Research Project – Apple

Research Project – Apple

MNG00114: Competitive Strategy
Session 3, 2015
Assignment 1: Research Project – Apple
Core Information:
Due: Due by 11.00pm AEST, Friday Week 7 (4 December 2015)
Weighting: 30% (5% of which will come from peer assessment)
Individual/Group Group Assignment
Word limit: 2000-2500 words in total (plus or minus 10%)

Aim

The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to apply knowledge, theory, frameworks and tools from the early part of the unit to an analysis of the strategy and strategic practices of a real organisation. You will work in
teams, since this is what happens in real organisations, in analysing the strategies pursued by Applesince its creation.
You will evaluate the strategies and their effectiveness and relate those real-life experiences to relevant research and
theory. The aim is to provide experience of strategic analysis and practice and to determine your ability to relate real
strategy to theory and research.

The Overall Task

Apple has been at the forefront of technology products and with the release of the Ipod’s range and many other products
that meet the needs of the technology users both in business and entertainment. Arguably a leader in innovation and
inspiration products for everyday use.

Your task in this case analysis is to answer three questions by critically analysing Apple’s history,resources and market
situation. Please do not just describe events, although you should read Apple’s history to understand the background to
your analysis. You should use the principles and concepts that you have learned in Topics 1–5 to answer the following
three questions:

1. What strategy or strategies has Apple! adopted since it was created? Answer this question by applying one or more
of the theoretical approaches discussed in the earlier part of the course e.g. Porter’s Five Forces.

2. Does the RBV (resource based view) offer any insights into Apple’s success? E.g. assessing the company using the
VRIN framework

3. What strategic options can you describe for Apple! if it wishes to remain a successful organisation throughout the
next decade? Answer this question based on a SWOT analysis of the circumstances that exist in 2015 and your best forecasts
of relevant future industry factors.

These are wide-ranging questions and you should undertake extensive independent research(MUST HAVE 10 JOURNALS – can have
other sources as supplements but NOT Wikis, Blogs)intoApple! and its industry. You should explore different aspects of
these issues and incorporate them into your report. This is a practical assessment of a real company, but you need to show
anunderstanding of theory and research in your evaluation and suggestions.
Process
1. This is a group project. You will be in a group with 3-4 other students. It is imperative that you work together
effectively as a team on this task. In the real world of business almost everything requires team work and you do not get
to work just with your friends and those you choose.
2. Begin to gather information about Apple! and its strategies. There are a range of sources you can make use
including the companies own corporate website and related publications, academic journals, business press and media, blogs
and so on. The quality business press such as Forbes or Business Week or the Economist are in some ways good places to
start.
3. However, you need to begin to study relevant course materials (Topic 1 – 5 from study guide, powerpoint –
supported by textbook) as the task requires you to analyse and evaluate Apple’s strategy in relation to theory, frameworks
and research.
4. Consider each of the three questions carefully and begin to relate practice to theory in an attempt to answer each
of them. The questions explicitly direct you to specific aspects of the unit material and to specific types of models,
tools and theories.
a. The first question asks to you identify the strategy or strategies pursued by Apple! and suggests you might
consider this in the light of material from the early part of the unit. For example, you might consider this in relation
to Porter’s Five Forces model or you might try and determine if Apple! pursued a clear strategic plan or whether you can
discern emergent aspects of their strategy. There is latitude here for you to explore things and provide an analysis that
you think makes sense. Your analysis should include an assessment of why you think Apple! developed the strategies that
they did. This can include, for example, assessment of the environment and industry conditions they confronted.
b. The second question is somewhat more explicit. It asks you to apply a particular theory or approach to strategy
known as the Resource Based View. This will be covered in early topics of the course, but there is plenty of material
relating to this as it is perhaps the most popular approach to strategy currently. This question does not necessarily
imply that you must fit Apple! into the RBV framework – you might take the view that the theory does not fit what they did
well…that is fine as long as you can sensibly justify your interpretation. In answering this question you might, for
example, consider assessing the company using the VRIN framework.
c. The third question is difficult since it asks you to look forward and to suggest the type of strategy and
strategising that Apple! might fruitfully pursue going forward through the rest of this decade. One explicit suggestion is
that you use the well known SWOT tool to analyse the situation confronting the company now and as part of the input into
determining strategy going forward. However, that does not preclude you using other tools and frameworks to do an analysis
and suggest a strategic path for Apple!.
It should be clear that there is no definitive right answer here. This also mirrors reality, companies are not able to
find a single solution or pathway; they have to make difficult choices from alternatives. In the light of that try to
explore different aspects of the three questions – there are no ‘correct’ answers and lots of valid arguments for and
against all kinds of alternatives. The merits of your argument will depend to a large extent on how much evidence you can
cite to support your point of view; that is why this is called a research project.
5. Write up your analysis. This should be in a report format. Here is a suggested structure:
a. Executive Summary
b. 1. Introduction
1.1 Development of Apple
1.2 Scope of report
c. 2. Background to the Company
2.1 Apple formation
2.2 Current challenges
d. 3. Strategic Analysis
3.1 The Nature of Apple’s Strategy or Strategies
3.2 An RBV assessment of Apple!
3.3 Strategic Options for Apple!
e. 4. Conclusion
f. References
g. Appendix (Optional)
Ensure that you have related the real conditions of the company to theory and research and that you have read, cited and
referenced appropriate academic material as well as more popular sources (which also need to be properly referenced.)
6. Submit the report via the Turnitin Submission Link (under Assessment Details on the Blackboard site)…be fully
aware of the plagiarism rules in the School; plagiarism will not be tolerated.
7. Complete peer review and submit via email to relevant tutors/lecturers.
8. You are working in groups and it is your responsibility to manage the group and group processes effectively. If
for some reason the group is failing to function properly, or if group members are not making a proper contribution, raise
the matter immediately with your tutor/lecturer – do not wait until the end of the session or after you have submitted.
The marking criteria for the assignment can be found on the following page. They are published to give you detailed
guidelines about the way in which your mark will be calculated. Please read them carefully. Note that they are a guide,
not a definitive formula for allocating marks, and no set of criteria can accurately describe every possible assignment.
Your final mark will reflect the application of academic judgement by your marker to your whole assignment.

