prepare a report containing information that may be used for a marketing plan
o Your task is to prepare a report containing information that may be used for a marketing plan.
Identify one product/service from your own business or from another business with which you are familiar. In your report you should include:
? The current marketing situation with background data on the market segments, product, competition, and distribution. Keep this discussion brief.
? Market analysis through a SWOT analysis. Make sure to discuss the SWOT analysis adequately.
? Objectives with goals for sales volume, market share and profit. These goals should be realistic but may have to be somewhat hypothetical because of the lack of time and absence of market research to provide better ones.
? Marketing strategies with details of the 4Ps (i.e. Product, Place, Price, Promotion).
Make sure you explain why the strategies are relevant and how they relate to the market analysis, objectives and goals above. Clearly justify your argument. In your discussion of Promotion, you need to identify the communication objectives, discuss and justify the communication channels and the communication mix you would use to address these objectives.
Because this is a short assignment, be careful to use your word limit wisely. There is no need to focus on the details of action plans, projected profit and loss figures and controls (although these are important in the real world, of course).
Note: in a real world marketing plan it is unlikely that you would use referencing. While you might not use referencing in an actual marketing plan, you would definitely source your information from various company/industry reports and from journal articles. In this assignment you are required to make the use of such sources explicit through referencing.
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While your assignment comprises only part of your subject grade, it serves an important function in helping you focus on the concepts and clarify your learning. In this sense, the assignment prepares you for the exam, which is much more heavily weighted. Scoring well on the assignment can sometimes mean the difference between a pass and a fail for the subject – or a high distinction versus just a distinction.
This Assignment Guide:
? provides advice on how to approach an assignment (in Section 2 below);
? shows the basic expected format of an assignment (in Section 3);
? discusses the importance of referencing and explains referencing expectations at AIB (in Section 4);
? explains issues of academic integrity and how you can avoid plagiarism (in Section 5);
? includes an example of an AIB assignment with feedback/comments (in Appendix A).
2. TEN-STEP APPROACH TO WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
The following provides a recommended ten-step approach to writing assignments. It is strongly recommended that you follow these steps in sequential order in order to address your assignment requirements.
Step 1. Read, understand and address the assignment question
Carefully read the assignment question and make sure you understand clearly what is being asked. Your submission must be responsive to the assignment question. By doing this you will know what you need to do, how to do it and whether you need some form of assistance to finish the assignment.
Furthermore, make sure you check the word count and make sure you understand what is required. The word count should be used as a guide as to the desired length of your written assignment.
Then, consider the subject of the assignment and who will read it. Do the assignment instructions suggest that the assignment should be aimed at a particular manager of a particular organisation? If no particular manager is mentioned in the instructions, assume that the marker/ instructor will be the audience. Whoever the reader is, aim the assignment at your audience and keep in mind their requirements and knowledge.
Step 2. Do background reading and jot down notes
Do some brief background reading around the topic, starting with your textbook, jotting down the main concepts and ideas that seem relevant. Is there any relevant history related to your
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topic? Or is there any important detail that will be of high significance to the future? Are there any important people involved? Knowing such details will give you a better idea as to how to start and finish your assignment.
Step 3. Organise your assignment
Make a tentative, organised list of headings and some sub-headings and topics about important issues that will have to be addressed. Inform yourself as to how Table of Contents (TOC) fields are formatted in MS Word, or other word processing application you may be using; and how to update the page numbers for your Table of Contents as your composition grows and evolves. Fine-tune your listing of subject headings as you start gathering information about the assignment’s topics. Organisation is always the key to a well-written assignment. It not only gives you direction as you write, but it also gives your paper a certain level of professionalism.
Step 4. Collate information and note your sources for proper referencing
Gather information from articles and other credible sources (preferably from peer reviewed journal articles). Take notes and write down reference information about your sources (you may forget or lose them, otherwise). The AIB Style Guide has details of what information is required for referencing in the assignment; make sure you collect all that information when you first have your hands on the source of information. Collecting all the necessary information for proper referencing as soon as you encounter the source will save you precious time during the course of your writing. The list will also come in handy if you want to double check information.
Step 5. Organise your notes bearing in mind the marking criteria
Organise your notes and finalise the outline with its headings and sub-headings and topics. Consult the assignment details and the marking criteria for your assignment (with their weightings for various criteria). Bear these in mind as you plan and write the assignment. Comparing your outline with the assignment details will let you know if you have covered everything that the assignment requires or if you have included something that is irrelevant. It will give you a chance to finalise your outline before proceeding with the actual writing.
