Strategy asks you to write a critical-theoretical essay, which engages with key debates in strategy. This task assesses your ability to produce a relevant and compelling response to a set question, provide an analytic approach to the topic and its relevant issues, construct a sound argument and use relevant academic sources to support this argument. – GradSchoolPapers.com

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Assessment 2 on BUS204 Strategy asks you to write a critical-theoretical essay, which engages with key debates in strategy. This task assesses your ability to produce a relevant and compelling response to a set question, provide an analytic approach to the topic and its relevant issues, construct a sound argument and use relevant academic sources to support this argument. Coherence of essay structure and clarity in the overall expression and presentation of the argument is essential – as is good footnoting and bibliographic practice. Regardless which essay question you choose, you are encouraged to observe good essay-writing practice. This includes:
Conceiving, developing, and communicating your own critical stance towards the material in question in as systematic and clear a way as possible
Advancing your argument by making your claims as specific as possible, and providing detailed evidence in support of these claims
Addressing your topic from the outset of the essay. Sometimes students broach their topic too late in the essay, and this often results in vague writing, overly broad claims, and cursory use of evidence
Incorporating secondary sources as appropriate, and demonstrating their utility through their effective application within your own independently-formulated argument
Your essay will be marked in terms of the success with which you follow the advice above and the QMUL assessment criteria (described grade band-by-grade band) below.
You will be expected to draw on BOTH set books as well as the sources in the Themed Bibliography in completing this piece of assessment
ESSAY QUESTIONS
Answer one of the following in 2000 words (+/- 10%)
2) Reflect on the relation of strategic ‘fixes’ (Beverley Silver) to downward pressures on profit and control in relation to the strategies of supply chain security (Deborah Cowen). What are the strategic implications (a) for capital, (b) for labour and (c) for the inter-relation between capital and labour?
INSTRUCTIONS
In developing your argument, make sure you refer to both core books, in addition to other academic sources from the module and beyond. There is no hard and fast rule concerning number of additional readings but you will probably want to use a minimum of an additional 4 and probably no more 8 additional academic readings (this excludes newspaper articles, company reports, NGO reports, and the like). You may use a number of non-module academic sources as long as these are closely relevant and demonstrate your ability to go beyond prescribed texts.
Useful Advice
In answering these questions, be specific! Whose strategy are you considering? Is it that of a firm, a state, a political party, an NGO, a Trade Union? What is the context? Is the strategy one that was developed and implemented during the Great Recession or in today’s times of widespread austerity, in a developing nation in the hands of an IMF structural adjustment programme, by an NGO or Trade Union attempting to establish fair employment conditions for workers, or by large multi-national trying to open a new market? If you are considering a firm, what kind of industry are you considering and how does this differ from strategic thought and action in other industries? You may find it useful to develop one or more case studies to make your argument.
While you are strongly advised to focus your answer on the module readings, you are also encouraged to carry out your own independent research into your chosen topic. You should make sure you use only academic sources (such as academic journal articles and recently-published, scholarly books) and quality newspapers and magazines for contemporary examples (such as the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, The Economist and The New Statesman). You should not use online sources unless they come from an unimpeachable source.
Always provide evidence in support of your claims (e.g. examples, quotations and/or paraphrased ideas from your primary text and from the secondary sources you have consulted) – remembering to cite these correctly! You should use Harvard Referencing system. For details, take a look here: https://onlinelibrary.london.ac.uk/support/information-skills/organising-and-citing-your-references/referencing-styles-harvard
Referencing
You should aim to use Harvard Referencing. There are plenty of useful online guides, but here is one useful detailed account: https://www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Images/Selfstudy/Harvard.pdf
Please make sure you insert page numbers (or a page range) where one is relevant, that too would be helpful. If you are referring to a book or article as a whole, it’s not necessary, but on the whole when you are discussing a source, you will be talking of specific pages. Please make sure you insert those in the text.
If you are unsure as to what constitutes an academic source, here is a useful guide: https://owll.massey.ac.nz/academic-writing/identifying-academic-sources.php
You will also get useful advice in the library and https://scholar.google.co.uk is also a good resource.
Note that the model student essay posted below is excellent in many respects but 1) fails to provide a sufficiently extensive bibliography (last year students were not asked to use the two module books in their responses) and 2) the bibliography is not organised alphabetically as it should be. Otherwise it is a thoughtful essay that provides an example of the sort of thing of what is required for Assessment 2
All coursework will be passed through the anti-plagiarism software Turnitin. If you have any questions as to what constitutes plagiarism you should ask your school tutor or seminar tutor.
Always keep a back-up copy of your work (in Dropbox and/or on a memory stick)
in case the original is misplaced!
