Assignment 1: Individual Level of Analysis – Reach for the Stars

Assignment 1:  Individual Level of Analysis – Reach for the Stars (15% of course grade)


To recognize and better understand the effect of individual characteristics and behavior (individual level of analysis) on organizational performance and effectiveness. 

Related to the following course objective:

Maximize individual contributions to the organization based on an understanding of individual behavior


Single-spaced paper 1200-1500 words in length, in addition to a cover page (containing your name, the course name, the date, and the professor’s name) and bibliography. See template provided. 

Introduction to Assignment

For this assignment, you will read and analyze Case Study 1: Reach for the Stars—Developing Salespeople, Achieving Organizational Success. The case describes information and key observations concerning manager and worker behavior. You will identify and analyze the critical incidents (problems, situations, issues, and consequences) in the case influencing individual and organizational performance and effectiveness, making appropriate recommendations to improve problems, meet challenges, and take advantage of opportunities.  Overall, your analysis should include:

  • Identification and explanation of all relevant OB concepts and theories, using examples where appropriate
  • Explanation of the specific case characteristics, incidents and/or situations that addresses the concepts or theories
  • Analysis of the relevance of understanding individual characteristics
  • Analysis of pros and cons of key incidents or situations (i.e., what are the drawbacks and/or positives associated with the situation as it related to individual performance and/or organizational productivity and effectiveness?)
  • Specific recommendations to address problems, challenges, and opportunities, and a proposed follow-up or evaluation

Read and follow all the Instructions carefully.  The paper must clearly demonstrate your ability to understand how and why individual characteristics and behavior (e.g. personality, values, attitude, perception) influence organizational performance and effectiveness.  As a 400-level course, critical thinking should be demonstrated. For a helpful explanation of the expectations at this level, see Level D of Bloom’s Taxonomy . To demonstrate critical thinking, we look to see how skillfully students logically conceptualize the material through application of theories and concepts, and analysis of it to reach an answer or conclusion. It is to read the scenario through the lense of our course content and, with that understanding, interpret the scenario. Strive to be original along with applying data, information, and ideas from the required reading and outside research.  Use examples and research information to support claims.  Use American Psychological Association (APA) format for in-text citations and the reference list.  Use the comprehensive outline format described in Instruction 9 to present your research findings, analysis, recommendations, and significant personal learning.


1)         Review the above assignment purpose, course objective, and introduction as well as the Assignment Grading rubric.

2)         Read the case below, Reach for the Stars—Developing Salespeople, Achieving Organizational Success.  Your analysis must evidence understanding of the case’s specific characters, context, and circumstances. Avoid generalizations that might apply to similar cases available on the Internet or in previous courses.

3)         Compose a brief abstract (no longer than a paragraph) synthesizing case highlights, putting the characters and incidents in context, and generally setting the scene for the detailed analysis to follow.

4)         Identify and analyze at least three critical incidents (problems, situations, issues, and consequences) in the case that influenced individual and organizational performance and effectiveness.  Explain how and why you think the incidents influenced individual and organizational performance and effectiveness.  Discuss the pros and cons of key incidents or situations (i.e., what are the drawbacks and/or positives associated with the situation as it related to individual performance and/or organizational productivity and effectiveness?)

5)         Make appropriate recommendations to address problems, meet challenges, and take advantage of opportunities, and propose follow-up or evaluation.

6)         Draw data, information, and ideas from at least six required resources (at least two from each of Weeks 1, 2, and 3) listed in the weekly Schedules, plus at least two credible, authoritative, relevant outside sources for a total of at least eight references. Your outside references should show a mix of scholarly and applied/practical sources, largely drawn from UMUC’s Information Library System (ILS), and including classic writings. Review APA citation materials and Tips on Research Sources in Course Content.  Cite research sources within the paper’s body using APA in-text formatting.  Include in the Reference list with complete source information at the end of the paper.  See specific formatting and heading template instructions below in Instruction 9.  Include publication date within in-text citations. You are expected to write your own unique thoughts, using quotes only when the source’s verbatim statements uniquely enhance meaning and understanding. Deductions will be taken when quotes are overused and found to be unnecessary.  Don’t reword passages from your resource. Instead, explain to your reader its meaning and importance. WRITE IN OBJECTIVE THIRD PERSON VOICE.

In-text citation:

(Casey, 2002, p. 50). [Include publication date]

Reference citation:

Casey, C. (2002). Critical Analysis of Organizations: Theory, practice, revitalization. London: Sage.

7)         Identify and present in bold font at least six different OB concepts, theories, methods, strategies, or practices in your analysis. Demonstrate through context and/or endnotes your understanding of the terms’ definition and meaningfulness to the meet the assignment’s purpose and course objectives. Note: to quote the definition is not the same as demonstrating your understanding of it.

8)         Determine what significant learning and understanding you gained from your research and analysis.  Identify and evaluate at least three valuable take-aways you learned from your organization change analysis, and how you envision specifically applying them to your job or career.

9)         Use the outline below for headings and subheadings.  Your deliverable will use a comprehensive outline format with expository content under each heading to present your analysis, evaluation and recommendations in standard composition style. Feel free to add other headings, subheadings or make modifications as your findings, ideas, and assertions dictate. Use examples and cite support sources as presented above.

Title page (your name, the course name, assignment, the name of the organization, the date, and instructor’s name)

Case abstract

  1. Brief introduction      
  2. Critical incidents (occurrence, fact, change, e.g., product diversification and market growth as reflected by “expanded its product line from aging-related to sports injury-related medical supplies and equipment” in the case study)

Critical incident 1

Critical incident 2

Critical incident 3

[and so forth]

 III. Recommendations (e.g., offer workshops or individual coaching with personality tests to more effectively identify, validate, share, and utilize personality traits, preference strengths, job-fit methods, and interactionist perspectives—see Saylor/OB section 3.1)

Include follow up (or evaluation—this is an area in which outside research and resources would be a plus; e.g., how will management determine if the intervention recommended above actually worked?  Perhaps assessing personality trait-based problem behavior during performance refers could work, or including manager reports from the personality tests referred to, say, three and six months after the intervention would provide useful results…?)

  1. Significant learning (see Instruction 8 for details about take-aways)

Learning or Take-away 1

Learning or Take-away 2

Learning or Take-away 3:

…and so forth

References (required course materials and outside research sources) listed on their own separate page in APA style.


10)       Use the outline template provided to submit your report.  WRITE IN OBJECTIVE THIRD PERSON VOICE. The document should be approximately 1200-1500 words in length single spaced (excluding cover page and references), but rest assured that substance is more important than length.  Again, APA reference format is required.   

11)       Submit the papers an attachment in your Assignment Folder by the due date, as well as to the Turnitin folder created by your instructor.