Case – H&M
The apparel retailer H&M has made an incredible journey since its start in 1947 with a single store for women’s clothing in Sweden to become one of the leading global fashion and design groups. Currently, H&M has 4200 stores in 72 countries and employs around 177,000 employees worldwide. H&M also has a robust online presence, and their products are available on 47 online markets (platforms/ countries). A pioneer in ‘fast fashion’, H&M has positioned itself as a firm that responds quickly to new trends and creates fashion items that are made available to customers both online and in-stores immediately after that.
You are required to answer the following THREE questions that pertain to the case – H&M. For further details on H&M, you may refer to the case study, ‘H&M in fast fashion: continued success?’ (Exploring Strategy, pp- 576 – 583). It is also recommended that you research information additional to the case study to support your arguments. This may be obtained from a diverse range of sources, and you are encouraged to explore the issues in whichever way you deem appropriate.
Question One: Sources of Competitive Advantage and its relevance to management
Critically review the theories of competitive advantage and evaluate their relevance to management. In particular, discuss how such theories could inform H&M managers in their quest to gain sustainable competitive advantage. [40 marks]
Question Two: Firm’s strategy and strategic position
H&M’s home page includes several statements like “We are a family of brands with a shared ambition to make great design available to everyone in a sustainable way. Together we offer fashion, design and experiences that enable people around the world to be inspired and to express their own personal style” (H&M, 2018); “Fashion and quality clothing at the best price”. Drawing from relevant literature, critically discuss how the above statements from H&M align with the firm’s resources and capabilities. [30 marks]
Question Three: The role of innovation and internationalisation in a firm’s Competitive Advantage
Evaluate the relevance of innovation and internationalisation in designing and implementing H&M’s strategy/ competitive position [30 marks]
Assessment 2 (20% weighting)
Individual Poster Presentation to meet learning outcome K4, S3 and S5
As part of this assessment, you are to prepare and present a one-page poster that includes
Use words and images to present the message. You may use complete sentences, bullets, points or diagrams but be prepared to present/ discuss your analysis with your audience. Your poster should also include your key references/sources.
All work must adhere to the University regulations on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’, which are provided as an Appendix in your Programme Handbook. You are encouraged to use ‘Harvard Referencing Style’ and avoid ‘Plagiarism’.
You must submit the poster and the coursework in pdf format or a Microsoft Word file submitted online before the appointed date/time.
The assessment will focus on the level of ANALYSIS carried out. The application of THEORETICAL CONCEPTS studied in the module to the ‘practical’ case study presented. In other words, you should proceed beyond a DESCRIPTION of the company and its actions, and you should be analysing ‘why’ rather than describing ‘what’.
H&M, 2018. Annual report 2017-2018. [Online] Available at: https://about.hm.com/content/dam/hmgroup/groupsite/documents/masterlanguage/Annual%20Report/Annual%20Report%202018.pdf [Accessed 1st April 2019]
|Grade||Relevance||Knowledge||Analysis||Argument and Structure||Critical Evaluation||Presentation||Reference to Literature|
|Pass||86 – 100%||The work examined is exemplary and provides clear evidence of a complete grasp of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also unequivocal evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are fully satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be exemplary in all the categories cited above. It will demonstrate a particularly compelling evaluation, originality, and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse.|
|76-85%||The work examined is excellent and demonstrates comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are fully satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be excellent in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse and some evidence of originality.|
70 – 75%
|The work examined is of a high standard and there is evidence of comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is clearly articulated evidence demonstrating that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are satisfied. At this level it is expected that the standard of the work will be high in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse.|
60 – 69%
|Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment||A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues therein||Comprehensive analysis – clear and orderly presentation||Well supported, focussed argument which is clear and logically structured.||Contains distinctive or independent thinking; and begins to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice.||Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with acceptable format||Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature. Recognition of different perspectives. Very good use of a wide range of sophisticated source material.|
50 – 59%
|Some attempt to address the requirements of the assessment: may drift away from this in less focused passages||Adequate knowledge of a fair range of relevant material, with intermittent evidence of an appreciation of its significance||Significant analytical treatment which has a clear purpose||Generally coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical mode(s)||May contain some distinctive or independent thinking; may begin to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice.||Competently written, with only minor lapses from standard grammar, with acceptable format||Uses a good variety of literature which includes recent texts and/or appropriate literature, including a substantive amount beyond library texts. Competent use of source material.|
|40 – 49%||Some correlation with the requirements of the assessment but there are instances of irrelevance||Basic understanding of the subject but addressing a limited range of material||Some analytical treatment, but may be prone to description, or to narrative, which lacks clear analytical purpose||Some attempt to construct a coherent argument, but may suffer loss of focus and consistency, with issues at stake stated only vaguely, or theoretical mode(s) couched in simplistic terms||Sound work which expresses a coherent position only in broad terms and in uncritical conformity to one or more standard views of the topic||A simple basic style but with significant deficiencies in expression or format that may pose obstacles for the reader||Evidence of use of appropriate literature which goes beyond that referred to by the tutor. Frequently only uses a single source to support a point.|
|Fail||35 – 39%||Relevance to the requirements of the assessment may be very intermittent, and may be reduced to its vaguest and least challenging terms||A limited understanding of a narrow range of material||Largely descriptive or narrative, with little evidence of analysis||A basic argument is evident, but mainly supported by assertion and there may be a lack of clarity and coherence||Some evidence of a view starting to be formed but mainly derivative.||Numerous deficiencies in expression and presentation; the writer may achieve clarity (if at all) only by using a simplistic or repetitious style||Barely adequate use of literature. Over reliance on material provided by the tutor.|
|The evidence provided shows that the majority of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied – for compensation consideration.|
|30 – 34%
|The work examined provides insufficient evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence provided shows that some of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in some of the indicators.|
|15-29%||The work examined is unacceptable and provides little evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence shows that few of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in several of the indicators.|
|0-14%||The work examined is unacceptable and provides almost no evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence fails to show that any of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in the majority or all of the indicators.|
Source: AQH-F6-15 Guidelines on Generic Assessment Criteria,