Step 6. Start writing the assignment
Then, and only then, start writing the assignment in the appropriate format. AIB assignments are written in standard report format. Remember to note the sources of information as you write; after all, you have to ensure you place appropriate in-text citations in your report. We recommend you use the Office Word Format/Font command set to Calibri 12 point (which is the font used in this document), and the Format/Paragraph command set to 1.5 line spacing. Details about report format, referencing and writing style can be found in the AIB Style Guide.
Step 7. Re-read and re-write your assignment
Re-writing is essential. Make sure you add or delete appropriate words or paragraphs and check the spelling and grammar. Prior to re-writing, read and re-read your draft. Check
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whether the flow of thoughts is clear and maintains continuity. Check for any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and/or improper use of periods, commas or question marks. Make sure you read your assignment carefully to check for errors or omissions. Lastly, ensure that you adhere to the required word count, and add / delete words as necessary.
Step 8. Write the Executive Summary
Now write the Executive Summary. This is the summary of the entire assignment. Include only salient points of your assignment. It is called a summary because it is supposed to be brief and comprehensive.
Step 9. List the references
Add a formal Reference List according to the requirements of the AIB Style Guide.
Step 10. Submit the assignment
Submit the assignment to AIB. Remember to provide a word count on the title page; the word count includes all text from the Introduction section through to the beginning of the References section (that is, do not include the Executive Summary/Abstract, References or Appendices in the word count).
3. BASIC FORMAT OF AIB ASSIGNMENTS
Assignments (and projects) at AIB should be submitted using a report format. The basic sections of the report format are listed below. You are required to follow this format – unless the assignment details for a particular subject specifically ask you to use a different format.
Details about the report format are available in the AIB Style Guide.
Table of Contents
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4. WORD COUNT
Assignments must adhere to the word count length specified in the task.
You are allowed a 10% tolerance to either exceed or fall short of the required word length of an assignment. Hence, you need to write an assignment with the required word count plus or minus 10%.
It is important to note that you will be penalised if you go beyond the 10% above or below the word count. The penalty is in the form of marks being deducted. For every 1% that the total word count deviates from the allowed tolerance, the student will lose 1% of the overall mark for that assignment (as detailed in AIB’s Assessment Policy available on the AIB website).
Word count follows the system below:
? Words are counted as any grouping of letters together, single letter words, numbers and symbols.
? Hyphenated words are counted as one word.
? Charts, tables and diagrams appearing in text are counted as one word only.
? In-text referencing appears in the body of the assignment and is therefore counted.
? Word count does not include everything in the assignment. Word count starts from the ‘Introduction’ through to the start of the ‘Reference List’. This means that the:
o Title page is not counted
o Executive Summary is not counted
o Table of Contents is not counted
o Reference List is not counted
o Appendices are not counted
5. REFERENCING IN AIB ASSIGNMENTS
AIB requires appropriate referencing in all assignments. The AIB Style Guide provides detailed information about referencing requirements and presents examples.
Referencing other writers’ work demonstrates the breadth of the background work that has gone into an assignment, shows the reader the source of any facts or information you are quoting, allows verification of your data and strengthens your academic argument. Good referencing contributes to improved assignment outcomes.
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5.1 The importance and relevance of referencing
In an academic environment you are (nearly) always required to use referencing. You may wonder why academic study includes a focus on referencing. Or you may wonder why AIB (‘the practical business school’) insists on referencing in assignments and projects.
Referencing is a way to acknowledge the sources you use in the development of your thinking about an assignment and during the writing of an assignment. Referencing is normal practice and a standard skill learnt during academic study.
For a very long time already it has been practice in the academic world to clearly articulate which parts of your work are derived from other people and, alternatively, which parts of your work constitute your own contribution to a debate. In academia it is the norm to use other people’s work and then build on that to present original thoughts and ideas. You get rewarded for summarising other people’s work well; you also get rewarded for original thought. At all times, you need to show clearly when you are using or building on someone else’s work.
Whether you are copying (e.g. a table), quoting word-for-word, paraphrasing or summarising, it is standard academic practice to acknowledge your sources through referencing.
Why referencing in ‘the practical business school’?
Being able to identify good sources of information and effectively use evidence used when building an argument are important generic skills that are useful for all managers.
In many workplaces sources of evidence or sources of information are not often recognised or not acknowledged. And yet – whenever you use facts or data, you obtain those from a source (an annual report, a newspaper article, the Bureau of Statistics, or elsewhere). Whenever you apply a theory or write about other people’s opinions, you are using someone else’s intellectual property (which you read in a book or heard in a TED talk or elsewhere).
It is good to learn about referencing and to become aware of different sources of information. It enables you to ask yourself (or others) important questions when you are reading reports or memos in the workplace, such as:
? Where did the information come from?
