Strategic Management

Assignment Brief

As part of the formal assessment for the programme you are required to submit a STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT assignment. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

Learning Outcomes:

After completing the module, you should be able to:

  1. Critically analyse and apply a number of theoretical models and their potential for developing strategy and supporting strategic decisions.
  2. Analyse theoretical developments in strategy.
  3. Support the development of organisational strategies and plans.
  4. Critically assess the impact of strategy making in an increasingly volatile and turbulent environment.
  5. Appreciate the significance of and the difficulties in formulating and implementing strategy.


Your assignment should include: a title page containing your student number, the module name, the submission deadline and the exact word count of your submitted document; the appendices if relevant; and a reference list in AU Harvard system(s). You should address all the elements of the assignment task listed below. Please note that tutors will use the assessment criteria set out below in assessing your work.

You must not include your name in your submission because Arden University operates anonymous marking, which means that markers should not be aware of the identity of the student. However, please do not forget to include your STU number.

Maximum word count: 4000 words

Please refer to the full word count policy which can be found in the Student Policies section here: Arden University | Regulatory Framework

Please note the following:

Students are required to indicate the exact word count on the title page of the assessment.

The word count includes everything in the main body of the assessment (including in text citations and references). The word count excludes numerical data in tables, figures, diagrams, footnotes, reference list and appendices. ALL other printed words ARE included in the word count.

Please note that exceeding the word count by over 10% will result in a 10-percentage point deduction.

Assignment Task

This assessment is weighted 100% of the total marks for the Module. Case Study Organisation: Ryanair

Read the Case Study entitled “Ryanair: The Low Cost Airlines – ‘Always getting better’?” (Johnson et al., 2016, p. 622-632)

This assignment requires you to study the Case Study (provided as a separate document), research further and undertake critical analyses of the business’ current strategic plans and practices. Your strategic plan must be underpinned by relevant, authentic and referenced academic theories, concepts, models, Ryanair Corporate information and any other appropriate sources.


Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Regner, P., Scholes, K. and Angwin, D., 2016.

Exploring Strategy: Text and Cases. 11th Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Produce a Report for Ryanair’s CEO that addresses the following questions based on the case, your own research and relevant strategic management theories:

  1. a) Strategy development approaches are often described as either prescriptive or emergent. Analyse approaches adopted at Ryanair, explain and justify what you believe the balance of prescriptive and emergent strategy formulation processes at the case study is.

Your answer should first provide an outline of the main principles underpinning both prescriptive and emergent approaches and the major differences between the approaches and their main limitations. You should then identify initiatives adopted by Ryanair over the past few years to provide a convincing analysis of the balance between the prescriptive and emergent approaches that you consider to have been applied by Ryanair

(15 Marks)

(600 Words)

  • Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, is portrayed in the case study as an enigma and controversial figure. Evaluate the strategic leadership of Ryanair’s CEO. Should he continue to serve as CEO?

(5 Marks)

(200 Words)

Total for Question One:

(20 marks)

(800 words)

(LO’s 2 & 3)

  • a) With the aid of the SWOT analysis, identify the issues facing Ryanair and evaluate its present situation. Explain why Ryanair has been successful thus far. Evaluate the effectiveness of Ryanair’s responses to major changes in the macro-environment

(20 Marks)

(800 words)

  • Using Porter’s Five Forces Model, critically assess the strength and attractiveness of the European budget airline sector that Ryanair is currently operating in. Your assessment should identify and justify what you believe to be the most important influences arising from the competitive environment facing Ryanair

(20 Marks)

(800 Words)

Total for Question Two:

(40 Marks)

(1600 words)

(LO’s 1 & 4)

  • a) With the aid of results of the environment analyses in question 2 and any appropriate framework of your choice, critically analyse Ryanair’s competitive strategies and the extent to which Ryanair’s new ‘Always Getting Better (AGB)’ strategy is sustainable over time

(20 Marks

(800 Words)

  • Using the Ansoff Matrix, assess the growth strategies adopted by Ryanair in Europe. In light of the proposal to introduce long haul flights, what changes would you recommend to Ryanair’s approach in the future

(20 Marks)

(800 Words)

Total for Question Three:

(40 Marks)

(1600 words)

(LO’s 1, 4 & 5)

Total for whole paper:

(4,000 words)

(100 marks)

(LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)

Formative Feedback

You have the opportunity to submit a draft report to receive formative feedback.

