Assessment Instructions
This essay is to be based on the application of ideas from the Resource Based View literature to the
organisation in the case study that you can access through the Assignment Tab on Blackboard –
which takes you to Harvard Business Publishing. The case study is ‘Zara: Fast Fashion’ and the
organisation is Zara. You MUST utilise the case we have made available from the link on
Blackboard. Please follow the instructions on Blackboard for how to access the case – you will not be
charged as UWE has pre-paid this case for you.
Q. Drawing on the Resource Based View literature, evaluate whether and how Zara generates
sustainable competitive advantage.
You need to explore the Resource Based View (RBV) literature discussing theoretical concepts
within the area and look at how Zara’s strategy can be understood by drawing on these ideas. You
are of course permitted to draw on other areas of the strategy literature, provided that they support
an argument based on the RBV.
This assessment task requires you to both discuss the appropriate theoretical area and, drawing on
evidence from the case study provided, to apply these theoretical ideas to the ‘real world’ example.
The key to doing well is to demonstrate that you can discuss the theoretical ideas and apply these in
an analysis of an organisation as you have been doing in the seminars.
Please note that your assignment MUST be written around the evidence in the case study provided.
There is no need to do any additional research on Zara, and we are not interested in what Zara is
doing now. All evidence drawn from the case study must be appropriately referenced, as should all of
the academic ideas that you draw on. We regard the case study as ‘common knowledge’ for this
assignment so you are only required to reference evidence drawn from the case study by page
number and use the prefix ‘Z’ to indicate it is the Zara case. For example if you cite evidence from
page 10, you will reference it as (Z10). You do not need to put the case study details in your
references list as, again, it is assumed to be common knowledge for this assignment. You must
however fully reference all other sources.
Assignment Learning Objective: To demonstrate your ability to apply concepts from the module to
an organisation or firm, to undertake a theoretically informed analysis and to draw conclusions that
link the topic of study to the objective of sustaining competitive advantage. For this essay you will be
required to independently investigate the academic literature on the topic and apply your knowledge
of this literature to the organisation.
Marking Criteria
A detailed breakdown of the marking criteria used by staff to assess this applied essay is provided at
the end of this document (page 5). When writing your assignment it is useful to keep in mind these
assessment criteria and the weightings allocated to each as well as the overview of standards
provided on pages 2-3 of the module handbook. These will help to guide your efforts in writing the
The purpose of an essay as an assignment task is to demonstrate your understanding of the topic
and your ability to sustain an argument. Essays are a form of academic writing that require you to
follow the general structure of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. An essay is written in
whole sentences and paragraphs. If you do not use an essay format you will lose marks. Essays do
not necessarily need headings, though these are often useful for guiding the reader. Appendices are
not permitted; any essential figures and tables should be included in the body of the assignment.
Document submission formats for on-line marking
Please follow these guidelines in preparing your documents:
• Do NOT use a cover sheet; instead just put your title at the top of the first page and begin your
essay immediately beneath this.
• You MUST include your student ID number at the top of every page (put it in a header).
• Page numbers must be included at the bottom of every page.
• You should use Calibri or Times New Roman 12-point typeface with single line spacing. Please
leave a full line between each paragraph for easier on-line reading.
• The document you submit must be in Word (.doc or .docx) format and should be uploaded as one
file. Please do not spread your assignment over multiple files – for example, do not put your
references in a separate file. We will only open and mark one file per student.
• Your marks will be affected if your tutor cannot open or properly view your submission (for
example, if you did not follow instructions on acceptable file formats).
• To minimize file size, please do NOT include pictures or photographs. Your own diagrams are
• All tables and diagrams must be included in the text – DO NOT use appendices as tutors will not
scroll back and forth through your work to find material in an appendix.
• Please number and give titles to all tables and diagrams for ease of reference in your text.
Word Limit
To complete this assignment you must produce a 1500 (+/- 10%) word academic essay (the word
count excludes the reference list and in-text citations).
There is no direct penalty for exceeding the word count but the marker WILL stop reading once the
word limit has been reached and nothing further will be taken into account in the allocation of marks.
You can view the UWE word count policy here: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/aboutus/policies
Please ensure you adhere to the principles of good academic practice and ensure you use the UWE
Harvard system to reference your work. Failure to properly reference your work to original source
material can be grounds for the assessment offence
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