BUSI4900 Walden University Week 2 Value Chain and Environment Analysis

Week 2: Environment Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and the Value Chain

This week, you will engage in environmental scanning; explore the use of the value chain in strategic planning; and create a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, which will assist you in choosing the correct strategies in Week 3.

Before moving forward, it is necessary to understand what awaits you “out there” (in the potential marketplace). This is accomplished in several steps, starting with environmental scanning. So what is this practice, and how is it accomplished?

Imagine yourself as a commander of a powerful modern submarine. Your vision is to have a world at peace. Your mission calls for you to sink all the enemy ships you can find, while keeping your submarine and its crew safe so everyone returns to home safely. The mission calls for you to remain submerged underwater for the duration of the voyage, yet still find enemy ships to sink and keep from being sunk while in the process.

To make sure you can accomplish your mission, you must use the periscope to see what is out there. That is called environmental scanning. The problem with a periscope is that it has only a limited 90-degree field of view. That means you have to continuously keep turning the periscope in a circular motion to see each quadrant of the environment around you. This is referred to as “external” or “macro” environmental scanning. The goal is to find ships to sink (opportunities) and keep from being seen by enemy warships trying to sink your submarine (threats). You quickly see enemy ships on the horizon and head toward them.

Next, you must look inside. This is “internal” or “micro” environmental scanning. Your strengths are the newness of the submarine, its weapons, and technology. Your primary weakness is that your crew is young and inexperienced.

Looking at the situation holistically (also called SWOT analysis), you decide to carefully proceed and attack the enemy ships one at a time. This is the beginning of a value chain analysis. In creating the greatest value to the battle, you appoint seasoned petty officers as managers over the young sailors, and carefully place most of your focus on the systems and technology you have to achieve your mission. As the enemy ships sink one by one, you achieve success. Your SWOT analysis has succeeded.

Important Planning Note

Much of the work for this course takes place in the Business Strategy Game (BSG) Simulation. Within this online program, time will be automatically calculated for the location of each student (e.g., Pacific Standard Time in California or Eastern Standard Time in New Jersey). However, all work that takes place in Blackboard (e.g., Discussions) is calculated in Mountain Time. Please make note of due dates and times for all assignments to be sure you stay on track.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze the use of analytical tools to help companies create a competitive market position
  • Contrast the differences between SWOT analyses and SWOTT analyses
  • Analyze the impact of competitive industry conditions on strategy development
  • Analyze concepts related to strategic planning and management implementation
  • Apply concepts related to strategic business management

Photo Credit: [Yagi Studio]/[DigitalVision]/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the
Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Thompson, A. A. (2014–2015).
Strategy: Core concepts and analytical approaches (3rd ed.) [BSG electronic edition]. Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw-Hill Education.

  • Chapter 3, “Evaluating a Company’s External Environment” (pp. 32–62)
  • Chapter 4, “Evaluating a Company’s Resources and Ability to Compete Successfully” (pp. 64–88)

Borton, J. (n.d.).
E-presentations [PowerPoint presentation]. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University College of Management and Technology.

Document: Week 2 Discussion 1 Template (Word document)

Document: Week 2 Discussion 2 Template (Word document)

Business Strategy Game (BSG) Simulation website:

Thompson, A. A., Jr., Reidenback, M. A., Stappenbeck, G. J., Harms, C. C., & Thrasher, I. F. (2014). The Business Strategy Game: Competing in a global marketplace. Retrieved from

Visit this website to read Chapters 1 and 2 of the course e-book course and to begin the Business Strategy Game (BSG) SIM. This simulation provides opportunities for you to make some of the difficult decisions often encountered by managers as they seek to execute the strategy that has been established by senior executives who are responsible to the shareholders.

Required Media

Global Edge Learning (Producer). (2010).
Value chains: Knowing your business model [Video file]. Retrieved from

Oxford Learning Lab (Producer). (2009).
SWOT analysis: How to create a useful one [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion 1: Learning Objectives for Environmental Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and the Value Chain

Please see the Discussion Guidelines in Week 1, and use them as a guide for Weeks 2–6.

By Day 3

Post to Discussion.

By Day 6

Complete your responses.

For Week 2, Discussion 1, choose one of the following three discussion topics. Your post should be 225–250 wordsand APA formatted.

  1. Analyze the basic concepts and analytical tools used to diagnose a company’s industry and competitive conditions.
  2. Contrast the differences in the use and approach between a SWOT analysis and a SWOTT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunies, Threats, and Trends) analysis.
  3. Analyze why an in-depth evaluation of specific industry and competitive conditions is a prerequisite to crafting a strategy that is well matched to a firm’s situation.

