Welcome to Week Two

Written Assignments (BUS499)

Weekly Content

An essential part of managing a business is understanding the environment in which the business operates. When you're reading through this week's material and thinking about the discussion questions, you should keep firmly in mind that, at this point, we're not so much analyzing specific companies as the environments in which they operate. In this week's readings and discussion, we'll be looking at two different ways to approach an analysis of the external environment. The "General Environment" approach looks at the economic environment as a whole and reviews how the different segments of that environment impact a specific business. The "Five Forces Model" is a little narrower in that it focuses on the specific industry in which a company operates.

Class Notes - First Written Assignment

Our first written assignment is due at the end of this week. All of the written assignments follow the same general format: You're asked to select a publicly traded company and research certain aspects of their business operations. In the last assignment, you're asked specifically to chose a company that you work for or that you would like to work for. You can't use the same company more than once so keep that in mind as you're making your selections.

There are several additional things that you should keep in mind while researching and writing:

  1. These are intended to be formal analyses, not personal narratives or discussions of your personal opinions. In any kind of formal writing, you should avoid any use of personal pronouns like "I", "me" and "we".
  2. Your positions and analysis should be based on rational argument. You will lose points for engaging in overly emotional language, e.g. words like "heinous", "greedy", "unthinking", etc.
  3. If you make a factual statement, you should support it with evidence, i.e. some kind of reference. For example, if you assert that all corporate executives are immoral and greedy, you should proceed to back up that assertion with specific facts in the rest of your analysis.
  4. Avoid asking rhetorical questions, e.g. "Does this suggest a balanced response?"
  5. Each assignment's description includes a number of specific topics that you're asked to cover. Be sure that you cover each topic completely. For example, the first assignment asks you to discuss how your chosen company could use the I/O and resource based models. Your submission should explicitly address both of those models in that section.
  6. Using the individual items from the assignment description as the basis for headings within your paper is a good idea but you should not use the exact wording from the assignment description as your headings. That's going to make your work read like a term paper rather than a business analysis. Instead, recast the assignment's text into a more business-like description. For example, "Discuss how your chosen company could utilize the I/O and resource based models of above average returns." as a heading could become something like, "Application of I/O and Resource Models".

Only APA style references will count toward the required reference count. If your references aren't in this format, you won't receive credit for them.

If an assignment doesn't meet the minimum length requirement, your grade will be based on the percentage of work that you completed. For example, if the minimum length is eight pages and you only submit six then your final grade will be 6/8 or 75% of the total points earned.


At this point, everyone should understand what plagiarism is and how to properly quote and reference material. There are three fundamental points that you should keep in mind when you're writing to avoid plagiarism:

  1. Work that is directly copied from another source must be in quotation marks.
  2. Work that is copied or paraphrased must have an appropriate inline citation and a corresponding reference at the end of the assignment.
  3. Copied/paraphrased work should make up not more than 10% of anything that you submit.

These rules apply to everything that you post in the classroom including written assignments and discussion board posts. If I determine that something submitted has been plagiarized, I'll assign a 0 for that assignment and report the incident to the University. Repeat offenses can result in receiving an F for the class and being expelled from the University. You will not have an opportunity to redo the assignment for partial credit.