The aim of the Interim Assignment is for you to show you can collect data about an organization from a variety of sources, analyse it objectively, and, using recommended good practice, produce a practical SWOT analysis.
The Final Assignment requires you to identify an organisation or business unit whose strategies you will examine. We recommend that you use the same organisation for your Interim Assignment. We strongly suggest you review your own organisation as it is easier to collect data about it. If that is not possible, for example, if you are not working currently, then examine an organisation you are personally familiar with. Do not choose a famous name organisation like Google, IBM, Nestle, etc. unless you work for them.
If you work for a large organisation, you will need to focus on one strategic business unit and if the organisation is operating in several locations, one geographical area. The choice of business unit and geography is based on your knowledge of the organisation to make sure it is coherent.
This Interim Assignment is to prepare a SWOT of the organisation, which you will subsequently use as part of your Final Assignment.
To do this, you must collect and analyse data using PESTLE, Five Forces, Core Competency analysis and value chain analysis. These are all tools we discuss in the course materials and forum.
Where can you get data? Internal organisation reports, published industry reports, financial analyst reports, commentaries by industry journalists in the business press, discussions with colleagues. You must do some searching on the web. We are not expecting great depth for the Interim Assignment, but we are expecting the SWOT to be a concise and effective summary of the current situation of the organisation and you will have to provide some evidence for each statement.
A poor SWOT will be done if you simply make a personal guess and list several factors. A good SWOT will be based on a good range of data, both hard and soft data, and will follow recommended good practice. What is recommended good practice for producing an effective SWOT? Do some research into what experts say is good and bad SWOT practice. You will find examples on the web of good, and bad, SWOTs for organisations like yours. E.g.
And many more.
Finally, in the course material, under the Unit 1 tab, you will find two HBR articles (SWOT Analysis I and SWOT Analysis II) that you should read.
The overall structure should be as follows:
1. Cover Page (1 page)
2. Table of Contents/List of Appendices (1 page)
3. Introduction to the organisation – one or two paragraphs briefly saying what the organisation does and how it is organised
4. SWOT – in a conventional matrix format. Only give the 3 most important items for each S, W, O and T.
5. An explanation of how the SWOT was produced, where the data was collected from, and how you chose the top 3 items for each S, W, O and T. You need to provide some “hard” evidence.
6. Recommendations how the organisation might address the issues identified in the SWOT.
7. List of references
You should be able to produce an effective Interim Assignment in not more than 1000 words.
Your Interim Assignment is not graded, but you will get feedback which will help you make improvements to your SWOT. You will be asked to use your improved SWOT in your Final Assignment paper, so it is worth your time producing a good SWOT.
In our feedback, we can assess whether your SWOT follows good practice and whether there are apparent gaps or confusions.