Analysis and critical evaluation of Unilever Strategy



You are to write a report on the strategy of a ‘responsible’ company chosen by yourself. Your company should be publically listed and have operations in the UK. To meet these criteria, you should pick one of the companies listed on the FTSE4Good UK50 index. You are required to analyse your company’s strategy using the 5 P’s framework (Mintzberg, 1987). To conduct the analysis you must carry out original research. Your analysis should take the form of a critical evaluation and the report should present a clear and convincing argument. EXPLANATORY NOTES ON TASK

Use of the 5 P’s framework: You are required to analyse all of the 5 P’s but you are free to give greater emphasis to some of the 5 P’s than others. If one of the 5 P’s does not fit your company, you should explain why. Each of the 5 P’s is based on a considerable body of literature and you are encouraged to delve into this literature to gain a deeper insight into each of the 5 P’s. For example, the definition of strategy as ‘position’ is based on the work of Michael Porter (2004) and the Boston Consulting Group (Stern and Stalk, 1998), among others. Presenting your analysis of the 5 P’s of your company’s strategy in 3,000 words is a difficult task and should not be underestimated. It is strongly advised that you use diagrams to help you present your findings clearly and economise on words. Carry out original research: Your analysis should be based on data that you have collected and analysed yourself. As a minimum, it is suggested that you use your company’s website, its official reports, and press releases as sources of data. Further, to analyse a number of the 5 P’s you will likely need to collect data over a number of years, for example strategy as pattern. Conduct a critical evaluation: For this assignment, it is not enough to describe your company’s strategy. You will need to consider the limitations of their strategy also. The 5 P’s framework can help to you to critically evaluate your company’s strategy. For example, you may feel that your company is paying insufficient attention to one or more of the 5 P’s or that the relationships between some of the 5 P’s is problematic. Present a clear and convincing argument: The quality of your argument will likely be a key determining factor in the grade you receive. Your report should say something meaningful about your company’s strategy and you should be able to summarise this message in no more than three sentences. Further, it should be clear from the report how the analysis supports your argument.


The assignment must include an abstract, an analysis section and a critical evaluation section. The expected content for each section is provided below. The sections will be weighted as follows:

 Abstract – 10%

Section 1 – 60% Section 2 – 30%

Abstract The abstract should present the following:

  • Description of the company chosen.
  • Rationale for choosing the company.
  • The argument of the report.
  • Description of the data used for the analysis.

Section 1.

Analysis of your company’s strategy using the 5 P’s framework In this section, you will present the analysis of your company’s strategy. This will consist of 5 sub-sections (1.1 to 1.5), one for each of the 5 P’s. These sub-sections may vary in length depending on the emphasis that you give to each of the 5 P’s. There is no need to present the 5 P’s framework as the marking team are familiar with it. You should define key terms however. For example, you could define positioning using the definition from Mintzberg (1987), a definition from Porter (2004) or the Boston Consulting Group (Stern and Stalk, 1998). Section 2. Critical evaluation of your company’s strategy In this section, you will move beyond description to critically evaluate the strategy of your company. The form of the critical evaluation will depend on the analysis conducted but you may want to think about the balance between the 5 P’s in your company’s strategy or the relationship between the 5 P’s. You may even consider the relationship between your company’s strategy and its financial performance. In this section, it should be clear how the argument of the report evolved out of the analysis conducted.


The structure of the report is designed in such a way that you will focus on writing up content that will contribute towards your grade. An introduction is not required as the marker will get an overview of the report from the abstract. Background information on your company, beyond that presented in the abstract, is not required. The marker will get a better understanding of your company from your analysis of its strategy. A conclusion is not required. Instead, section 2 will act as a conclusion for the report. FORMAT 3000 word (+/- 10%) written assignment. References should be presented in the Harvard Style format. The report should be written in size 12 Time New Roman font and should be double-spaced. A standardised template for the final report is provided at the end of the assignment brief and must be used by all students.


The assignment brief addresses all four learning outcomes for the module, which are presented below:

a) Students will develop and demonstrate an understanding of the principal concepts, frameworks and techniques of developing corporate and business strategy and will appreciate the importance of the interdependent elements of the strategic management process.

b) They will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the issues relating to the nature of competitive advantage in national and international contexts and the prerequisites for sustainable success.

c) Students will have learned the value of critical appraisal of the relevance and use of analytical models and techniques as an aid to strategy formulation.

d) Through independent study, they will have demonstrated an ability to:

  • Undertake in-depth research and investigation
  • Analyse and evaluate ideas and information
  • Synthesise ideas from a range of contexts
  • Communicate ideas in a clearly, logically and coherently.


The primary areas that the assignment will be marked against are:

 Analysis

 Critical evaluation

 Argumentation The following criteria will be used to assess your work.

It is advised that you read these carefully before writing your assignment.


a range of marks consistent with a first where the work is exceptional in all areas;


a range of marks consistent with a first where the work is exceptional in most areas.


a range of marks consistent with a first. Work which shows excellent content, organisation and presentation, reasoning and originality; evidence of independent reading and thinking and a clear and authoritative grasp of theoretical positions; ability to sustain an argument, to think analytically and/or critically and to synthesise material effectively.


a range of marks consistent with an upper second. Well-organised and lucid coverage of the main points in an answer; intelligent interpretation and confident use of evidence, examples and references; clear evidence of critical judgement in selecting, ordering and analysing content; demonstrates some ability to synthesise material and to construct responses, which reveal insight and may offer some originality.


a range of marks consistent with lower second; shows a grasp of the main issues and uses relevant materials in a generally business-like approach, restricted evidence of additional reading; possible unevenness in structure of answers and failure to understand the more subtle points: some critical analysis and a modest degree of insight should be present.


a range of marks which is consistent with third class; demonstrates limited understanding with no enrichment of the basic course material presented in classes; superficial lines of argument and muddled presentation; little or no attempt to relate issues to a broader framework; lower end of the range equates to a minimum or threshold pass.


achieves many of the learning outcomes required for a mark of 40% but falls short in one or more areas; not a pass grade but may be sufficient to merit progression to the next level.


a fail; may achieve some learning outcomes but falls short in most areas; shows considerable lack of understanding of basic course material and little evidence of research.


a fail; basic factual errors of considerable magnitude showing little understanding of basic course material; falls substantially short of the learning outcomes for compensation