Management 642 - Project Guide
MGT 642 Fall 1997 Semester Project
Taking Outback Steakhouse Abroad
The semester project focuses upon business internationalization. Specifically, students will be asked to develop a plan to help a US corporation, Outback Steakhouse, Inc., succeed abroad.
The project should be developed in stages. First, students will work in teams to develop an understanding of the specific theories, models and methods that guide companies in the internationalization process. Based on this understanding, students will develop an analysis of a particular company to determine their readiness for international activity. Students will also study the international context targeted by the company. Finally, the students will make recommendations as to the strategy and methods the company should use to internationalize.
To facilitate the process, all teams will use the same company, Outback Steakhouse. Outback has been selected for a variety of reasons: students will have studied a case on Outback early in the semester and will therefore have a common base of knowledge from which to work; Outback is a very successful US corporation that is just now beginning to internationalize; the factors that led to Outbackís domestic success may or may not help them internationally; and, there is sufficient data available to allow a thorough exploration of strategic alternatives.
Students may choose one and only one of the following countries as their target country:
Projects must be submitted in a professional format and should be accompanied by a copy of the report on diskette (IBM only ñ Word Perfect of Microsoft Word).
The completed project should have six major sections:
- Theoretical Framework: Each team is asked to review several articles from academic journals on the topic of internationalization (including papers on international joint ventures and alliances, global business strategies, etc.). (Appropriate journals include: Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, The Executive, Strategic Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science and the Harvard Business Review). Articles from practitioner journals are not acceptable for this portion of the paper. After a brief review of the management literature of on international business strategy, state your expectations: What does a domestic company need to succeed internationally?
- Target Country Analysis: Students should be able to demonstrate the threats and opportunities present in the potential host environment. Further, students should develop some understanding of the cultural and political differences that may need to be accommodated in developing an international strategy. The country analysis should also provide an understanding of local demand and competition.
- Analysis of the company: The analysis of the company should be detailed and related to their prospective international operations. At a minimum, this section should include a summary of the macro environment, competitive environment; an assessment of internal resources; and a review of their strategy. The section should end with a summary of Outbackís strategic condition. Teams should attempt to use the models available to them from this course to justify their analysis.
- Recommendations: The recommendations should be based on the analysis and country study. There should be a clear fit between issues raised in the analysis and recommendations for the firm.
- References: References will be evaluated for depth and breadth. A good reference list should cover a variety of information sources including: academic articles, trade journals, government information sources and the Internet. The students are asked to not contact Outback Steakhouse for any information. There should be a balance of information sources.
- Appendices: The report may contain appendices that reference valuable information not in the paper.
Project evaluation and grading
Your analysis will be graded using 6 criteria (not equally weighted):
- Coverage -- To what extent did your teamís project cover the course material
- Strength of analysis --To what extent did your team properly analyze the company and its industry.
- Quality of recommendations -- To what extent were your recommendations consistent with the strategic management model.
- References ñ How thorough were your references? To what extent were your references properly used?
- Writing style -- Was the report professionally written and packaged?
Separately, your team will be evaluated on its presentation: To what extent where you able to professionally convey the results of your project orally?
There will be two components to the project grade: a team grade and an individual grade. This is to reward excellent individual performance as well as teamwork and discourage "free-loading."
I have noted some major milestones in your project. You are not required to meet the milestones; they are provided for your convenience. However, it is my experience that adhering to this process will result in a well written paper. Typical milestones in a project of this nature include (there may be several other ways to accomplish this project):
- Selecting a team (Look for a balance of skills, commitment and shared interests)
- Selection of a country.
- Establishing a group process
- Regular meeting schedule
- Division of responsibilities
- Schedule that assures early completion of the project
- Media search ñ early identification of resources (donít forget the Internet).
- Read and review articles ñ take notes.
- Develop a more detailed outline of the project.
- Draft sections of the project per the detailed outline.
- Have your professor review completed sections of project and your detailed outline for feedback.
- Compile a complete first draft.
- Thoroughly edit your project with input from all team members.
- Package your project so that it has a professional appearance.
- Develop presentation materials for your peers
- Submit your final project. (Make sure to keep a copy for yourselves)
Presentations - Your team will be asked to make a brief presentation (approximately 30 minutes) of your project in a classroom session. At the end of the presentation, you will need to answer specific questions about your project and its contents. Although done in a small group setting, the presentation should still be done professionally.
Finished paper - Written communication skills are a critical element in a successful business career. In addition, the writing and revision process helps students sharpen their critical thinking skills and develop a better understanding of their subject matter. It is for these reasons that I will evaluate form and style along with the content of your paper. I will, however, put the greatest weight on the content of your paper.
Concepts adopted from other sources must be appropriately referenced. A simple method is to reference the author(s) in the text (Datta & Puia, 1995). The full reference is placed in a reference section at the end ot the paper; footnotes are not needed. References should be in APA format, e.g., Datta, D. & Puia, G.M. (1995). Cross-border acquisitions: An examination of the influence of relatedness and cultural fit on shareholder value creation in U.S. acquiring firms. Management International Review. 35, 337-359. Information from the Internet must also be adequately referenced. The key to references is they must provide the motivated user the opportunity to find and evaluate the same material you studied.
Final papers are due at the beginning of the December 2 class period or sooner. There are no exceptions to this policy. Papers that are submitted after the beginning of class up to one day late will be down graded one full letter grade.
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