), uncertain hyper-competitive business environment.Completing a company overview and assessing the general environment is key in performing an external environment analysis. This project provides you with the opportunity to evaluate the competitive position of one of the organizations listed below and integrate that information into the beginnings of an external environmental analysis.The company you will be analyzing operates within the global market. Therefore, you will assess the company in terms of the global industry. Industries differ widely in their economic characteristics, competitive situation, and future profit potential.In this project, you are presenting a report document. The expectation is that the report provides details to help the audience grasp the main topics and understand the business climate.”Analysis” is the operative word. In analyzing the external environment, you are expected to thoroughly research the company. As part of that effort, you will need to take that research and break it into small parts to understand better what is happening in the external environment of the business. In researching an industry, it is important to understand that every company within an industry is different, so gathering information on one company does not mean that the collected information is relevant to other companies. When researching, parsing the material is critical to an accurate analysis. Avoid presenting just any information as that may lead to using irrelevant information.You will then write the report in your own words to share the external analysis. You are expected to present information with supporting ideas and reasoning using the course material and your research. You will not lift any information from source documents without properly citing and referencing. For the technical analysis aspect of the project, you must create the technique on your own and may not use any source material that you happen to find. No work from a clearinghouse or similar website may be used or cited as a credible source.Outcomes Met With This ProjectUtilize a set of useful analytical      skills, tools, and techniques for analyzing a company strategically;Integrate ideas, concepts, and theories      from previously taken functional courses including accounting, finance, market,      business, and human resource management.InstructionsIn completing the report, you will use the chapters in the eBook and other course material. Moreover, you will research the company and its industry before responding, in narrative form, to the information provided in the steps (see below).Step 1  Specific Company for All Four ProjectsIn this project, you will complete a Company Overview, an Evaluation of the General Environment, and a conclusion.You will be assigned by your instructor one focal company to complete the analysis. The assigned company must be used for all four projects in this course. You cannot write a report on any other company different from the company specifically assigned by your instructor. If a company other than that assigned to you is used, a zero will be assigned.The instructor will assign you a company from the list below. (Students may not select the company).  All companies can be found on Mergent Online and CSI Market.Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F)Students must complete the project using the assigned company. Deviating from the assigned company will result in a zero for the project. You will look for the company assigned to you in the Announcement area of the classroom.Step 2  Course Materials and ResearchYou are required to research information      about the focal company and the external environment for this project. You      are accountable for using the course materials to support the ideas, reasoning,      and conclusions made. Course material’s use goes beyond defining terms and      explains the ‘why and how’ of a situation. Using one or two in-text      citations from the course materials and then relying on Internet source      material will not earn many points on the assignment. A variety of source      material is expected, and what is presented must be relevant and      applicable to the topic being discussed. Avoid merely making statements      but close the loop of the discussion by explaining how something      happens or why something happens, which focuses on      importance and impact. In closing the loop, you will demonstrate the      ability to think clearly and rationally, showing an understanding of the      logical connections between the ideas presented from the research, the course      material, and the question(s) being asked.Note: Your report is based on the research results performed and not on any prepared documentation. What this means is that you will research and draw your own conclusions that are supported by the research and the course material rather than the use of any source material that puts together any of the tools or techniques whether from the Internet, for-pay websites, or any pre-prepared document, video or source material. A zero will be earned for not doing your own analysis.Success:  The analysis is based on research and not opinion. You are not making recommendations, and you will not attempt to position the focal company in a better or worse light than other companies within the industry merely because you are completing an analysis on this particular company. The analysis must be based on factual information. Any conclusions drawn have to be based on factual information rather than leaps of faith. To ensure success, as stated above, you are expected to use the course materials and research on the focal company’s global industry and the focal company. An opinion does not earn credit, nor does the use of external sources when course materials can be used.  It is necessary to provide explanations (the why and how) rather than making statements. Avoid stringing one citation after another, as doing so does not show detailed explanations.Library ResourcesHow to find Mergent Online in the UMGC      Library: On the main navigation bar in the classroom, select Academic      Support and then select Library. Select Databases by Title (A – Z). Select      M from the alphabet list, and then select Mergent Online. Dun and      Bradstreet’s Hoovers Database, among others, is another excellent source      for competitors and industry information. You should not depend on      one resource to complete the analysis. Moreover, it is impossible to      complete Porter’s Five Forces, a competitive analysis, or an OT by using      only the course material.You should not be using obscure articles,      GlassDoor, or Chron, or similar types of articles.For Research for Financial Analysis: Financial Research.For Research for Industry Analysis CSI Market.UMGC library is available for providing      resources and services. Seek library support for excellence in your      academic pursuit.Library SupportExtensive library resources and services      are available online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at