Please use the Week 2 Discussion 1 Template located in the Week 2 Learning Resources to draft your post.

Discussion and Participation Guidelines

Weekly Class Discussion Participation

Weekly discussion participation with your colleagues students and the Instructor for each question occurs over a minimum of three different days. You are required to engage in discussions with a minimum of three different colleagues. To be sure you are addressing all of the Learning Objectives for the week, respond to colleagues who selected different questions than you did for their initial post. Each response should be 100–125 words. One-line responses will not earn any points.

After your initial post, engage with colleagues and the Instructor in clarifying and mastering any concepts not fully understood. Points to explore in the first discussion topic could include:

  • How is the concept(s) used in your current or past place of employment and/or career?
  • How does the concept(s) relate to other concepts in the Learning Objectives?
  • Why is it important for you to know and master these concept(s)?

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 2 Discussion 1 Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 2 Discussion 1

Discussion 2: Research Weekly Concepts for Environmental Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and the Value Chain

By Day 4

Post to Discussion.

By Day 7

Complete your responses.

For Discussion 2, please visit the Walden Library databases or select a recognized business publication such as Forbes, Business Week, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, and so forth. Select an article addressing Porter’s value chain; value chain analysis; SWOT analysis; or another topic that relates to these ideas and this week’s Learning Objectives. For example, you could explore topics such as environmental analysis; multiple uses of a SWOT analysis; SWOTT analysis (a traditional SWOT analysis with added trend lines on each of the four elements) as an analytic tool in strategic management; strategic market analysis; the GE 9-Cell model; PESTEL analysis; and so forth.

Following APA style and formatting guidelines, summarize the article into approximately 300 words (do NOT copy the article), and explain the knowledge you gained from it. Post to Discussion 2 by Day 4. Include a link to the original article so your colleagues can read it.

Please use the Week 2 Discussion 2 Template located in the Week 2 Learning Resources to draft your post.

Engage in class discussions of the article, starting no later than Day 4, and continuing until Day 6. All discussion posts must be complete by Day 7. In addition to your initial post, respond a minimum of three times (100–125 words) over a minimum of 3 days.

To earn full points, full engagement in this discussion requires an initial post and active substantive responses with colleagues over a minimum of 3 days and preferably every day.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 2 Discussion 2 Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 7

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 2 Discussion 2

Weekly Quiz, Business Strategy Game (BSG) Simulation and Simulation Procedure Quiz, Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation

Weekly Textbook Tutorial Quiz

This week, you will complete a tutorial quiz for each of the two assigned chapters of the course text. You have up to three attempts per quiz to achieve a perfect score. There are two quizzes each week.


  • All quizzes and exams (located under Assignments in the SIM) are completed in the SIM and are automatically graded.
  • The quizzes are tutorial in nature and are worth 10 points per week.
  • At the end of each final quiz attempt, you may open the quiz and see the correct answers.

Business Strategy Game (BSG) SIM: Graded Years Commence

This week, you will meet with your group and decide on the strategy that your company will implement for the first week of the graded activity in the SIM. A total of two Annual Operating Year decisions are required weekly. The first must be posted by midnight on Day 3, while the second must be posted by midnight of Day 6.

A SIM company annual performance grade is posted to every SIM participant in the SIM e-mail, following the end of the SIM Decision Year. The report will indicate the company’s performance against the predetermined goals for the SIM. You will repeat this procedure on a weekly basis during Weeks 2–6.

Simulation Procedure Quiz

This week, you will take the first of two SIM-based quizzes on Simulation Procedures. This quiz is due by Day 7, 11:59 p.m. The grade is included within the overall 200-point SIM grade.

Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation

Start work on your Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation.

Review the tutorial “E-presentations” by Dr. John Borton, which illustrates how to create an audio PowerPoint presentation. It is located in the Week 2 Learning Resources. Use this as a guide to create the Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation.

The Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation must be submitted by Day 7 of Week 6.

Each group member must assume responsibility for an equal share of the slide preparation and audio presentation. Once assembled into a slide deck, all group members must preview the presentation for completeness and accuracy. One group member will post it to the Audio-Enhanced Group PowerPoint Presentation Discussion 3 thread in Week 6 for review by the whole class, who will serve as the virtual Board of Directors and provide comment and feedback.

Week in Review

In this week, you engaged in environmental scanning; explored the use of the value chain in strategic planning; and created a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, which will assist you in choosing the correct strategies in Week 3.

In the next week, you will identify, select, and implement strategies. you will examine the concept and possibility of adopting the new Blue Ocean strategy, which is a paradigm shift in strategic choice.

To go to the next week:

Week 3

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