MN7405 Strategic Management
Posted on October 18, 2022 by Cheapest Assignment
Using relevant theories, concepts, and real-world examples, critically discuss the following question: ‘To what extent should Strategy be emergent?’
You are reminded that there is no “best” way to answer the question. The purpose of the assignment is to help you:
- internalise the concepts, theories, and methods covered in the module,
- develop the ability to critically evaluate them in practice,
- develop and focus your ability to think strategically.
Advice and Guidance:
- Begin with a clear and concise introduction that addresses the topic under investigation, interprets the basic premise of the question, and outlines the aims and the structure of the assignment (500 words);
- Provide a balanced and detailed answer to the question. Try to avoid description, instead seek to analyse, challenge and critique the theories, methods and examples you are discussing. In this assignment you are engaging with one of the key debates in the strategy field, therefore it is important to demonstrate that you are able to evaluate competing perspectives and to articulate your own ideas (2000 words).
- You should finish with a robust and persuasive conclusion that summarizes the arguments that have been made and then offers a final ‘response’ to the question (500 words).
The word count allotted to each section is only indicative and not prescriptive.
In addition to the criteria outlined above, you are expected to demonstrate:
- In-depth knowledge and understanding of the relevant literature, concepts, theories and methods,
- An ability to develop and structure arguments in a logical and coherent manner,
- An ability to think critically and independently,
- An ability to substantiate your arguments with appropriate academic material and real world examples.
The assignment should:
- Be word-processed, double-spaced throughout, in point 12 size font, with justified alignment of text, with standard margins (at least 2.5 cm on all sides), with all pages consecutively numbered.
- Separate any long quotations (40+ words) from the main body of text, the quote should have a blank line before and after, be indented by 2cm on each side, and reduced to point 10 font size.
- Document all the sources used in the assignment according to the Harvard style of referencing (no footnotes please).
- Include a properly presented References List,
For assistance on how to properly reference your sources please check the following link:
Word limit: 3,000 (+/- 10% and excluding references)
Literature Review Sample
Assignment Guidance: Getting Started and FAQs
Of most importance is that, before starting the assignment, you understand what Strategic Planning and Emergent Strategy mean:
- the differences between two, including their underlying logic;
- how each was the start of a different tradition in Strategic Management;
- and their basis of an ongoing debate in the field and in industry practice (later theories of strategy are related to the debate between the two)
Below is a list of general questions about the assignment with some guiding answers.
Q: What is Strategy?
A: Finding ‘best fit’ between organisation and the changing environment. How best to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’, with B being the position of ‘best fit’. Different theories and methods lead to different answers to a seemingly simple question.
Q: I don’t understand the assignment. What am I supposed to do?
A: The assignment is asking you to engage with the central debate in the field of strategic management. One side (Strategic Planning) believes strategy should be entirely planned in advance, and implemented without any changes. The other side (Emergent Strategy) believes strategy should be more flexible, to allow for emergent processes and faster adaptation, also that strategy be formulated and implemented more simultaneously than sequentially. Both sides have good points and bad points. Their strengths and limitations are relative to different contexts.
- To answer the question, you will need to think about where a good balance is between the two. This is the basis of the answer. You will need to argue where a good balance is and why.
- You need to embed your argument in the theories of strategy introduced by the course.
- You should analyse and critically evaluate the theories. Integrating the pros and cons of each (the strengths and limitations) will naturally bring you toward your answer to the set question.
- You should also use real world examples to support your argument, showing where theory works and where it does not, and why.
- You should also consider to what extent it is a good balance in different contexts (for different organisations, environments and even whether different times has an influence).
- There is no singularly correct answer or approach to the assignment.
Q: I’m critically evaluating the two sides of the debate in the main body of the essay, then synthesizing them in the conclusion, is this right?
Brand Management Sample
A: Ideally, the main body of the essay will be focused on the synthesis. The conclusion summarises the synthesis and states your answer to the set question. The conclusion then reflects on the wider applicability of the given answer.
Q: Lecture 3 discussed Scenario Planning and Strategy-as-Practice (S-A-P) as a middle way between the debate.