to support you in your      studies. In addition, the UMGC Library provides research assistance in      creating search strategies, selecting      relevant databases, and evaluating and citing resources in a variety of      formats via its “Ask a Librarian” service at Research in OneSearch is      allowed.To search for only scholarly resources,      you are expected to place a checkmark in the space for “Scholarly      journals only” before clicking search.Step 3  How to Set Up the Report:The document must be written in Word or RTF. No other format is acceptable. Pdf files will not be graded. Use 12-point font for a double-spaced report. The final product should be7 – 8 pages. Itmay not exceed 8 pages, including all tables and matrices, but excluding the title and reference pages. Do no use an Appendix.Create a title page with the title, your      name, date, the course number, and the instructor’s name.Create Topic Headings that correspond to      the exact sections of the project requirements. See these headings in red      font below. Ensure that the exact section number and section title are      used.Step 4 Write the Report – Use the following Heading Numbers and Titles (this formatting requirement is mandatory)I. Company OverviewProvide a company overview, which is an      essential component of the strategic management process. The company      overview includes the purpose(s) for the founding of the company (i.e.,      what problem(s) was it formed to solve and/or opportunities it was formed      to exploit, who are the founders, home country or state, current      management, employee headcount, last year’s revenue, etc.). Use company      research for support.II. Industry for Focal CompanyIdentify the industry in which the      company operates. Thismustcome from Mergent Online. See      Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week Two for instructions on how to determine the      industry (sometimes called “global industry”). Use company and      industry research for support.III. PESTEL AnalysisDiscuss the company’s general environment      by developing a PESTEL analysis.First, use the course material to       identify the elements of the PESTEL and what components make up each       element. Use course materials for support.Then, complete the analysis using       researchon the industry and the focal company. Be sure to       present and support the reasoning for what is presented thoroughly. You       may not use a PESTEL analysis that is already completed and available on       the Internet. A zero will result if used as the analysis has to result       from your research and your own development.NOTE: A PESTEL analysis is not       a table, and it is not a bulleted assessment.IV. Six Key Trends for each PESTEL factor for INDUSTRYIdentify and discuss one key trend for      each letter of the PESTELfor the industry (that you identified in      section II).Key trends are separate from the PESTEL analysis.      See Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week Two for explanation and example of      “trends”. Use industry research for support.V. One Key Trend for CompanySelect one of the six trends identified      in the previous section and discuss how that trend impacts the focal      company. Use company research for support.VI. Area of Uncertainty for the One Key TrendDiscuss key areas of uncertainty related      to the identified trend for the focal company (from section V) that could      potentially impact the company’s strategy. Use both company research and      course materials for support. (See Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week Two for      guidance on areas of uncertainty.)VII. Strategic Analysis of Mission, Vision, and ObjectivesPerform a strategic analysis of the      company’s mission, vision, and objectives. Use both company research and      course materials from weeks 1 and 2 for support.VIII. ConclusionCreate a conclusion. The Conclusion is      intended to emphasize the purpose/significance of the analysis, emphasize      the significance/consequence of findings, and indicate the wider      applications derived from the main points of the project’s requirements.      Finally, you will conclude the findings of the external environment      analysis. Use company research, industry research, and course materials      for support.Step 5  Review the PaperRead the paper to ensure all required elements are present.The following are specific requirements that you will follow. Use the checklist to mark off that you have followed each specific requirement.ChecklistSpecific Project RequirementsProofread your paper.Read and use the grading rubric while   completing the paper to ensure all requirements are met to lead to the   highest possible grade.Third-person writing is required.   Third-person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us”   (first-person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second-person   writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link: are not used in business   writing, so do not use them.Paraphrase and do not use direct quotations.   Paraphrase means you do not use more than four consecutive words from a   source document. Removing quotation marks and citing is inappropriate.    Instead, put a passage from a source document into your own words and   attribute the passage to the source document. There should be no passages   with quotation marks. Using more than four consecutive words from a source   document would require direct quotation marks.  Changing words from a   passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks. If more than   four consecutive words are used from source documents, this material will not   be included in the grade.You are expected to use the research and   weekly course materials to develop the analysis and support the reasoning.   Therefore, there should be a robust use of the course material. The material   used from a source document must be cited and referenced. A reference within   a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice   versa. Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having   quotation marks.Use in-text citations and provide a   reference list that contains the reference associated with each in-text   citation. Note all citations in this   course require a page or paragraph number (except videos and podcasts). See   Dr. Kathy’s Notes for Week One for more guidance on this course requirement.You may not use books in completing this   problem set unless it is part of the course material. Also, do not use a   dictionary, Wikipedia, or Investopedia, or similar sources.You may not use Fern Fort University or any   other for-fee websites.Provide the page or paragraph number in   every in-text citation (except for videos and podcasts). For the eBook,   provide either the page number or the chapter and section number. See Dr.   Kathy’s Notes for Week One for more guidance on how to cite and reference the   eBook.

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