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Impact of Social Media

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5.2.2 Business Simulation Game (Individual Report)
The Business Simulation Game (Developing Winning Competitive Strategies) is an online, PC-based exercise where you run (in groups) an already established company in head-to-head competition against companies run by other groups from your class. Company operations are made as realistic as possible and the functioning of the marketplace in this Business Strategy Game closely mirrors the competitive functioning of the real-world business arena, thus allowing you and your co-managers to proceed rationally and logically in making strategic based decisions. As strategic managers you will need to satisfy your board members and shareholders/investors on five set performance objectives for the company. These will be explained in full detail in the Participant's Guide which you can download once you register for the game. While the objective of the game itself is to end up leading the competition, through these performance objectives, your assessment mark will be based on an individual report.

This simulation game will commence from the tenth week (eleventh for cohort 2) of term. There will be: two practice sessions in the first two weeks where the simulation game will be presented in full detail; followed by five full decision making sessions over the next five weeks. At the end of the Business Simulation Game you will be required to prepare an Individual Reflective Strategic Report. This report will be borne out of your strategic analysis, rationalisations and decisions made together with reflections on your awareness of the environment and actual experiences internal to your group and relative to the other groups during the running of the whole of the simulation game. A set format for this report is contained in the Assignment Format section below. The word count for this report is 3,500 words and you would be expected to post your report on Moodle in keeping with the set deadline date. You may include appendices (not more than 5 pages please) at the end of your report to provide supporting data/evidence. Reference to these must be included in the body of the work.Please note that there are penalties for exceeding the word count. Your tutor will provide you with feedback and a grade within three working weeks after the posting date.

5.3 Assignment Format

5.3.1 Assignment Format for Business Simulation Game (Individual Report)

Each student is expected to prepare an independent report of his/her experience of strategically managing the company (as part of a group) for the five-year period. The suggested format and structure for this report is set out below.

CONTENTS PAGE The report should be clearly structured and follow a logical format. A contents page should be included which should adequately set out the structure of the report in a systematic way.

INTRODUCTION State concisely but clearly what the report is about and the sequence of key tasks/events to follow.

COMPETITIVE STRATEGY

Describe how your company entered the industry (in each of the four markets in which you operated, and for all product types) and why? As a Global Cost Leader; as a Global Differentiator; other.

EXTERNAL OVERVIEW/ANALYSES Awareness of the external environment and how it impacts on a company is a key strategic consideration. It is important then to describe: the state of the industry when you took over at the end of year 5; its competitive nature; and the opportunities and threats that existed for your company. You should support your answer with relevant strategic models/frameworks. You would need to carry out additional relevant (online) research to inform/support your analysis of the external environment.

INTERNAL OVERVIEW/ANALYSES

Provide a clear but concise overview of the company you were about to take over at the end of year 5. What were its strengths and weaknesses?

DECISIONS TAKEN

You should set out YEAR-BY-YEAR descriptions of and reasons for your decisions.

For each year describe:

- What key decisions were made;

- The strategic thinking behind the decisions making process;

- The outcome/results of these decisions;

- How you performed in relation to your competitors.

Repeat this process 5 times to reflect on each year of running the company.

FINAL RESULTS Describe the final results/outcomes of the simulation exercise for your firm relative to the competition. In retrospect, comment on whether this was indeed a good/bad result for your company and whether your actions/decisions should have been different.

STRATEGIC DIRECTION

Describe how closely your firm's decisions matched the initial strategic direction selected? Discuss any caveats and complications relating to the Strategy chosen.

Discuss how feasible it was to adhere to the initial strategic direction chosen and if at any time you altered this or considered doing so.

UNDERLYING STRATEGIC PRINCIPLES Bring to light any underlying strategic principles in relation to your company and the decisions made. How do these relate to the results achieved and processes of the simulation exercise (i.e. decisions actually taken and strategic implications and outcomes arising from these for your company)?

Discuss to what degree your decisions were informed (or could have been informed) by clear analysis and sound reasoning in line with these underlying strategic principles.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES Provide some discussion and reasoning for the strategic learning that has emerged. For example:

- Having a clear/agreed focus for the company

- The importance of external/internal analyses.

- The complexities of running a company

- Awareness of different stakeholder expectations

REFLECTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS What did the simulation reveal about:

- Competitive positioning?
- 'Beating' the competition?
- Changing Strategies?
- Working as a cohesive team to run the company?

What did the simulation mean for you in terms of: interdependent decision making; experiential learning of running a business; and independent reflections and thinking?

We are as much concerned about your personal development through the exercise as with your strategic analysis and conclusions.

5.4 Criteria that will be used for marking your coursework

5.4.1 Criteria for Marking Business Simulation Game (Individual Report)

MARKS ALLOCATED
TO CRITERIA:
CRITERIA

10% Introduction and Rationale for Competitive Strategies Selected
Does this section provide a clear focus and overview of the objectives for the report? Are the competitive strategies chosen (for each of the four markets in which the company operated, and for all product types) clearly stated and described? Are good supporting reasons provided as to why the respective strategies were chosen?

25% Industry and Company Overview
Is there a comprehensive understanding of the theories/models used to analyse the external environment and to derive clear opportunities and threats for the company? Is there evidence of additional well researched material to support these analyses? Does the student provide a clear and concise overview of the company and its relative strengths and weaknesses?

25% Decisions Taken and Final Results
For each of the five years of operation, are the following clearly identified and described: key decisions made; strategic thinking behind the decision making process; results achieved; and company's performance relative to the competition? Is the overall performance of the company at the end of the simulation exercise clearly captured and explained in terms of each of the four geographic markets and relative to the different product types?

25% General Reflections and Key Learning Outcomes
Does the student provide meaningful reflections on: underlying strategic principles; models and frameworks selected and analysed; key decision making processes; and decisions or actions he/she might have done differently? Is there a clear link implied between decisions made and the strategic learning identified. Does this reflect a good overall understanding of the complexities of running a business?

10% Conclusions
Does the report bring together well: information contained in the participant's guide; experiential learning of running a company; relevant theories/models; and additional researched evidence, to arrive at meaningful and insightful conclusions?

5% Structure and Soundness
Is the report well organised, clearly written, spell checked, grammatically sound and referenced appropriately?

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