(Answer) PGBM135 Global Strategy and Foresight




PGBM135 Global Strategy and Foresight
Assignment Brief

Assessment 1 (80% weighting)
Case study based Individual coursework with a word guideline of 4000 words (plus or minus
10%) to meet learning outcomes K1, K2, K3, S1, S2 and S4.
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 go on to become one of the leading global fashion
and design group. Currently, H&M has 4200 stores in 72 countries and employs around
177,000 employees worldwide. H&M also has a strong 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 thereafter.
You are required to answer the following THREE questions that pertains 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 research 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
Critically review the relationship between organisational resources, external environment
and firm performance. You may use H&M as an illustration in your discussion. [30
Question Three: The role of innovation and internationalisation in a firm’s Competitive
3 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 outcomes K4, S3 and S5
As part of this assessment, you are to prepare and present a one-page poster that includes
1. Identification of trends within the ‘fast fashion’ industry which you consider are to be key
drivers for change for H&M and why?
2. Are there other megatrends that might be important for H&M?
3. Construct (5 or 10 years) scenarios for H&M.
4. Using the identification of megatrends and/or scenarios, consider the potential impact of
future environmental forces on H&M’s business in terms of both threats and opportunities.
Use words and images to present the message. You may use complete sentences, bullet
points or diagrams but be prepared to present/ discuss your analysis with your audience.
Your poster should also include your key references/sources.
Please note:
All work must adhere to the University regulations on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’,
which are provided as an Appendix in your Programme Handbook. I encourage you to use
‘Harvard Referencing Style’ and avoid ‘Plagiarism’.
You have to submit an electronic copy of the coursework and the poster in pdf format or
Microsoft Word file on CANVAS before the appointed date/time.
Assessment Criteria
The assessment will focus on the level of ANALYSIS carried out. That is, 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.
You should be analysing ‘why’ rather than describing ‘what’.



H&M case study


1. Introduction

H&M group was founded in 1947 in Sweden. The company has experienced gradually growth over the decades and now has over 4900 stores in 72 countries across the world. The H&M group is comprised of several brands that include H&M, H&M home, Cheap Monday, COS, Weekday, ARKET and Afound (H&M, 2019). All the various brands together offer the customers a wide range of fashionable trends and styles at a wide range of prices to meet the needs of various distinct market segments. Some of the key products offered by the H&M group include fashion clothes, beauty items and accessories, interior designs and healthy food products. This report analyses how the company could maintain its competitive advantage. The report first discusses the theories relevant to competitive advantage, and then uses them to analyse the sources of competitive advantage for H&M and the relevance of this analysis to the H&M managers. Secondly, the report evaluates the company’s strategy and strategic position by analysing its strategic statements and their alignment to the company’s resources and capabilities. Finally, the report assesses the role of innovation and internationalisation in achieving H&M competitive position. 

2. Question 1: Sources of competitive advantage and its relevance to management

2.1 Competitive advantage theories and sources of competitive advantage at H&M

According to Kraaijenbrink, Spender & Groen (2009), the Resource-based view is perhaps the most influential theory in strategic management that explains the source of competitive advantage in an organisation. Competitive advantage of a firm arises from distinctive capabilities and resources of the organisation that puts it at a favorable or superior position. Resources are defined by Johnson et al. (2016) as the assets owned by an organisation or that can be called upon by the organisation. On the other hand, capabilities are defined as ways an organisation can use its resources both tangible and intangible.

According to For organisation’s resources and capabilities to offer it a competitive advantage, they need to go beyond normal threshold and instead be distinctive. According to Rothaermel (2012), threshold resources and capabilities are only able to offer an organisation the ability to compete at the same level with other competitors in the market. To be termed distinctive, a resource and a capability need to have a uniqueness that offers greater value to the customers and that the competitors find hard to imitate. According to the resource-based theory, an organisation could only achieve a stable competitive advantage if it acquires and control valuable, rare, hard to imitate resources that are also organised to capture value (Johnson et al., 2016).

According to Chatzoglou et al. (2018), a resource or a capability is deemed valuable if it adds value to the clients/customers and if it allows the organisation to take arising opportunities and neutralise emerging threats. For a resource or capability to offer value to the customers, it needs to meet the customer’s critical success factors such as their order qualifiers and order winning criteria…………………….

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