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  1. 1. SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN Centre for Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia Foundation of Natural & Built Environments (FNBE) Principles of Economics [ECN30205] Prerequisite: None Lecturer: Chang Jau Ho Assignment: A Tale of Two Businesses – A Comparative Analysis of 2 Businesses of Similar Industry in Different Geographical Locations 30% Group Work Submission: By 12pm, Friday, 22nd May 2014 (Week 14) Introduction The decisions made by firms to compete and thrive in the market place are heavily influenced by its environments. Factors like the market size, target customers, product(s) sold, and number of competitors can determine its behaviours and success (or lack thereof) over time. In this assignment, the students will collect data regarding 2 businesses (of their choice) and then analyse and compare their competitive behaviours with respect to their own environmental factors. These findings, together with relevant conclusions, will be presented in a submitted written report. Objectives of Project The objectives of this project: • To understand the real world, market forces and consumer behaviour. • To analyze and compare the different types of firm competition in a market. Learning Outcomes of Project On successful completion of this project, students will be able to demonstrate the following: • Generalize about economic behaviour or economic data. • Compare and summarize the characteristics of different types of market competition (e.g. monopoly, oligopoly, perfect competition, etc.). 1
  2. 2. Tasks - Methodology Your tasks are as follows: a) Form a group with maximum 5 members (one member will be the group leader). b) Select 2 businesses within the same industry (one based in Penang and the other in Klang Valley) for research purposes. c) You will contact and obtain permission from the relevant persons (e.g. owner, manager) of those businesses to conduct a face-to-face interview and on-site observations. d) Before the interview, you will conduct preliminary research (via books, internet, newspaper, etc.) and gather background information on the chosen businesses. e) Interview questions will be prepared and reviewed (by the lecturer) 1 week before the scheduled interview date. f) After you have gathered the information, submit a 2000-word report (excluding cover page and references) based on your findings. The report must be submitted in softcopy form only. g) Along with the report, you must also provide links to the videos related to the site visit. h) For more information on part (f) and (g), read the guidelines in the appendix section of this brief. i) The information sources for your research will come from personal interviews, on-site observations and others (such as books, magazines, newspapers, and the internet). Ensure that you quote at least 5 different sources of information in the report and the internet constitutes no more than 40% of those sources. j) Important: Ensure that you quote your sources (APA style) and refrain from copying. I conduct plagiarism checks on all assignments submitted. Students caught with said offence will face severe disciplinary action. Ignore this warning at your own risk. Submission Requirement - A 2000-word written report (excluding cover page and references) in softcopy form. - Video segments relevant to the report (with YouTube Links provided). Assessment criteria The assessment for this assignment will be based on: TGC Acquired Assessment Criteria Marks % Group Component 2
  3. 3. Spelling/Grammar & Format 5% Background Information 5% 3
  4. 4. Analysis of Competitive Behaviour 15% Video Segments 5% TOTAL 30% Marking criteria 4
  5. 5. Assessment Criteria (with TGC) 30% Excellent (10-9) Good (8-7) Satisfactory (6-5) Poor (4-3) Fail (2– 0) Spelling/ Grammar & Format 5% The report does not contain any spelling and/nor grammatical error(s). In addition, the report is written coherently i.e. proper use of paragraphs, headings, fonts, etc. The report has 1 to 2 spelling and/or grammatical error(s). In addition, the report’s content is written in a decently coherent manner. The report has 3 to 4 spelling and/or grammatical error(s). In addition, the report’s content is moderately coherent. The report has 5 to 6 spelling and/or grammatical error(s). In addition, the report’s content does not read coherently The report 7 or more spelling and/or grammatical error(s). In addition, the report’s content does not make sense at all. Background Information 5% Provides an excellent description of the businesses and their industry. Also includes highly relevant and informative graphs, tables, charts and photos, etc. Provides a good description of the businesses and their industry. Also includes relevant and informative graphs, tables, charts and photos, etc. Provides a satisfactory description of the businesses and their industry. Also includes moderately relevant and informative graphs, tables, charts and photos, etc. Provides a poor description of the businesses and their industry. Graphs, charts, tables and photos presented are neither relevant nor informative. Provides a very poor description of the businesses and their industry. Does not provide any charts, tables, graphs and photos, etc to illustrate the key points. 15% Provides an excellent analysis of the competitive traits of the businesses. Also able to draw excellent conclusions and suggest outstanding recommendations for the businesses. Provides a good analysis of the competitive traits of the businesses. Also able to draw good conclusions and suggest decent recommendations. Provides a satisfactory analysis of the competitive traits of the businesses. Also able to draw average conclusions and suggest moderately suitable recommendations. Provides a poor analysis of the competitive traits of the businesses. In addition, poorly justified conclusions and unsuitable recommendations are provided. Provides a very poor analysis of the competitive traits of the businesses. In addition, very poorly justified conclusions and very poorly considered recommendations are given 5
