Both questions are equally weighted with a combined word count. Assessment - Coursework
This graded assessment accounts for 90% of your final grade and comprises two separate assessment exercises:
Part A & Part B which are both weighted equally at 45% of your final grade.
In Part A, we assess learning outcomes related to topics 1, 2, 3, 7 & 10 by providing you with case study information on the leadership and strategic development processes which operate within the innovative context at Twitter.
The purpose of this brief is to provide you:
- Details of the coursework assessment: background to the case and questions
- Information on presentation and submission date.
- Guidelines to assist you in answering the questions
- The assessment marking criteria and feedback sheet for Part A.
Case Study Background & Questions
Read carefully the case evidence on Twitter which is contained in the following three sources:
1. Mark, K. & Parker, S. (2011) Twitter extracted from: Ireland, R.D., Hoskisson, R. E., & Hitt, M.A. (2013) The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases, 10th International Edition, South-Western, Cengage Learning, pages 371-377
2. Twitter (2013) Annual Report 2013, Twitter, Inc.
3. Twitter (2014) Annual Report 2014, Twitter, Inc.
4. Twitter (2016) Annual Report 2015, Twitter, Inc.
Each source covers a distinct period of Twitter’s strategic development from start-up, to stock market listing (IPO), to growth within the internet information provider industry.
- Source 1 provides a case analysis of Twitter’s strategic development at start- up (2006-2011).
- Source 2 reports on Twitter’s strategic position having achieved an initial public offering (IPO) in 2013.
- Source 3 reports on Twitter’s proposed growth directions and future strategic choices in 2014-2015.
- Source 4 reports on Twitter’s current strategic position and outlines the current risks related to Twitter and their industry in 2015-2016.
All sources provide insights into the leadership, strategy and innovation practices within Twitter. Source 1 critiques Twitter’s origins, current business model and future strategic choices, whereas sources 2 and 3 provide a corporate account on Twitter’s mission, values, along with the content and direction of their previous strategy. Source 4 provides a corporate on Twitter’s current strategic position and warns of the risks the business currently faces.
Your analysis of the Twitter Annual Reports should therefore be particularly critical in order to answer the below questions.
Part A of your coursework assessment requires you to answer two questions:
1. Using the Ashridge Sense of Mission Model analyse the case evidence to interpret whether Twitter’s strategy show signs of a weak or strong sense of mission.
2. Using relevant strategic decision making theory, analyse Twitter’s existing strategic decisions to interpret if Twitter have pursued a deliberate or emergent strategy.
In your answer, discuss to what extent you believe Twitter have built and sustained a long-term competitive advantage. Both questions are equally weighed and you should review how grading is allocated in the Coursework Feedback Sheet.
Presentation and Submission Date
The assessment in Part A is a case analysis and you should note that case analysis is not a conceptual explanation or discussion but the application of concepts and frameworks to interpret the case information, analyse key events and statements, and reach evaluative judgements.
The concepts and frameworks are covered in the workshops and prescribed reading and the guidance 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 studies. Your answers must only be derived from the information on Twitter contained in the three case evidence sources listed above. You are not required to consult other sources on Twitter or go beyond the end date of the fourth source (2015-6). The reason for this is that your analysis and evaluation is being assessed at this point in the organisation’s development and not in the light of subsequent events. As a result you should not include references on Twitter from the internet or other sources. In terms of presentation, introduce each question indicating how you will structure your answer and conclude each answer with reference to your preceding arguments and the task required by the question.
Do not present your answer in rigid report format but you may wish to divide your answer into sections which reflect the major elements of your analysis. The combined word count of your answers to both questions must comply with the following guidance:
Minimum Length: 2000 words
Maximum Length: 2500 words
Submission deadline: Friday 8th December 2017, at 11.59pm
The word limit excludes appendices and bibliography. Where a submission exceeds the stated word limit 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. Guidance Notes The assessment feedback sheet at the end of this section gives the marking criteria for the overall case analysis. Remember, in writing your solution to the questions you must not describe what the case says but use the concepts to analyse the information and use the evidence/facts in the case to support your analysis.
Question 1 asks you to critically review if Twitter has achieved a strong sense of mission. The question specifically asks you to use the Ashridge Sense of Mission model which is part of your prescribed reading for unit 2. Specifically you should apply and discuss the four elements of mission (Ashridge model) to Twitter. When considering purpose and strategy, you should analyse the case evidence on mission, values and strategy. When doing this avoid being overly descriptive on the content of Twitter’s strategy as you will soon exceed the word limit.
Attempt to develop arguments and, if necessary, include supporting details in appendices. More crucially, you must address the central issue in the question of how the fifth element, a sense of mission, is achieved through the alignment of the employees’ personal values with the organisation’s identity and values. In doing this, consider the role played by the leadership and management approach at Twitter – particularly discussed in sources 2, 3, & 4 – to integrate the elements of mission, behavioural standards and values of the organisation, with those of the employees. You will also need to evaluate Twitter’s mission based on the company’s recent expansion and strategic developments to express and justify your opinion on whether Twitter have a achieved a strong or weak sense of mission.
To answer question 2 you will need to write a short essay by drawing on your learning of strategic decision-making theory and your prescribed reading from Johnson et al, chapter 12. Initially, you should commence your research by reading and examining the case evidence in order to identify a list of Twitter’s strategic decisions.
Once you have identified a list of these decisions in chronological order, your essay discussion should focus on how this decision-making relates to deliberate and/or emergent forms of strategy development. When doing this avoid being overly descriptive on the content of these decisions. Instead, you should ensure that the use the relevant theory to structure your discussion of case evidence. To develop your arguments further, a brief distinction between deliberate and intended strategy would be useful, followed by an in-depth discussion on which approach most closely resembles Twitter’s strategic development.
To reach conclusions on Twitter’s competitive advantage, you should consider the sources of their competitive advantage (e.g. cost leadership, differentiation, focus etc.) and whether this has been sustained (e.g. through various types of isolating mechanisms).See Grant (2012), Chapter 7 and Unit 7 on Strategic Decision Making in Innovative Contexts for further guidance. Important Note: Please ensure that Part A and Part B are submitted as separate documents. The documents should clearly be marked Part A and Part B and your matriculation number and module code should be clearly marked on the submission.
Please also note that it is the intention of the module team to use grademark on this module – so you may receive feedback in this format. Turnitin:
When uploading your file (either Part A or Part B) to Turnitin, please use your matriculation number as the file name. For example, your file name should take the following format “(401xxxxx Part A)” or “(401xxxxx Part B)”. Your name should not be marked in the submission. Please note that it can take 24 hours to receive an originality report when using the Turnitin system. Please ensure you include your reference list within your Turnitin submission.
N.B. the percentages are shown as indications of the relative importance of each section and should not be taken as a precise indication of the marking scheme.