? Whose original idea is this?
? What sources of data were used?
? Are the data sources that are used appropriate?
? Is there better information out there?
While you currently may not use much (if any) referencing in the workplace, use of referencing for AIB assignments increases your awareness of sources of information and enhances your managerial skill set.
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5.2 Using peer-reviewed / scholarly journal articles
All your references must be from credible sources such as books, peer-reviewed journals, magazines, company documents and recent articles. Students are highly encouraged to use peer-reviewed journal articles as this may contribute towards a higher grade. Your assignment mark will be adversely affected if you use poor references.
Peer review is an academically accepted measure of quality. Peer-reviewed journal articles are normally considered more credible, authentic and reliable as they are evaluated and recommended for publication by several experts in the field. It is therefore strongly suggested that you use the recent peer-reviewed / scholarly articles for your assignment. This will not only provide you with up-to-date knowledge but will also enable you to produce quality work.
5.3 Using AIB online library resources
A good way of making sure you use quality references is by using the AIB Online Library (i.e. EBSCO Host) which can be accessed through the AIB website. This database gives you access to journal articles.
The “Refine Results” option (as shown below) in the AIB Online Library can help you to filter and view the peer reviewed / scholarly articles. Preferably you should filter the publication date to within the last 3 to 5 years.
5.4 No or minimal referencing: plagiarism
An absence of (or minimal) referencing usually means that you are plagiarising, that you are passing off a thought/theory/quote as ‘your own’ when in reality it is not.
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Plagiarism constitutes serious academic misconduct. Academics have lost credibility and at times have lost their jobs when found to be plagiarising. Students found to plagiarise are penalised and there are cases of students being expelled for repeated academic misconduct.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you are strongly advised to adopt good referencing practices in all your assignment and project work.
6. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: AVOIDING PLAGIARISM, COLLUSION, ETC
AIB expects students (as well as staff and adjunct staff) to display high standards of academic integrity. It is your responsibility to conduct yourself honestly in research, reporting and writing and to ensure to avoid becoming involved in academic misconduct.
Details of AIB’s approach to academic integrity can be found in the Academic Integrity policy which is available on the AIB web site.
Breaches of academic integrity include plagiarism, collusion, double submission of work, etc.
Plagiarism can be defined as submitting another person’s words or ideas as your own or using someone else’s work in your assignment without appropriate acknowledgement. You must acknowledge a fact or an idea or a theory as originally coming from someone else. You must reference the fact / idea / theory.
AIB checks assignments with text-matching software. If your assignment which is found to contain plagiarism you will be investigated for alleged academic misconduct according to AIB Academic Integrity policy.
In order to avoid plagiarism, please carefully check your assignments before final submission to ensure that all quoted and paraphrased materials are properly cited and referenced.
Collusion involves submitting work completed together with or by someone else as your individual work. In order to avoid collusion, please ensure you write your assignment individually and paraphrase all material that you may have collected together with someone else.
Double submission of work
It is not permitted to use the same piece of work for more than one subject. Each assignment should be a new piece of work. If you find that part of one assignment is potentially also
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relevant in another assignment, you need to paraphrase and re-work it before submitting it as part of the second assignment.
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APPENDIX A – EXAMPLE ASSIGNMENT WITH ADDED COMMENTS
Title: Entrepreneurship and corporations
The characteristics of a typical entrepreneur are irreconcilable with a corporate career. Large organisations are by their nature bureaucratic and as such promote an environment in which the entrepreneur cannot survive.
Prepare a brief report in which you survey the arguments for and against the above statement, and then justify your own position. In your answer, provide examples of entrepreneurs and corporate managers, from your reading and your own experience, to illustrate the points you are making. When you refer to an example, provide enough details about the person so that a reader, who does not know about the person, can understand the points about that person that you are trying to make. You will have to provide a definition of entrepreneurship in the introduction to your paper.
Word count (from the start of the Introduction section to the end of the Conclusion section): 1584 words
Executive summary Entrepreneurship and corporate structures appear to be incompatible. This paper considers that apparent compatibility and concludes that entrepreneurship and corporate structures can be compatible in some cases. The paper first defines entrepreneurship and characteristics of entrepreneurs. It then looks at why these entrepreneurs may not fit into corporations. It then establishes that some corporations can incorporate entrepreneurs in what is called corporate entrepreneurship. Examples like Kerry Packer and Richard Branson are used to illustrate the arguments.
Comment [A1]: Notice that the font is appropriately set to 12 point Calibri, with 1.5 line spacing.
