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Class tutorial and helpful resources for SGMA 217

Bullet points

Look for the bullet point you are researching and you will find helpful tips and resources relevant to each point.

1. Company history and overview including industry

To meet the requirements of this project you will need to have a full understanding of the company you are researching as well as the industry in which it operates

How would you determine the industry in which your company is involved (e.g. the company Westjet is part of the Airlines industry)

Sources for company history and overview:

Sources for industry information



2. How does the government have a specific impact on the company and the industry?

Remember that government legislation and regulation (rules, orders or laws) is directed at an industry and all the companies involved in that industry. Government legislation and regulation is not directed at a single company.                        

Consider that a multinational company is subject to the governmental regulations of every country in which it operates.

Consider that companies and industries can be impacted by different levels of government, for example, municipal (city), provincial or state and federal (national).

Sources for information on government regulation:

  • Annual reports, Annual Information Forms & Management Discussion & Analysis (Canadian companies - SEDAR); 10-K reports (U.S. companies - EDGAR). Search through these reports using keywords like regulation, legislation, etc.
  • IBISWorld industry reports (U.S. or Canadian companies)
  • NetAdvantage industry reports (North American but strong U.S. focus)
  • Mergent industry reports found in Factiva (use the Companies/Markets tab at the top of the page, then choose your industry. Finally, click on Analysis and Profiles)
  • News articles - search news sources such as Canadian Newsstream and Factiva to see if there are articles about government policy affecting an industry or company


3. How have changes in social trends and demographic changes impacted the company

Social trends - consider the values, attitudes and lifestyles of the society in which the company operates.
These things will influence how consumers react toward a company. Think of social trends that you see or hear in the news such as the environmental  movement, trends in technology
usage etc.

Demographic trends - consider trends in
population such as age distribution, ethnicity,
gender etc. What demographic trends are
happening in the countries where the company
does business that might impact the company?

  • See pages 197 - 200 in your textbook

Sources for information on social trends and demographic changes:


4. How do company community relations initiatives and ethical behaviour benefit the community and society

Consider the corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior of your company. Is the company ethically responsible to the environment and society?

Corporate social responsibility encompasses responsibility of the company in 3 areas: environmental, social and governance

  • See pages 24 -32 in your textbook

Sources for information on corporate social responsibility/ethical behavior:

  • MSCI ESG Research database - This database rates and reports on the corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior of companies worldwide. The evaluation considers environmental, social and governance behavior as well as documenting any controversial issues 
  • News articles about the company and its philanthropic activities, environmental performance etc. Search databases like Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva

5. Company stakeholder groups - what issues are most important and how does the company satisfy its stakeholders?

You are to choose 2 stakeholder groups.

What are stakeholders?

  • Stakeholders are any group of people to whom the company has a responsibility
  • Primary stakeholders are: employees, customers, investors (shareholders) suppliers and the general public
  • Consider who would be the primary stakeholders of your company
  • A good way to approach this question is to put yourself in the place of the stakeholder, for example imagine that you are an employee of the company, or a customer etc. Consider what would be important to the members of that stakeholder group and then consider if and how the company is satisfying the needs of those groups
  • See page 28 in your textbook

Sources for information on stakeholder groups

  • Annual Report and Annual Information Form (Canadian companies - SEDAR) and 10-K report (U.S. companies - EDGAR) - search these reports for any mention of the stakeholder groups you are studying
  • MSCI ESG Research database - these reports document the company's responsibility to different stakeholder groups such as employees and customers as well as the company's responsibility to the environment (impacts society or community)
  • Company advertising - most companies will target their stakeholders in their advertisements
  • News and magazine articles - use databases like Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva and search for the name of your company and the stakeholder group to see if there are any articles that focus on the company's relationship to that group


6. Explain how changing technologies could be incorporated into its operations to become more efficient and effective

Consider the many different ways that companies use technology - communication, automation, supply chain management, operations management, marketing, sales, human resource management, e-commerce, etc.

  • See pages 256 - 270 in your textbook.

