Week Four: Research Paper – List of potential research topics
To complete the Article Research Paper due in Week 7, please select a topic from the list
provided below or from the chapter readings.
Strategic Management: Creating Competitive Advantages
The strategic management process and its three interrelated and principal activities.
Corporate governance and stakeholder management
The importance of social responsibility, including environmental sustainability, and how
it can enhance a corporation’s innovation strategy.
An awareness of a hierarchy of strategic goals can help an organization achieve
coherence in its strategic direction.
Analyzing the External Environment of the Firm
The importance of developing forecasts of the business environment.
Environmental scanning, environmental monitoring, and collecting competitive
The impact of the general environment on a firm’s strategies and performance.
Forces in the competitive environment and profitability
Assessing the Internal Environment of the Firm
The primary and support activities of a firm’s value chain.
The resource-based view of a firm
Financial ratio analysis
The value of the “balanced scorecard” in recognizing how the interests of a variety of
stakeholders can be interrelated.
Why the management of knowledge professionals and knowledge itself are so critical in
Social capital in leveraging human capital within and across the firm.
The importance of social networks in knowledge management and in promoting career
The vital role of technology in leveraging knowledge and human capital.
Why “electronic” or “virtual” teams are critical in combining and leveraging knowledge
in organizations and how they can be made more effective.
The challenge of protecting intellectual property and the importance of a firm’s dynamic
Business-Level Strategy: Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantages
The central role of competitive advantage in the study of strategic management and the
three generic strategies: overall cost leadership, differentiation, and focus.
How the successful attainment of generic strategies can improve the firm’s relative power
vis-à-vis the five forces that determine an industry’s average profitability.
The pitfalls managers must avoid in striving to attain generic strategies.
How firms can effectively combine the generic strategies of overall cost leadership and
What factors determine the sustainability of a firm’s competitive advantage?
The importance of considering the industry life cycle to determine a firm’s business-level
strategy and its relative emphasis on functional area strategies and value-creating
The need for turnaround strategies that enable a firm to reposition its competitive position
in an industry.
Corporate-Level Strategy: Creating Value through Diversification
The reasons for the failure of many diversification efforts.
How managers can create value through diversification initiatives.
How corporations can use related diversification to achieve synergistic benefits through
economies of scope and market power.
How corporations can use unrelated diversification to attain synergistic benefits through
corporate restructuring, parenting, and portfolio analysis.
The various means of engaging in diversification – mergers and acquisitions, joint
ventures/strategic alliances, and internal development.
The importance of international expansion as a viable diversification strategy.
The motivations (or benefits) and the risks associated with international expansion,
including the emerging trend for greater offshoring and outsourcing activity.
The two opposing forces – cost reduction and adaptation to local markets – that firms
face when entering international markets.
Entrepreneurial Strategy and Competitive Dynamics
The role of opportunities, resources, and entrepreneurs in successfully pursuing new
Three types of entry strategies – pioneering, imitative, and adaptive – commonly used to
launch a new venture.
How the generic strategies of overall cost leadership, differentiation, and focus are used
by new ventures and small businesses.
How competitive actions, such as the entry of new competitors into a marketplace, may
launch a cycle of actions and reactions among close competitors.
The components of competitive dynamics analysis – new competitive action, threat
analysis, motivation and capability to respond, types of competitive actions, and
likelihood of competitive reaction.
Strategic Control and Corporate Governance
The value of effective strategic control systems in strategy implementation.
The imperative for contemporary control systems in today’s complex and rapidly
changing competitive and general environments.
The role of corporate governance mechanisms in ensuring that the interests of managers
are aligned with those of shareholders from both the United States and international
Creating Effective Organizational Designs
The growth patterns of major corporations and the relationship between the firm’s
strategy and its structure.
The implication of a firm’s international operations for organizational structure.
The different types of boundaryless organizations – barrier-free, modular, and virtual –
and their relative advantages and disadvantages.
The need for creating ambidextrous organizational designs that enable firms to explore
new opportunities and effectively integrate existing operations.
Strategic Leadership: Creating a Learning Organization and an Ethical Organization
The crucial role of emotional intelligence (EI) in successful leadership, as well as its
The importance of creating a learning organization.
The leader’s role in establishing an ethical organization.