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
When your assessment is marked, it will be marked using the following grade bands.
Grade A (70-100)
Work graded at ‘A’ signifies outstanding work. To earn an A, a piece of written work must be independent, searching and detailed in its handling of material. It must show mastery of the medium of expression, whether essay, project or audio or visual production. Written work must observe the specified word limit and its use of academic conventions (e.g. footnoting and bibliographic practice) should be impeccable. Fluent and clear expression must enhance an argument that is original, stimulating, well-structured, coherent and that develops the topic relevantly. At Level 5, written work should demonstrate mastery of research skills, including the ability to evaluate critically the information used. It should demonstrate mastery of a range of principles, concepts, contexts and terminologies associated with the selected area of study. It should show an ability to make searching critical evaluations of different methodological and/or theoretical approaches and, where appropriate, to relate issues with sophistication to wider social, cultural, historical or ethical perspectives.
Grade B (60-69)
Work graded at ‘B’ signifies a substantial and interesting piece of work. To earn a B, a piece of written work must show careful study, independent thought, good organisation and fluent, accurate expression. Written work must observe the specified word limit and its use of academic conventions (e.g. footnoting and bibliographic practice) should be correct. It must make detailed use of primary and/or secondary source material, show enquiring thought, and make an articulate and informative, clear and relevant argument. This is a high mark and requires work that engages intellectually and productively with material and with the task assigned. At Level 5, written work should demonstrate good research skills, including the ability to evaluate critically the information used. It should demonstrate good understanding of a range of principles, concepts, contexts and terminologies associated with the selected area of study. It should show an ability to make effective critical evaluations of different methodological and/or theoretical approaches and, where appropriate, to relate issues effectively to wider social, cultural, historical or ethical perspectives.
Grade C (50-59)
Work graded at ‘C’ indicates a sound piece of work. To earn a C a piece of written work must develop an argument that is organised and coherent in itself and responds relevantly to the topic. Points made in the argument must be backed up or illustrated by examples or evidence from the texts discussed. The piece of work must handle the material competently. If the material could be handled in greater depth or detail this will be pointed out and exemplified. Written work must observe the specified word limit and attempt proper use of academic conventions (e.g. footnoting and good bibliographic practice). If problems of expression or presentation hinder the clarity or effectiveness of the argument, these will be noted. At Level 5, written work should demonstrate research skills, including the ability to evaluate critically the information used. It should demonstrate an understanding of a range of principles, concepts, contexts and terminologies associated with the selected area of study. It should show some ability to make critical evaluations of different methodological and/or theoretical approaches and, where appropriate, to relate issues to wider social, cultural, historical or ethical perspectives.
Grade D (45-49)
Work graded at ‘D’ indicates weakness in the standard of work. If the weakness is in the way the subject is addressed or handled critically the course leader will explain the deficiency. If it is in presentation clear guidelines or corrections will be offered. If the piece is too slight the student’s attention will be drawn to the specified word limit and suggestions made as to how the work might have been developed. If spelling is at fault the proper instruments of old and new technology will be recommended. Other deficiencies in writing skills will be explained by advisers and/or seminar leaders. At Level 5, written work should demonstrate some research skills, including some ability to evaluate critically the information used. It should demonstrate familiarity with a range of principles, concepts, contexts and terminologies associated with the selected area of study. It should show some ability to make critical evaluations of different methodological and/or theoretical approaches and, where appropriate, to relate issues to wider social, cultural, historical or ethical perspectives.
Grade E (40-44)
For a very unsound performance with acceptable presentation, or acceptable content with poor presentation, an E might be given. An E might be given where an earnest attempt has been made to perform the exercise as directed, but the work is too slight, does not address the subject adequately, is unsupported by any or sufficient research, or where severe deficiencies in expression are identified. As with a mark of D, if the piece is too slight the student’s attention will be drawn to the specified word limit and suggestions made as to how the work might have been developed; similarly, if the weakness is in the way the subject is addressed or in the way that the work constructs an argument, the course leader or seminar leader will explain the deficiencies. If spelling is at fault the proper instruments of old and new technology will be recommended. Other deficiencies in writing skills will be explained by advisers and/or seminar leaders.
Grade F (0-39)
Work graded at ‘F’ indicates an unsatisfactory piece of work. Work not handed in or work not the student’s own automatically fails (the penalties for the latter are severe). An F may be given for a piece of work far too slight, far too careless in presentation or expression or completely failing to address the assigned topic or task. It would never be given for an earnest attempt to perform the exercise as directed.
The two books are:
Cowen, D., (2014) The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press
Silver, B. J., (2003) Forces of Labor: Worker’s Movements and Globalization since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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