HRM11120 – Leading Strategic Decision Making – Assessment Brief

Coursework Assessment

Please carefully read  this guide as it contains important information on  your coursework assessment and  the related requirements.

This graded assessment accounts for 100%  of your final grade and  includes two separate components, Part A and Part B, which are both weighted equally at 50% of  your  final  grade. Submission  deadlines are outlined  in Table 1  below.  Please ensure that the  submission deadlines are  strictly adhered to.

Table 1. Submission Deadlines for Your Coursework

Week  due for submission
Day due for submission
Date  due for submission
Time due for submission
Part   A  (Strategy  –
Week  8
11 March 2022
11:59  pm, UK time
Part  B (Leadership
– 50%)
Week  13
29 April 2022
11:59  pm, UK time

Please note that you may submit your work at any time before the deadlines in Table 1 if you are  ready. You do not need to wait until the last day or the day before, or until the week  before. As soon as your work is ready, you can  submit it using the dedicated Turnitin link for each component as follows: the Turnitin link for Part  A the Turnitin link for Part B.

Prior to the submission deadline, you can submit your work through  the Turnitin links provided on Moodle to check  your Turnitin similarity score. Please ensure that the  version you upload on Turnitin is the  final version you wish to submit. Once  the submission  deadline  has passed, no  draft  checking  or  change of  the  submitted documents is possible.

It  is  your responsibility to  ensure that you   submit on  time   your final version, prior to the  submission deadline.

Below are a few important practical instructions to guide you through  the submission process.

Important Practical Instructions:

     Please submit Part A and Part B as separate documents. You can only submit one  document file for each part.

     Each  file you submit must be explicitly named “Part A” and  “Part B” and  must include  your matriculation number  and  module code (HRM11120);   this information must be  clearly displayed on  the  cover page of the  submitted document.

     Please note  that  the Module Team  will use the  GradeMark in this module, so you will receive feedback online. This will be accessible through  Moodle.

       Turnitin submission:

o     When  uploading your files (Part  A and  Part  B) to Turnitin, please use your matriculation number as the file name. Example: both your files should be named as  follows:   401XXXXX_Part   A  and   401XXXXX_Part   B,   with 401XXXXX representing  your  matriculation  number. Be  sure to  follow these instructions carefully.

o    Your name should not  be marked in the submission.

o     Please note  that  it can  take  up to 24 hours to receive an  originality report when  using the  Turnitin system. Submissions are  accepted as “on time” if they  were  uploaded prior to  the  submission deadline date  –  even  if  the Turnitin report is still pending at that stage.

o     Your  document submitted  on  Turnitin  must include  all  of  the  following elements:

     a  cover  page displaying  “Part  A - Title”  or  “Part  B  -  Title”,  your matriculation number, and  the module code,

       a table of contents,

       the content of the text with appropriate headings,

       page numbers, and

       the reference list.

Assessment Part A

In Part  A, the  learning outcomes of this module are  assessed by means of a case   study  information   on   the   strategic   development   process  for   a   specific organisation.

The purpose of this brief is to provide you with the:

     specific   details   of  the   coursework assessment,   namely   the   case background and questions,

        information on the case study presentation and  submission date,

        useful guidelines to help you answer the questions,

        assessment marking criteria and the feedback sheet for Part A. Each  one of these points is developed below.

  Case Study Background & Questions

Carefully read  the  evidence on  the  organisation, which is contained in the following three  sources:

1)  Case Study Analysis:

     Unilever  (“Paul  Polman:  turnaround and  development  of  strategy at Unilever”,  pp.750-757)  in  Exploring  Strategy:  Text   and   Cases,  by Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Scholes, K., Angwin, D., and  Regner, P. (2017),11th Edition, Pearson Education.

2) Corporate Website:


3) Annual Reports:

 accounts/archive-of-annual-report-and-accounts/

The case study gives you background information and overview of the company as well the  opportunities and  challenges it has faced in recent years. The  corporate website provides information on the company’s history as well as some key facts and figures.

The annual report provides financial information about  the organisation and  its current  strategic direction. The  case study has been published a few years ago  and you   should  use  the   corporate  website  and   annual  reports  to  access  updated information.

Make  use of  these  sources in  combination  to  answer  the  Part   A  of  this assignment.

