Individual Report

Details of what you are expected to do:

1.  Rationale
The purpose of this assignment is to assess the extent to which you have achieved Intended Learning Outcomes 1 through 4. It gives you an opportunity to develop your understanding of the nature of global markets, and of the managerial and organisational competences required for operating in them, which requires the ability to identify, analyse and evaluate infrastructures, resources, processes and mechanisms crucial to the growth and sustainability of business operations in a global setting.
2.  The learning outcomes being assessed:
1.    critically evaluate a range of concepts and theories on global strategic management;
2.    identify, select and apply appropriate frameworks, models or concepts for the analysis and development of international and/or global strategies for a specific organisation;
3.    identify, analyse and select global markets as part of the international and/or global strategy development of a specific organisation;
4.    demonstrate knowledge of research on contemporary issues and trends concerning global strategic management.

3.  Overview of assignment

Case Study Scenario: Ocado Group PLC

On 29 December 2015, Christopher North, CEO of Amazon UK, announced that the company plans to expand its recently launched Amazon Pantry grocery delivery service rapidly in 2016 (Ruddick 2015). While Amazon Pantry does not currently sell fresh food, industry analysts anticipate that this might lead to the introduction of Amazon Fresh in the UK, the company’s full grocery service, probably starting with London. This is bad news for the “big four” UK supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, but especially for Ocado, which is a pure online grocery retailer with a focus on the London area. The day after Amazon’s announcement, Ocado’s shares fell 8% (a 52-week low) on the London Stock Exchange, where Ocado PLC is listed in the FTSE 250 index (Butler 2015; Weinger 2015).
Ocado PLC describes itself as follows:
We are the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer, operating our own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses in the UK under the Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners. We also utilise our technology and platform to operate the online business of Morrisons and intend to further use our platform to help international partners. (Ocado 2014a)
Despite claiming to be the world’s largest online grocery retailer, until now Ocado has only provided grocery delivery service in the UK. Nevertheless, the company had made internationalisation a strategic priority in its 2014 Annual Report: “We intend to extend our reach internationally through partnerships using our proprietary Ocado Smart Platform solution.” (Ocado 2015)
According to Ocado’s management, there are some significant internationalisation opportunities in their industry:
Grocery shopping represents around half of all retail spend in most developed countries and significantly more in developing markets. This makes for a huge underlying market opportunity on a global basis. (Ocado 2014b)
Ocado sees itself well positioned to exploit these opportunities with its Ocado Smart Platform: Ocado has developed an entire end-to-end solution for operating online in the grocery market, vertically integrated across software and hardware solutions. This enables us to replicate these capabilities for partners in other markets for a significantly lower cost than the alternative options available for them. (Ocado 2014b)
Ocado has already been exploring possibilities for internationalisation with France’s Carrefour and the US group Safeway (Butler 2015). However, the Amazon announcement and the stock market reaction have put extra pressure on Ocado’s management to accelerate exploration of global expansion opportunities. Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, has appointed you as an external consultant to develop a 5-year internationalisation plan for its services in overseas markets other than France and the USA.

Assignment Tasks

Carry out the following tasks in a max. 5000-word typewritten individual report. The aim of this report is to advise Ocado’s management about entering new international markets, by proposing a 5-year internationalisation strategy (for 2017-2022).

Question 1: [max. 2000 words]

Carry out a strategic analysis of potential international markets for Ocado that should include: a)     Analysis and evaluation of relevant external and internal factors.
b)     Selection of appropriate country markets for Ocado.

Support your statements with concrete evidence and references, building on the findings of your individual research as well as the action-learning set (ALS) findings that were discussed in the ALS sessions.

Question 2: [max. 3000 words]

On the basis of the strategic analysis and market selection carried out in Question 1, formulate market entry strategies for your chosen markets for Ocado, consisting of recommendations for:  a)     Entry-mode strategies and exit strategies for selected country markets.
b)    Functional strategies, including product, marketing, and operations decisions.
c)    An organisational structure for the implementation of the above strategies.
d)    A strategic control system for managing the implementation of the above strategies.

