Describe Apple’s main present corporate level strategies, and evaluate the suitability of these strategies.
5000 words including supporting, charts, diagrams and tables, but without references and appendices.
The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have learned from this module. There are many, equally valid ways to fulfil the assignment tasks. You will therefore have to make many choices of your own. For example, you have to decide what strategies to focus on, and you have to choose which tools and concepts to apply to this case.
You should need to conduct your own research into the company, its strategy, and its environment. The case study printout provides some information, but you must use additional sources. Please note that the case study covers only the time up to 2012 rather than the present. Moreover, the case study printout focusses on innovation, culture, and leadership, but this is only part of the information you need to fulfil your task. Internet search, in particular the company website, news articles, and journal articles will be useful for gaining additional information about the company and its environment. To back up theoretical claims and define the tools you use, you have to refer to academic journal articles and/or books.
You should first describe the most important features of Apple’s corporate level strategies at present. The main focus is on corporate level strategies, but you can refer to business level strategies when they are closely linked or part of corporate level strategies. You will have to look slightly back into the past (e.g. 5-10 years back) in order to describe the present strategies, but you are NOT required to provide a detailed history of Apple’s strategies.
To describe the strategies, you should use the information that you get on Apple’s particular activities, but you should analyse these activities in more depth by using strategy concepts, such as the Ansoff matrix or the strategy clock, or Porters generic strategy options. Please note that you should not use all of these concepts but you should be parsimonious and you can use other strategy concepts instead.
You then have to evaluate the strategies with regard to their suitability. You should use only the criterion of ‘suitability’ for your evaluation, not other criteria such as feasibility. Please use the definition of ‘suitability’ used in the Johnson et al. textbook. To examine suitability, you will thus have to analyse how the strategies match (a) Apple’s remote and operating environments, (b) its capabilities, and (c) its stakeholders’ expectations (Stakeholder expectations will however be smaller point than the other two). You need to look slightly into the future (e.g. 2-5 years) in order to judge the suitability of the strategy.
PLEASE NOTE that this assignment is different to your ‘Business Analysis’ assignment. For the Business Analysis assignment, you had to provide firstly a detailed analysis of the environment and then an industry/competitor analysis in relation to this environment. In this Strategic Management assignment, by contrast, you first have to describe the firm’s strategies and then evaluate the strategies with respect to not only the environment, but also the firm’s capabilities and its stakeholders’ expectations. Please do not provide an extensive analysis of the environment, capabilities, or stakeholder expectations without linking it to your strategy evaluation. In other words, focus on those factors in the environment and those capabilities and stakeholder expectations that are relevant for evaluating whether a strategy is suitable or not.
To highlight the relevant factors in the environment, the capabilities, and stakeholder expectation, you again have to use theoretical concepts (such as core capabilities, environmental forces) and analytical tools (such as PESTEL and stakeholder mapping). You should briefly define the concepts and tools you use (no critical evaluation of the tools is needed), and then apply them to the case. You are expected to demonstrate that you have understood the concepts and tools in theory, and that you are able to use them to analyse the case.
There is no set range of tools and concepts that you should use, but you have to make a choice of which concepts or tools to apply. Please note that you should not use all concepts and tools discussed in the lectures. Do not use too many tools, i.e. do not use a tool if it does not provide relevant additional information, and avoid overlapping tools. The fewer concepts/tools you use, the more depth and detail you are expected to provide for each one. When choosing analytical tools, please make sure you have access to the data you need for applying them.
Finally, you have to follow the formatting and referencing guidelines carefully (see further down). Make sure you provide references in your text wherever you present someone else’s views, rather than providing the references only in the list at the end of your assignment.
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