Richard Branson and the Virgin Group Case Study

Richard Branson and the Virgin Group Case Study

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MODULE:                       Competitive Strategy & Inovation

Assignment title:         Richard Branson and the Virgin Group Case Study

Purpose of the Assessment

The purpose of this assignment is to

  1. test the student’s knowledge of the core concepts, models and frameworks taught in the module and relevant to the strategy process
  2. allow the student to apply their learning in the module to date in a case study analysis and to present their findings in a high level board manner that captures the key issues. 

Assessment Task

You are required to read the case on Richard Branson and the Virgin Group and prepare a 15 minute board level PowerPoint presentation that addresses the following questions (support you answer in details in the Notes page of the slide):

  1. Brief Introduction slide
  2. Analyze & Address Assignment questions.
    1. Analytical approach (not descriptive) by using relevant academic models & reference them.
    2. Support your ideas, from the case & academic journals, in the Notes section of the slide
  3. 450 Words – Using appropriate academic models and concepts identify and discuss the chief internal and external factors that have influenced the Virgin Group and the strategies employed up to the time of the case.                                          (30%)     
  1. 600 words – Critically assess whether, in your opinion, there was any evidence that Richard Branson and his group management team followed a consistent strategy or not in the major investments. If so, what sort of approach might it have been based upon, and what was the role of the Virgin head office function?    (40%)
  1. 450 Words – Drawing on resources such as, update your audience on any new Virgin Group activities since the case, commenting on whether or not subsequent major investments fit in with your findings from Q2 above, or if there was any other strategic rationale. Conclude with recommendations on the future of the group.                                                                                              (30%)
  2. Recommendations, Conclusion & References

Please prepare the above as a PowerPoint document, using the notes option putting any narrative or explanatory notes underneath the slide itself. if you were to deliver the presentation verbally. Brevity, clarity and key strategic thinking is key, showing that you have understood the essence of the case and can communicate effectively with supporting evidence. This will be good practice for case analysis and communicating your ideas.


Assessment Guidance

You will be expected to read the case several times to make sure you understand the context, grasp the detail and then review the key elements using the key strategy models to go through the strategy process, drawing on evidence from the case to justify your views.                   

You should carry out further research on The Virgin Group, however you must only use material drawn from credible sources such as: academic articles and texts; quality newspaper and business periodicals, e.g., the FT, The Economist and the official Virgin website. You should not use unreliable sources such as non-reviewed websites, e.g., Wikipedia

Assessment Instructions:

  • Identify Objectives.
  • Analyze current resources, Internal Analysis (Inside-Out Approach) Slides 29-60
  1. Grants List of Resources & Capabilities
  2. Core competencies (10 principles developed by Hamel). (Core Competencies Testing models (VRIN & 3 Tests))
  3. Porter Value Chain
  • Analyze the surrounding environment, External Analysis (Outside-In approach) Slides 61-95
    1. PESTLE & its variations (PEST, PESTLE-C) (Macro analysis)
    2. Porter’s Industry analysis (5 Forces) (Micro)
  • Checking how FIT your strategy is. (Strategy Evaluation models) Slides 141-
    1.  – S.A.Fe
    2. Rumelt
    3. Strategy evaluation-McKinsey’s 7 S Framework
    4. Balanced Score Card

(Draw a strategy that fits) è Internal Capabilities that fits external factors

  • A plan of action to achieve a fit with the surrounding business environment using TOWS
  • Take rational Decisions è Evaluate best Choices.
  • Devise a reasonable Plan to reach objectives.
  • Read Case, Read Assignment Questions more than 3 times.
  • Research case very well.
  • Paragraph headings & subheadings (with numbers: 2; 2.1, ..etc)
  • Use academic jargons (Not “employees” but HR; ..etc)
  • Be analytical (not descriptive), i.e. Use relevant academic models & theories.
  • Always good to draw on the results of your previous analysis.
  • Support your ideas with evidences from the case & journal articles using Harvard referencing (in-text & bibliography)
  • Use Harvard referencing system version which is “attached”
  • Use citation after everything and concentrate in up-to-date referencing.
  • Use diagrams/tables etc. where appropriate but apply them.
  • Read the Slides and focus on what’s in them.
  • Discuss and critique the sources that you use in order to reach evidence based conclusions.
  • Avoid unreliable sources such as non-reviewed websites, blogs, Wikipedia e.g.
  • Show evidence of critical thinking and analysis in the work.
  • Apply a range of analytical models and conceptual tools and techniques in the analysis of organizations.

Assessment Submission

Your assignment must be word processed and presented in a report format with simple sub-headings. The word count should be 2500 words±10% (tables, diagrams and appendices are excluded from the count).

The Assignment report should have a Front Sheet showing your name, your student number, the module name, the module number, the assignment title, the module tutor’s name, the date and the word count.

All assignments will be submitted, graded and fed-back electronically via TURNITIN. Several submissions will be permitted before the hand-in date in order to enable you to refine the content in your report. 

If you click on the “Submit Your Work” button on the Module NILE site you will find an explanation of the Submission and Grading Electronically process there.

Feedback on assignments in general will be provided to the whole group when marked assignments are returned. Feedback on assignments for each individual will be provided electronically via TURNITIN.

A student may obtain an individual appointment to discuss feedback with the tutor.

Assessment Guidance

The quality of your presentation and academic referencing is very important. Please, use the Harvard Referencing System.

Within your assignment your tutor will be looking for content that addresses the key elements of the assignment brief.

Try not to overcomplicate your answers by choosing a company that you know little about. Keep to simple processes that you know well.

Look at the Check list at the end of this brief. It shows the subheadings to use and offers a guide as to how the marks will be distributed.

Use the percentages as a guide to how to distribute your word count. 

Assessment learning outcomes:

The learning outcomes being addressed through this assignment are:

Knowledge and Understanding
c) Recognise, consider and address macro-economic trends in a changing world and their impact on business whilst evaluating competitive, organisational and ethical values.
Subject Specific Skills

  1. e) Develop appropriate policies and strategies within a changing environment for a variety of organisations, to meet stakeholder interests.          

Key Skills

  1. f) Develop and demonstrate key communication and time management skills.
  2. h) Demonstrate critical thinking and creativity: engage the creative processes in self and others; organise thoughts, analyse, synthesise and critically appraise alternative strategies and choices.

Reading List:        

  1. The attached slides.
  2. Johnson, G. Whittington, R. & Scholes, K. (2011) Exploring Strategy, 9th ed, FT Prentice Hall
  3. Grant, R. (2010) Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 7th ed, Wiley




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