Justify your recommendations with fully referenced research evidence derived from the analysis and evaluation of information from your individual and action-learning set research, as well as with logical arguments using appropriate theories.

The assignment is an individual report that builds on the research and analysis discussed in the
Assignment Learning Activity (ALA) sessions. You are required to write this report individually; however, you are allowed to build on the material and ideas that emerged from the collaborative work of your actionlearning set.

SUBMISSION DETAILS

Submit the assignment both as typewritten (printed) hard copy and electronic copy. Use Times New Roman size 12 font, single spaced lines, and 2.54 cm margins. Please note that the 5,000 word count includes tables and charts but excludes bibliography and appendices. There is no formal penalty for exceeding the 5000-word limit; however, inability to stay below the limit will be considered as a negative characteristic during the assessment process.

References
Butler, S. (2015) “Ocado shares plunge as Amazon Pantry leaves supermarkets anxious.” The Guardian. 30 December 2015. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/30/ocadoshares-plunge-as-amazon-pantry-leaves-supermarkets-anxious [Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
Ocado (2014a) “Introduction.” Annual Report & Accounts for the 52 weeks ended 30 November 2014. Ocado Group website. Available from: http://results14.ocadogroup.com/strategic-report/introduction [Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
Ocado (2014b) “Our Wider Market Opportunities.” Annual Report & Accounts for the 52 weeks ended 30 November 2014. Ocado Group website. Available from: http://results14.ocadogroup.com/strategicreport/our-wider-market-opportunities [Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
Ocado (2015) “Ocado at a glance.” Ocado Group website. Available from:
http://www.ocadogroup.com/who-we-are/ocado-at-a-glance.aspx [Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
Ruddick, G. (2015) “Amazon UK to expand grocery range as supermarkets look on warily.” The Guardian. 29 December 2015. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/29/amazon-ukboss-christoper-north-hails-pantry-grocery-expansion-supermarkets [Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
Weinger, M. (2015) “Ocado shares slide on concerns over Amazon competition.” FT.com. 30 December 2015. Available from: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3ca50dc4-aef2-11e5-993b-c425a3d2b65a.html
[Date accessed: 30 December 2015]
4.  Assessment criteria and weightings
Question 1 and 2 and their subtasks have not been assigned specific weights, thus there is only one overall mark for the assignment.
Your paper is going to be assessed on the basis of how it demonstrates your knowledge of research on contemporary issues and trends concerning global strategic management, and your ability to 1) critically evaluate a range of concepts and theories on global strategic management; 2) identify, select and apply appropriate frameworks, models or concepts for the analysis and development of international and/or global strategies for the case study organisation; and 3) identify, analyse and select global markets as part of the international and/or global strategy development of the case study organisation.
Your paper is going to be assessed according to the extent to which it meets the following criteria (in addition to the University’s Generic Level M Assessment Criteria, of which these are a partial specification):
A very good or excellent paper (mark of 70+) would do all or most of the following:
•    Answers all the questions set in the assignment brief exhaustively.
•    Is coherent across all the sections (no contradictions).
•    Is based on an extensive list of references which are successfully used in the text to support assertions.
•    Has a relevant appendix with supporting information that is helpful and further shows extent of analysis and research.
•    All strategies are clearly formulated and justified through reasoning, appropriate use of concepts, theories, models or frameworks.
•    Strategic recommendations are specific (e.g. specifies number of subsidiaries, outlets etc. to be opened, where, and over what time period) and actionable.
•    The strategies are realistic, feasible, and convincingly justified.
•    The strategic recommendations are creative and based on information that has been critically evaluated.
•    The information is successfully communicated, meaning that it is easy to read and follow the argument.
•    Tables and charts are used successfully to support text.

