Posted: February 26th, 2015

Your task is to write a report that describes, explains and analyses three relevant newspaper articles published in the UK national print press. Your report should be titled ‘Three firms: changes in their business environment’

BS4101       Assignment  (2014/5)

 This Business Economics assignment accounts for 50% of the module mark.  Your task is to write a report that describes, explains and analyses three relevant newspaper articles published in the UK national print press.  Your report should be titled ‘Three firms: changes in their business environment’. Each newspaper article should  refer to a specific firm that is undergoing or responding to a particular form of change.   Each of your three stories should feature a different firm.

 Story 1

A firm that is either merging, attempting to take over other firms or diversifying.

 Story 2

A firm that is being affected by change with respect to at least one of the following general external environmental factors: political, economic, social, technological, legal or ethical/environmental, i.e. affected by changes in at least one of the general PESTLE environmental factors.

Story 3

A firm that is being affected by changes in the microeconomic environment; there is change in at least one of the operating environmental categories that is specific to the identified firm, eg. changes with respect to Customers, Competitors, Complementors, or Suppliers.  

 You should clearly describe each story and demonstrate an ability to apply relevant microeconomic and/or macroeconomic concepts in a real world context; your report should analyse each firm’s situation from a business economist’s viewpoint as you explain the context, rationale and implications of the story about the firm.

 For example:

If, for story 1 you had been describing and assessing the merger between Lloyds-TSB and HBOS (in 2008) you might have identified it as a horizontal merger and identified details with regard to the effect on market concentration and analysed rationale such as economies of scale or new business opportunities (see information on mergers in the course text book p230-234).

If, for story 2 you had been looking at an article (in the late 1990’s) on a specific firm affected by a rapid rise in house prices, you might have identified general factors such as rises in incomes, increased desire for home ownership, government interest rate policy, the cost & availability of mortgages, speculation etc.  See the article on the housing market, p56/57 in the course textbook.  Diagrams showing shifting supply and demand curves and reference to the concept of elasticity might have helped your analysis.

If, for story 3 (in the early 2000’s), you had been developing your analysis from an article on a specific Indian restaurant, you might have found the concept of monopolistic competition to be useful.  See page 178/179 in the course textbook.  Other relevant concepts besides those of market structures might have been the Structure Conduct Performance model, Porter’s 5 forces and possibly elements of game theory.

 The above examples are for illustration only. You should not attempt to exactly follow those specific stories. Your story should come from an initial article published between Monday 15th December 2014 and Thursday 12th March 2015.  What is relevant depends on the particular story that you choose and other Business Economics concepts may be more appropriate.



  • Summary: Begin with a summary of the three articles and your approach. (200 – 250 words)
  • Three stories. Each story has a description, explanation and analysis: Write 300 – 400 words of text PER story.
  • Conclusion: A brief assessment of your analysis for the three stories. (200 – 250 words)
  • Your total word count should amount to between 1,300 – 1,700 words.

The word count does not include the front and contents page, diagrams, references, bibliography or appendices.



  • Produce your report in a clear structured way. Follow this format:
  • A front cover to your report, with title and date.
  • The second page should list the contents of the report. It should identify each story by reference to its title, newspaper used (with date), reporter (if given) and page number.
  • Each of the three stories in the report should be identified with a clear heading.
  • On the last page of the report you should list your references. This should include all three articles and any other sources that you have used.  References must be written using the Harvard referencing style.
  • Remember that the Turnitin plagiarism detection software will compare your report against an extensive body of published material, including the sources of the three stories. Your referencing must acknowledge all source material, including the original source of the three stories.
  • The format of your report should be a word document.


  • The original three newspaper articles should come from daily broadsheet newspapers (e.g. The Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph etc). ‘Tabloid-esque’ papers such as The Sun, The Mirror, etc. will NOT be deemed acceptable. Articles can be the hard copy or the on-line electronic version.  The newspapers should be dated anytime between Monday 15th December 2014 and Thursday 12th March 2015.  You can choose your articles from any combination of newspapers i.e. they can be from the same issue or completely different ones.  To emphasise – an appropriate source is a broadsheet newspaper that is published DAILY.



  • Clearly summarise the information given in the story, identify what is happening and the likely impact on the firm.
  • Credit is given for information on the specified firm that is obtained from other sources and add to your summary and analysis. These must be appropriately referenced using the Harvard system.
  • Credit is given for relevant terminology and theory that you introduce to help your analysis.
  • A clear understanding of the macroeconomic and microeconomic concepts used should be demonstrated e.g. use of diagrams to explain the context.



Your report will be marked with regard to the following:

  • Ability to produce a written report and to follow the assignment instructions.
  • Ability to communicate information and explain each story in a clear way.
  • Ability to use appropriate terminology.
  • Awareness of relevant Business Economics concepts
  • Understanding of relevant concepts by applying them in a clear and relevant way.
  • Knowledge with respect to the specific cases chosen and theory applied.
  • Credit for synthesis of materials, evaluation and analysis (highest level marking criteria)




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