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Q. Drawing on the Resource Based View literature, evaluate whether and how Zappos.comgenerates sustainable competitive advantage.

Faculty of Business and Law

Department of Business & Management:

Strategy & Operations Management Cluster

assessment brief: APPLIED ESSAY

Module Code:

UMSD7T-15-3; UMSD7U-15-3; UMSDDJ-15-3

Module Title:

Strategic Management (BIM) (AEF) (MET)

Submission Deadline:

The assignment should be submitted via Blackboard

Assessment Component

Component B

Assessment Weighting:

40% per cent of total module mark

Assessment Instructions

This essay is to be based on the application of ideas from the Resource Based View literature to the organisation in the case study that will be made available.

Q. Drawing on the Resource Based View literature, evaluate whether and how Zappos.comgenerates sustainable competitive advantage.

You need to draw on ideas from the Resource Based View (RBV) literature, and appropriate evidence from the case study provided, to evaluate Zappos.com’s sustainable competitive advantage. The key to doing well is to demonstrate that you can use these theoretical ideas and apply them; as you have been doing in the seminars.

Please note that your assignment MUST be written around the evidence in the case study provided. There is no need to do any additional research onZappos.com, and we are not interested in what Zappos.comis doing now. All evidence drawn from the case study must be appropriately referenced,as should all of the academic ideas that you draw on. All citations (in text references) of the case study must include the page number from the case that you are referring to.

Assignment Learning Objective: To demonstrate your ability to apply concepts from the module to an organisation or firm, to undertake a theoretically informed analysis and to draw conclusions that link the topic of study to the objective of sustaining competitive advantage. For this essay you will be required to independently investigate the academic literature on the topic and apply your knowledge of this literature to the organisation.

Marking Criteria

A detailed breakdown of the marking criteria used by staff to assess this applied essay is provided at the end of this document (page 5). When writing your assignment it is useful to keep in mind these assessment criteria and the weightings allocated to each as well as the overview of standards provided on pages 2-3 of the module handbook. These will help to guide your efforts in writing the essay.

Format

The purpose of an essay as an assignment task is to demonstrate your understanding of the topic and your ability to sustain an argument. Essays are a form of academic writing that require you to follow the general structure of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. An essay is written in whole sentences and paragraphs. If you do not use an essay format you will lose marks. Essays do not necessarily need headings, though these are often useful for guiding the reader. Appendices are not permitted; any essential figures and tables should be included in the body of the assignment.

Document submission formats for on-line marking

Please follow these guidelines in preparing your documents:

  • Do NOT use a cover sheet; instead just put your title at the top of the first page and begin your essay immediately beneath this.
  • You MUST include your student ID number at the top of every page (put it in a header).
  • Page numbers MUST be included at the bottom of every page.
  • You should use Calibri or Times New Roman 12-point typeface with single line spacing. Please leave a full line between each paragraph for easier on-line reading.
  • The document you submit must be in Word (.doc or .docx) format and should be uploaded as one file. Please do not spread your assignment over multiple files – for example, do not put your references in a separate file. We will only open and mark one file per student.
  • Your marks will be affected if your tutor cannot open or properly view your submission (for example, if you did not follow instructions on acceptable file formats).
  • To minimize file size, please do NOT include pictures or photographs. Your own diagrams are OK! 
  • All tables and diagrams must be included in the text - DO NOT use appendices as tutors will not scroll back and forth through your work to find material in an appendix.
  • Please number and give titles to all tables and diagrams for ease of reference in your text.

Word Limit

To complete this assignment you must produce a 1500 (+/- 10%) word academic essay (the word count excludes the reference list and in-text citations).

There is no direct penalty for exceeding the word count but the marker WILL stop reading once the word limit has been reached and nothing further will be taken into account in the allocation of marks.

You can view the UWE word count policy here: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/aboutus/policies

Referencing:

Please ensure you adhere to the principles of good academic practice and ensure you use the UWE Harvard system to reference your work. Failure to properly reference your work to original source material can be grounds for the assessment offence of plagiarism and may result in failure of the assessment or have more serious implications.

Please refer to the UWE ‘Library Guidelines on Citations and References’:

References (citations) within the body of a report should be linked to your reference list using the Harvard system of referral.  This requires the author’s surname and the year of publication to be inserted at every point in the text where reference is made to a particular document.

Why reference?

There are a number of reasons why you should provide references:

  • to demonstrate that you have considered other people`s opinions and read around your subject;
  • to acknowledge other people`s work and/or ideas - and thus avoid accusations of plagiarism (plagiarism: is the act of presenting the ideas or discoveries of another as one`s own);
  • to provide evidence for a statement;
  • to illustrate a point or offer support for an argument/idea you want to make;
  • to enable readers of your work to find the source material, e.g. for a particular methodology you have used; and
  • to direct readers to further information sources.
  • When preparing reports, essays, etc. for assignments at UWE, if you wish to refer to something you have read you MUST give a reference for this material.

