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This individual assignment will be assessed by means of a 3,500 ± 10% word report. The assignment has been designed to allow you to develop and use your knowledge and skills in understanding key strategic issues relating to the Global Telecommunication Industry. You will be required to apply the strategic concepts and analytical techniques studied in this module. All the learning outcomes below will be assessed:

  1. Demonstrate critical understanding and application of relevant theories associated with global corporate policies and strategies.
  2. Understand the holistic nature of strategy and apply analytical techniques to solve complex problems in real life organizations.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the strategic decision making process through critical analysis of how strategic decision making enables an organisation to relate to its global business environment.
  4. Critically evaluate and monitor the business mission, objectives and policies of international organisations.
  5. Use critical reflective skills to reflect on the impact of their understanding on the problem solving process.

Please note:

  1. All work must adhere to the University regulations on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’ which are provided as an Appendix in your Programme Handbook. You are encouraged to use ‘Harvard Referencing Style’ and avoid ‘Plagiarism’.
  2. A hard copy and an electronic copy on CD Rom or DVD of the assignment must be handed to the Study Centre on or before the appointed date under cover of the Sunderland Business School (SBS) Feedback Sheet. Please include a Turnitin Report were possible.
  3. Issue Date: Friday, 07 February 2014
  4. Submission Date: 2014


Your task is to carry out a critical analysis and evaluation of the strategies adopted by global telecommunications providers, using the information provided and other materials researched. You will be expected to select and apply appropriate theories, techniques and models studied during the module whilst having regard to the practical aspects of strategy development.

Your assignment should be presented in a business report format and should be within the range 3,500 ± 10% words (excluding executive summary/abstract, references and relevant appendices). The report should include a title page and abstract and be fully and consistently referenced, using Harvard Referencing style. You must also submit a CD Rom or DVD containing an electronic version of the report. This should be clearly labelled with your name, your course and the name of the case study.

It is recommended that you research information additional to the case study to support your arguments. This may be obtained from a diverse range of sources and you are encouraged to research the issues in whichever way you deem appropriate.


Assessment Criteria

In the event of failing this individual assignment, normal referral / deferral procedures will apply. This assignment carries a weighting of 100%. The assessment will focus on the level of ANALYSIS carried out. That is, the application of THEORETICAL CONCEPTS studied in the module to the ‘practical’ case study presented. In other words, you should proceed beyond a DESCRIPTION of the company and its actions. You should be analysing ‘why’ rather then describing ‘what’. The assignment will be assessed and moderated by two members of staff in accordance with the marks allocated to each of the questions detailed below. 10% of the marks are set aside for the ‘presentation’ criteria.

Academic Rigour

  • your ability to isolate the key strategic issues
  • the coherence and depth of the analysis of those issues
  • the ability to analyse the strategy context within which companies operates
  • the ability to critically review and evaluate strategic decisions made by companies


  • the use of relevant evidence, from material provided and personal research to support any statements made
  • the appropriateness of the methods used and theoretical models and frameworks applied
  • the breadth and depth of research undertaken

Evaluation of data

  • the ability to make sound recommendations or conclusions arising from the analysis
  • the soundness of arguments put forward


  • the summary of arguments
  • report layout and format
  • use of illustrative material and evidence to support arguments
  • the appropriateness of length
  • the quantity and accuracy of referencing


The Global Telecommunications Industry:


British Telecom (BT) Group is one of the world’s leading communications services companies, serving customers in more than 170 countries worldwide. BT’s main activities are the provision of fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services as well as networked IT services. Globally, BT supplies managed networked IT services to multinational corporations, domestic businesses and national and local government organisations (http://www.btplc.com/ ; De Wit and Meyer, 2010).


Read the case study entitled “BT Group: Bringing external innovation inside” by Felipe Monteiro and Donald N. Sull, cited in De Wit and Meyer (2010:837-861) Strategy Process, Content, Context; and carry out appropriate analyses of the global corporate strategies adopted by BT and other world leading communications services companies such as AT&T, Cable & Wireless and Vodafone, answer the questions below. You are encouraged to use relevant data/information from company websites.


Question One: External Innovation and Competitiveness


Using information from the case study, relevant data/information from BT’s website (http://www.btplc.com/ ), the Telecommunications Value Chain in Exhibit 9 (De Wit and Meyer, 2010, page 846), and Michael Porter’s 5 Forces framework, critically evaluate the impact of ‘the bargaining powers of suppliers and buyers’, ‘the threat of new entrants’ and the ‘intensity of competition’ on BT’s approach to external innovation and competition, since 2005 to date.

                                                                                                                                              [30 % marks]


Question Two: Vertical Integration and Competitiveness


2(a) Critically assess the terms ‘vertical integration and ‘diversification in the context of BT’s ambition to become the world’s truly integrated global telecommunications service firm. [15 marks]

2(b) Using information from the case study, discuss how BT’s approach to vertical integration and diversification helped BT to maximise its corporate profitability through low-cost leadership and/or product differentiation. [15 marks]

          [30 % marks]


Question Three: Organizational Culture and Disruptive Innovation


Using your understanding of organizational culture and disruptive innovation, critically evaluate the ability of BTs senior management to bring in external technologies in areas that were crucial for BT’s future, e.g. Broadband, Mobility, Information Technology, Process Innovation, NG Customer Experience, and Network Technologies (see Exhibits 15, 17 and 18 in De Wit and Meyer, 2010, pages 855-857).

                                                          [30 % marks]


Note: 10% marks is allocated for overall presentation



Suggested Reading:

De Wit, B. and Meyer, R. (2010) Strategy Process, Content, and Context International Perspective, 4th Edition, Cengage Learning.

Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. (2005) Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, 7th Edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Lynch, R. (2006) Corporate Strategy, Fourth Edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J. (1998) Strategy Safari, Financial Times Prentice Hall


Websites & PDF documents:

http://www.att.com/ AT&T

http://www.btplc.com/ BT Group

http://www.cwc.com/  Cable & Wireless Communications

http://www.vodafone.co.uk/ Vodafone

www.economist.com The Economist

www.ft.com The Financial Times


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