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MBA 699 Strategic Plan Research Guide

Where to Look for Information?

For Internal Analysis of the company's Value Chain, Resources, Capabilities, Competitive Advantage, Structure, Culture, and Business Model, Financial Analysis Key Findings, here are some ideas to gather information:
1. Conduct your own analysis of the company's annual reports, SEC filings, and press releases to identify the information signifying its strengths and weaknesses in the above areas. These materials can be found on the public company's website - investor relations page. 
2. External PEST and Industry analysis (First Research Industry Profile) has identified some key success factors and competitive advantages to succeed in the industry. You can analyze how the company performs compared to these factors.
3. Find executive/employee interviews from magazines or news sources that discuss the company's culture, resources, capabilities, value chain, etc. in magazines, newspapers, or even online.
4. Find magazines, newspaper articles, 
and even scholarly articles that analyze the company the business model, structure, culture, etc.
5. Online Search can also work effectively but pay attention to the quality sources from consulting firms, business news outlets, scholarly analysis and stay away from anonymous sources and student assignments. When you hit the paywall, you can consult the database/sources from this library guide or contact the research help at the library.

6. For financial analysis, beyond looking at the corporate's 10-K (Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data”), you can also refer to industry ratios and financial benchmarking data to assess how the company's financial performance compared with the industry average. Sources for this industry's financial ratios are listed in a separate box below.

Magazines and Newspapers

Scholarly Articles

  • Google Scholar (West Chester University Setup)
    Google Scholar-> Settings (clicking three lines at the upper left corner)-> Library Links-> Search West Chester University-> Check the box -> Save; At the search result page, click find it @ WCU to access full-text article.
  • Business Source Complete - Search scholarly and magazine articles (including Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Review, California Management Review, etc.)


The followings are examples of the Magazine or Scholarly articles that can help you with the internal analysis:

Ritala, P., Golnam, A., & Wegmann, A. (2014). Coopetition-based business models: The case of Amazon. com. Industrial marketing management43(2), 236-249.

Podolny, J. M., & Hansen, M. T. (2020). How Apple is organized for innovationHarvard Business Review98(6), 86-95.

Hoeft, F. (2021). Auto makers and radical innovation: culture, capital and talent form road blocksJournal of Business Strategy. (mentioned Tesla)

Industry Financial Ratios

First Research Industry Profile

To find First Research Industry Profile, conduct Keyword searches at the public website of First Research Industry Profile, and retrieve the NAICS industry code of the report.

Navigate Mergent Archive->D&B Manuals--> First Research, and copy/paste the NAICS code from the website. Scroll to the right and see the PDF document for downloading. The Industry Report includes the following section: 

  • Financial Information
    • Company Benchmark Trends (Quick ratio, working capital turnover etc.)
    • Company Benchmark Information (income statement, balance sheet, financial ratios)

Mergent Key Business Ratios Collection
The Dun & Bradstreet® Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios are made possible through over one million financial statements in the Dun & Bradstreet® Financial Information Base. This file consists of US corporations, partnerships and proprietorships both public and privately owned, in all size ranges, and includes over 800 different lines of business as defined by the US Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code numbers. Our data is collected weekly, maintained daily, and constantly edited and updated.

Navigate Mergent Archive->D&B Manuals-->Key Business Ratios

Online SourcesReady Ratios

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