MNG00114 Competitive Strategy (Session 3, 2015)
Assignment 1: Research Project Marking Criteria

Ratings and Comments According to Criteria Mark
Executive Summary Provides a properly constructed and correct length executive summary:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
The executive summary provides a brief overview of the purpose of the report and an effective summary of its content:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:

/5
Introduction.
Properly describes the task and sets up the report content that follows:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0 NA
Places the assignment in context in terms of discussing the nature and importance of strategy and its relation to the
success (or otherwise) of companies such as Apple!:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:
/5
Background to the Company
Provides a clear, sufficiently detailed and properly referenced account of Apple’s emergence and development as a
company:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Provides a clear, sufficiently detailed and properly referenced account of Apple! as a company, for example, type of
company, size, industry, basic performance data etc:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:
/10
Strategic Analysis
The Nature of Apple’s Strategy or Strategies since it began.
Identifies and discusses the strategy or strategies pursued by Apple!:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Relates the strategy/strategies pursued by Apple! to theories, models and research:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:
/20
An RBV assessment of Apple!
Assess Apple! and its strategising through the Resource Based View of the Firm framework:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Is able to apply the VRIN framework to assess Apple’s strategic capabilities:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Is able to show a critical understanding of the RBV framework and its applicability to an assessment of a real
organisation such as Apple!:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:
/20
Strategic Options for Apple! moving forward
Provides an analysis of Apple’s current situation from a strategic standpoint:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Demonstrates capability in applying analytical tools such as SWOT:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Provides plausible recommendations for a strategy that promises to move it forward successfully:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:

/20
Conclusions:
Draws sensible conclusions based on the analysis and discussion:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Conclusions reveal key learning to be taken from the analysis:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:

/10
Technical and Professionalism Aspects of the Report
In-text citations and proper referencing (note: an absence of in-text citations and referencing may lead to
penalties beyond the marks allocated for this criteria point):
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Appropriate sources used and referenced:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Presented in well-thought out, consistent, readable form/appropriate length:
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Style, spelling, grammar and syntax
Excellent 0 Very Good 0 Good 0 Satisfactory 0 Needs Development 0 Poor 0
Further Comments as necessary:
/10
Total: The paper is marked out of 100 and then adjusted to conform to the 25% loading for the course…an additional maximum
of 5% is also available based on peer assessment.

