Research Project

The Research Project is an individual in-course assessment (50% of module marks).
This assessment requires the student to critically analyse how an organisation is using information systems through research and theoretical frameworks. The research is only to be conducted using secondary data. Research using primary data is not required.
All the sources indicated on page 3 of this text are legitimate. Doubts about the use of other sources are to be clarified in the lectures, thus all students may benefit from the information. Avoid losing time looking for obscure sources. Emails about sources will not be answered, as all students should benefit from the answers.
Your approach should be analytical and critical, applying the conceptual framework (as explained below), contrasting ideas from different authors, discussing perspectives, and elaborating your arguments with substantial information from relevance sources.
As an author, you should assume that you are an academically oriented commercial consultant. Write a professional report, fully referenced, as if you were working in an international consultancy.

Requirements
You are required to undertake a research assignment illustrating the strategic role of information systems in contemporary business organisations.
Discuss from a theoretical perspective (conceptual framework) how companies use information systems in order to build sustainable competitive advantages, considering their information needs in a particular domain. The conceptual framework should be used to critically analyse the strategies developed by one organisation (individual analysis) or more companies (comparative analysis), among the following enterprises: Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook (students should choose the companies in accordance with their interests). In the conclusion, you should clearly outline recommendations for further development of the company’s strategy, taking into consideration the role of ICT in future business operations.
The theoretical perspective should be developed by the student, drawing upon Michael Porter’s models (generic strategies, 5 Forces Model, and Value Chain Model) and/or RBVF (Resource Based View of the Firm) (these frameworks are going to be introduced in lectures). Students may add additional conceptual frameworks that fit their arguments; however either Michael Porter’s models or RBVF should necessarily be used in the report. Reports that fail in adopting the referred conceptual frameworks will not achieve the requirements of this coursework. Students may include other companies in their report; however at least one of the suggested companies should be in the central focus of their course work. Reports that fail in analysing at least one of the suggested companies (Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook) will not meet the requirements of this course work.
Students may briefly discuss different organisational aspects for achieving sustainable competitive advantages; however you need to focus on only ONE aspect. The following list gives some examples of aspects you might consider but the list is not exhaustive and you can choose another aspect.
• How information systems have been used for fostering organisational change and/or data integration that has brought sustainable competitive advantage
• How information systems support the unique e-business model of the company, differentiating it from competitors
• How information systems have changed the knowledge management in the company adding strategic capabilities
• How the company has faced the challenges in implementing new information systems aiming to build better competitive advantages
• How the company has managed its information systems acquisition and/or development in order to obtain better competitive advantage
• How the company has managed security and risks related to information systems to improve its competitive advantages
• How the company has used information systems to develop more competitive new business models
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Research Project