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Strategy: Choices and Change

Assessment Brief: Individual Strategic Change Case Study Analysis

(60% of module mark)




You are required to produce an analytical paper of c2,500 words (up to 3,000 words), based on the Ascension plc case study and the 3 questions on the next page. Your paper should demonstrate your ability to apply a range of strategic change models to gain constructive insight about the change process within the technical engineering division (TED).


The case study: The case study is on weblearn and is 3 pages long. You must base your analysis on the case study; you are NOT required to do any additional research on the organisation or industry. The questions, the assessment criteria, report structure and some suggested reading can be found on the next two pages of this briefing.


Use of tables: For each question you must apply one or more change models (as per the questions on the next page). You must create a table or diagram containing each element of the model and populate it with data from the case study using bullet points. The information in tables, diagrams or the end reference section will not be included in the word count. There are marks awarded for “application of key models using relevant data from the case”.


Discussion of table content: It is not enough to just populate the tables. For each model you must also discuss your findings (in full sentences after the table). Do not mention everything in the table. Tell the reader what the most important factors are based on your analysis. You can use the prompt notes in the questions to help e.g. to focus your discussion on the most challenging aspects of the change context for question 1. There are marks for “Discussion of findings demonstrates depth of understanding of the case and the theory and some originality in thinking.  So, if you just have the table and no discussion or discussion but no table then you will lose valuable marks.  


Evidence of academic reading: for every question you must demonstrate some academic reading about the model you are using (academic text books or academic journal articles rather than internet sources). However, you should not describe the models in detail e.g. you don’t need to explain what Johnson means by ‘stories’ or ‘symbols’; it will be clear from your analysis that you understand this. You should reference your academic reading using the Harvard system (at least four different academic sources). An example could be to use the core text book and find a quote where the authors explain the purpose of the change kaleidoscope. Books and articles that will help with this are listed on the page 3 of this briefing. There are marks awarded for “evidence of academic reading.  At least four different academic sources cited” so you will lose marks if you don’t do this. You must use in-text references (in the main body of your report) and an end reference list. You will lose valuable marks if you simply list four different books at the end of your paper.


Conclusions: Marks are awarded for“evidence of critical reflection on the theory and the case”.  The conclusion section (see ‘paper structure’ on next page) provides a good opportunity to reflect on the main points from each of the three questions and to reflect on how well the change was managed and the usefulness of the models e.g. any strengths or limitations.




1)    Apply Balogun and Hope Hailey’s Change Kaleidoscope model and Lewin’s Forcefield Analysis to the case and use this to discuss the strategic change context in December 2012, at the start of the change process.

Note: you should discuss what the most challenging aspects of the change context were and what were the most enabling or helpful aspects.


2)    Apply Johnson’s Cultural Web model to the case and use this to compare and contrast the culture of TED before the change (2012) and after the change (2014). You must create a table so you can apply the web once for 2012 and once for 2014.

Note: you should discuss the most significant similarities and differences between 2012 and 2014 and how the cultural changes were achieved.


3)    Critically evaluate the change process that took place at TED during 2013-14 by applying Kotter’s 8 Change Steps model.

Note: you should discuss what seemed to work well or not so well, did the process follow Kotter’s change steps or was there something more they might have done to ensure the success of the change?


Paper Structure: the paper should include,


Cover sheet –  showing your student ID and the name of your class tutor

Contents page

1.0       Introduction – briefly introduce the purpose of your report (100 to 200 words)      

2.0       Case Study Analysis – 3 sub-sections, one for each of the 3 main questions

(approx. 700 words per question plus any diagrams or tables)

3.0       Conclusions – summarise the main points from section 2.0 (approx. 300 words). 

4.0       References – there should be at least four different academic references from text books and academic journal articles



Assessment Criteria


Report Presentation:  follows recommended structure.  Logical and persuasive writing style. Well presented with good grammar and spelling. Harvard referencing style throughout. Submitted on time.

Case Study Answers:  all questions answered fully.  Application of key models using relevant data from the case. Discussion of findings demonstrates depth of understanding of the case and the theory and some originality in thinking.  Evidence of critical reflection on the theory and the case.  

Scholarship:  evidence of academic reading.  At least four different academic sources cited.



Recommended academic sources



Johnson, G. Whittington, R. and Scholes, K. Angwin, D. and Regner, P. (2013) Exploring Strategy, Edition 10, Pearson and in session 18, 19 and 20 of the module. However, Kotter’s Change Steps is not listed in full in the book so a better source for that is:


Kotter, J. (1995) ‘Leading Change: Why Transformation efforts fail’ Harvard Business Review, March-April 96 Vol. 73(2) pp.59-67 (available online through the library catalogue)


Some further suggested sources of academic reading include:


Hailey, V. H., & Balogun, J. (2002). Devising Context Sensitive Approaches To Change: The Example of Glaxo Wellcome. Long Range Planning, 35(2), 153-178. (further reading on the change kaleidoscope – available online through the library catalogue)


Balogun, J. and Hope Hailey, V. (2009) Exploring Strategic Change, 3rd edition, Prentice Hall (further reading on the change kaleidoscope)


Johnson, G. (1992). “Managing strategic change— strategy, culture and action.” Long Range Planning, 25(1), 28-36. (further reading on the cultural web – available online through the library catalogue)


Johnson, G. (2000). “Strategy through a Cultural Lens.” Management Learning, 31(4), 403-426. (further reading on the cultural web – available online through the library catalogue)


Kotter, J. (2012) Leading Change, Harvard Business Review Press (further reading on Kotter’s change steps)

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