Leadership and Strategic Development

In Part A, we assess learning outcomes related to topics 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 by providing you with case study information on the leadership and strategic development processes that operate within the innovative context at RyanAir.


The purpose of this brief is to provide you:

Details of the coursework assessment: background to the case and questions
Information on presentation and submission date.

Guidelines to assist you in answering the questions
The assessment marking criteria and feedback sheet for Part A.


Case Study Background & Questions

Read carefully the case evidence on RyanAir which is contained in the following four sources:

1. Case Study: RyanAir: the low fares airlines – “always getting better”? Exploring Strategy: Text and Cases 11th Edition Johnson et al. (2017) 11th edition

2. Corporate Website: Corporate.ryanair.com. (2019). Ryanair’s Corporate Website. [online] Available at: https://corporate.ryanair.com/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].

3. 2019 Annual Report Investor.ryanair.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://investor.ryanair.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Ryanair-2019-Annual-Report.pdf [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].

The case study gives you background information and an overview of the company as well as the opportunities and challenges it has faced in recent years. The corporate website has information on company history as well as some key facts and figures. The 2019 annual report provides financial information about the organization and its current strategic direction. The case study has been published in 2015 and you should be using the corporate website and annual report to access updated information. You should be using these sources in combination to answer part A of this assignment.


Part A of your coursework assessment requires you to answer two questions using a report structure. Both questions are equally weighted and you should review how grading is allocated in the Coursework Feedback Sheet.




1. Identify Ryanair’s distinctive resources & capabilities and analyze them using the VRIO framework to determine the organization’s competitive advantage.

2. Critically evaluate the VRIO framework and discuss which other model or framework could be associated with VRIO to overcome its limitations.





The assessment in Part A is case analysis and you should note that case analysis is not a conceptual explanation or discussion but the application of concepts and frameworks to interpret the case information, analyze key events and statements, and reach evaluative judgements. The concepts and frameworks are covered in the lectures, tutorials and prescribed reading and the guide below gives you a few pointers on how you need to use this knowledge to answer the questions. In developing your analysis and arguments, you should use supporting evidence from the information contained in the case studies.

Your answers must take into account the three sources listed above. The case study is the primary source of information. The corporate website should be used to obtain updated information as the case dates from 2015. The annual report gives you an overview of the efforts undertaken by the organization during its last financial exercise. The core textbook should be used as well to retrieve information on the VRIO framework. You are welcome to use peripheral sources to these recommended sources but the majority of the analysis should be based on the recommended sources.

In terms of presentation, introduce each question indicating how you will structure your answer and conclude each answer with reference to your preceding arguments and the task required by the question. You may wish to divide your answer into sections that reflect the major elements of your analysis.

The combined word count of your answers to both questions must be 2000 words and comply with the guidance provided. The word limit for Part A excludes the cover page, reference list, and appendices. This is subject to a +/- 10% allowance to the allocated word count.

Where a submission exceeds the stated word limit (allowing for the +10%) the maximum grade awarded will be P1. Appendices can be useful to provide additional information from your analysis but you must incorporate the key analytical arguments into the main body of your answer.



Guidance Notes

The assessment feedback sheet at the end of this section gives the marking criteria for the overall case analysis. Remember, in writing your solution to the questions you must not describe what the case says but use the concepts to analyze the information and use the evidence/facts in the case to support your analysis.

Question 1 requires you to apply the VRIO framework to determine the organization’s core resources and capabilities to evaluate its competitive advantage. This question is the precise application of a framework to develop an analysis specifically for the company. You are welcome to use diagrams to illustrate the VRIO framework or a table. You should use headings and sub-headings to structure your answer.

Question 2 requires you to reflect and analyze the framework. The aim is to identify the benefits and limitations of the framework, not of the organization. At PG level you should be able to critically analyze a framework and determine objectively its contribution as well as its limitations. You can use examples from the case but the focus is on the framework, not the organization. You should use headings and sub-headings to structure your answer.


Part A marking criteria:

– Presentation of appropriate analysis, use of appropriate concepts, and depth of understanding of the issues raised in the case (10%)

– Application of the VRIO framework and evaluation of Ryanair’s competitive advantage (35%)

– Critical analysis of the VRIO framework (35%)

– Ability to reach coherent and logical arguments from the analysis, supported by case evidence (20%)


Part B marking criteria:

– Presentation of the essay. Clear use of paragraphs and headings and the text is free from typographical and spelling errors. (10%)

– Referencing of content. Referencing throughout the essay with adequate citation support for arguments being made (10%)

– Analysis. A comprehensive examination of appropriate theoretical models. Strong arguments presented with critical insights and good communication skills in evidence. (60%)

– Conclusions. Clear identification of key themes and issues. Synthesis of core arguments and formulation of insights and recommendations as appropriate. (20%)


Note: the percentages are shown as indications on the relative importance of each section and should not be taken as a precise indication of the marking scheme.

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