The focus of this assignment is to produce a 2,000 word analytical business report. This report is based on the Thomas Cook group with a consideration and review of its strategic positioning and business development in relation to competitive strategies. The report title is
Thomas Cook: Long Road to Recovery?
As an initial primer to your assignment, you are provided with some short introductory short reading/reference sources:
BBC News Website: Thomas Cook sees losses widen on higher fuel costs
This is Money: Thomas Cook shares plunge as UK austerity and Arab Spring take toll on holiday business
The Telegraph website: Thomas Cook takes big step to recovery
You should augment these initial sources with additional research on Thomas Cook as a company and with more general reference sources considering competitive strategy theories and model(s).
You can structure your analysis, but not limit, around the following issues:
1. Overview and analysis of Thomas Cook’s strategy pursued at UK market before the crisis.
2. Analysis of external and internal problems facing the company.
3. Evaluation of the new strategy, e.g. is it strategic repositioning or strategic consolidation.
4. Advice to Thomas Cook senior management team on the future strategy.
The assignment will be assessed in three areas of content/analysis and the overall presentation and referencing support as follows:
1. Understanding of competitive strategies and context of their application. (30%)
2. Quality of the company information, e.g. the report should demonstrate that you are able to undertake independent business research (30%)
3. Quality of the arguments, e.g. all recommendations and suggestions has to be supported by application of appropriate analytical framework (30%)
4. Quality of presentation, written style and structure and referencing style. In this you should demonstrate the proper use of Harvard style referencing. (10%)
In search for company information you are free to use a variety of sources such as Mintel reports and credible Internet sources. However, for academic purposes you must use academic sources such as traditional texts, academic journals and other quality business sources. Marks will be deducted across each element of the assignment as appropriate where there is indiscriminate and inappropriate use of web-based source material (in this regard, please note that the above internet references are from respected sources).
The report constitutes 40% of the total assessment for the module
Key submission details
Word Limit: 2000 words.
Submission Date: 15nd November 2013
Time: 11.59 pm as an electronic copy submitted into Turnitinuk via the Unilearn site for the module (under the assignments tab). Submissions will not be accepted via e-mail. Also note that submissions received after this deadline, up to 1 week late, will be capped at a maximum of 40% as noted in your course handbook and student regulations. Submissions received later than 1 week will only be marked at the discretion of the module tutor.
Marking date: It is anticipated that, subject to the standard University moderation processes, provisional feedback and assignment grading will be available via the Turnitin (Grademark) site by 20th December 2014
Note(s): Module tutors do not provide extensions or receive requests for extenuating mitigating circumstances. These should be addressed to your year or course tutors as appropriate.
Your coursework must be word processed and your submission must include a fully completed cover page – these are available from the Unilearn site. You are further advised to annotate each page with your name, student number and module code as a ‘header’ or ‘footer’.
Your attention is drawn to the rules on academic misconduct and you should be aware of the requirements in this respect and the penalties for non-compliance.
what is the report and how to write the report
report writing requirement link:
What is a report?
Table of contents
What is a report?
Reports, like essays, are a common way of assessing students at university. While essays generally require a discussion of a particular issue/theoretical statement or quote, reports generally focus on a specific problem or case study. Business reports, for example, are often addressed to a client (e.g. manager) and make recommendations. Reports always use section headings and take an objective perspective.
There is a logical development expected in any report. The sections that are required in a report can vary depending on what type of report it is. It is important to check in your particular unit guide or with your unit chair to find out exactly which sections are required.
In the title page, you would usually be expected to include:
Title of the report – This needs to be brief, but describe what the report is about
Your name and student ID
Name of the person the report is written for – i.e. your lecturer or tutor
Other details you might be required to include are assignment number and tutorial group.
Table of contents
Think about and organise the layout of the table of contents so that it reflects the order and structure of the report. Make sure that the numbering system you use in the table of contents is the same as that used in the report, and that it is not too complex.
An example of a table of contents (15 KB)
The executive summary/abstract is a half to one page summary of the entire report outlining:
the purpose of the report
the scope or breadth of the investigation
the methods used in the investigation
the major findings
the main conclusions
the major recommendations.
An example of an executive summary (16 KB)
The introduction explains to the reader in more detail some or all of the following points:
reasons for undertaken the study and writing the report
the assumptions which were made in the study
definitions of relevant terms used in the report
the scope of the investigation, i.e. what is covered and what is not
the methods used (often included in a separate methodology section)
the theories which form the context for this study (often included in a separate literature review section)
the limitations inherent in the study
an outline of the structure of the report.
An example of an introduction (21 KB)
The literature review is a critical review of published literature that is relevant to your specific study. How many texts you include in your literature review depends on the word length and time frame for your assignment. Be guided by what your lecturer suggests and limit your review to relevant (and possibly recent) works.
In the methodology section you should describe the procedure you followed in your investigation. In analytical reports, like business reports, this might include a description of survey methods, participants, focus groups and use of secondary sources. In scientific reports it might include a description of participants, materials, equipment, design and procedure. The methodology section is important because it provides details that others can use to replicate your study.
The results section presents a factual outline of what was found in the study. Raw data should not be included in this section; if raw data must be included, it should be presented in an appendix. Often a statement is included which describes how the raw data were processed into summary data, e.g. ‘Survey responses were analysed using SPSS’ or ‘Results were collated and a two-factor ANOVA carried out’.
Summary data are generally presented in the form of tables or graphs, which must have titles. It is important that you do not leave it to the reader to interpret your data. Explanations of tables and figures must be included, e.g.’Table 3 shows the proportion of first year students who attended Open Day’. Finally, do not discuss the significance of the results here. This is done in the discussion section.
The discussion section is a very important part of your report and presents an interpretation of your results. Typically, you might include:
support (or otherwise) that the results provide for the hypotheses
comparison of your results with other investigations and/or literature
factors which may have influenced your results, e.g. design problems
implications of the results.
The conclusion is a summary of your study – its overall purpose, the steps in the process, its overall findings. This should lead to the recommendations, if your report requires these.
An example of a conclusion (40 KB)
If the purpose of the report is to suggest actions that should be taken, these recommendations should be listed here, usually numbered in a logical sequence.
Note that in business reports the recommendations usually follow the executive summary, as it is assumed the reader wants to know this information at the start.
An example of recommendations (24 KB)
In this section list all of the references referred to in the report. Check your unit guide and use the referencing system recommended.
The appendices section is where to place extra information, raw data, etc. Such information is removed from the main body of the report so that it does not interrupt the flow of the report. Appendices need to be labelled, e.g. Appendix 1, Appendix 2 and so on, and referred to in the main report.
Academic writing style
Summarising, paraphrasing and quoting