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Google or Zappos
Preparation of group project
Each student is required to complete a research project. It is each student’s responsibility to partner with another student in the class, select the topic and undertake a combined research project on any one of the following firms:
1. Four Seasons Hotel 2. Google 3. In-N-Out Burger 4. H.E.B Fresh Foods 5. Zappos 6. Mayo Clinic
Your assignment must be based around the following criteria. Although you may not necessarily be able to cover all criteria, you are responsible to cover as many of the points as possible – primarily driven by the relevance of the item to your firm (for example, not every firm was founded by a single person – hence you would be unable to discuss leadership from an entrepreneurial perspective, etc.).
This assignment is worth 25% of your entire grade for the class. Hence, there is an expectation of due diligence commensurate with the weighting of the assignment. This means that you will need to be clever in the way you find data. Do not depend on the company website for your information. You must use other sources which support the statements made. You might find books, trade journal publications, news paper articles which use the company as an exemplar for some aspect of their practice.
This list below provides specific instructions about what is needed and how to go about constructing your Case Study. Remember = the more comprehensive you are, the higher your grade will be!
1. You must thoroughly research your firm and collect a firm general awareness about the company. Your grade will partially depend on the RANGE and QUALITY of your references. ??References must be broad and diverse (this is more possible for some firms than others)
??Do NOT rely solely on the company website (if you cut and past from the websites, it will be obvious and you will receive harsh point deductions).
??You may, however, rely partially on company Annual Reports for information
??Your references should include some of:
i. Academic journal articles
ii. Trade publications / magazines
iii. References in books / text books
iv. Books about the company
v. Press / news releases
2. Your first section should provide a paragraph or two about the firm, its history, etc. Do not make this a long and detailed historical essay! The history is merely for context and background.
3. Ascertain whether this firm was the creation of a single person / entrepreneur (e g. J.W. Marriott). If so, did the founder significantly influence the firm’s current strategies? Explain.
4. How has this firm gained its reputation for excellence? (e.g., what are the one or two key factors which might explain their success?).
5. Describe how this firm is uniquely different from other firms in the same industry? How have they marketed this differentiation?
6. Who are this firms’ main competitors? How do YOU THINK this firm fares against its key competition? Why?
7. How does this firm PRACTICE being customer-oriented and customer centered? ??Provide specific examples of their customer-focused strategies and practices.
??List relevant awards and recognition the firm has received in relation to customer satisfaction, service quality, etc.
8. How does this firm PRACTICE being employee-oriented? ??Provide specific examples of their employee-focused strategies and practices.
??List relevant awards and recognition this firm has received in relation to employment practices, being a preferred employer, etc.
9. What is this firm’s strength in managing social media and its advantage by engaging its customers and employees?
10. What have you learned from this firm? If you were the manager of this firm, what changes might you make to take the firm to the next level of service leadership?
Some additional information on the firm’s customer focus and employee orientation may include: —
1. Leadership practices (in relation to customer and employees).
2. Human resource practices (systems for recruitment, selection, development of staff. This can include a firm’s ‘strategic human resource’ approach.
3. Service encounter practices (polices and practices with front line employees in relation to dealing with customers; moment of truth concept, etc.).
4. Customer orientation – Perceptions by customer and employees about the way the firm is customer obsessed.
5. Service systems (organizational rules, regulations, policies, procedures and structures set in place to enable customers to receive serves better (internal and external customers)
6. Empowerment (extent to which employees are able to act to make decisions to please customers, solve problems, etc.)
7. Technology and social media (use of innovative technology in order to facilitate service and to enhance customer experiences, and customer and employee engagement.
8. You may add one or more based on the firm that you are researching
Presentation of project:
1. The project (prepared by a group of 2 students) should be approximately 2000 words in length (spacing at 1.5, font size about 12, standard font such as Times New Roman, Arial, etc.).
2. The history and overview of the firm should not exceed 150 words.
3. Your research group project should be based on published articles, books, trade publications and websites (you may refer to as many sources as you need).
4. References are required of all materials used in the preparation of the research group project. References citations and the reference list should follow the Harvard or APA5 styles (author, date). The reference list must be professionally presented, (Authors’ names, year of publication, page numbers, name of the journal or book or magazine or news paper, date (in the case of news paper or magazine) volume, number (in the case of a journal), publisher and place of publication (in the case of a book), website address and the date of access (in case of website access).
Your project should be based on published articles, books, trade publications and websites (you may refer to as many sources as you need). The project should be structured as below:
1) Cover page – Title of the project (firm), group members’ names, email ID’s and contact cell phone numbers.
2) Index page
3) Executive summary – a brief explanation of the industry in which the firm operates, the firm’s image and market position, brief discussion of the firm’s strength in the market.
4) Main body – discussion of the firm’s service orientation by addressing the issues discussed on pages 5, 6 and 7. Divide this section into various sections each with a separate subheading indicating the subject matter that you will be addressing in this section.
5) Conclusion – discuss your personal views and observations on the firm’s service orientation. Discuss how you would manage this firm to improve its service orientation. You may also discuss some examples of firms that have gone bust by not being service oriented; discuss some examples of non service oriented service experience from other firms.
)
Assignments that do not follow the details given above will receive less point for their work.
The project should be: typed or printed on a good quality printer; 1.5-spaced; Times Roman size 12 font or Arial size 10 font. Maintain 1-inch margins on all sides. The title of the assignment, your full name and email address is to be centered on the first page. Use page numbers. Include a list of references on all information you have used in the preparation of the assignment. Use Harvard style referencing (see information on Carmen). Ensure accurate spelling and grammar. All assignments should be submitted in hard copy. All communication between me and group members on any issue pertaining to the group assignments should have the backing of a copy of my email. Assignments that do not follow the details given above will receive fewer points for their work.
Recommended reading list: (possible references for project and assignment)
1. Customer Experience Management: Enhancing Experience and Value through Service Management, Kandampully, J., Kendall Hunt, 2014
2. Service Management in Health and Wellness Services, Kandampully, J., Kendall Hunt, 2013
3. Service Management: The New Paradigm in Retailing, Kandampully, J., Springer, 2011
4. Service Quality Management, Kandampully, J. et al., Taylor and Francis, 2001
5. Service management and marketing: Customer management in service competition, Grönroos, C. , 3rd ed., Wiley, Hoboken, NJ. 2007
6. Services Marketing: People, Technology, and Strategy; Lovelock and Wirtz, Fifth edition Prentice Hall, 2003
8. Discovering the Soul of Service, Leonard L. Berry, Free Press, 1999.
9. Marketing Services, by Berry L L and Parasuraman A, Free Press, 1991
10. Service Breakthroughs, by Heskett J L, Sasser WE and Hart C W L, Free Press, 1990
11. Managing Services Marketing, by Bateson J E G, Dryden Press, 1992
12. Relationship Marketing, M. Christopher, A.Payne and D. Ballantyne, Butterworth Heinemann, 2002
13. Service America, by Albrecht K and Zemke R, Dow Jones Irwin, 1985
Students are highly recommended to refer to the latest research publications. Listed below are some of the major journals with which students should be familiar:
• Journal of Service Management
• Journal of Services Marketing
• Harvard Business Review
• Business Horizons
• European Journal of Marketing
• Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
• Sloan Management Review
• Cornell HRA Quarterly
• Service Industry Journal

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