1. Coursework Brief
You are required to conduct a research assignment showing the strategic role of technology in the designated company – Littlewoods (https://www.littlewoods.com/).
Littlewoods was founded in 1932 and is now the third largest clothing retailer and fifth largest non-food retailer in the UK. Littlewoods offers a huge range of over 40,000 products for every family and home, ranging from toys and clothes to electrical goods and sports equipment, as well as providing affordable payment options. Write a report discussing Littlewoods’ strategy.
You must critically analyse how the company is using information systems to support its business strategy. You must formulate and evaluate the company’s strategy using theory and strategy frameworks given in the module. More specifically, you need to discuss from a theoretical perspective (conceptual framework) how Littlewoods is using technology in order to build a sustainable competitive advantage. The conceptual framework should be used to critically analyse the strategies developed by Littlewoods, (for example Porter’s models). You should not use more than 3 models.
In the conclusion, you should clearly outline recommendations for further development of the company’s strategy, taking into consideration the role of ICT in future business operations.
You must use reputable and recognised sources to conduct your research. Students must avoid using obscure websites. Your research must consider any recent developments in Littlewoods’ strategy.
The in-module assessment’s report is worth 60% of module marks.
Please note that marking criteria should not be seen as the structure of the report nor expected headings of your report. You should view the marking criteria as a useful indicator about the level you need to achieve for your work. The marking scheme is as follows:
Use of theoretical perspectives Findings/Analysis
Conclusions and recommendations References
5 marks 10 marks 15 marks 40 marks 15 marks 10 marks
Please note that textbook descriptions of tools and techniques will not be given marks, although a brief description of such techniques may be necessary.
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For a Pass mark (40-49%) you will need to demonstrate a basic understanding of the topic, provide a suitable review of the existing literature including appropriate sources (correctly referenced) and formulate a rudimentary strategy for the firm.
For a 50-59% you will need to show a more proficient understanding of the case at hand, formulate a satisfactory strategy and relate your conclusions and recommendations to your review. Conference proceedings and online resources are acceptable sources for your literature review; however you will need a minimum of 2 journal articles.
For a 60-69% mark you will need to additionally demonstrate an in-depth understanding of your subject, be able to critically analyse and evaluate relevant source material and develop a comprehensive strategy that shows clear relationships between the researched topic, your findings and your conclusions and recommendations.
For 70% and up you will need (additionally) an extensive range of appropriate research sources, particular evidence of insight into the proposed strategy and clear evidence of innovative application of the relevant theories.
3. Report Structure
Report Style: Write as if you were a consultant addressing the report to Littlewoods’ senior management.
The report should be single spaced, 12 point text, standard margins. The length of the report is 2,000 words (+ 10%). The limit excludes title page, references and appendices. The word count must be stated on the cover title page.
The report should have the following structure:
? Title Page
(include Name, Student ID, name of seminar tutor and word count).
(table of contents with page numbers)
? Executive Summary (~100 words)
The executive summary consists of a very short introduction (usually just one or two sentences) which sets out the topic of the paper, followed by a brief summary of how the work was done, and the main recommendations and conclusions of the report. It should not have any sub headings, footnotes or literature references.
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The introduction should contain a brief description of the company and set the context of the report. It must give a route map to report sections so that the reader knows what is coming.
? Main body
This will contain a review of the conceptual framework (theoretical perspective), its application to the case study in formulating and evaluating the company’s strategy, analysis and analysis of the findings.
Don’t waste words by repeating the assignment at length, or telling your audience what their organisation is about. Don’t repeat textbook or online material; such areas should be covered with a brief summary and a reference. Use headings to separate different parts of your discussion, and make your points as clearly and concisely as you can. Do not name this section as ‘Main body’.
? Conclusions and recommendations
Your conclusions should clearly derive from your discussion points. New material should not be introduced at the conclusion stage – it should appear first in the discussion.
The recommendations are your advice deriving from the conclusions.
When writing a report you will need to support your arguments by referring to published work such as books, journal or newspaper articles, government reports, material from the Internet, etc. References should be included for all source material you have used in your work. References should be cited in the text using the Harvard system of referencing.
The references should all be given at the end, in a single integrated list in alphabetical order, and following a standard style. Make sure you include the dates when web sites were accessed.
Do NOT use footnotes for references – you will be penalised if you do. You may want to consult a university guide on Referencing your Work.
? Appendices (optional)
English style and grammar points
You should write in clear, concise and correct English. Remember to Spell check, Grammar check and Proofread.
Some reports are rather ‘breathless’, putting far too many points into one paragraph. Keep the points separate, at the very least by using a new paragraph for each point. You may be restricted on the number of words, but you aren’t limited in the number of sides of paper.
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Design and typography
Remember that communication is the main concern: anything that aids this is good; anything that detracts from it is unsound.
Some white space is a good idea
Don’t spend a lot of time on irrelevant graphics, though useful diagrams are well worth some trouble if explained appropriately.
All work must be fully referenced and follow the correct referencing style guide. It is expected that you use the Harvard Referencing style within this work.
5. Academic Offences
Academic offences, including plagiarism are treated very seriously. Plagiarism must be avoided at all costs and students who break rules, however innocently, will be penalised. All submitted work is passed through ‘Turnitin’ system to determine the originality score.
It is your responsibility as a student to make sure that you understand what constitutes an academic offence, what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Consult the Handbook of Academic Regulations for more information.
6. Coursework deadline and submission
The coursework deadline is Thursday, 31 March 2016 at 13:00hrs.
All submissions must be in electronic forms and submitted directly to the module’s Blackboard site.
Important: The electronic handing system for all assignments on all modules makes automatic penalties as follows:
? 1 second to 24 hours late: Lose 10 marks. Marks in the range 40-49 are only reduced to 40. Failing marks are not reduced.
? 24 hours late: Zero marks.
The above penalties are based on university regulations. Your lecturers have no
power whatever to reduce these penalties.
The submission system set for this module allows you to make one submission only, so please make sure you submit the correct file.
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In case of Mitigating Circumstances (MC) please note that the Module Leader cannot grant any extensions to the hand-in date. Extension requests should be made to the Mitigating Circumstances Board and followed by appropriate evidence. For more information on this please contact the WBS Registry.
7. Coursework Feedback
Coursework feedback will be available on Blackboard, and will be in the form of written commentaries taking into consideration the marking scheme presented in this assignment. All marks are classed as provisional until approved by the final Examination Board.