Summary Comments as Necessary:
Team Member Peer Evaluation Form

Do not put your name at the top of this form, but do put your name in the spaces provided in the table below. This session
you have worked with other students on preparing a major assignment. Effective teamwork is vital in business and you need
to develop skills and competencies to work in that manner. You are being asked here to assess both your own contribution
to team effectiveness and that of your peers in the team. This is also a common approach in business. Please rate yourself
and your team members on the relative contribution made to preparing and presenting the assignment. Your ratings will be
confidential and anonymous. It is essential that you approach this in a mature and responsible fashion and that you are
honest in your self- and other-evaluations.
In rating yourself and your team members, use a one- to five-point scale, where 5 = superior, 4 = above average, 3 =
average, 2 = below average, and 1 = really weak. Refer to the rubric below the assessment table for guidance on how to
interpret and apply these scores. Add the scores to obtain a total score for yourself and the other group members. Put any
comments you like in the space provided. Thank you.

Put your name and your team members’ names in the spaces provided, one name at the top of each column.
Names: e.g. Joe Bloggs
Ratings:
Time Management:

Participation:

Contributions:

Working with others:

Add Total Scores Here:

Comments:

Group performance rubric:
5 4 3 2 1
Time Management
Group member always completed assigned tasks on time and was on time for all meetings and discussions Group
member usually completed assigned tasks on time and did not hold up progress on the projects because of incomplete work.
Was on time for meetings and discussions most of the time Group member sometimes did not complete assigned tasks on
time, and held up completion of project work. The member was sometimes late for meetings and discussions. Group
member frequently did not complete assigned tasks on time, and held up completion of project work. Member was frequently
late for or failed to attend meetings and discussions (without providing good reason) Group member failed to complete
most of the assigned tasks on time and frequently impaired the progress of the group. Member was consistently late or
failed to show up for meetings/discussions.
Participation Group member participated fully in all team activities/tasks and was focused on tasks and task completion
at all times. Group member participated effectively most of the time and was focused on tasks and task completion most
of the time Group member participated in a satisfactory way and was focused on tasks and task completion at an
acceptable level Group member participated but wasted time regularly or was somewhat unfocused on task and task
completion Group member did not participate or wasted time and was unfocused on task and task completion.
Contributions

Member made excellent contributions that added value to the project. Always did the required research and writing
and produced outcomes at a high level. Member made good contributions that added value to the project. Completed research
and writing and produced outcomes at a good level. Member made contributions that were satisfactory and added some
value to the project. Mostly completed research and writing tasks at a satisfactory level. Member made contributions
that we just adequate and added little value to the project. Was not always diligent in completing research and writing
tasks and produced outcomes that were just adequate. Member failed to make adequate contributions or to add value to
the project. Did not complete research or writing or it was below expected standards.
5 4 3 2 1
Working With Others The member exhibited the following team behaviours at all times:
Showed respect to other group members.
Listened to others effectively.
Was supportive of others and constructive in comments.
Worked to facilitate effective team work.
The member exhibited the following team behaviours most of the time:
Showed respect to other group members.
Listened to others effectively.
Was supportive of others and constructive in comments.
Worked to facilitate effective team work.
The member exhibited the following team behaviours some of the time:
Showed respect to other group members.
Listened to others effectively.
Was supportive of others and constructive in comments.
Worked to facilitate effective team work.
The member exhibited the following team behaviours infrequently:
Showed respect to other group members.
Listened to others effectively.
Was supportive of others and constructive in comments.
Worked to facilitate effective team work.
The member barely exhibited or failed to exhibit the following team behaviours:
Showed respect to other group members.
Listened to others effectively.
Was supportive of others and constructive in comments.
Worked to facilitate effective team work.
School extension policy

Students wanting an extension must make a request at least 24 hours before the assessment item is due and the request must
be received in writing by the unit assessor or designated academic.

Extensions within 24 hours of submission or following the submission deadline will not be granted (unless supported by a
doctor’s certificate or where there are exceptional circumstances – this will be at unit assessor’s discretion and will be
considered on a case by case basis). Extensions will be for a maximum of 48 hours (longer extensions supported by a
doctor’s certificate or exceptional circumstances to be considered on a case by case basis).

A penalty of 10% of the total available grade will accrue for each 24hour period that an assessment item is submitted
late. Therefore an assessment item worth 20 marks will have 2 marks deducted for every24 hour period and at the end of 10
days will receive 0 marks.

Extensions will NOT be approved because of problems with personal computers or storage devices. Back up your work every
day to a secure location.

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