The feedback is designed to help you develop areas of your work and it helps you develop your skills as an independent learner.

If you are a distance learning student, you should submit your work, by email, to your tutor, no later than 2 weeks before the actual submission deadline. If you are a blended learning student, your tutor will give you a deadline for formative feedback and further details.

Formative feedback will not be given to work submitted after the above date or the date specified by your tutor – if a blended learning student

 Referencing Guidance                                                                                                   

You MUST underpin your analysis and evaluation of the key issues with appropriate and wide ranging academic research and ensure this is referenced using the AU Harvard system(s).

Follow this link to find the referencing guides for your subject: Arden Library

Submission Guidance

Assignments submitted late will not be accepted and will be marked as a 0% fail.

Your assessment should be submitted as a single Word (MS Word) or PDF file. For more information please see the “Submitting an Assignment – Guide” document available on the A-Z key information on iLearn.

You must ensure that the submitted assignment is all your own work and that all sources used are correctly attributed. Penalties apply to assignments which show evidence of academic unfair practice. (See the Student Handbook which is available on the A-Z key information on iLearn.)

Assessment Criteria (Learning objectives covered – all)

Level 6 study represents the student’s increasing autonomy and independence in relation to their knowledge, understanding and skills. At Level 6, students are expected to demonstrate problem solving skills in both practical and theoretical contexts. This should be supported by an understanding of appropriate theory, creativity in expression and thought based on independent but informed judgments. Students should demonstrate the ability to seek out, invoke, analyse and evaluate competing theories and claims to knowledge and work in a critically constructive manner. Work at this level is articulate, coherent and skilled.
GradeMark BandsGeneric Assessment Criteria
First (1)80%+An exceptional knowledge base exploring and analysing the discipline, its theory and any associated ethical considerations. The work demonstrates extraordinary independence of thought and originality. There is exceptional management of learning resources and a high degree of autonomy is demonstrated which goes above and beyond the brief. The work demonstrates intellectual originality and creativity. Writing is exceptionally well structured and accurately referenced throughout. Where appropriate, outstanding professional skills are demonstrated. The work is original and with some additional effort could be considered for internal publication.
70- 79%An excellent information base within which the discipline is explored and analysed. There is considerable originality in the approach and the work demonstrates confidence and autonomy and extends to consider ethical issues. Learning resources have been managed with exceptional confidence and the work exceeds the assessment brief. Writing is exceptionally well structured and accurately referenced throughout. Where appropriate, an excellent level of professional skills are demonstrated and the work demonstrates a high level of intellectual and academic skills.
Upper second (2:1)60- 69%A very good knowledge base which explores and analyses the discipline, its theory and any associated ethical issues. There is evidence of some originality and independence of thought. A very good range of learning resources underpin the work and there is clear evidence of self-directed research. The work demonstrates the ability to analyse the subject and apply theory with good academic and intellectual skills. Academic writing skills are good, expression is accurate overall and the work is consistently referenced throughout.
Lower second (2:2)50- 59%A satisfactory understanding of the discipline which supports some analysis, evaluation and problem-solving within the discipline. There may be reference to some of the ethical considerations. The work shows a sound level of competence in managing basic sources and materials. Academic writing skills are good and accurate overall and the work is planned and structured with some thought. Professional skills are satisfactory (where appropriate). The work may lack originality but academic and intellectual skills are moving into the critical domain. The work is referenced throughout.
Third (3)40- 49%Basic level of performance in which there are some omissions in the understanding of the subject, its underpinning theory and ethical considerations. There is little evidence of independent thought and the work shows a basic use of sources and materials. Academic and intellectual skills are limited. The work may lack structure overall. There are some difficulties in developing professional skills (where appropriate). There is an attempt to reference the work.
Marginal Fail30- 39%A limited piece of work in which there are clear gaps in understanding the subject, its underpinning theory and ethical considerations. The work shows a limited use of sources and materials. Academic and intellectual skills are weak and there are errors in expression and the work may lack structure overall. There are difficulties in developing professional skills (where appropriate). The work lacks original thought and is largely imitative.
 29% and belowA poor performance in which there are substantial gaps in knowledge and understanding, underpinning theory and ethical considerations. The work shows little evidence in the use of appropriate sources and materials. Academic writing skills are very weak and there are numerous errors in expression. The work lacks structure overall. Professional skills (where appropriate) are not developed. The work is imitative.

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