defining a topic

Reflect on what you have learned about RPZ Marketing. Think about what you see as the company’s current strengths and opportunities, as well as its potential weaknesses and challenges. Review what you wrote in the Unit 3 discussion, Identifying a Business Problem. Choose the problem you identified in Unit 3 or another problem that interests you enough to study it further. If you are choosing a new problem, clearly describe the specific problem currently facing RPZ. Here is an example of the kind of thinking you might pursue:

I have always been interested in the ways in which leaders guide their organizations through times of change. From reading the RPZ scenarios, it appears that this company is in exactly that kind of situation, having acquired a company that immediately increases its size and reach. On the other hand, it is a situation that could lead to internal conflicts, and could be very difficult to manage. What are the most important things that a leader needs to pay attention to in a situation like this? That is what I would like to find out more about.

Use one of the following sample topic areas or create your own:

  • Strategic planning for mergers and acquisitions.
  • Deciding to acquire a company or compete with it.
  • Deciding to supplement consulting staff by outsourcing.
  • Using training to develop employee skill.


Describe Your Area of Interest

Begin your assignment by addressing the following:

  1. Describe your area of greatest interest in the RPZ case. Sample: I would like to know what works: what makes leaders successful in situations like this?
  2. Describe the ideas, factors, or issues you believe are most closely related to this area of interest. Sample: I think there are many factors that leaders have to be concerned about, including how to structure the merged company, who should be in charge of what, how to keep people productive, and how to keep the company on track during the change.
  3. Describe what you are assuming is true about this situation. Sample: First, I am assuming that it can be done, that some companies really do succeed at this. Second, I am assuming that there are things that leaders can do in this situation that are more likely to result in success. I am also assuming that others have been through this successfully.
  4. Explain what major aspect of this problem you think is worth exploring. Sample: I am guessing that certain decisions have to be made about people and the structure of the organization, that some kind of process should be followed, and that plans will be needed. What interests me most is how to best make those decisions about people and structure.
Develop Your Problem Statement

Based on your answers to the previous prompts, develop a problem statement specific to the problem facing RPZ. This statement will be used to guide your research in Unit 7 and your writing in Unit 9.

A problem statement is more than a sentence that describes a topic or poses a question. A problem statement includes a series of one to three bold sentences that presents a point of view, an opinion, or an idea that is arguable. Because it is arguable, a problem statement goes beyond making an observation; it makes a case for or against something. Developing a problem statement requires that you consider a variety of information and perspectives about your topic.

Your problem statement should describe:

  • The focus of your topic.
  • The business problem your topic will address.
  • How your topic relates to RPZ Marketing.
  • The significance of the topic: why solving this problem is important to RPZ.

Sample statement:

One way that organizations can continue to grow is to acquire other organizations. Even when an acquisition seems to make sense, putting the companies together is not an easy task, and can lead to disruptive times for both the acquirer and the acquired. Leaders of the RPZ Marketing have a critical role in guiding that process through strategic planning.

In Unit 7, you will have the opportunity to revise and refine your problem statement based on what you learn through your research.

Submission Requirements

  • Written communication: Communication should be clear, well-organized, and support a central idea, with no technical writing errors, as expected of a business professional.
  • Length of paper: Approximately 1-2 typed, double-spaced pages.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

Refer to the scoring guide to ensure that your work meets the grading criteria for this assignment.

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