A good paper (mark of 60-69) still accomplishes much of the above, but it is less creative, more predictable, has less (though still a significant amount of) research, the research findings are not used as successfully to support the strategic recommendations as above, the quality of the argumentation and writing is uneven, with some excellent or very good sections, and some mediocre or weak ones. However, overall the assignment questions are answered and theories and concepts are generally correctly used.
An adequate paper (pass mark of 50-59) still answers most of the questions, but the argumentation is less successful in using theories and evidence to support assertions than above. There is much less evidence of research, and the research findings are not always linked to assertions to justify them. There may be errors in reasoning and the use of theories (showing some attempts at applying analytical tools but not entirely correctly or not resulting in relevant conclusions), showing some lack of understanding. The recommendations lack sufficient justification. On the whole information has not been sufficiently analysed and evaluated; therefore the paper tends to be descriptive, rather than analytical and evaluative.
A paper with fail mark (0-49) fails to answer most or all of the assignment questions properly. There is very little or no research evidence; or connections are lacking between research evidence and the assertions presented. The paper is descriptive, summarizing external information, without analysing and evaluating it. There is a lack of application of theories or major errors in their application, showing lack of understanding. There are contradictory strategies proposed in different sections of the paper, resulting in the lack of a coherent overall approach. The paper is incoherent or incomprehensible. The strategies are unrealistic and unfeasible. Inadequate referencing and poor paraphrasing of external text.
Specific task-related considerations:
The purpose of the assignment is to come up with a credible selection of country markets and respective entry modes and functional, structural, and control strategies that offer opportunities for the
internationalisation of the products and services of the case study organisation. In order to accomplish this, there has to be a) significant and relevant research about the internal factors of the organisation and the global business environment, b) appropriate use of a variety of relevant analytical tools, c) a clear explanation of the various market and entry-mode selection processes, and 4) appropriate linking of research evidence to assertions, propositions, and recommendations (strategies).
An excellent (70+) and good (60+) paper is able to show the entire logic of the selection processes (which is simultaneously an opportunity recognition process) from all the countries in the world (as specified by the assignment brief) to a select few. This would consist of a clear definition and appropriate application of a series of criteria involving multiple steps of filtering, until arriving at the final result. An adequate (50+) paper would present a selection of countries, and the suitability of the countries would be adequately justified; however, the selection process of how these countries were selected would not be sufficiently clear or justified. A poor paper (fail) would not offer sufficient justification for the selected countries and there would be no apparent or comprehensible logic for their selection.
An excellent or good paper would make extensive use of research data to back up both the selection processes and the justification of the suitability of the selected countries, the respective proposed entry modes, and the functional, structural, and control strategies. An adequate paper would have noticeably less evidential support, while a fail paper would have very little supporting evidence to justify claims.

HELP AND SUPPORT
•    The assignment will be discussed in lectures, workshops, collaborative student-managed learning sessions and during the action-learning set presentations. See unit guide for further details.
•    You must acknowledge your source every time you refer to others’ work, using the Harvard
Referencing system (Author Date Method). Failure to do so amounts to plagiarism which is against University regulations. Please refer to www.bournemouth.ac.uk/library for the University’s guide to citation in the Harvard style.
•    Students with Additional Learning Needs may contact Learning Support on www.bournemouth.ac.uk/disability_support.
•    General academic support is available via the Academic Skills community on myBU.
•    Additional support is provided by the Faculty. International postgraduate students should contact the Programme Administrator to make an appointment. They are all based in the 4th floor of the Executive Business Centre.
•    If you have any valid mitigating circumstances that mean you cannot meet an assignment submission deadline and you wish to request an extension, you will need to complete and submit the Mitigating Circumstances Form for consideration to your Programme/Framework Administrator together with appropriate supporting evidence (e.g., GP note) normally before the coursework deadline. Further details on the procedure and the mitigating circumstances form can be found at www.bournemouth.ac.uk/student/mitigating. Please make sure you read these documents carefully before submitting anything for consideration.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this assignment brief (version number: 1) is correct at time of publication.
In the unlikely event that any changes are deemed necessary, they will be communicated clearly via e-mail and/or myBU and a new version of this assignment brief will be circulated.

    

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