Case study essay

Practising Strategy

Summative Assessment

Case study essay (2,250 words)

Assignment Topic: Please use strategic management theory to analyse the situation of your chosen industry sector over the past year in terms of how organizations within this sector have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and how organisations within this sector can develop strategy for the next 3 years in response to current challenges.

In this assessment you are invited to demonstrate your knowledge of the main theoretical approaches to strategic management and your application of theory to a real-world example. You are also invited to demonstrate your understanding of the governance, ethical or corporate social responsibility implications of your analysis.

To do this you must first select an industry sector from one of the following:

  • The airline industry
  • The hotel and tourism industry
  • The retail industry
  • The IT industry

You may select this industry sector within a country of your choice or on a global or multinational level. You may also choose to focus on a specific organisation within your chosen industry (for example, Cathay Pacific airlines, Hilton Hotels, Asos online retail, or Dell Computers). Your chosen industry and organisation (if you select a specific one) will be your case study.

In the main body of your assessment please undertake a strategic analysis of your chosen industry sector (and organisation if you have specified one) to be structured as outlined below. Please focus on one ‘School’ of strategic management theory for your analysis (e.g. either the Design and Planning School, Positioning School or Cultural School). You should demonstrate your knowledge of the theories and models you have chosen and their limitations.

Please arrange your work under the following four sections. Each section is worth 25% of your total mark. It is recommended that each section is around 500 words. You should also include an introduction and a conclusion to your assignment.

  • Section A

Why you have chosen this sector/organisation. In what ways has this sector/organisation been affected by Covid-19 over the past year?


  • Section B

How the theories and models from your chosen ‘School’ of strategic management may be used to understand the position and response of your case study industry/organisation over the past year.


  • Section C

How the theories and models from your chosen ‘School’ of strategic management may be used to inform the strategic response and future strategic direction of your case study industry/organisation over the next 3 years.


  • Section D

Understanding of either Governance, Ethics or Corporate Social Responsibility issues in relation to the response of your case study industry/organisation over the next 3 years.













Please use the respective references for the case study


  1. Strategy and strategic management

Some key points for consideration

  1. Strategy is very old, but strategic management is relatively new.
  2. Strategy and strategic management are different but related concepts. We will build on this later.
  3. The origins of strategy are in warfare, yet this can be problematic.
  4. There are different schools of thought with strategic management, which will be explored in more detail later.
  1. The design and planning schools
    1. Andrews model – SWOT (No scope for entrepreneurial development, No scope of adaptability)
    2. Alfred Chandler – Structure follows Strategy (Once the strategy is decided, there are no changes)
    3. Ansoff’s matrix – 2X2 matrix (Does the world fall only in this 4 box or is it possible to everything at the same time)
  2. The positioning school
    1. Michael Porter – survey your environment and choose the position
    2. Porter’s five forces – Environment is the main area to decide for strategy in the positioning school.
    3. The environment can be broken down into 5 areas:
      1. Suppliers
      2. Buyers
  • Substitutes
  1. New entrants
  2. Existing competitive rivalry
  1. Porter’s generic strategies – once you have scanned the environment, pick one generic strategy and focus.
  1. The resource-based view and dynamic capabilities
    1. The VRIN framework
      1. Value of resources
      2. Rarity of resources
  • Inimitability of resources
  1. Non-substitutability of resources
  1. Barney, J. (1991) – Barney on the resource-based view
  1. Ethics and corporate governance
    1. Clegg, S., Schweitzer, J., Whittle, A. and Pitelis, C. (2017) on strategy and corporate governance
    2. Lazonick, W. and O’Sullivan, M. (2000) on shareholder value
    3. Stevens, B. (2008) on corporate ethical codes
    4. Zadek, S. (1998) on ethics, accountability and performance
  2. Corporate social responsibility
    1. Zadek, S. (2004) on corporate responsibility
    2. Banerjee, S.B. (2008) on good, bad and ugly corporate social responsibility
    3. Fairbrass, J. and Zueva-Owens, A. (2012) on corporate social responsibility
    4. McWilliams, A., and Siegel, D. S. (2011) on Creating and capturing value
  3. Strategy as practice
    1. Whittington, R. (1996) on strategy as practice
    2. Zantow, K., Knowlton, D., and Sharp, D. (2005)
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