Comment [A2]: The assignment topic is placed here just in case the marker did not have the assignment topic handy when he or she was marking the assignment.
Comment [A3]: Please note that you need to make sure to meet the word limit requirements for your assignment.
Comment [A4]: This summary is only about 60 words and it is usually one or two paragraphs of only 100 or so words. But it covers the main points well enough, albeit rather succinctly.
Comment [A5]: Nice short sentence that orients the reader to the main idea of the assignment
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Table of contents
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. xx
2. What is entrepreneurship? ……………………………………………………………………………. xx
3. The characteristics of an entrepreneur ……………………………………………………………. xx
4. Compatibility of entrepreneurial characteristics with a corporate career ……………… xx
5. Corporate entrepreneurship ………………………………………………………………………….. xx
6. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. xx
Reference list …………………………………………………………………………………………………. xx
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Entrepreneurs are typically thought to start up small businesses that confront bigger and older business. For example, Virgin Air is a small specialist airline that attracts some customers away from more established airlines. But is this picture of entrepreneurs correct?
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether the characteristics of an entrepreneur are irreconcilable with a corporate career and whether the bureaucratic nature of large organisations promotes an environment where the entrepreneur cannot survive. The paper has three main sections. First, I will define entrepreneurship. Then I will assess the characteristics of entrepreneurs and their fit within a corporate management structure, and then analyse the concept of corporate entrepreneurship. The conclusion ties the arguments together into a final position about the place of entrepreneurship within some though not all corporate structures.
2. What is entrepreneurship?
To begin the discussion, entrepreneurship needs to be defined. Our textbook has this comprehensive definition that is not limited to small business ventures and so is appropriate for this general discussion: “An entrepreneur is an innovator or developer who recognises and seizes opportunities; converts those opportunities into workable/marketable ideas; adds value through time, effort, money or skills; assumes the risks of the competitive marketplace to implement these ideas; and realises the rewards from these efforts” (Kuratko & Hodgetts 2007, p. 32). Note that this paper follows that definition’s emphasis on ‘marketable ideas’ and focuses on new ideas and creative solutions in business situations, to delimit the discussion to the word limit of the assignment.
One disadvantage of adopting this rather general definition of entrepreneurship is that there are as many as six schools of thought that focus on just one of these many activities of entrepreneurs (Kuratko & Hodgetts 2007). Most entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity must have regard for each of these six schools of thought. However, there are clear examples of individual entrepreneurs who are influenced more strongly by a particular school of thought.
For example, the displacement school helps explain why John Ilham was a driving force behind his Crazy John mobile phone retail business. He grew up in a struggling, migrant family and suffered racist taunts at school. He claimed that his commitment to focusing on opportunities
Comment [A6]: This Introduction is appropriately short. It should be about half a page at the most.
Comment [A7]: These very few sentences give the background to the assignment and orient the reader to what the assignment is all about.
Comment [A8]: The Introduction should say explicitly what its aim, objective or goal is near the beginning, just like this example does.
Comment [A9]: The use of first person “I” should be avoided, e.g. First, the entrepreneurship will be defined followed by assessing the characteristics of ….
Comment [A10]: The Introduction should very briefly outline the assignment. This paragraph about the sections is slightly too long. But this summary about the sections is good in that it says something about the final conclusion to which the whole assignment is heading.
Comment [A11]: Note that there is a capital letter at the start of only the first word in this and all the headings. This is correct.
Comment [A12]: This delimitation is OK provided it is justified (which it is here in the comment about the word limit)
Comment [A13]: The examples are very good and were asked for in the assignment.
The assignment says explicitly things like ‘For example,..’ This shows the linkage between the ideas and what the examples illustrate.
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was cemented when a primary school teacher told him: “As for you young man, you have not got much of a future” (‘John Ilham Biography’ n.d.).
In turn, Richard Branson appears to be a champion of the venture opportunity school of thought. Branson has taken his Virgin brand over enormous territory (music, airlines, mobile phones, financial services etc.) (‘Richard Branson Virgin Group’ n.d.). He has developed a business method he refers to as branded venture capital where-by the major thrust of his activities is to recognise opportunities, develop companies to realise those opportunities under the Virgin brand while partners provide most of the investment. In brief, entrepreneurship is a complex and wide-ranging set of activities.
3. The characteristics of an entrepreneur
Considerable research has been undertaken regarding common attributes of successful entrepreneurs (Timmons & Spinelli 2007). In one study, high achieving entrepreneurs that there were three principle reasons behind their success: the ability to respond positively to challenges and learn from mistakes, personal initiative, and great perseverance and determination. In addition, Timmons and Spinnelli (2007) state that the many characteristics of entrepreneurs can be segmented into some core, desirable and non-entrepreneurial attributes.
