- The assignment asks you to critically discuss (explain different views in the literature) the extent to which an individual who is involved in strategic decision making has a key role in contributing to high firm performance.
- The assignment should not focus on a strategic leader role or on firm performance separately; instead, the focus should be on the link between the two.
- You should define the key concepts you use, that is, who you refer to as a strategic leader (not strategic leadership) and what you mean by firm performance.
- Please be careful with terminology as “leader” and “strategic leader” are two different concepts explained by different theories and literature (for example, issues such as leadership treats, styles and approaches are normally considered within the “classic” leadership literature, and are thus not the primary focus of the strategic leadership literature).
- Your level of analysis is the individual, not the group. Therefore, the issues about the impact of a top management team or board as a group on firm performance should not be the focus. You can, however, treat these groups as one of the contextual factors that impact on the extent to which an individual strategic leader contributes to high firm performance.
- You should not describe all of the topics covered in the module but use each of the topics covered to support your discussion of the link between the strategic leader role and firm performance.
- Do not choose only one strategic leader position for discussion (e.g., just the CEO). You need to cover various positions that are involved in strategic decision making (e.g., CEO, anyone from the TMT, and NED, Chairman, etc.). In fact, each of these positions can be treated as a factor that may impact on the extent to which an individual strategic leader contributes to high firm performance.
- The assignment is not about what is needed for effective contribution to high firm performance, nor is it about how a strategic leader contributes to high firm performance. Instead, the assignment is about your explanation of different views in the literature regarding the extent to which the strategic leader contributes effectively. In other words, the assignment is not about characteristics of successful strategic leaders or factors important for a strategic leader to be successful. You need to keep focused on the critical discussion of the extent to which a strategic leader has a key role in contributing to high firm performance.
- Please make sure that the link to the topic is clear and explicit – do not imply the reader will simply understand what you are trying to say and why you consider certain issues. Whatever you write about in your essay, think about how it is related to the exact assignment question. Keep asking yourself: "What does this sentence I have just written say about the extent to which a strategic leader has a key role in contributing to high firm performance?" or “How does this explain different views in the literature about the extent to which an individual who is involved in strategic decision making has a key role in contributing to high firm performance?
- Re the essay structure, the essay should start with a short introduction into what the essay is about, what you will cover in it and in what order. Please focus on the exact essay topic and do not write about things that you are not asked to. What you will cover within the topic and in what order refers to the structure of your argument (opinion, view, conclusion) about the assignment topic. This will differ between different people, as it will depend on what one has read and decided to include in the essay and in what order. All this, again, should be directly and explicitly related to the critical discussion of the extent to which a strategic leader has a key role in contributing to high firm performance. At the end of your assignment there should be a brief conclusion about issues you have covered in the essay. This conclusion should outline key points resulting from the critical discussion you have provided.
- Your work will be assessed in terms of three key criteria: