Investigation Of The Association Between Higher Grades And Listening To Music Free Sample

Research Question

Do students get higher grades while listening to music before and after studying?

Introduction and Rationale

Music is widely defined as arranging sound patterns to create a melody that delivers a message to an intended audience. The intended audience listens to the music produced using their gadgets, creating a personalized experience. Music can provide a soothing to the body, soul, and mind. Additionally, listening to music has been used as a coping mechanism for stress. People who listen to music when stressed tend to cool down after listening to it (Escobar et al., 4). The effectiveness of this coping mechanism with stress with music is almost parallel to doing excesses or sleeping when stressed. Research also indicates that music assists people in performing better under high-pressure situations.

Studies have also shown that students perform better when they listen to music during exam studying seasons. This is because music has been proven to improve cognitive reasoning by improving brain performance. Music tends to serve as a mental exercise for the brain, which trains it to better performance in the future. Burnout and high stress among students are routine, especially during exam studying seasons. Hence listening to music during exam studying seasons would reduce stress and improve focus. I have always been passionate about learning mathematical concepts involving real-life situations and listening to music. However, recently I came across research suggesting that listening to music during and after studying can boost students’ grades. Hence, I decided to investigate the validity of this claim using mathematical concepts such as correlation. Therefore, I focused my internal assessment on the correlation between students’ averages and listening to music before and after studying. The findings and outcomes of this investigation would be seductive to me since they will respond to my curiosity about whether the research suggests true.

The Aim and Hypothesis of the Investigation

This investigation aims to find the extent of association between students’ averages and music listening before and after studying. Hypothetically speaking, it is predicted that a solid correlation exists between listening to music and students’ averages. This relationship is because music tends to reduce the stress experienced in exam studying. The mathematical idea that would be utilized in investigating this association will be the idea of correlation. The concept of correlation has been primarily applied in statistics to determine the relationship between two measures of statistics. Commonly, correlation describes the association between more than one quantitative value. For instance, if one variable of statistics transposes, the other one will automatically transpose. Therefore, correlation assists in the determination of the mathematical difference between more than two quantitative measurables in real-life Scenarios.

The investigation would further entail the collection of data that would be employed in the mathematical analysis. The data will be collected from students who will be asked questions about their averages and whether they listen to music before studying. The field data would be vital in finding the statistical difference between music listening and higher grades performance. It would be imperative to define and state the null and alternative hypothesis of this investigation before proceeding to the part of data collection and analysis. The hypothesis is defined and stated as follows:

Null Hypothesis, H0: The student’s average is independent of listening to music before and after studying.

Alternative Hypothesis, H1: The student’s average depends on listening to music before and after studying.

The two main statistical ideas that will be applied to authenticate this claim are; chi-square computation, which assists in validating the stated hypothesis, and the simple regression approach, which will be employed by plotting the data of listening to music against students’ averages on a graph generated from excel. The simple regression value obtained will then be proved using the approach of the Pearson Concept. After stating and defining the hypothesis, it is essential to proceed to data collection.

Collection of data

It was vital to obtain data from the field investigation before advancing with mathematical exploration. The data was acquired from forty students who volunteered to provide information. They offered information concerning whether they listen to music before and after studying for exams. They also provided information concerning their averages which were helpful in the determination of whether listening to music influenced their grades. During the data collection process, those who listen to music were denoted with numerical figure 1, while those who do not were denoted with numerical figure 0. This denotation process was done to assign numerical statistics to music listening. The students also provided positive feedback that listening to music before and after studying for exams improved their performance and concentration. This positive feedback was crucial in the field investigation since it supported the projection of the analysis. The data collected from the field investigation was tabulated in the table below.

Table 1: Raw data collected: music listening and students’ averages

No students  Music listening Students averages
1 1 81
2 1 84
3 0 77
4 0 76
5 1 84
6 1 91
7 0 79
8 1 94
9 1 88
10 0 74
11 0 79
12 0 71
13 1 95
14 1 79
15 1 86
16 1 79
17 1 81
18 0 81
19 1 86
20 1 87
21 1 88
22 1 79
23 0 82
24 1 89
25 0 71
26 1 85
27 0 74
28 1 86
29 1 86
30 1 92
31 1 87
32 0 77
33 1 88
34 1 86
35 1 86
36 1 95
37 1 94
38 1 89
39 1 96
40 1 81

It was essential to test the rationality of the hypothesis with the chi-square concept, Pearson approach, and simple regression concepts of correlation after data collection.

Chi-Square Approach

After collecting the information, it is important to calculate the Chi-square. The chi-square computation assists in the selection of the stated hypothesis and is computed by the following formulae:



Chi-square determination involves the affirmation of a hypothesis where the mathematical value of the chi-square is calculated out through the deployment of the contingency table. The obtained critical value of the chi-square will then be calculated using the chi-square distribution table and later compared with the previously obtained mathematical value. The null hypothesis will be chosen if the observed critical value exceeds the calculated mathematical value. The selection of the null hypothesis would indicate that students’ averages are independent of music listening before and after studying. If the results are opposite, the second hypothesis will be picked, indicating that the student’s averages depend on music listening before and after learning.

The data in table 1 were utilized to create a contingency table of 2 by 3 for calculating the observed student’s average values organized in terms of quartiles, and music listening data were arranged in terms of the median. The observed values for music listening and student averages are tabulated in table 2 below.

Table 2: Observed Values of students’ averages


 Music listening

Students averages
75.33 81.5 0 156.83
79 85.29 93.14 275.43
Total 154.33 166.79 93.14 414.26

The calculated expected values of the student’s averages are calculated utilizing the summation of values listed in table 2 as shown below:

Table 3: Expected Values of student’s averages

Mean of students’ averages
 58.43  62.942  35.261
102.61 110.89  61.93
161.04 173.832 97.191

The chi-square mathematical value would then be generated by utilizing outcomes in tables 2 and 3 above;

The chi-square critical value is then worked out from the distribution chi-square table using a significance extent of 0.05 and the value of the degree of freedom of;

The chi-square critical value was found to be 5.99

Comparison of the calculated mathematical chi-square value and observed critical chi-square value;

According to the outcomes above, the alternative hypothesis was chosen, and the null hypothesis was disregarded, indicating that the student’s averages depend on listening to music before and after studying. This selection of alternative hypotheses supports the claim of the investigation, which states that listening to music can contribute to higher grades among students.

Evaluation of Correlation Utilizing Linear Regression Approach

The simple regression concepts allow one to examine the relationship between two statistical variables on a plotted graph. Regularly, the dependent measure is plotted against the independent measure utilizing analytical tools such as Excel. The plot generated is used to evaluate the simple linear constant, which shows the strength of the correlation. In case the value of correlation generated from the plotted graph is 0 or gravitates to zero, then the association between the two measurable is very fragile (Nickolas 20). On the other hand, if the value of correlation generated tends to be one or greater than 0.5, then the strength of correlation between the two variables is positive. Alternatively, the relationship’s power will be harmful if the correlation value is -1 or gravitates to -0.5. The music listening and student averages data were utilized to produce a graph from Excel software, as illustrated in graph one below.

A graph of music listening and students' averages
Graph 1: A graph of music listening and students’ averages

From the excel scatter graph above, the simple regression constant was generated as follows;

The positive, simple regression value of 0.7188 indicates a strong association between listening to music and students’ averages. This support furthers the hypothesis that listening to music before and after studying the exams boosts students’ grades. Nevertheless, it is vital to validate the outcomes by deploying the Pearson approach.

Calculation of Correlation value utilizing the Pearson Approach

The method of Pearson approach is employed to validate the value of correlation determined through the simple regression idea. The value of the Pearson constant can be obtained using the deployment of the formula below;


The independent measure (x) would be taken as music listening values. In contrast, the dependent measure (y) would be taken as the student’s average values in the determination of the value of the Pearson correlation. The following table indicates Pearson values generated using excel software.

Table 4: Pearson Table: Music listening and students’ averages

1 81 0.275 -3.075 0.075625 9.455625 -0.84563
1 84 0.275 -0.075 0.075625 0.005625 -0.02063
0 77 -0.725 -7.075 0.525625 50.05563 5.129375
0 76 -0.725 -8.075 0.525625 65.20563 5.854375
1 84 0.275 -0.075 0.075625 0.005625 -0.02063
1 91 0.275 6.925 0.075625 47.95563 1.904375
0 79 -0.725 -5.075 0.525625 25.75563 3.679375
1 94 0.275 9.925 0.075625 98.50562 2.729375
1 88 0.275 3.925 0.075625 15.40563 1.079375
0 74 -0.725 -10.075 0.525625 101.5056 7.304375
0 79 -0.725 -5.075 0.525625 25.75563 3.679375
0 71 -0.725 -13.075 0.525625 170.9556 9.479375
1 95 0.275 10.925 0.075625 119.3556 3.004375
1 79 0.275 -5.075 0.075625 25.75563 -1.39563
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 79 0.275 -5.075 0.075625 25.75563 -1.39563
1 81 0.275 -3.075 0.075625 9.455625 -0.84563
0 81 -0.725 -3.075 0.525625 9.455625 2.229375
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 87 0.275 2.925 0.075625 8.555625 0.804375
1 88 0.275 3.925 0.075625 15.40563 1.079375
1 79 0.275 -5.075 0.075625 25.75563 -1.39563
0 82 -0.725 -2.075 0.525625 4.305625 1.504375
1 89 0.275 4.925 0.075625 24.25563 1.354375
0 71 -0.725 -13.075 0.525625 170.9556 9.479375
1 85 0.275 0.925 0.075625 0.855625 0.254375
0 74 -0.725 -10.075 0.525625 101.5056 7.304375
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 92 0.275 7.925 0.075625 62.80563 2.179375
1 87 0.275 2.925 0.075625 8.555625 0.804375
0 77 -0.725 -7.075 0.525625 50.05563 5.129375
1 88 0.275 3.925 0.075625 15.40563 1.079375
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 86 0.275 1.925 0.075625 3.705625 0.529375
1 95 0.275 10.925 0.075625 119.3556 3.004375
1 94 0.275 9.925 0.075625 98.50562 2.729375
1 89 0.275 4.925 0.075625 24.25563 1.354375
1 96 0.275 11.925 0.075625 142.2056 3.279375
1 81 0.275 -3.075 0.075625 9.455625 -0.84563
Totals 7.975 1704.775 83.825

The correlation coefficients are then computed using the following formulae:

The Pearson correlation value obtained was 0.7188, which authentic a solid correlation between music listening and students’ averages. Hence, listening to music is associated with higher grades, and students can listen to music during exams studying season to boost their focus and performance. It is possible to model the relationship between listening to music and the student’s averages since all the correlation coefficients obtained were more significant than 0.5. The linear model was obtained as follows:

The linear regression model can be obtained using the following equation.

Where y represents the dependent measure, x is the independent measure while b is the inclination of the line, and is the y-intercept

The values of a and b were calculated as follows:

Hence, the student’s average can be determined given the numerical figure of music listening using the above equation generated. With this equation, one can determine the average score at a given exam session depending on how well they utilize music listening to boost their cognitive studying. Therefore, from the finding and analysis of the investigation, it was seen that music listening during studying is associated with higher grades. Therefore, students can listen to music when they experience burnout or stress before studying for exams.

Culmination and Evaluation

This statistical investigation focused on determining the correlation between music listening and students’ averages. First, it was believed that a solid association exists between music listening and students’ average values. The chi-square computation was first applied to test the validity of the hypotheses stated and defined. Secondly, the simple regression idea was utilized to calculate the association difference. Subsequently, the Pearson idea was utilized to validate the authenticity of the value calculated from the simple regression idea. The findings and mathematical outcomes proved that the association between music listening and students’ averages was robust. This relationship indicated that listening to music while studying contributes to students’ higher grades. It was also possible to obtain a model since all values of coefficients were above 0.5. The regression model can determine the students’ average given the numerical figure of how they utilize music during their study period. Hence, the exploration hypothesis and aim were achieved, indicating that listening to music before and after studying can significantly improve students’ averages.

The strengths of the exploration were obtained from the large amount of data obtained from volunteer students, which strengthened the hypothesis’s validity. Another source of strength was the Use of methods of correlation in the determination of the values of correlation which supported the validation of the investigation. Nevertheless, one source of the shortcoming was the approximation of figures that might have reduced the authenticity of the exploration. The analysis and the outcome of the investigation were sufficient to prove the claim of the research, which fulfilled my curiosity. The outcomes of the exploration can also be applied in other areas, such as the application of music in emotional development. From the analysis, it is evident that music is of great advantage to students in their learning and thus can be applied to reduce stress among students. Hence, higher grades correlate with listening to music before and after studying. Therefore, students should listen to music during their studying period to boost their grades and performance.

Works Cited

Escobar, Jillian, Bruna S. Mussoi, and Amanda B. Silberer. “The effect of musical training and working memory in adverse listening situations.” Ear and hearing 41.2 (2020): 278-288.

Nickolas, S. “What do correlation coefficients positive, negative, and zero means.” (2021).

Kier Group PLC Free Sample


The purpose of the report is to interpret the financial performance of Kier Group Plc using the annual reports and consolidated accounts of 2020, 2021, and 2022. The firm reported its year-end on June 30 of every year.

The firm applies the international financial reporting standards established in June 2003. The standard replaced generally accepted accounting principles. They have been used over the years and have proved effective as they enable the firm to compare its performance across periods and other firms in the same industry. Thus, there is consistency across different periods. Kier Group Plc has been selected since it is large enough and operates within an industry where firms have several segments for diversity purposes.

For the firm to post positive stakeholders’ value, Kier Group Plc established the following drivers in 2021.

  • Selective disposal
  • Increase in positive customer relationship
  • Continued improvement in operations through eliminating areas that post-loss, selling firm properties to reduce debts.
  • Re-posting the existing business for growth through high-quality earnings sectors of infrastructure management.
  • Promotion of programs that are environmentally friendly through the application of different methods of construction.
  • Employee training has also been significant in delivering sustainable health and safety measures.

Company Background

Kier Group Plc is a publicly traded company in Britain that carries out construction, property, civil engineering, and infrastructure services. The firm was established in 1928 in Stoke, where it initially majored in concrete engineering. Later it expanded into house building and general contracting. The firm was acquired by Beazer under Hanson Plc in 1986. However, the acquisition lasted only a short time since the management bought it out to expand its housing business in 1992 (Kier, n.d).

In the early 21st century, Kier Group Plc expanded by acquiring other firms after the collapse of Carillion Plc. Currently, Kier Group Plc is ranked the second largest UK construction contractor, while the leading firm is Balfour Beauty. The firm was initially a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. However, in late 2018, after a failed right issue, the firm experienced deep losses in mid-2019, which most analysts considered was on the verge of collapse (Kier, n.d). Nevertheless, the firm was able to restructure its loans, sell its headquarters in Bedfordshire, and release over 1700 employees who saw a turnaround by reporting a profit in 2021.

The firm is currently ranked the second largest in construction in Britain, with a market capitalization of 326.186M pounds.

Since 2018 and 2019, the firm has focused on restructuring the firm when there is a loss-making segment and selling it from the firm. During this period, they create strategies that would enable the firm to grow in a different direction and ensure no burst due to investment in multiple areas contributing to the loss.

The following strategy is aimed at profitability past the losses of 2018 and 2019.

  • Selection of projections that the firm can deliver and that will increase the profit of the firm. Through sampling, the firm can carry out a feasibility test and determine through the client’s needs whether the firm can deliver with the available resources. Thus, opportunity cost is an essential tool in such projects.
  • Develop integrated solutions usually tailored to the customer’s needs since the firm’s leading service is construction, maintenance, and infrastructure services.
  • Instruction and selection on constructions on the high capability of the firm for long-term projects

Business activities

The firms’ activities have continually changed to increase profitability and sustainability in the future through strategically shifting from shifting activities into the mix of different segments that can independently support each other. The firm introduced infrastructure services that will enable the firm to offer extra assistance when required by the employer. Such services include maintenance of properties and property management. The firm focused on becoming an internationally known unit, enabling them to run the following segments.

Property segment

The property segment invests and develops mixed-use commercial and residential properties across the UK. Due to its specifications, it is usually operating under joint ventures. The revenue increased by 8% compared to the previous year, with joint ventures being the major source of revenues in this segment at 66%. The operational profit increased from £5.7m to £17.6m (Kier, n.d). The group increase in profitability has been contributed by industrial divestment. The firm applied a disciplined capital approach to ensure that firm joined a joint venture that would increase its profitability. As of June 30, the segment had capital employed of £122m. The return on capital used improved to 14%.


The construction segment usually comprises several smaller segments. This segment includes strategic projects, kier places, maintenance, facility management, the environment, and international business. The construction segment has a wide portfolio that provides for construction of projects such as hospitals, defense, and custodial facilities for local authorities and the private sector (Kelvin, 2016). The revenue from this segment was reduced by 19% in the year 2022 due to delayed project completion and a deferred project that has been contracted. This led to aligning the cost base, which saw the operating profit increase by 7% to 61M pounds. During the same year, the south regional business was restructuring at a cost of 39M pounds.

There has been an increase in the order book contracts from 3.3bn pounds to 4.2bn pounds in the year 2021 and year 2022.

Kier places have continued to specialize in working on occupied properties, offices, and residential properties. It provides key services such as maintenance and safety assessment. The international business in UAE has been experiencing some challenges where it is required to maintain its cost base due to the weakness of its market. The segment developed £1,441 in 2022, while in 2021, it had a total revenue of £1,769. The operational profit was £60.8m, while in 2021, it was £56.7m (Kier, n.d).

Infrastructure services

This segment is composed of Highways infrastructure and utility businesses. The part increased the revenue by 17% compared to the previous year. The operating profit was £70m. the highway business section builds and maintains roads, national highways, and transport in London, among others. The firm was able to win contracts at a higher rate as compared to the previous year. The segment is critical to the firm’s business. The firm recorded a revenue increase from £1422m to £1667m. the order of contracts also increased from £ 4.4bn to £5.6bn (Kier, n.d). Good partnerships and joint ventures have contributed to this. The segment reported a net profit of £48.1 from £41.4m.

Segment performance, operating profit, and net assets in 2022

The table represents sales, operating profits, and net assets for the year ending June 2022. From the summary, infrastructure contributed the most at 51.18%, followed by construction at 50.46%. Both property and corporate contributed 4.43% and 0.15%, respectively, to the total revenue.

Operational profits followed a similar trend except for the corporate segment, which reported a loss of 23.15%. By saying failure, the part led to the firm reporting less profit. Due to its large number of contracts to be delivered, the Infrastructure segment reported the highest value in revenue, followed by the construction and property segments.

Table1: Segment performance, operating profit, and net assets in 2022

Construction Property  Infrastructure services Corporate Total
Sales 1440.8 144.3 1666.6 4.8 3256.5
Sales 44.24% 4.43% 51.18% 0.15% 100.00%
Operating profits 60.8 17.6 70 -27.9 120.5
Operating profits % 50.46% 14.61% 58.09% -23.15% 100.00%
Net assets 240.4 27.8 899.7 -613.3 554.6
Net assets % 43.35% 5.01% 162.23% -110.58% 100.00%

Capital Structure and Liquidity

Table 2:Capital Structure and Liquidity

Year 2021 2022
Called up share capital 4.5 4.5
Share premium account 684.3 684.3
Merger reserve 350.6 350.6
Capital redemption reserve 2.7 2.7
Profit and loss account 79.7 57.2
Cash flow hedge reserve 0.1 0.9
OSF 1121.9 1100.2
Balance sheet debt 266.5 362.3
Less cash -3.7 -2
Sum 262.8 360.3
Net capital employed 1384.7 1460.5
Gearing ratio 19% 25%


  • The data included in the analysis has been drawn from consolidated balance sheets.
  • Calculations have excluded the minority interests since they are insignificant to the overall materiality at £1m.
  • Since the firm has not included the cash account, other financial assets in current assets have been presumed to contain cash at hand.
  • Gearing ratios are computed by dividing debt by the total capital employed.

Kier Group Plc has a capital structure that is low-geared as compared to similar companies in the same industry. The capital structure has changed in the last three years after the firm restructure. The firm undertook a series of activities when it experienced a downturn in revenue. The firm raised a right issue that failed to achieve the target. To save from the situation, the firm sold some of its properties to settle some of its existing debts. (Kongahage, 2019) The capital employed in 2021 was £1384.7, while in 2022, the firm had a total worth of £1460.5m. the debt reported during this period was £360.3m in 2021 and £262.8 in 2022. This represented a 25% and 19% gearing ratio in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Operational performance

Table 3: Operational performance

Year 2022 2021
Total revenue 3143.9 3261
Underlying operating profit 12.7 23
Profit margins 0.40% 0.71%

Profit margins are calculated by dividing the underlying operating costs full year’s revenue.

The firm’s operational performance in the years 2021 and 2022 shows the firm reported a £3261m and 3143.9 as revenues. The cost of operations or goods produced was significant in the firm’s operations. As a result, the firm reported a low operational profit of £12.7M in 2022, while the previous year, it had reported £23m. The profit margins were 0.71% and 0.400% for 2021 and 22, respectively.

Table 4: ROCE and ROE

Year 2022 2021
OSF 1100.2 1121.9
Debt 266.5 362.3
Capital employed 1366.7 1484.2
Pension liabilities 145.4 33.6
Adjusted capital employed 1512.1 1517.8
EBIT 45.1 43.7
ROSE 19.50% 24.41%
Adjusted ROCE 17.62% 23.87%

  • The firm pension liabilities were taken from the financial statement.
  • EBIT is profit before tax plus other exceptional items such as goodwill

The adjusted ROCE is the total capital employed, including pension liabilities. Debt is then divided by the adjusted ROCE. The total adjusted capital for £1517.80m in 2021 and £1512.10m. with the inclusion of pension liabilities. The new ROCE is 17.62% in 2022, while in 2021, it was 23.87%. With the increase in liabilities, there is also an increase in debts that leads to a decline in the expected return to capital and equity. Before the restructuring, the firm had a low ROCE since debts were high.

Dividend Policy

Table 5: Earnings per share & Dividends

Year 2022 2021
Earnings per share 16.8p 25.0p
Basic earnings per ordinary share 16.4p 24.6p
Dividend per ordinary share 32.5P 6.3P
Dividend cover 2.0 2.0

Dividend policy focuses on the firm’s performance concerning the stocks. When the firm makes a profit, it distributes to the shareholders through dividends as a return. To determine the earnings per share, the net profit is a dividend with the total equity (Baker, 2019). Therefore, compared to 2021 and 2022, the company had earnings per share of 25.0P and 16.8P, respectively. As the profit reported declined, the earnings per share also decreased since equity remained constant. The firm distributed shared dividends. When a dividend is declared, the amount is distributed equally per share. Therefore, the firm reported dividends per share as 6.3p and 32.5p for 2021 and 2022, respectively. Lastly, dividend cover is the number of times profit may cover the outstanding shares. It is obtained by dividing earnings per share by dividend per ordinary share. The dividend cover for both years is 2X. The firm has made it explicit on dividend policy, where it declares dividends when it earns a profit. However, when the firm predicts instances where it cannot issue a dividend, it can offer them in kind.

Shareholders Returns

Shareholders Returns

The performance of FTSE 250 indicates that the industry has been growing, with 2020 being the lowest index recorded. The industry recovers after a decline in performance. The performance of Kier Group Plc, however, indicates a different trend. The firm declined in stock price for the last five years to £70. On January 29, 2018, the firm stock price traded at £1029.30 per stock, as shown in the graph below. With the right failure issue, the tight stocks decline in value losing in the stock market. The has been able to recover in the stock market that saw it removed from FTSE250 index firms.

Shareholders Returns


Table 6: Forecast

Force casting and future trading
2023 2024
Turnover 3549.585 3869.04765
EBIT 80.5917352 98.12601147
PBT 72.5325617 88.31341032
EPS 23.2P 26.5P
DPS 9.0P 9.9P

Forecasting is an important element in assessing the firm’s performance. Through forecasting, the firm can examine its future performance. Kier Group Plc will experience a 9% growth for the next two years. Therefore, the revenue collected will be adjusted by 9% to £3549.585 and £3869.0465. With the increase in revenue, earnings before interest and tax will also increase to £80.59m and £98.12m in 2023 and 2024, respectively. Earning per share and dividend per share will be 23.2p, 26.5p and 9.0p, and 9.9p for DPS. Thus, the shareholder will receive a return from invested funds.


From the reports, the firm conducts segmental reporting. The three segments involved in revenue generation are examined differently to determine their profitability. From the analysis, the infrastructure services had the highest revenue contribution, followed closely by construction. Both segments contributed over 90% and thus played a significant role in the firm’s performance. The firm applied a strategy where it maintains a low gearing ratio, thus bearing a lower cost of servicing the debts. Through such systems, the firm can position itself, avoid loss-making opportunities, and concentrate on contracts and services that lead to profitability.

Kier Group Plc needs to consider its costs. From the analysis, the costs cover over 95% of the revenue, leaving a very small portion for administrative expenses. With a gross profit of less than 5%, the firm may need help to have adequate retained profits and distribute some of the profit to shareholders.

Dividend cover is very stable in terms of underlying profits. The stability of the profit and dividend trend over the last few years and a general expectation of continued steady growth suggests a similar outlook for the dividend. The share value that has been derived from the company will continue. The firm should continue to fund its activities with equity to ensure its stability and growth.


Baker, H. K. (2019). Dividends and dividend policy: An overview. Dividends and Dividend Policy, 1-19. doi:10.1002/9781118258408.ch1

Kelvin, C. (2016). Construction projects. Quality Management in Construction Projects, 151-178. doi:10.1201/b10351-10

Kongahage, K. (2019). Analysis of share price impact of dividend announcements with dividend cover, firm size, and capital leverage in the Sri Lankan Stock Market. doi:10.31357/fmscmst.2008.00166

Kier, (n.d). A leading UK Construction and Infrastructure Services Company. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from


Kier Group Plc Annual Report and Accounts 2021

Kier Group Plc Interim Report for six months to June 30, 2022

Microsoft Corporation Report Writing Sample

Executive Summary

Microsoft Corporation is a technology-based developer specializing in personal computer programs formed in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul G Allen. The name Microsoft was coined from two words, microcomputer, and software. The Company specializes in research and development to offer top-notch services in the technology realm. The Company’s key target customers are people aged sixteen years and above from rural and urban areas. Further, it develops products for both business and personal information. The Company is working towards creating a cloud solution to have all the people have customized solutions to meet their needs. This report analyzes the historical background and the strategies to gain a competitive advantage. An analysis is completed through tools such as SWOT, Porter’s five forces, and the four corners to determine the corporation’s competitive advantage and sustainability. The information sources for the analysis were books, online journals, university libraries, websites, and journals.

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Microsoft Organization Structure

Figure 2: Company Details (Satish, 2021)

Figure 3: Strategic Activity Map

List of Abbreviations

SWOT-Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threats.

PESTEL-Political Economic Sociological Technological Environmental and Legal Factors

CEO-Chief Executive Officer

IBM-International Business Machines

R&D-Research and Development


Historical Background, Growth, and Development

Microsoft is one of the American technology Companies which boasts of being the largest software establishment in the world. It engages in the production of software products and ensures that they are licensed to offer efficient services on a global scale. The history of the Company began on April 4th, 1975, when Bill Gates founded it. Since then, its revenue has grown exponentially and it is listed among the fortune 500 companies. Satya Narayana Nadella is the current CEO who, since her appointment in 2014, has focused on expanding cloud computing for business sustainability (Wynn & Olayinka, 2021). Nadella was selected as the CEO because he knew Microsoft consumers more than any other employee. He vowed to offer a customer-centered approach to expansion. The Company is selected for analysis because it has a unique business strategy that makes it thrive despite the massive competition in its market niche. The Company thrives in a dynamic and competitive environment because it operates on strategies aligned with the customer’s needs.

Organizational Structure and Culture

Microsoft Organization Structure
Figure 1: Microsoft Organization Structure

An organizational structure defines the bureaucracy and how decisions are made. The corporation is divided into two functions engineering and business. Microsoft’s strategic management team ensures that all customer needs are included in the final products. The growing technology demands, innovation, and a robust research and development department make the organization navigate through a dynamic corporate landscape. Microsoft’s prosperity lies in the ability of the management to take timely decisions and implement better means of full filling customers’ demands (Wynn & Olayinka, 2021). Microsoft employees are known for their dedication, strong values, and accountability which propel the business to greater heights. It is prudent to note that the business keeps changing and does not hesitate to change to align itself with the customer’s new demands. Since customers’ needs are dynamic, the organization continues to change to make customers happy.

Company Details (Satish, 2021)
Figure 2: Company Details (Satish, 2021)

Microsoft’s Mission, Vision, and Values

Vision, mission, and values are important factors in an organization that defines working relationships’ operations and state. Microsoft is guided by strategic mission and values, ensuring that all the functions are performed in line with the business objective. Bill Gates, the founder, envisioned that every home and office in the world would one day have a computer running on the Windows platform. The vision was, however, refined to be an emerging technology assisting businesses and people worldwide to realize their potential. The Company fulfills its mission by producing specialized and customized products to meet the needs of both people and businesses (Wynn & Olayinka, 2021). The organization’s mission is in tandem with the vision as it aims at empowering all people and the organization to achieve more. The mission and vision statements are achieved by maintaining a positive customer relationship. Microsoft succeeds in most of its activities because the mission and vision statements are expressed succinctly, and everyone has access to them. The continuous motivation of the employees makes them more innovative, productive, and satisfied.

Microsoft has a comprehensive set of values that helps people relate to each other and their customers. As it globalizes to other parts, diversity is a key value practiced to ensure that everyone feels part of the organization regardless of their culture and origin. Innovation is an esteemed value in the corporation because it is the source of all the major positive results to the changing customer needs solved through innovation. Respect, accountability, and integrity help the organization streamline its operations. Respect is important, as people may have different opinions, leading to type C conflict (Satish, 2021). The values are, therefore, key to ensuring that people share positive relationships in the long run. Employees are given the time to study, research, and make decisions on behalf of the Company. The mission and vision cascaded with the values that support innovation in the Company.

Microsoft’s Existing Business Strategy

The Company’s business model operates in three areas: business process, personal computer, and intelligent cloud. As a result of the different operation models, the Company has a key strategy to ensure that the products reach as many customers as possible. The key strategy that the Company uses is broad differentiation to increase competitive advantage (Gupta et al., 2021). The strategy ensures that each unique customer need is solved by a unique product introduced into the market. It is further important to note that Microsoft’s strategy can be understood through two different lenses: corporate level and business level.

Corporate-Level Strategy

Microsoft has a multi-tiered plan to ensure that it operates within the technology niche and succeeds. Its main corporate-level strategy is to expand its operations globally and ensure that growth is achieved. Its corporate-level strategy is, therefore, to diversify its operations to have all the customers’ needs understood and resolved for sustainability to be achieved. The CEO works closely with the research and development department to understand the customer’s needs and ensure they are taken care of for success (Rikap et al., 2021). Diversifying operations is key to meeting various needs and having the customers get services under the same roof. Microsoft’s five-year plan proves that the Company is prepared to take care of the customers’ changing needs. It is imperative to note that diversification is the corporate-level strategy that has helped it maintain more customers and expand its business network.

Business Level Strategy

Product development and differentiation is the business-level strategy that keeps Microsoft on top of the technology realm. Microsoft produces and tests new products to meet various customer needs and differentiates the products to make them appealing to individual customers. The differentiation is key to penetrating various markets and making more profits in the discourse (Satish, 2021). For example, Microsoft customizes its products and ensures they are always met. The main method used by the Company to differentiate its product is through its strong research and development department, which offers a better understanding of the market and produces unique products for unique needs in different continents. Differentiation is, therefore, the prerequisite for market penetration in different parts of the world.