Sources for information on technology:

  • Assess the company's use of technology by viewing the Annual Report and Annual Information Form, & Management Discussion & Analysis (Canadian companies - SEDAR); 10-K Report (U.S. companies - EDGAR) - search through these reports looking for keywords like technology, innovation etc.
  • News and magazine articles - use databases like Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva and search for articles using the company name and keywords like technolog* and innovat* (note that the asterisk (*) tells the database to look for all variations of the root word - e.g. technolog* will search for technology, technologies, technological etc.)
  • Look at industry reports to see what technological innovations are been implemented at the industry level, then see if you can find if your company has or will be adopting these technologies


7. Discuss the key elements of the company's corporate culture

Consider the company's values, philosophy, standards of behaviour etc.

  • Consider what would the culture or environment be like if you worked for this company
  • Company leadership plays a major role in defining the corporate culture
  • Another term for corporate culture is organizational culture
  • See pages 113-117 in your textbook

Sources for information on corporate culture:

  • Annual Report and Annual Information Form, & Management Discussion & Analysis (Canadian companies - SEDAR); 10-K Report (U.S. companies - EDGAR) - search through these reports for any mention of organizational culture or corporate culture
  • Company website - look for the company's statement of values, or mission statement. Also look for employee testimonials to get an idea of the working environment
  • News and magazine articles - use databases like Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva - occasionally you will be able to find an article that discusses a company's corporate culture


8. Primary products/services of the company and how the company ensures quality

First determine exactly what are the company's primary products or services

Consider the many ways companies can improve the quality of their product or the delivery of that product or service - e.g. use of technology; automation; improvements in operations; supply chain management etc.

  • See pages 131-132, and 207-214 in your textbook

Sources for information on product/service quality

  • Determine the company's products/services - this can be learned from the company annual report or 10-K report in the business description. It can also be found in: Company profiles found in the Business Source Complete database; Company overview and description in the Orbis database
  • Company Annual Report and Annual Information Form (Canadian companies - SEDAR); 10-K Report (U.S. companies - EDGAR) - search through these documents for keywords like quality; products; operations etc.
  • MSCI ESG database - these corporate social responsibility reports often include a section on product quality
  • News and magazine articles - use databases like Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva - occasionally you will find an article about a company and the quality of its products

9. Company use of social media

Consider the various types of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn etc.) and determine which of these are being employed by the company

Consider how the company is using these formats - are they using this media for communication? marketing? recruitment? e-commerce? other purposes?

Sources for information on company use of social media:

  • Company website and social media sites
  • Company annual report and annual information form (Canadian companies - SEDAR); 10-K report (U.S. companies - EDGAR) - occasionally the company will mention its adoption or use of social media


10. Recent issues that have impacted the company and the industry

You are looking for 2 recent issues that would impact the company and 2 different issues that would impact the industry

Consider that issues that impact the company may be internal issues (labour disputes, organizational change, managerial change, supply chain changes, operational changes, controversies, mergers etc.) or they may be external issues such as competition, environmental issues etc.

Issues that would impact the industry are issues that would affect not only your company but all the companies involved in that industry, for example, weather, economic crises, government regulations, labour shortages, global supply and demand issues, etc.

Sources for information on recent issues impacting the company and industry

  • News and magazine articles - the focus is on current or recent issues so news articles are the best source for current events. Use databases like ABI/INFORM (Business Premium Collection, Canadian Newsstream, CBCA Complete or Factiva and search for your company by name to see what recent articles have been published in the news. Do the same type of search for recent news articles about the industry
  • Recent industry reports often discuss issues that are impacting the industry
  • SWOT Analyses for a company often provide insight into challenges or threats the company is facing. SWOT analyses can be found in the ThomsonONE database (Internet Explorer browser required) or Business Source Complete database.


11. Skills/qualifications that employers are looking for

You are looking for 3 independent sources that discuss the general skills or qualifications that employers find most valuable in their employees today. Professional magazines and news articles often discuss latest trends including those related to careers and employment.

You also need to find out what skills/qualifications the company you are auditing is looking for. To do this, examine a few job postings from the company's career page.

Sources for information on what companies are looking for in new employees:


12. Career page marketing message

Examine the company's career page in detail from the perspective of a potential employee (imagine that you are considering employment at your company)

What kind of message are you receiving from these pages? What impression do you get about the work environment, career opportunities, about the company culture etc.

How is the company marketing itself to prospective employees

Sources for information on career page marketing message:

  • Company website - Career or Employment pages