LB170 -Communication Skills for Business and Management

FACULTY OF BUSINESS STUDIES                                                     

Spring 2020-2021


Completing and sending your assignments

Please read these instructions carefully and contact your tutor if you require any further clarification.

When you have completed your TMA, you must fill in the assignment form (PT3 form), taking care to fill all sections correctly. A soft copy of your TMA with the PT3 form filled must be uploaded to the university Moodle within the indicated cut-off date, via the turn-it-in upload link.


The Arab Open University Definitions of cheating and plagiarism

According to the Arab Open University By-laws, “The following acts represent cases of cheating and plagiarism:

  • Verbatim copying of printed material and submitting them as part of TMAs without proper academic acknowledgement and documentation.
  • Verbatim copying of material from the Internet.
  • Copying other students’ notes or reports.
  • Using paid or unpaid material prepared for the student by individuals or firms.
  • Utilization of, or proceeding to utilize, contraband materials or devices in examinations.”

Penalty on plagiarism

The following is the standard plagiarism penalty applied across branches as per Article 11 of the university by-laws:

  1. Awarding of zero for a TMA wherein more than 20% of the content is plagiarized.
  2. Documentation of warning in student record.
  3. Failure in the course to dismissal from the University.

All University programs are required to apply penalties that are consistent with the University bylaws.

Examples of Plagiarism

Copying from single or multiple sources, this is where the student uses one or more of the following as the basis for the whole, or a good part, of the assignment:

  1. Published or unpublished books, articles or reports
  2. The Internet
  3. The media (e.g.TV programs, radio programs or newspaper articles)
  4. An essay from an essay bank
  5. A piece of work previously submitted by another student
  6. Copying from a text which is about to be submitted for the same assignment


The value of TMA is 100 points.

The TMA aims to assess your understanding of the core concepts and frameworks covered in session Sessions 1, 2,3,5,8 &9 of LB170.

You are advised to use the AOU e-library to locate additional relevant resources, which can support your analysis and argument.

The TMA evaluates the following:

  1. Your knowledge and understanding of the basic course concepts covered in session 1, 2,3,5,8 &9.
  • Your ability in applying SWOT and STEEPLE when analyzing a case study and problem identification.
  • Your ability to use these techniques in writing your own problem analysis.
  • Your ability to use relevant academic/course concepts in answering questions.
  • Your ability to communicate ideas clearly, and to follow good academic practice in citing sources of information properly.

General Mark’s deductions as follows

  • PT3 Form: failure to complete the PT3 form correctly, (5 Marks).
  • TMA Presentation and Structure, and word count: untidy presentation, work way below or above the word count (deduct up to 5 Marks).
  • Referencing and in-text citation: poor referencing/poor or lack of bibliographical list, and or poor in-text citation without plagiarism, (deduct up to 2 Marks).
PART I    Short answer questions                                                          50 Marks

Zinn’s Burgers and Pizza

Zinn’s Burgers and Pizza is a medium-sized chain of fast-food restaurants. In recent years, many of Zinn’s restaurants have begun to struggle.  The décor and furniture look tired. Cooking equipment is old, the menus require updating and staff problems are common. As with all fast-food businesses, the chain’s sales have been threatened by the recent trend towards ‘healthy eating’ and concerns over the environmental impact of the fast-food sector, although the recent recession has boosted sales slightly as customers look for cheap opportunities to eat out. The night managers do not receive any formal training for this role and receive only a small bonus on top of their hourly pay rate.


  1. Below are mixed SWOT factors of Lodge Bistro chain case study. Fill the chart to Identify each SWOT factor. (2points each)
  • Outdated nature of the original French bistro concept, which seemed to attract mainly older consumers.
  • Economy in recession.
  • Low spending power of consumers.
  • High turnover among the serving staff.
  • Customer base with distinctive concept.
  • Increasing numbers of competitors.
  • Upgrade to international methods of work.
  • Using computerized financial system.
  • Chance for International growth.
  •  Strong brand name.
SWOT Analysis of Lodge Bistro chain 
  • Read the extract carefully and apply the problem-solution pattern of analysis to it. Use numbers only to refer to each answer. (5marks each)
Process Reengineering at IBM Credit (1)
IBM Credit finances the computers, software and services sold by IBM Corporation. (2) The company is considered one of the world's most profitable publicly- traded companies. (3) Processing a finance application usually took between six days and two weeks. (4) The application wound its way from the credit department to the pricing department, to an administrator who wrote out a formal quote letter. (5) When IBM Credit realized that processing an application actually took only about 90-minutes, and the rest of the normal processing time was spent with the application sitting on a pile on a specialist’s desk waiting to be looked at. (6) They decided to reengineer the entire process. (7) Here’s what IBM Credit did: The four specialists who previously processed the application were replaced by a generalist called the deal structurer, who processed the application from start to end using templates on a new computer system which provided all the data and tools each specialist commonly used. (8) The results of the reengineering program were: Turnaround time was reduced from a typical 7 days to 4 hours without any increase in staff numbers, IBM Credit has been able to achieve a hundred-fold improvement in productivity. (9) It can now handle 100 times the number of credit applications that were handled before reengineering was undertaken. Source: (Adapted from Grant 2008)     Adopted from Grant 2008)  


a) The starting situation presented in sentence number -----------

b) The problem presented in sentence number---------

c)  The underlying cause of the problem is presented in sentence number -----------

d) Solution has been proposed in sentence number ----------

e)  Evaluation of the solution presented in sentence number -------

PART II     ESSAY QUESTIONS                                       50 Marks

In about 500 words, analyse how Environmental, Economic, Political and Technological factors might affect Zara brand. Define each factor with examples in context.


Zara is one of the hottest fast fashion brands in the world. Born out of Spain and now with more than ten thousand stores around the globe, the story of Zara is an exciting one. The question is, is this decades-old brand here to stay?

Zara is a Spanish brand, so it enjoys all of the benefits of operating a business out of the European Union. In a political context, one of the biggest pros of running a company in the EU is the country’s extensive trade agreements. Not only does this make it incredibly easy to import raw materials and export finished products within the European Union, but it also means that Zara can send its merchandise across the world with little effort and for a low cost. Overall, the EU’s free-trade policies are massively beneficial for Zara.

Zara is one of many brands looking to use technology to expand its reach. As one of the world’s most popular fashion retailers, the company has both the money and the audience needed to get the most out of data. As a result, Zara is looking to big data the study of analyzing huge data sets  to find better ways to reach and appeal to consumers. With both online and in-person customer touchpoints, this isn’t a straightforward task. But if Zara can pull off some successful data analysis, you bet they’ll be able to propel their powerful business even further.

The world of fast fashion is often associated with wastefulness. Many fast fashion products simply aren’t designed to last; instead, they’re supposed to be affordable garments that look good in the changing rooms. What’s more, fast fashion is said to encourage shoppers to quickly jump on trends, throwing away clothing just to stay with whatever is hot. Some might classify Zara as a fast fashion brand, so they might be accused of this wastefulness. With shoppers becoming more and more eco-conscious, this could have a negative effect on the brand if it doesn’t begin to take sustainability more seriously.

As mentioned previously, Zara is a Spanish brand. Since Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates within Europe, this means that it has a relatively low cost of labor — especially in comparison to other Western European countries, such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Zara manufactures a good fraction of its products in Spain, so this low labor cost allows them to minimize costs and, in doing so, improve profitability. Again, the low cost of labor in Spain is definitely a positive for this brand!

Answer Notes:

  • (use the AOU e-library).

End of questions.