Microsoft’s key strategy is guided by a strategic map, as shown in figure 3 below. The organization plans to flourish through three main strategic spheres of operations. For example, Microsoft cloud aims to expand the cloud computing market and develop new technologies and platforms that help organizations flourish (Weinstein, 2021). The cloud computing strategy will likely succeed because many people and businesses intend to transform their storage facilities and invest in the cloud for safety. Devices are the second item in the strategy map that includes the production of better devices to support the newest technology, such as the internet of things, for a better outcome in the discourse.

Figure 3: Strategic Activity Map
Figure 3: Strategic Activity Map

Gaming is an important aspect of the strategy that makes it possible for the Company to get customers and maintain them as it uses artificial intelligence to develop gaming applications. As technology advances, the organization gets markets from all over the globe for the products. The strategic activity map shows the three important activities that are the key to remaining relevant in the market and getting better outcomes.

Microsoft Strategic Analysis

Micro/Internal Environment


Literature Supporting the Tool

The SWOT analysis is an important tool for a business to understand its internal environment effectively and make decisions aligned with its ability. The strengths show what a business is best fitted for, while the weaknesses show the areas that need to be improved for the business to thrive (Xu, 2022). The opportunities show the organization’s ability to grow, while the threats hinder the organization’s success and achievement (Wu, 2022). The management’s role is to leverage the strengths and opportunities to overcome the weaknesses and threats to thrive in the discourse.

Link with Strategic Management Theories

The SWOT analysis is a strategic management and planning theory used to determine the organization’s future. It can be linked with the business reengineering theory since the weaknesses and threats can be avoided by reorganizing the business through leveraging the strengths and opportunities. The key strengths include a vast market reach, a higher reputation of being the best software company in the world, and constant growth. Further, it has an effective advertisement platform and can generate more customer satisfaction than other techniques. However, the Company has several areas for improvement, such as cyber security, lack of market leadership in the strategic team, and some unsuccessful acquisitions, which are likely to cause failure in the organization in the discourse (Mitra & Mitra, 2022). However, it is imperative to note that Microsoft has a vast pool of opportunities likely to lead to better outcomes and increased revenue. Some opportunities include the rapid growth in cloud computing and the rise in artificial intelligence and innovation. The rise in smartphone technology, remote work scenarios, and cost leadership strategy is key to ensuring that the Company increases its operations and reaches numerous markets for success (Tan, 2022). Numerous threats must be understood and eliminated for success to be achieved in the business.

The main threats to the Company include the gay controversy, aggressive competition in the technology domain, consumers’ constantly changing preferences, and open-source projects likely to affect Microsoft’s business. The Company’s management must ensure that the threats are understood and that more investment is made in the opportunities to improve better outcomes (Lessambo, 2022). The Company’s strategic operations leverage the strengths and the opportunities to perform better in the corporate domain.

Industry-Level Environment

Four-Corner Analysis

Literature Supporting the Tool

The four-corner analysis is a strategy developed by Porter to help organizations assess their competitors and make strategic decisions on the best strategies to make more profits in the discourse. The four-corner analysis focuses on an organization’s key points: motivation, place, cost, and profit. An analysis of the four items will likely lead a business to success (Alverson, 2020). Microsoft uses the strategy to understand the competitor’s strength and make decisions to overcome the challenges set by the people (Gautam et al., 2019). It is imperative to note that the model helps beat the competition because it focuses more on the competitors, what they are likely to do, and make better decisions in the discourse.

Link with Strategic Management Theories

The theoretical model helps an organization understand the competitors and develop countermeasures to succeed. The tool is linked to the competitive advantage model because it helps Microsoft understand and make decisions to counter the competition. Microsoft’s key competitors include Apple, Oracle, IBM, and Google, which work to be more appealing to customers. The increased competition could lower Microsoft’s revenue as the loyal customers may shift to the customers (Nandi and Nandi, 2020). However, the four-corner analysis seeks to understand the competitors and take actions or decisions that improve the discourse operations.

Through the analysis, the Company has always been aware of the competitor’s moves and made decisions that are more likely to increase profits by beating the competition (Akbulut, 2019). Microsoft’s analysis on the four corner analysis looks at the competitor’s strategy, capabilities, drivers, and management assumptions. Once the assumptions are considered, a more appealing outcome may be achieved in the long run (Archila, 2021). Once Microsoft understands the competitor’s strategy, it makes better decisions for developing new and enhanced products. The four-corner analysis helps Microsoft operate within the legal framework to understand the people’s challenges.

Porters Five Force Analysis

Literature Supporting the Tool

The five-force analysis is an important tool that a company uses to understand how its demand and supply dynamics are affected in the long run. The analysis conducted by Microsoft Company ensures that the five prongs for success are analyzed. Competition is the strongest force that affects the organization (Martín-Martín et al., 2021). Since Microsoft increased its use of the four-point analysis to understand its competitors, it can make better decisions always to attain a competitive advantage. For example, as the competitors focus on developing devices such as Apple, Microsoft uses diversification to invest in cloud computing, which makes the Company ahead of its competitors (Mwakasege 2020). The buyer’s bargaining power is moderate because the Company has continued to gain customer loyalty who buy without considering the competitors. The only way for Microsoft to maintain sales is to constantly improve and develop the product to meet the customer’s needs. A company’s ability to maintain its loyal customers is key to success in the discourse. Microsoft’s top management has mastered the art of generating better services and devices to meet the constant development of solutions to meet the customer’s needs.

