In order to succeed, organisations must learn to respond and adapt quickly to the challenges in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Horngren et al (2012, p. 467) stated that “In formulating its strategy, an organization must thoroughly understand its industry”. Understanding the firm’s industry is important but learning to deal with the competing demands posed by various stakeholders such as shareholders, customers, employees as well as the government and the media (just to name a few) is possibly more challenging. The latter could sway the firm to adopt one or both the strategies of product differentiation and/or cost leadership. You will work in a team of four to prepare a report as follows:


Company profile

You are required to select ONE company that has introduced a new product or service since January 2014.
You can choose one from the suggested companies as follows:

Virgin Airlines
Conduct an extensive research on the profile of the company chosen. Your research should include an analysis of the products and/or services provided by the firm before the launch of the new product/service. Clearly discuss the launch of the new product or service and identify the circumstances leading to the launch of the new product or service.

Company performance

Considering the knowledge you gained from the topics discussed in the pre-requisite unit ACC20007 Management Accounting for Planning and Control (e.g. costing systems, cost/volume/profit analysis) and the topics covered in this unit (e.g. business performance measures, Balanced Scorecard, environmental cost management) or your other business subjects (e.g. SWOT analysis, capital budgeting), analyse and discuss the overall economic and/or social and environmental performance of the company for the past two years before the launch of the new product or service. Your analysis and discussion should explain how the company has either succeeded or failed to strengthen its competitive advantage as a result of the new product or service launched.


Industry and generic strategy

From the point of view of your chosen firm, prepare a Five-Force Analysis (Porter, 1980; 1985) of the industry in which your company operates. Considering the two generic strategies of product differentiation and cost leadership, identify and explain whether your chosen firm is likely to adopt one or a combination of these strategies. Your explanation must be supported by proper references (e.g. media releases, statistics, industry report) and the relevant literature on strategic management and competitive advantage.

Strategic recommendation

Adopting the role of a team of management accountants employed by the chosen company, provide recommendations on how the company could better adapt to changing circumstances in order to strengthen its competitive advantage.


Present your research in a report format with approximate word length of 4,000 words.
You are expected to use a combination of books, journals, newspaper articles and company annual reports. As a guide to the level of research required, you are expected to examine between 20 – 40 data sources.
For Section A, useful references can be found from numerous sources such as annual reports, sustainability reports, shareholder reviews, company websites and through various library electronic databases such as DatAnalysis and Factiva, among others. An examination of between 10 to 20 data sources is a guide to the level of research required.
For Section B, you may use industry reports, which can be sourced from databases such as IBISWorld, Factiva and DataMonitor (now called Marketline). Another 10 to 20 data sources are expected.
Use Harvard referencing style throughout your report.
Submission details

This assessment will be submitted via Turnitin. See the Assessment 2 section of Blackboard for more detailed information.

Assessment criteria

Company research.
Industry analysis and strategy.
Overall structure and presentation.
References and appendices.
Your work will be assessed using the following marking guide:

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