Instruction & Requirements:
Critical Analysis Exercises (3 @ 10% each): You will be responsible for submitting three individual critical analyses of a problem or opportunity described in an article or case posted on Blackboard. Critical analyses must be a maximum of two pages in length; only the first two pages will be read and evaluated by the instructor. You will identify the problem or opportunity and discuss a viable solution based on your analysis of the case. The general structure of all critical analyses is as follows:
1. Decide on the 3-5 key issues raised by the article
2. Give a recommendation to the company.
2. Describe them using the format (to be reviewed in class) of an Introduction (in which you tell the reader briefly what you will discuss below), a number of Body paragraphs equal to the key issues noted in your Introduction, a recommendation, and a Conclusion paragraph (in which you tell the reader what you covered in your Body).
3. Basically you are telling the reader what you are going to discuss (your Intro), you then tell them (in your Body paragraphs), and then in your Conclusion you tell the reader what you just told them. Simple. Concise. Cogent. Clear.
You are encouraged to do external research on the industry or the company as a context for your analysis. In-text source citations and a comprehensive bibliography are required. Your report must include the focal reading plus at least two references in addition to the companys website.
Critical Analysis Template
o Analyze environment: What is the context?
o PEST (political, economic, social, technology); competition (Porter Five Forces); current industry practices What are our constraints, what works and why?
o Analyze focal firms current strategy, distinctive competence, positioning and execution Who are we and how are we doing?
o Analyze competitive environment using SWOT What are our opportunities?
o Define the problem: What is the issue?
o Identify credible, mutually exclusive alternatives (not just minor variations on a theme) What are our options?
o Identify criteria: How can we tell good strategies and programs from bad ones?
o Analyze and support arguments for accepted and rejected alternatives What are the benefits and costs (qualitative and quantitative) of each option relative to our objectives and criteria?
o Choose the best alternative: make decision designed to enhance competitive advantage and shareholder value in the context of stakeholder ethical considerations What should we do and what are the consequences?
o Implement decision How do we do it?
o Assessment of implementation outcomes Have we addressed the issue?
Critical Thinking Questions
Routinely ask questions that probe your understanding of the content. Questions such as:
1. Focusing on purpose: What is the purpose of this chapter? What is the principle function of this system?
2. Focusing on question: What questions are emerging for you as you think your way through this issue? What is the key question in this chapter? What is the key question in this section of the chapter?
3. Focusing on information: What information did the authors use in coming to these conclusions? How can you check to see if this information is accurate? How was the information obtained?
4. Focusing on inference: What can you logically conclude based on the information presented in this chapter? What conclusions did the authors reach? Were these conclusions justified given the evidence? Is there a more reasonable interpretation of the evidence than the conclusions these experts have reached?
5. Focusing on assumptions: What do these authors take for granted in reasoning through this issue? Should you accept these assumptions or question them?
6. Focusing on concepts: What are the key concepts presented in the chapter (or in the text as a whole)? How would you elaborate your understanding of the concepts under discussion?
7. Focusing on implications: If you accept or reject the authors reasoning, what conclusions must you reach?
8. Focusing on point-of-view: What is the authors focus in this chapter, and how are they seeing it? What point of view do you bring to this reading? To what extent does ones point of view reflect the way he/she interprets problems, questions and issues?
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