1) Now that you have written a Situation Analysis, you should have a good overall perspective on your chosen company. Now, using that information, begin identifying symptoms, signs and indicators of deeper problems that might be facing the company. Try to find as many as you can, but ensure that you have found at least two or three, and write them down as part of this assignment. Be specific and use numbers where possible. All of the symptoms that you list should show a “gap” as discussed in class. A “gap” is the difference between the desired and the actual. For example, if you find that the company had a profit of $5 million dollars in the previous year, and their goal was $10 million – this is a gap, and this is a symptom of an underlying problem!
Once you have identified these symptoms, do some additional research and perform a preliminary root cause analysis. In other words – ask why the symptom occurred. Referring to the profit example in the first paragraph, think about why they did not meet their profit goals. Perhaps a new product was not as successful as planned. Note that its possible that many symptoms may lead back to the same root cause. Or one symptom may have many possible causes. Summarize this analysis and begin to narrow the focus of your paper. This analysis is the central core of your problem description and is a crucial component in your research paper, so I would recommend that you spend some time on it. You won’t be able to develop solutions if you have not answered the question “why did this happen?” The answer to this question is the focus for your paper. Conclude with this answer.
2) Find at least one peer-reviewed (refereed) research article from a journal for your term paper. Don’t search too narrowly – for example, “General Mills problems.” It’s unlikely that a researcher would write an refereed articel on this subject. Try something more general like – “Cereal market segments.” Provide evidence that the article is peer-reviewed by printing out and including the relevant page from the Ulrichs web site. Write up and include a properly formatted MLA Bibliographic entry for this article. Please do not include a copy of the article.
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