  6. 6. APPENDIX 1: Guidelines for Report Writing The following is a suggested outline for your research report: Cover page The cover page of your report should include name of module, report title, names of group members (with student ID) and Taylor’s University’s name logo. Table of Content It contains a list of the key sections of your report and their corresponding page numbers. Key Summary (approx. 100 words) The key summary is, as the name suggests, a SUMMARY of the content in your report. This will give the reader a quick idea of what your research is about and the results that you have acquired. Brief Bio of the Businesses (approx. 600 words) This section provides background information about the businesses such as: i) Their names; ii) Current locations; iii) Number of branches and employees; iv) Main products or services sold; v) Estimated current number of customers. vi) When were the businesses founded? vii) Who are the founders? viii) What was their motive(s) for starting the business; and ix) Their recent development (i.e. what has the business accomplished or what changes have occurred in the business over the past 3 - 5 years). (Note 2: a 4 to 5-minute video with YouTube link is required for this section. You may include footages of the interviews and visit to the business premises in this video as well.) Comparative Analysis of the Businesses’ Competitive Traits (approx. 1000 words) This section discusses the competitive behaviours of the businesses and their respective markets such as: i) (Approximate) number of competitors in their respective geographical markets; 6
  7. 7. ii) The market share of the business and its top competitors. ii) Brief bios of each business’ top 3 competitors (E.g. who are they? What are their products? etc.); iii) How do the businesses compete with their competitors? What strategies were/are employed (e.g. pricing, advertising, product variety, etc.) and how successful are they? iv) What are the obstacles faced by new businesses who wish to enter their markets today? Are they easy or difficult to overcome? Why? v) What is the nature of their markets (e.g. perfectly competitive, oligopoly, monopolistic competitive) and your justifications. vi) You must include a summary table (see appendix 3) to compare the similarities and differences between the 2 businesses. vii) Based on your analysis, which business is more commercially successful? And why? (Note 2: a 4 to 5-minute video with YouTube link is required for this section.) Recommendation (approx. 300 words) Based on the analysis of the previous section, you will provide a minimum of 2 recommendations on improving the competitiveness for each business with proper justifications. (Note 2: a 1 to 2-minute video with YouTube link is required for this section.) Appendices This section will include interview notes, contact details of the businesses and photos (e.g. business premises, current owners, employees, products or services sold, promotional advertisements, Facebook pages, websites, competitors’ business premises, competitors’ product and services, etc.). Reference Your report must contain at least 5 different sources (in APA style) and the internet constitutes no more than 40% of those sources. 7
  8. 8. APPENDIX 2: Suggested List of Interview Questions (Non-Exhaustive) 1) When was the business founded? 2) Who are the key founders? 3) What prompted the founders to start this business? 4) What are your main products or services? 5) Who are your customers? (e.g. Age group, income-level, education-level, etc.) 6) What is the business’ annual revenue figure? 7) How many branch offices/stores do you have (if applicable)? 8) Can you provide us a brief history of your business and its most recent developments? 9) Do you have many competitors? Who are they? Who are your top 3 competitors? 10) How big is your market share as well as your top competitors? 11) Is the business constantly facing strong competition from other competitors? What strategies have they used to compete with you? 12) How much capital is required to start this business? What, if any, specialized field of knowledge do you need to run this business? 13) Generally, do you feel it is easy or hard to enter this market? Why? 14) How do you compete with your competitors i.e. what strategies do you employ to divert customers away from your competitors? 15) How often do you release a new product (note: this assumes the business sells differentiated products)? 16) Are your pricing decisions strongly affected by your competitors? Why or why not? Important: You must provide the contact details (name, job position, and office phone 8
  9. 9. number/email address) of your interviewee in the report. APPENDIX 3: Comparative Analysis Summary Table Competitive Traits Business A (Melaka-Based) Business B (Klang Valley- Based) 1. Number of Competitors (in ranges e.g. 2 to 10, 10 to 50, 50 to 150, etc.) 2. Barrier to Entry (Weak or Strong? Why?) 3. Differentiated or Standardized Products (if differentiated provide 2 to 3 examples) 4. Pricing Power (Price Maker or Taker? Why?) 5. Other Characteristics (e.g. Any close product substitutes, mutual dependence, constant advertising) 6. Verdict (Monopoly? Oligopoly? Perfect Competition?) 9
  10. 10. number/email address) of your interviewee in the report. APPENDIX 3: Comparative Analysis Summary Table Competitive Traits Business A (Melaka-Based) Business B (Klang Valley- Based) 1. Number of Competitors (in ranges e.g. 2 to 10, 10 to 50, 50 to 150, etc.) 2. Barrier to Entry (Weak or Strong? Why?) 3. Differentiated or Standardized Products (if differentiated provide 2 to 3 examples) 4. Pricing Power (Price Maker or Taker? Why?) 5. Other Characteristics (e.g. Any close product substitutes, mutual dependence, constant advertising) 6. Verdict (Monopoly? Oligopoly? Perfect Competition?) 9

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