Harvard Referencing

There are often differences in how this system is implemented as there is no definitive guidance on how Harvard should be applied.  However, UWE Library Services have undertaken an extensive review and provide UWE-approved guidance on what is expected by all UWE Faculties that use the Harvard style.  For details of how to reference according to the UWE-approved Harvard referencing style, please visit the Referencing section of UWE Library Services’ iSkillZone. You will find advice on how to list references within the body of the text, as well as how to present the reference list.

NOTE: If you submit a poorly referenced essay you will lose marks.  If you submit an unreferenced or plagiarised essay you will fail the assignment.  Cases of plagiarism will be referred via the formal assessment offences process. Plagiarism, collusion and non-compliance with assessment regulations are offences under University regulations and where suspected, will be investigated under official procedures.  Penalties vary depending on the severity of the offence but can include expulsion from the University.

For further guidance on correct referencing go to:

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/studysupport/studyskills/referencing.aspx

Details of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it can be found here:

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/studysupport/studyskills/readingandwriting/plagiarism.aspx

For general guidance on how to avoid assessment offences see:

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/academicadvice/assessments/assessmentoffences.aspx

Instructions for submission

You must submit your assignment before the stated deadline by electronic submission through Blackboard. Notification that the electronic submission portal is open for your assignment is displayed (usually two weeks before the submission date) in the Coursework tab in myUWE, the Coursework tab in Blackboard and via an announcement in the Blackboard course.

Please ensure you allow sufficient time to upload your script, noting that the system becomes busier and slower as the deadline approaches. Only your final upload will be counted. Ensure all your information is submitted at one attempt to avoid ‘overwriting’ your intended submission. Always check and retain your receipts.

Late submission in the 24 hours following the deadline will be accepted but the assignment mark will usually be capped at 40%. Submissions after 24 hours will not be accepted. For full guidance on online submission through Blackboard, see:

http://info.uwe.ac.uk/online/Blackboard/students/guides/assignments/default.asp

Submissions of coursework by any other method (including a paper copy, on disc, by email or by fax) are NOT permissible for this module unless specifically agreed in advance of the submission date.

Before submitting your work, please ensure the following:

  • That you have proof read you work thoroughly to ensure your work is presented appropriately
  • That you have addressed all the required elements of the assessment
  • That you have referenced in accordance with the guidance provided
  • That you have addressed each of the marking criteria
  • That the submission is in the correct format

Feedback

Students will normally receive marks and feedback on their submission within 20 working days of the submission deadline (not including weekends, any public holidays or university closure days). Any delay in returning students’ work will be communicated by the module leader via Blackboard. Please bear in mind that marking can sometimes be delayed due to technical problems with on-line marking and due to the extensive quality control process involved in moderating work. In large modules, such as Strategic Management, we are required to undertake substantial second marking to ensure consistency and fairness in marking and this does take time to complete.

Please note that feedback can take many forms and can be summative (provided for work completed) or formative (provided for on-going work or activities). Feedback on this module is not limited to the written comments you will receive on individual written assessment submissions. Rather, engagement in the seminar series provides you with regular and immediate formative feedback as you work on your case analyses during the seminar.

You can expect written feedback through the Blackboard system. Please read this feedback carefully as it will highlight areas where you can develop your work. If you wish to discuss your work further, you will have the opportunity to contact the person who marked your work. Their e-mail address will be provided on the feedback form.

Further Guidance

Guidance on study skills: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/studysupport/studyskills.aspx

Support from the FBL Academic Success Centre (2B076):

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/bl/bbs/aboutus/studentexperience/academicsupportcentre.aspx

Guidance on UWE assessment regulations and terminology: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/academicadvice/assessments/assessmentsguide.aspx

Guidance on using the library: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/library/usingthelibrary.aspx

Extenuating Circumstances

If you are experiencing difficulties in completing a piece of assessment on time due to unexpected circumstances (for example illness, accident, bereavement), you should seek advice from a Student Support Adviser at the earliest opportunity.

Please note the module leader cannot grant extenuating circumstances or extensions.

Appointments with a student adviser can be made via an Information Point or online at:

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/academicadvice/studentadvisers.aspx

The Student Support Adviser will advise as to whether you should submit an application for ‘Extenuating Circumstances (ECs)’, how to do so and what evidence is required to support the application. Further details on ECs can be found here:

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/academicadvice/assessments/extenuatingcircumstances.aspx


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