Part A  of  your coursework assessment  requires  you   to  answer two questions (see below), using a case study report structure:


1) Analyse Unilever’s business strategy using Porter’s Generic Competitive  Strategies  framework.  Use the  data  and  information  from the case study, corporate website, and the latest annual report.

2) Critically evaluate Porter’s Generic Competitive Strategies framework by  identifying its advantages and  limitations, and  then  develop three recommendations  on   how   its  limitations  might  be   overcome.  Use academic sources to support your arguments.

Both questions are  weighed equally. Refer to the Coursework Feedback Sheet for information on how grading is awarded.

  Case Study Presentation

The assessment in Part  A is a case study analysis; therefore, please note  that a  case  analysis  is  not  a  conceptual  explanation  or  discussion,  but  rather   the application of concepts and  frameworks to interpret case information, to analyse key events and  statements, and  to  reach evaluative  judgements  or  conclusions.  The concepts  and   frameworks  are   covered  in  the  lectures,  tutorials,  and   prescribed reading; the guidance provided in the section below gives you a few pointers on how you need to use this knowledge to answer the questions. In developing your analysis and arguments, you should use supporting evidence from the information contained in the case study, corporate website, and the latest annual report.

Your answers should take  into account and  reflect the  three  sources listed above. The  case study is  the  primary  source of information.  The  corporate website should  be  used to  obtain  updated  information.  The  annual  report   gives  you  an overview of the efforts undertaken by the organisation during its last financial exercise. The core textbook  and academic sources should also be used to critically analyse the framework. The  e-library should be  used to  source the  academic journals for the critical analysis of Question 2.

In terms of case presentation, you should introduce each question by stating how  you  will structure your  answer and  conclude each answer by referring to your previous arguments and the task required by the question. Do not present your answer as a  rigid, “bulk” report;  instead, divide your  answer into sections with suggestive headings and sub-headings that reflect the key elements of your analysis.

The total word count of your answers to both questions must be 2,000  words

and  it must comply with the guidelines provided here:

-    Introduction and background section: 200 words

-    Question 1: 800 words

-    Question 2: 800 words

-    Conclusion: 200 words

The word limit for Part A does not  include the cover  page, reference list, and appendices. This is subject to a ±10% allowance to the allocated word count.

Where  a submission exceeds the  stated word limit  (allowing for the  +10%), the  maximum  grade  awarded will  be  P1.  Appendices  can   be  useful  to  provide additional information from your analysis, but you must incorporate the key analytical arguments into the main body of your answer.

  Useful Guidance Notes

The assessment feedback sheet at the end of this section presents the marking criteria for the  overall case analysis. Remember, when  writing your  answer to the questions, you must not reproduce or describe what the case already says, but rather use the concepts to analyse the information and  draw on the evidence/facts provided in the case to support your analysis.

Question 1 requires you to apply the Porter’s Generic Competitive Strategies framework   to   determine   the   organisation’s   business   strategy  to   evaluate   its competitive advantage. This question is the  precise application of a  framework to develop an  analysis specifically for the  company. You are  encouraged to use visual diagrams and  tables to illustrate your  analysis. You should use headings and  sub- headings to  structure your  answer. Please note  that  the  tables and  diagrams are included in the word count.

Question 2 requires you to reflect on and  analyse the  framework. The  aim is to identify the  benefits and  limitations of the  framework, not the  organisation. At the PG level, you should be able to critically analyse a framework and  objectively assess its contribution as well as its limitations. You should use academic sources to support your arguments. You should use headings and sub-headings to structure your answer.

  Assessment marking criteria and feedback sheet for Part A

(see next page)

Assessment Part B

For Part  B, you are  required to write an  essay on a specific leadership topic indicated below.

Background: Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory  posits that  in organisations,  managers  and   leaders   develop   distinct   relationships   with   their employees at  the  dyadic level. For  example, with some subordinates, supervisors have  so-called ‘high quality’ working relationships.

In your essay, answer the following question:

To    what   extent   is    LMX   theory   still   relevant   in    contemporary organisations?

Provide one  or two practical examples from the  real world. For instance, you can focus on identifying the ‘ingredients’ of ‘high quality’ relationships, the factors that contribute to forming and  maintaining effective leader-follower working interactions, and  on addressing the wider implications of the LMX theory  for workplace outcomes and  organisational performance.

  Useful Guidance Notes on Part B:

When  writing your essay, you should refer to the  relevant literature. Credible sources include textbooks, journal articles, or other relevant business publications.

