MGMT 413: Organizational Change Practicum: Company Websites & Annual Reports

Sources and tips for completing your Individual Change Portfolio.

Resources for Company Research

Where do I start?

For your organizational change portfolio you will be looking for basic company information: company name, organization, vision, mission, goals, values of the organization, customer base, current events, and corporate responsibility. This guide lists useful sources, but there isn't one resource that will give you all the information you need.

Research Tips:

  • Publicly-traded companies will be easier to research than private companies.
  • You will use a mix of library resources (Mergent, Business Source Complete) and Web resources.
  • Company research involves using both company and industry resources.
  • Some companies are easier to research than others. Companies and brands are merged and absorbed regularly, and this can make finding even recent information difficult.
  • Just because you want a certain piece of information doesn't mean it is available.
  • Sometimes you will have to make an educated guess.

Remember: Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it!

Company Web Sites & Annual Reports

Annual Reports

  • If a company is publicly-traded they have to file an annual report with the SEC. 2009 annual reports are filed with the SEC March 31.
  • An annual report often includes: company background, current issues they are facing, what went well, what went wrong, and financial information.
  • Read the president's letter--this is where he explains the company's current situation to the shareholders. Remember to read these with a skeptical eye--the president/CEO will put the most positive spin on everything.

Where are annual reports located?

  • Many companies will put their most recent annual report on their Web site.
  • Some will also put past annual reports, historical financial information, mission, values, etc. on their site.
  • Sometimes it is obvious where this information is, sometimes it isn't. Look for a link on the company's home page labeled, "Company information," "Investor Information," etc. However, how much is made available depends on the company. Some will put up more than others.

What else is on the company's Web site?

  • Mission, values, and vision
  • Possibly a recent strategic plan
  • Articles or press releases

Public Companies vs. Private Companies

  • If your company has a ticker symbol, it is publicly traded. Find the ticker in a simple Google or Wikipedia search--but don't rely on this information for your entire assignment
  • Public companies often have more available because they have to file an annual report with the SEC
  • Some private companies will put a lot of information on their Web site. Some won't. 

Can you trust information from the company?

  • Yes. But read it with a skeptical eye and back up any of their own information with other sources.