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External Environment Analysis

External Environment Analysis


This project provides you with the opportunity to evaluate the competitive position of one of the organizations listed below and integrate that information in an External Factor Evaluation (EFE) matrix and Competitive Profile Matrices (CPM).
In this project, you are presenting a report document.  The expectation is that the report provides the level of details to help the report audience grasp the main topics and to fully understand the External Environmental Analysis.
Analysis is the operative word.  In analyzing the external environment, you are expected to thoroughly research and take that research and break it into small parts to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the external environment of the business.  In researching an industry, it is important to understand that every company within an industry is different so gathering information on one company does not mean that the collected information is relevant to other company within that industry.  When researching, parsing the material is critical to an accurate analysis.  Avoid presenting just any information as that may lead to using irrelevant information.
You will then write the report in your own words to share the external analysis.  You are expected to present information and support the ideas and reasoning using the course material and your research.  You will not lift any information from source documents without properly citing and referencing.  For the technical analysis aspect of the project, you are required to create the technique on your own and may not use from any source material that you happen to find.  No work from a clearinghouse or similar website may be used or cited as a credible source. 
Skill Building:
In this project, you are building many different skills including research, critical thinking, writing and developing analytical skills related to various financial analysis tools and strategy tools used in business.  
Outcomes Met With This Project:
utilize a set of useful analytical skills, tools, and techniques for analyzing a company strategically;
integrate ideas, concepts, and theories from previously taken functional courses including accounting, finance, market, business and human resource management;
analyze and synthesize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to generate, prioritize, and implement alternative strategies in order to revise a current plan or write a new plan and present a strategic plan 
Step 1:  Research
In completing the report, you will use the chapters in the eBook as a guide and perform research on the company and industry in which the company operates and answer the required elements below in narrative form following the steps provided.
Note:  Your report is based on the results of the research performed and not on any prepared documentation.  What this means is that you will research and draw your own conclusions that are supported by the research and the course material rather than the use any source material that puts together any of the tools or techniques whether from the Internet, for-pay websites or any document, video or source material.  A zero will be earned for not doing your own analysis.
Library Resources
You will be using scholarly material and Mergent Online to research privately held and public companies.  On the main navigation bar in the classroom select, Resources and then select Library.  Select Databases by Title (A – Z).  Select M from the alphabet list, and then select Mergent Online.  
UMUC library is available for providing resources and services. Seek library support for excellence in your academic pursuit.  
Library Support
Extensive library resources and services are available online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at to support you in your studies.  The UMUC Library provides research assistance in creating search strategies, selecting relevant databases, and evaluating and citing resources in a variety of formats via its Ask a Librarian service at
Scholarly Research in OneSearch
Step 2:  The External Analysis
After reading the course material for the first three weeks, you will perform an external analysis on an industry where a company from the list below operates and competes.  You will be assigned by your instructor one of these companies to complete the analysis.  Using a company other than the instructor-assigned company will result in a zero for the project.  You will perform research on the instructor-assigned company, its industry and its competitors.
Focus on factors related to the company’s industry and the environment that it and its competitors make. The factors to measure are those identified in a partial SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces, PESTEL, EFE, and CPM. 
Step 3:Specific Company for All Three Projects
You will be specifically assigned by your instructor to write your independent report on one focal company.  The assigned company must be used for all three projects in this course. You are not allowed to write the report on any other company different from the company specifically assigned by your instructor.  If a company other than that assigned to you is used, a zero will be assigned.
The companies that your instructor has assigned to each of you are listed in List of Companies.
Students must complete the project using the assigned company.  Deviating from the assigned company will result in a zero for the project.
Step 4:  How to Set Up the Report
In the past weeks, you have learned new concepts and techniques to assess the business environment.  You will use these techniques (tools), concepts and information from your own research to perform the external analysis of the selected company’s environment.  You are not lifting from other sources but performing your own analysis. 
Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document using 12-point font.  The final product cannot be longer than 16 pages in length, which includes all tables and matrices but excludes the title page and reference page.  Those items identified in the technical analysis should appear under the appropriate heading in the paper.  Do no use an Appendix.
Create a title page with title, your name, the course number, the instructor’s name
Step 5: Company Overview & Initial Assessment
Provide a company overview, which is an essential component to the strategic management process.  A company overview describes the purpose(s) for the founding of the company, i.e, what problems was it formed to solve and/or opportunities it was formed to exploit, who are the founders, home country or state, current management, employee headcount, last year’s revenue, etc.)
Step 6: Evaluate the General Environment
Discuss the company’s general environment and develop a PESTEL analysis.  Be sure to thorough present and support the reasoning for what is presented.  You may not use a PESTEL analysis that is already completed and available on the Internet.  A zero will result if used as the analysis has to be the result of your research and your own development.
In your discussion, identify one key trend for each letter of PESTEL.
Discuss how the industry in which the selected company operates could be affected by one of the trends.
Discuss key areas of uncertainty related to trends or events that could potentially impact the company’s strategy.
Step 7: Evaluate the Industry
Perform a Porter’s Five Forces on the organization’s industry.  The analysis of each force must clearly state and/or conclude with the effect of the given force on the fortunes of the industry (industry profitability) and/or industry dynamics; that is whether the effect of the force on the industry is weak/modest/average/moderate or strong/severe.  You may not use a Porter’s Five Forces analysis that is already completed and available on the Internet.  A zero will result if used as the analysis has to be the result of your research and your own development.
Perform a competitive analysis.  Identify the organization’s competitors.
Using the company’s closest three competitors plus the selected company, analyze the competition’s products and services explaining features, value, targets, etc.  What are the competition’s strengths and weaknesses and what is the market outlook for the competition?
Identify key success factors (critical success factors) and then complete a Competitor Profile Matrix (CPM).  Discuss how you developed the components of the matrix.  Make sure to support you reasoning.
o Using the information gathered about external factors, develop a partial SWOT (OT) matrix for the external environment of the selected company.  This involves completing an analysis of the OT.  Discuss how you developed the matrix.  Make sure to support your reasoning.  You may not use an OT analysis that is already completed and available on the Internet.  A zero will result if used as the analysis has to be the result of your research and your own development.
o Using the information gathered about external factors, develop an EFE matrix.  Discuss how you developed the EFE matrix.  Make sure to support your reasoning.
Step 8:Conclusion
Create a concluding paragraph.  The Conclusion is intended to emphasize the purpose/significance of the analysis, emphasize the significance/consequence of findings, and indicate the wider applications that are derived from the main points of the project’s requirements.  You will draw conclusions about the findings of the external environment analysis.
Step 9:  Submit the Report in the Assignment Folder
Submitting the project to the Assignment Folder is considered the student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor.  It is incumbent upon the student to verify the Project is the correct submission.  No exceptions will be considered by the instructor. 
Report Requirements to Follow
In writing the report,
Use the grading rubric while completing the project to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade. 
Third person writing is required.  Third person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing).  
Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them. 
No direct quotes except for mission statement and vision statement.  For all other source material used in the analysis, you will not use direct quotation marks but will instead paraphrase.  What this means is that you will put the ideas of an author or article into your own words rather than lifting directly from a source document.  You may not use more than four consecutive words from a source document, as doing so would require direct quotation marks.  Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks.   If more than four consecutive words are used from source documents, this material will not be included in the grade and could lead to allegations of academic dishonesty.
Use in-text citations and provide a reference list that contains the reference associated with each in-text citation.
You may not use books in completing this project.
Provide the page or paragraph number in every in-text citation presented. 
You may not use Fort Fern University, Ibis World or any other for-fee website.

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