Business in Context Report

For the company Proctor and Gamble from the perspective of building, maintaining and protecting the company’s long-term reputation, identify key megatrends in the firm’s external context that can influence this reputation. Critically discuss how these trends provide opportunities and constraints for Proctor and Gamble, including a discussion of how important reputation is to the strategic success of the company.

2,500 word report which explains and discusses key megatrends that influence the firm’s external context in the early 21st century. The report should explain and discuss how these trends represent both opportunities and constraints for business. 

The following guidance has been provided:

Unpick the question – here are some suggestions:

 Perspective: Bear in mind all three elements here – what do they mean?
 Long-term reputation: what does this mean?
 Identify: This requires research – inside and outside the company.
 Key megatrends: as a starting point, identify actors, subjects, drivers and inhibitors.
 Critically discuss: don’t just rely on company sources, go outside. Provide evidence.
 Opportunities: where is the company heading and what lies beyond the obvious?
 Constraints: what might be in the way? Think beyond financial resources.

For information, I attach:

1. Responsible Business in Context Course Outline – please see Group Report Section

2. Marking Criteria

The focus of the report is megatrends. Please see the FAQ’s relating to content:

What is a megatrend?

Megatrends differ from industry to industry and from company to company, some will be the same for all industries or companies, some will be very specific to an industry or company. They depend on a number of factors in four broad areas. The four broad areas are subjects, actors, drivers and inhibitors. One of the subjects is sustainability, so as such, sustainability is not a megatrend but it influences the megatrend. Government is an actor and as such, not a megatrend, but influences the megatrend and therefore an organisation’s responsible management. Taxes e.g. are a driver (institutional power) and will influence the context/megatrend.
What you identify as megatrends will depend on your analysis of the external context for which you have various tools at your disposal.

You should conduct your own thorough, rigorous and critical analysis – you might discover megatrends unexplored by the case company.

‘Megatrend’ is just a label. You could identify a phenomenon that no-one has labelled as ‘megatrend’, but which is clearly a macro level change which emerges over time. So we don’t know of another term that is synonymous with megatrend, but……

Most importantly, trying to google ‘megatrends’ (or an equivalent word) and relying on what comes up is risky – you may well miss something which is relevant but hasn’t been labelled a ‘megatrend’ yet. You have permission to disagree with what other (writers/companies/consultancies) identify as megatrends, as long as you can support your disagreement with sources from your own research/analysis.

Q: For the assignment we need to identify key mega trends – there are three – economic, social and environmental as well as those referred to in the textbook:

Stakeholder wants and needs
New markets and business case
Converging global crises
Internet and transparency
Institutional power
Of course, the above can be linked to economic, social and political issues. 

A: The five items you mention are the drivers of megatrends. So it is helpful to think about these to identify megatrends. 

Q: We’re wondering whether the assignment’s question needs to be linked to responsible management as it is not mentioned within the question itself. I have identified key megatrends however, I am not sure if I have to link the megatrends, the reputation and responsible management together. Could you kindly clarify this?

A: Whilst responsible management is not mentioned in the assignment, responsible management has a major influence on an organisation’s reputation. As such, you can link reputation and responsible management together as reputation will be an outcome of responsible management (both affected by megatrends).

Q: In terms of analysing the external environment as the question states, we’re using PESTLE to look at the general environment for the industry and possibly a Five Forces, should need be. However, we’ve been looking at the megatrends aspect too (…) – I’m wondering what we are supposed to be focusing on more, as we have 3000 words and do not want to sabotage the structure of the report by getting this wrong. Also, would you recommend blending the reputation aspect (linking to strategic position, opportunities/challenges) with the PESTLE or do we dedicate a separate section to this?”

A: PESTEL and 5F are tools to analyse the external environment/context which will help you to identify megatrends (which are influenced by actors, inhibitors, subjects, drivers, see lecture 1). You could briefly cover how you analysed the external environment in order to identify key megatrends. Your focus should be on the critical discussion of these trends as opportunities and constraints.
Overall, there will be differences in how the groups interpret the megatrends for the respective case companies. We encourage critical and creative thinking in this respect and expect you to back up your discussion with a credible range of sources. The sources should include company sources as a starting point, but should extend to external sources as company sources could (for some issues) be biased.

Q: Should we analyse one of the brands or subsidiaries of our case company, ordo we need to analyse the entire group as a whole?

A: In your report, you may choose to focus on only one brand within your group, or one particular country within the company, or on the whole group. Whichever option you choose, you need to make this very clear in your report. So please make sure you clearly state this in the introduction.

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