Assignment Two (60% of course marks) Maximum 3000 words 4. How valid is the argument that national competitiveness rests on the existence of leading industrial clusters? Course Objectives and Marking: For presentations and assignments, marks will be awarded for the appropriate use of comparison across nations, industries, companies and business functions. You should answer each question with reference to at least two countries and preferably more, even where only one country is cited in the question. A proper balance between theory and evidence and the appropriate use of national, industry or corporate examples in each answer will receive favourable consideration. In Business in International Comparative Perspective, you will receive marks for fulfilling the following specific criteria: Answering the question. You need, naturally, fully to interpret the set question; to consider key words or phrases; to decide how all parts of the question are connected (although possibly asked in two parts, there are connections that should be reflected in your answer); to devise an analysis and/or essay structure that allows you to answer the question fully; and, through analysis and thought, to determine the key issues, debates and subject matter as opposed to the peripheral or irrelevant. Knowledge of Cases and Evidence. It is impossible to gain high marks unless you demonstrate knowledge of countries, institutions, industries, firms, and organizational functions. Evidence enables you to avoid annoying generalizations and sweeping statements. While some cases may support one interpretation of an issue or question, other cases may not. Use your cases and evidence within an analytical structure designed to answer the question rather than just mentioning cases and authors in turn and without clear purpose. Knowledge of Theory and Literature. You need to demonstrate an understanding of major authors and theories whenever relevant. But please avoid repeating the work of others at length. Often a short summary is sufficient, and the questions on the course direct you to critique and not exegesis. You should employ theories and concepts as a means of shaping your use of evidence, and theory and evidence should be synergic and not separate. Analysis and Structure. This is the main characteristic that defines a good assignment. You are expected to know the major literature and offer evidential support as a basic part of studying for the course. The point is whether you have thought about the material, and whether you can use it to argue coherently and analytically in response to a set problem. The insights implicit in your analysis should be reflected in the design of your assignment structure, which, in turn, should be apparent to the marker. Comparisons. It should be no surprise on this course that you have to offer comparisons. It is better to avoid the sequential outline of cases, by which is meant a discussion of (say) the US, Germany, the UK, Japan and China in turn and separately. The approach causes problems in the design of an analytical structure, and it is not directly comparative because you treat each example separately. Place evidence from each nation within the issues set by an analytical structure: that is, if you were to discuss comparative human resources, place choices of evidence from Germany, UK, US, Japan and China into most of the assignment sections dealing with key issues such as training, management education, employment systems, trade unions, etc.
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