Each of these papers is an opportunity for students to demonstrate critical thinking skills in writing and application of strategic theories. Papers should be arguments, based on concise, useful, and accurate analysis and supported by data. The audience is any strategic manager interested in the firm or industry. The best papers are based on clear arguments and that provide insights that readers feel are useful even if they disagree with the overall argument.
General format of papers
Maximum length of 2 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins all around. Author’s full name and day and time of class at the top of every page, and multiple pages stapled.
First sentence should state overall conclusion of the entire paper: If you are arguing yes or no about an action, say it up front. If arguing for taking a specific action, say it up front. Don’t make the reader wait for your insight.
Paragraphs should all begin with an argument, then support it: Do not start with summary facts; start with the argument, then bring in the facts and thinking that supports it.
If a topic involves a strategic advantage you must consider what competitors will and can do: All strategic advantage is relative to competitors and their reactions, not absolute.
Explicitly use theories from class in your paper: Theories from class are both more powerful and accurate than the “common sense” myths that surround strategic management, but also are more authoritative in convincing your audience. Without using theoretical analysis, a paper will likely be (and certainly will appear to be) a set of shallow personal opinions.
What to avoid
· DO NOT include additional research on the case, or related theories, and in the analysis. Doing so will reduce the paper’s grade by at least one-half letter grade. Why? Because the hindsight bias and influence of authority of outside researchers are very powerful and unhelpful forces affecting how everyone analyzes events. People will fail to be as insightful when faced with “obvious” opinions that come from knowing the future or the recommendations of experts. Useful practice in analysis requires sticking with analysis of the case facts where the future is unknown and experts don’t have easy answers.
· DO NOT summarize the case or theories: The audience has read the book and case.
· Do not provide a “balanced view” and argue both sides of an issue: Ultimately strategy is about taking action and you can’t do both do and not do a particular action.
· It is best practice to not turn in the first draft or fail to use spellcheck. Good writing is re-writing.
Case: Van Den Steen, Eric and Lane, David. 2016. Aldi: The Dark Horse Discounter. HBSP# 9-714-474
Read the Aldi case and analyze the case using the theories of common strategies of positioning (e.g., differentiation) and how each of those strategies seek to build a competitive advantage to figure out Aldi’s strategy and how it is (or is not) taking the correct actions to fit that strategic positioning. Then use that analysis to answer the following question:
Identify Aldi’s general strategy based on its positioning and by the major tradeoff(s) Aldi has made that support your claim about its strategy. Then identify a business line that is available in competitor’s grocery stores but is not offered by Aldi. Using your analysis of Aldi’s strategic position, argue why (or why not) that business line is a fit with Aldi’s strategy and should (or should not) be added to the store’s offerings. Note: Please choose a business line as a possible addition that is substantive enough and plausible enough to be of interest to the strategic decision makers at Aldi. For example, the addition of a Starbucks in an Aldi, valet parking, or live seafood in water-filled tanks are all examples of things offered in other grocery stores but would have too little impact or are too unlikely to work to be seriously considered by Aldi’s strategic decision makers.
case is uploaded, in this case he wants you to focus on uploaded read and write the paper use the focus on files to use in the case study focusing on differentiation and cost leadership it’s important to use them in your paper. also you can mention them when you used them . Maximum length of 2 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins all around. Author’s full name and day and time of class at the top of every page. start with argument and provide and evidence. all sources from the case study no outside sources . again all sources from the case study only .