Link with Strategic Management Theories

The delta model theory underscores the importance of customer engagement for the success of a business. When the organization manages the supplier forces and the demand dynamics, it is likely to offer customized solutions to the customers and therefore thrive in the long run (Archila, 2021). The suppliers at Microsoft enjoy a moderate force which is key for developing solutions in the discourse. For example, the packaging and hardware suppliers have a stake in determining the prices of the final product. Since the organization well maintains the suppliers, the price of goods remains low, and purchases are likely to increase in the discourse. Although the Company faces numerous challenges, the threat of a new entry is lower because the huge industry requires vast resources and capital to be established (Kah Chon, 2019). Consequently, only a few organizations are likely to invest in the technology industry for success.

It is imperative to note that Microsoft’s analysis through Porte’s five forces helps the organization to understand its operations and cover up all loopholes that can be closed for better outcomes in the organization (Kreps, 2019). The systems theory of management depends on the five forces for an effective decision to be reached in the Company. Microsoft works harder to ensure that every part of the operational framework aligns with the customer’s needs.

Macro/General Environment

Microsoft PESTEL Analysis

Literature Supporting the Tool

A PESTEL analysis is a special tool used by an organization, especially the marketing segment, to understand the business environment and help make better decisions in the discourse. The tool is good because it analysis both the internal and external environment and helps people make better decisions in the long run. When the environmental factors affecting an organization are eradicated, the profit margins are likely to be increased (Abid, 2022). The external factors considered in the business analysis include political, sociological, technological, economic, and legal affairs affecting the organization in the discourse. Microsoft operates in peace-loving countries for political stability (Adelakun, 2020). The organization understood that political instability is the key to many business failures. Before making the expansion decision, it ensures that the new destination for development is safer and politically affected.

The prices and inflation determine the economic force in the economy. Economic dynamics affect business holistically, and businesses must make decisions aligned with the price of commodities and inflation. In hard economic times, the Company will likely lose more customers in the discourse (Goyal, 2020). Microsoft determines a country’s economic activity and makes expansion decisions that affect the business. The ability to realize a country’s economic situation is key to deciding on what ether to invest in the courtier not. The social and socio-cultural factors ensure that the people’s beliefs are cascaded in the design (Salindeho et al., 2021). Microsoft’s main diversity strategy is helpful as it ensures that all customers and employees are treated with care to get the best out of the employees in the long run. Since Microsoft has a diversity strategy, socio-cultural factors cease to be a threat. Therefore, handling diversity in the organization will likely improve the coexistence between employees and customers, making better profits.

Technological factors play a major role in Microsoft’s business model as it operates in the technological realm. There is an opportunity in the rapid investment in mobile technology and the increased volumes of transactions conducted online. Since people use technology to advance their products and improve their lives, Microsoft leverages it to increase profits. Advancement in technology helps in overcoming competitors and making Microsoft thrive (Chowdhury, 2019). The automation in business activities and increase in the online presence make the organization get better services in the strategy of operating in the cloud with better outcomes. Governments worldwide have business laws affecting different factors of producing and selling goods and services (Mulder, 2023). When an organization operates contrary to the legal framework, it is likely to be deprived of its operating license, which may lead to failure in the discourse.

Link with Strategic Management Theories

The balanced scorecard theory is an important model linked to the PESTEL analysis because it is used to improve both internal and external communication. Microsoft will likely make more profits in the discourse by analyzing the various spheres of the economy and the social framework. Microsoft operates in different countries worldwide in congruence with the laws and the country’s business regulations. The PESTEL analysis helps the organization understand the features of a development framework for successfully implementing strategies to improve its performance in the long run.

Strategic Recommendations

Diverse Marketing

Strategic analysis is key in determining key loopholes and suggesting strategies that are likely to improve the operations of goods of the organization. Microsoft suffers from the threat of numerous competitors and must make a strategic decision for a better outcome (Correani et al., 2020). The foremost strategy is diverse marketing to ensure that people from all walks of life understand the products offered by Microsoft and give a rapid response for action. Although the Company has maintained brand loyalty through the provision of quality services, it must ensure that all the new marketing strategy maintains the clients by asking for their views and producing products and services that meet the people’s needs.

Research and Development

The research and development department serves an important role in Microsoft’s management. The department must be used to exploit the challenges affecting the organization. As it diversifies its actions, the Company must strengthen the R&D department for improved outcomes (Asipi and Duraković, 2020). The development of a robust team in research and development is likely to integrate innovation, customer needs, and trends in the market to generate goods and services that appeal to the market. The department can have training to increase the competence of the people in the organization (Bugwandeen and Ungerer, 2019). A robust R&D team is an antidote to a highly competitive business landscape.

Cyber Security

Cybercrime is one of the main threats in the operations in the technology domain as technology advances and people invest more in the online domain. Cybercriminals are likely to increase their knowledge, making it one of the most dangerous threats to its sustainability (Pierleoni et al., 2019). Microsoft must therefore invest in cyber security and produce devices that are always secure. Investment in cyber security is also beneficial to the Company because it will increase customer confidence in the product and make Microsoft perform better in the competitive landscape (Raji et al., 2020). Solving the cyber security problem increases the need for confidence in the product and ensures customer satisfaction.


Microsoft is the world’s largest software company and thrives in producing, licensing, and supporting software products. It focuses on diversification and differentiation to overcome the competition in the technology world. It focuses on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and diversification to increase its business ideas. The strategic approach has made it thrive in the competitive corporate landscape and requires it to intensify its advertising to improve its success. Further, investing in cyber security is key for success because cybercrimes continuously affect people and their businesses as technology advances. Consequently, investing in cyber security will likely attract many companies and people for a better outcome.

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