Core attributes include commitment and determination, leadership, opportunity obsession, risk tolerance, creativity and adaptability, and the motivation to succeed. Desirable attributes include the capacity to inspire, intelligence, appropriate values, and emotional stability. Non-entrepreneurial attributes include impulsiveness, perfectionist tendencies, authoritarianism and ‘machoism’.
Note that entrepreneurs do not seem to be driven intensely by financial benefits. In fact, most entrepreneurs desire greater autonomy, broader skill utilisation and the possibility to pursue their own ideas rather than financial rewards (Benz 2006).
Having now established the skills, characteristics and attributes most likely to be found in entrepreneurs, we will now assess the compatibility of those skills with a corporate career.
4. Compatibility of entrepreneurial characteristics with a corporate career
Most large organisations tend to be highly structured and hierarchical with a hierarchy that facilitates effective monitoring of performance and control (Casson 1994). Job requirements are clearly defined, accountability is clear and the chain of command is known.
Comment [A14]: This is the citation of an Internet source and the n.d. means no date because the date of the creation or last revision of the Internet source is not known. If it was known, the date should have been put in there.
Refer to the AIB Style Guide for how all these citations and references are to be written.
Comment [A15]: This short summary of the position that the student is trying to establish is a good idea.
Comment [A16]: Correctly, this paragraph is the only one-sentence paragraph in the whole document. Paragraphs should usually have around three or four sentences about one idea.
Comment [A17]: This theme sentence at the start of the paragraph summarises what the whole paragraph is about, is very useful and strongly recommended for your writing.
Comment [A18]: A short sentence that summarises what has been established and introduces the next section is OK.
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However, this control system will block the wide-ranging and innovative nature of entrepreneurs described above. They would be likely to find their commitment and determination restricted within their job specification. Their inclination to identify opportunity may be suppressed by conservative managers who hold more senior positions within the organisation structure. Their motivation may be suppressed by the organisation setting low, achievable and unchanging goals.
For example, Ray Borda, proprietor of Macro Meats, is an entrepreneur who was not able to survive in the traditional organisation structure. Borda established a chain of pet shops in South Australia in the 1980’s known as Petstop. Whilst the chain was popular, Borda rolled the stores out at a faster rate than company profits justified and he was eventually declared bankrupt. Borda returned to the salaried work force in a company that sold kangaroo meat for pet consumption throughout SA.
However, Borda then identified an emerging opportunity to provide kangaroo meat for the human consumption market. Despite his vision, Borda was unable to convince management of the company to change direction. Consequently, Borda took his vision outside of the company and successfully convinced some investors to purchase the company and change its direction. Today, Macro Meat is the largest wholesaler and retailer of human consumption kangaroo meat in Australia.
Another frustration that may be encountered by those with entrepreneurial attributes would be to find themselves in an organisation owned and/or controlled by an entrepreneur who does not require the organisation to be entrepreneurial. He just needs the organisation to support his creativity and innovation.
For example, Kerry Packer built an empire on the back of his own capacity to sense opportunity (‘Kerry Packer: Empire builder’ 2005). His recognition of the commercial potential of cricket, his affinity for knowing when to sell and buy, his intricate understanding of the television and media market and his recognition of the emerging power of the wagering and gaming market are all examples of his entrepreneurial capacity. But, for all of this, there is little evidence of entrepreneurial behaviour being practiced below him in the organisation structure. Instead,
Comment [A19]: Where is the citation and reference for this story? It should be included. How can we believe the story without its source being provided?
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Packer tended to surround himself with skilled but loyal lieutenants who concentrated on the implementation of his vision.
In brief, evidence seems to show that that those with entrepreneurial attributes are likely to find that traditional corporate organisations restrict their natural attributes and so detract from their job satisfaction level. But the budding entrepreneur may still have scope as the next section about corporate entrepreneurship shows.
5. Corporate entrepreneurship
Nevertheless, there are some organisations where those with entrepreneurial tendencies are encouraged and are able to flourish. One of the world’s most successful advertising agencies, Crispin, Porter and Bogusky is an example (‘Chuck Porter Crispin, Porter + Bogusky’ n.d.). Although employing 300 people at its Miami USA base, the company has a very flat organisation structure. Chuck Porter, senior partner, has discouraged subservience and promotes creativity and interaction. Departments that work most with each other are located furthest apart so as to encourage people to move and develop large internal networks and relationships. Day to day management is kept to the minimum. Porter is quoted as stating: “We make sure we employ people as smart as us and don’t try to manage people
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