Organizational Analysis: Nike’s Financial Problems

1.      Choose a large company from the Fortune 500 list.  Using this list ensures that you will be able to find plenty of information about the organization. There is a short video in Week 1 that may help you in making this choice.  Submit this choice during Week 1 – you will find a submission folder for this under Activities/Assignments on the D2L Home Page menu.

a.       A complete list of Fortune 500 companies can be found here:

b.       Your company must be publicly traded and they must be B2B (they must sell to consumers). The fastest way to check this is to go to and start typing your company’s name in the “Enter Symbol” search box in the upper left. If your company has a ticker, then it is publicly traded.

c.       Your company must be B2C (business to consumer). In other words, the end user of your company’s products or services must be consumers, not other businesses, government agencies, etc.

2.       Do background research on your company and the industry in which they participate.  Based on this research, identify symptoms of a problem, further analyze those symptoms in order to identify root causes.  Finally, use all of this information to write a concise problem statement.

3.       Develop at least two proposed solutions to your company’s problem. Use a Weighted Decision Matrix (covered in a video during the term) to evaluate your proposed solutions and make a final recommendation. Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis for your final recommendation.  Cost-Benefit analysis is covered in the course material; you can watch the Cost Benefit Analysis video in Week 8 of the course.

4.       Clearly and specifically describe how your recommended solution will be implemented and evaluated by the company.


  • Include a cover page with your name, your company, the term, and course name.
  • Begin your paper on a new page with an Executive Summary that is no more than 1 page long. Brief instructions for writing an Executive Summary.
  • Begin the body of the paper on a new page.  You must use the following main sections for your final paper, with a heading (in Ariel Bold 14 point font) for each of these sections:
    • Situation Analysis
      • This section explores the context and background of the problem solving situation for your chosen company, and it should start on a new page after the Executive Summary.  This is the only section that starts on a new page!  This is where you attempt to understand the organization’s goals, mission/vision and key stakeholders, and it will guide the rest of your problem-solving activity.  This is where you should include financial background information, a competitive overview and a SWOT analysis.  Create relevant charts and graphs that will give the reader a concise, yet complete, picture of what happening with the company at this point in time. 
    • Problem Analysis & Description
      • Use this section to explore the critical issues facing the organization and ultimately define and describe a problem that will be your focus for the remainder of the paper.  In other words, you will solve the problem identified and described in this section in the following sections of the paper.  Gather additional data to support issues identified in the Situation Analysis, analyze that data, identify key symptoms, prioritize these symptoms and find connections and relationships between them, if any.  Symptoms are the indicators of the ultimate problem.  They are the “gaps” talked about in the course video.  Provide a clear, focused problem description by the end of the section.  Be specific.  Include numbers, if you can.  Back it up with data gathered during your research.  Use some root cause analysis to ensure that you aren’t mistaking symptoms for causes.  Refer back to the Situation Analysis section and note any new stakeholders and any conflicts with the corporation’s mission and vision.  As I finish reading this section, I should have a clear idea of the problem you are solving throughout the rest of the paper.  If there is no single cause for your problem, list the range of possible causes.e
    • Solutions, Evaluation & Recommendation
      • Based on the problem described in the previous section, develop at least two possible solutions and describe them in as much detail as possible given the constraints of the paper.  This is the decision-making part of the paper.  Use a weighted-criteria decision matrix to evaluate the solutions and make an informed recommendation.  Use a Cost/Benefit Analysis as part of your decision-making, either comparing the net benefits of the various options, or to show the Net Benefit of your final recommendation.  By the end of this section you should make a clear choice, and present a strong case for why you made that choice.  Convince the reader.
    • Implementation & Success Metrics
      • To the extent possible, prepare a brief discussion of how your solution can be implemented.

§  Develop a set of measures that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your solution in delivering proposed benefits.  Discuss when, how often, and how the solution should be evaluated.

  • Your analysis must make use of a 10-K, an industry profile, as well as a variety of other relevant sources that help you take a strong position, including data from your SWOT analysis. Don’t just rehash your SWOT Analysis in the Situation Analysis.  Write a narrative that summarizes all of the relevant information needed for the reader to understand how you got to your conclusions about the problem identification.  Imagine the reader knows nothing about this company.  Tell them enough so that the remainder of the paper makes sense.  This is a research paper, where you must support your claims and conclusions with the sources uncovered during your research. 
  • The narrative body of your paper (excluding cover page, executive summary, graphics like charts, tables and graphs, and reference list) must be between 10 and 15 pages of text using 12-point Times Roman, with 1 inch margins (left, right, top and bottom), left justified and double-spaced.
  • Follow APA style for citations.

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