Assignment tasks

It is important to note that all TMAs are applied on one case company which this year is ‘Whitbread Group PLC’. Your application should be based on the Materials provided with each TMA.


Read the documents provided in Part 1 of the ‘Materials’.

Analyse and critically evaluate the company’s current corporate strategy.

Your answer to this part should be no more than 1000 words. (30 marks)


Based on the analysis that you conducted in Part 1, give advice about potential strategic choices at the corporate level and provide two clear strategic recommendations for the company.

Your answer to this part should be no more than 800 words. (20 marks)


Read the documents provided in Part 3 of the ‘Materials’.

Considering one of the industries in which the company is operating, first, analyse the current business strategy it has adopted in that industry and, second, provide two strategic recommendations that can ensure business success in that industry in the future. Finally, consider consistency between your strategic recommendations at corporate and business levels.

Your answer to this part should be no more than 1200 words. (35 marks)

Guidance notes

In preparing your TMA, you should not just describe the theory you use, but demonstrate your knowledge of the theory you have been studying by applying it to the case study outlined in the Materials section.

Read the materials provided for each part. You can use them to prepare supporting evidence in your TMA. All the sources you use, including the materials provided in the TMA, should be correctly referenced.

The Materials section contains all the information about the case company needed to produce excellent answers. You must read the materials critically: consider who is writing each document and if they have some particular interest. Do NOT copy the materials and paste them in your TMA. The materials are resources from which – if you use them effectively – you may construct excellent answers. If you use any additional resources, you must reference them correctly.

Part 1

Part 1 asks you to identify and analyse the company’s existing corporate strategy. To approach this part of the TMA, you should rely on, and apply, your study of Block 4. You should start your answer by identifying the strategic choices that the company has made across the years, using evidence from the materials to illustrate specific Block 4 approaches to corporate strategy. From the various aspects of corporate strategy you’ve been introduced to, identify which ones are relevant to the case company. Some examples can be: diversification (Week 19), vertical and/or horizontal integration (Week 18), internationalisation (Week 20), the use of CPA for internationalisation (Week 21).

Proceed by discussing only the elements of corporate strategy which are relevant to the case company. Your discussion should offer an analysis of the reasons behind the specific strategic decisions, their advantages and disadvantages and the benefits they offer by using insights from theory in Block 4 and evidence from the Materials. To develop your discussion, you may consider following a reasoning like the discussion of corporate strategy and the application you carried out during tutorial ‘TMA 03 preparation’. Indicatively, if you have identified any instances of vertical or horizontal integration, you may consider the following: What were the drivers? What are any potential benefits and downsides the company might have faced while pursuing the type of integration(s) that you have identified?

These are some indicative examples of the steps you can follow to develop your discussion. A good answer will show that you have organised your thoughts into a logical order, that your argument is coherent and supported by evidence drawn from the materials, that you have considered the usefulness of the evidence and how it can be interpreted by the theory to support your answer. Doing so will demonstrate evidence of: 1) critical thinking, 2) understanding of the chosen theoretical concepts and 3) ability to apply these concepts to the case company.

Part 2

In this part, you should formulate two recommendations about the company’s corporate strategy, based on the insights you have gained from your study of Block 4 and appropriate evidence from the case study materials. Your recommendations should be informed by and built on the analysis you conducted in Part 1. You may also want to refer to previous TMAs.

Indicatively, in preparing your answer you may consider the following points:

•         If your recommendation is to continue to pursue an existing corporate strategy you should explain why that is your recommendation and support the discussion with a solid theoretical grounding and reference to the module frameworks and concepts.

•         Consider the different growth strategies presented in Block 4 Weeks 17, 18, 19 and 20, ranging from vertical integration, to product diversification and internationalisation. For instance, if you want to propose a recommendation on internationalisation, you should think about possible markets that can be targeted for entering or exiting in the next few years. For each recommendation, explain why you made the recommendation with a solid theoretical grounding and reference to the module frameworks and concepts.

The above are just indicative and a good answer will show that you have clearly defined the recommendations, making good use of the theoretical frameworks and concepts of Block 4 and of evidence on the case company provided in the Materials. Evaluating critically the recommendations will earn you more marks.Part 3

There are three parts to this question, and you should give them equal importance.

In the first part you need to analyse the company’s business strategy in the UK Hotel industry using Porter’s generic strategies framework, which you studied in Week 13 Section 4. The first step is to identify the current business strategy pursued by the company. You can look back at the cost leadership definition and its sources of advantage (Week 13 Sections 6 and 7), at broad differentiation strategy and its characteristics (Week 14, Sections 1, 2 and 3), and at focus strategies (Week 14 Section 3 and its subsections). Having done that, you need to discuss the pros and cons of the strategy chosen by the company. Revising the risks of cost leadership (Week 13 Section 10.1) and broad differentiation (Week 14 Section 2.4) would be helpful.

The second part of the question asks you to make two strategic recommendations that can ensure business success in the future. To answer this part of the question you can look back at what you have done in Week 14 Section 5. It is important to explain both what your recommendation is and to discuss why it is appropriate. Your answer needs to combine the evidence from the materials on the case company with theoretical concepts from the module (Weeks 13 and 14). You may demonstrate your recommendations with the aid of the diagram shown in Activity 14.11. A good answer to this part will combine a good analysis of the current business strategy with the strategic recommendations.

Finally, in identifying your strategic recommendations at a business level, you should also consider the corporate level recommendations you made in Part 2 of this TMA. The strategic recommendations at the business level should be consistent with the ones at the corporate level.

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