Trend Analysis/Current Business Issues

This second assignment in Writing 340 Advanced Writing for Business asks you 1) to inform an audience of educated business readers about an essential economic trend or business issue, and 2) persuade the audience to respond in a specific fashion to the trend or issue.  Both research and analysis will be critical to your paper’s effectiveness.

CONTEXT

Here are examples of the kind of trends and issues that you might consider (and these are only examples):

If I had assigned my students this same writing project five-to-seven years ago, some of them would have researched BlackBerries and their effect on the business world in terms of mobile phone/Web access/calendaring applications.  Further, if I had asked them to comment on what competition they envisioned arising to challenge BlackBerry and its parent corporation, Research in Motion, in the near future, few would have foreseen any credible threat to Blackberry’s domination of this market.  In just the last several months, however, RIM has lost tremendous market share (and stock value) to newer-generation technologies represented by fourth-generation smart phones and their manufacturers, so much so that RIM had begun to consult with outside financial advisors regarding the possibility of  being acquired by a more competitive company.   Still, in just the last few months, RIM has released the Blackberry 10, changed its name to Blackberry, and launched a concerted effort to regain its lost market share.  As you view the short-term future, where are Blackberry and mobile telecommunications industry in general going?

Exploring another recent development, online learning environments—distance education—mark a trend that many schools are now seriously discussing, including USC Marshall.  Are we close to an era when brick-and-mortar campuses like ours will be rendered obsolete and physical classrooms will be a thing of the past?  Why might this occur?  Why not?  What would we gain and lose if this were to happen?

Also very apparent over the last several years has been the inexorable run up in the price of crude oil on world markets. (Just how volatile this market is has been is shown by the rise in price to an all-time high of $147 + per barrel and then several up-and-down reversals of that.  As I write this, the price is in the mid-$90s/barrel and threatening to rise yet again.)  Much of what is driving this escalation has been increased competition between the US, China, and India to secure large shares of the world’s limited petroleum reserves.  Will this competition force many nations to seek in accelerated fashion alternate sources of energy?  If so, what alternative sources may be developed in concerted fashion?  Will this help solve the dilemma for many industrialized nations of too-expensive, environmentally-harmful energy?

TASKS

Here are the essential points to develop in your memo:

1)    Define the trend explicitly for an audience that is business-savvy but unaware of the specifics of the issue that you are addressing.

2)    Clearly establish the trend’s existence.
(over)
3)    Lay out precisely why it is significant.

4)    Recommend in a compelling manner how your audience ought to respond and how it can best prepare to deal with the issue.

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