The following databases may be particularly useful in finding relevant literature sources to help you develop your essay:

-    ABI Inform Complete (ProQuest),

-    Ingenta,

-    Science Direct.

In particular, the following academic journals should be useful to you in relation to the assigned topic:

-    Leadership Quarterly (Available on Science Direct),

-    Leadership & Organization Development Journal (Available on ABI Inform),

-    Team  Performance Management (Available on ABI Inform),

-    Journal of Management Development (Available on ABI Inform),

-    Journal  of Leadership  Studies  (Available  on  the  e-library  website,  rubric

“Finding Resources”),

-    Journal of Managerial Psychology (Available on the e-library website, rubric

“Finding Resources”), etc.

In  your  essay,  start with  an  introduction section,  where   you  explain  the purpose of the essay, how it is structured and how you will proceed. In the body of the essay, refer to the relevant theory and cite relevant academic research to support your arguments. All  the  works cited  must be  referenced  using  the   APA  Referencing system. Also, please refer to the University guidance notes on  the  avoidance of Plagiarism.

Remember to properly structure your essay and  use appropriate headings. Be sure to  include  an  introduction, descriptive  headings  for  each section,  and conclusion/recommendations for practice sections. Do not  label the body of your essay as “main body”; instead, use descriptive headings which signpost the  content of each section. Do not  use footnotes in your essay.

Please use the  British English spelling in your  writing: avoid “z’s” such as “organization” and  use the standard British English spelling of “organisation”, “behaviour”, “centre”, etc.

Bullet points and  numbered lists should not  be  used in your essay; instead, write in full sentences and develop your arguments using evidence from the academic literature.  Please  use  “justify” alignment  and  one-and-a-half (1.5)  or  double spacing. Do not  use single spacing. Use only the Times New Roman or Arial fonts, size 12.

Although we  do  not  specify a particular number of references/citations to be used, you  should  include  in  your  essay a  minimum of  15  different academic sources such as textbooks or journal articles. Do not  use websites  as references because websites will not count among the minimum 15 academic sources required.

Please answer to the  topic posed. Your essay should NOT be  a summary of leadership theories.

In your essay, you must specifically address the  topic and question posed. The  maximum allowed word count  for Part  B is 2,000  words. This does not include the cover page and reference list. There  is a ±10% allowance to the allocated word count.

As a guide, the  following structure  is expected for your essay:

-    Introduction: 250 words

-     The content of the essay (the “body”) with descriptive headings for each section: 1,500  words

-    Conclusion/Recommendations for Practice: 250 words

Appendices should not  be  included in your Part  B submission, as this is an essay.

Where   a  submission  exceeds the  stated word  count  limit  (allowing  for  the +10%), the maximum grade awarded will be P1.

  The marking criteria and their weighting for Part B are as follows:

-     Presentation: 10% of the mark for Part B is allocated to the presentation of the  essay. The  overall  clarity,  structure, writing  fluency, and  ‘neatness’  of the  essay (page numbers included, clearly marked headings and  use of paragraphs). Please avoid typographical and spelling errors.

-     Referencing: 10%  of the  mark  for Part  B is  allocated  to the  appropriate referencing of content. You should be  familiar with the  APA referencing system (7th  Edition, available on Moodle) and  use it correctly by including references  in  the  text.   Use of  a  good range of  academic resources (books, journal  articles,  publications  by  business  practitioners,  etc);  the literature used should be consistent with the arguments being made. Avoid using websites as references. Use only credible, academic references.

-     Critical analysis:  60%  of the  mark  for Part  B is  allocated  to the  critical analysis presented and  demonstrated in the  essay. You  must examine theoretical concepts and  frameworks appropriately. You must demonstrate knowledge  of  the  wider  context   and   present an  in-depth  discussion  of current  issues related to the essay topic. Higher marks are  awarded for the critical  analysis  skills  demonstrated and  for  the  development  of  sound, logical arguments communicated clearly and coherently.

-     Conclusion: 20%  of  the  mark  for  Part  B  is  allocated  to  the  quality  of conclusions drawn.  The  conclusions should identify the  main themes or issues addressed in the  essay, be  well presented, flow logically from the analysis, highlight insights, and  formulate practical recommendations as appropriate.

  The  assessment marking criteria and feedback sheet for  Part B are provided on the next page.