Integrity-based and compliance-based approaches to organizational ethics.
Managing Innovation and Fostering Corporate Entrepreneurship
The importance of implementing strategies and practices that foster innovation.
The challenges and pitfalls of managing corporate innovation processes.
How corporations use new venture teams, business incubators, and product champions to
create an internal environment and culture that promote entrepreneurial development.
How corporate entrepreneurship achieves both financial goals and strategic goals.
The benefits and potential drawbacks of real options analysis in making resource
deployment decisions in corporate entrepreneurship contexts.
How an entrepreneurial orientation can enhance a firm’s efforts to develop promising
corporate venture initiatives.
Analyzing Strategic Management Cases
How strategic case analysis is used to simulate real-world experiences.
How analyzing strategic management cases can help develop the ability to differentiate,
speculate, and integrate when evaluating complex business problems.
The steps involved in conducting a strategic management case analysis.
How integrative thinking and conflict-inducing discussion techniques can lead to better
Research Paper: This is a graduate course and students will be expected to research and write
papers summarizing in their own words what they have found on current topics from the weekly
readings. Research is a theoretical review of relevant literature and application of findings in the
literature to a topic related to a specific industry, field, or business problem.
The research must be conducted using peer-reviewed trade or academic journals. While
Blogs, Wikipedia, encyclopedias, course textbooks, popular magazines, newspaper articles,
online websites, etc. are helpful for providing background information, these resources
are NOT suitable resources for this research assignment.
Please Note: The UC Library staff are very helpful with assisting students in using the UC
Online Library journal database. Please contact them if you have issues. In addition, the
instructor has provided additional resources, including a research tutorial, in the “Course
Resources” folder in the “Content” area of the course.
i. Choose a research topic from the chapter readings or from the list provided by your
ii. Research/find a minimum at least four (4), preferably five (5) or more, different peer-
reviewed articles on your topic from the University of the Cumberlands Library online
business database. The article(s) must be relevant and from a peer-reviewed source.
While you may use relevant articles from any time frame, current/published within the
last five (5) years are preferred. Using literature that is irrelevant or unrelated to the
chosen topic will result in a point reduction.
iii. Write a four (4) to five (5) page double spaced paper in APA format discussing the
findings on your specific topic in your own words. Note – paper length does not include
cover page, abstract, or references page(s).
iv. Structure your paper as follows:
a. Cover page
b. Overview describing the importance of the research topic to current business and
professional practice in your own words.
c. Purpose of Research should reflect the potential benefit of the topic to the
current business and professional practice and the larger body of research.
d. Review of the Literature summarized in your own words. Note that this should
not be a “copy and paste” of literature content, nor should this section be
substantially filled with direct quotes from the article. A literature review is a
summary of the major points and findings of each of the selected articles (with
appropriate citations). Direct quotations should be used sparingly. Normally, this
will be the largest section of your paper (this is not a requirement; just a general
e. Practical Application of the literature. Describe how your findings from the
relevant research literature can shape, inform, and improve current business and
professional practice related to your chosen topic.
f. Conclusion in your own words
g. References formatted according to APA style requirements
Content Knowledge & Structure (25 points): All of the requested components are
completed as assigned; content is on topic and related to competitive strategy, critical
thinking is clearly demonstrated (few, if any, direct quotations from the source in the
paper); scholarly research is demonstrated; topics and concepts gained from the assigned
reading and/or from research is evident.
Critical Thinking (15 points): Demonstrates substantial critical thinking about topics and
solid interpretation of materials and reflection.
Clarity & Effective Communication (15 points): Communication is clear, concise, and
well presented; scholarly writing is demonstrated; grammar, sentence structure, writing in
third person, and word choice is used correctly.
Integration of Knowledge & Articles (15 points): Articles used are current and relevant
(preferably published within last five (5) years and MUST be from peer-reviewed journal
article publications. At least four (4) peer-reviewed journal articles are examined and
analyzed in the paper.
Presentation & Writing Mechanics (30 points): Cover page, headings, in-text citations,
page citations (page number citations required for specific information such as dates,
years, list of items from article, names, numbers, statistics, and other specific
information), and references are properly formatted.
Please Note: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. The paper must be written in your own words.
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