- a) Was the lecture saying that these are a middle ground, or that they are not?
A: The lecture (along with the week before) set up the debate between Planning and Emergence. Scenario Planning was proposed as a middle ground, and Strategy-as-Practice was not. Both were critically evaluated to locate where they stand in relation to the debate. They were evaluated in relation to the Fallacies and Pitfalls of Planning. It was concluded that Scenario Planning sits much more towards Planning then Emergence, while Strategy-as-Practice sits much more towards Purely Emergent. Therefore, neither is a middle ground, if we use the Fallacies and Pitfalls as a benchmark.
- b) Should I include these in the essay?
A: They are certainly relevant to the question, but only include them if they are appropriate to the argument you making (see question below).
Q: Do I need to include the theories of strategy that are not part of Planning and Emergence?
- Firstly, the entire field of strategic management is framed and bracketed by the two opposites of Planning and Emergence. Any of the later theories of strategy can be analysed and evaluated in context of this debate. It would be good to show an understanding of how the later approaches relate to the central debate.
- Secondly, which theories you choose to bring in to your argument depends on the argument you are making. All the approaches are potentially relevant. It is more important to have a coherent argument leading to a well-supported answer to the set question than it is to go through every approach, analyse all of them, and risk losing a clear narrative arc through your answer. Find a balance between the number of approaches analysed, and the purpose and focus of the argument.
Q: Should I focus on just one organisation, or use multiple examples?
A: The choice of case studies to support your essay should be appropriate for your argument. In other words, the choice of case study, and number of case studies, depends on the argument being made.
- If the argument evaluates theory in context of real world case examples, and different examples are used for different pros and cons of different theories, then this is fine. It would be good to see links made between these analyses, to produce a coherent narrative and additional level of critical/lateral thinking.
- If the argument focuses on one organisation, then it would be appropriate to frame the question accordingly. The debate between planning and emergence still needs to be the basis of the essay, but if the student wishes to explore this in relation to one organisation, then this is also fine.
- Nonetheless, focusing on one organisation only will require substantially more information regarding the organisation and its current situation in context of its environment, and may therefore be more difficult to do justice in 3, 000 words. If done well, however, this could be a strong way to approach the assignment.
- Moreover, the focus on one organisation should be reflected on in the conclusion. In other words, the final answer to ‘to what extent should strategy be emergent’, will be focused in on one organisation, making for a better depth of analysis, but limiting the wider applicability of the conclusion. It is problematic to claim that the answer to the question, arrived at for one organisation, also applies to other organisations (fallacy of formalisation). The relevance of context is important.
Q: How do I get a top mark?
Judicial activism vs. judicial restraint
- Answer the question with a coherent, focused and well-supported argument, showing excellent knowledge, analysis and critical thinking.
- Place Planning and Emergence in context of the wider mainstream and critical traditions that developed from each of them respectively.
- Show understanding of the underlying logics of each side of the debate. Critically evaluate these logics. Compare and contrast the different logics of the debate, and of the theories of strategy that you bring in to your argument.
- Synthesize the critical evaluation of each side of the debate, and of the different theories of strategy that you bring in to your argument.
- Consistently support yourself with appropriate case studies, academic material, newspaper articles and statistics. Critically reflect on the provenance (origin and reliability) of the supporting material, and how this effects the soundness of your argument.
- Do not rely on case studies and examples provided by the course. Think of your own to show initiative.
- As I have been doing in the lectures, if you include later theories of strategy in your argument, it would be good to see you use the Fallacies and Pitfalls as a method for locating later theories of strategy within the debate.
- Designing, justifying and then using your own benchmark for locating theories within the debate between planning and emergence would be an exceptional way to answer the question. This is not expected of you and is not a requirement for a top grade, but is an example of top class critical thinking.
- Show a consistent awareness of the significance of context when evaluating the pros and cons of theory, case studies, and the conclusion of the essay. Make astute links between context and theory, case studies and conclusion.
- The last three lectures all focus on critical evaluation of the field. Understanding and bringing the readings for these lectures in to your argument will substantially elevate the level of your critical evaluation (readings available on blackboard).