MANAGEMENT RESEARCH PROJECT
1. Research Project
Armed with the theory and principles that we discuss in this class, your job is to identify, analyze, and solve an organizational problem of a real organization. You will be required to find an organization or a group within an organization to conduct research with pertinent to the concepts discussed in class. You will conduct research to identify best practices and feasible, actionable solutions. This research project is a five-step process, which will culminate in a written report of your work.
Step 1: Identify a target organization
You must first choose an organization that will allow you access to observe organizational dynamics. It can be an organization with whom you are currently employed or with whom you have been employed, but this is not absolutely necessary. The organization need not be a for-profit organization, but can be any group that has been brought together to achieve an organizational goal.
Step 2: Target an organizational problem.
The problem you choose to address may be one that you have identified or one that is identified by talking to a manager or coworker in the employing organization. The problem that you choose must also be one that can be helped by applying the concepts that we discuss in class. Remember that the more specific the problem is that you identify, the more useful your recommendations will be. I prefer in-depth exploration of a single targeted problem to general statements.
Step 3: Gather relevant information.
The next step in this project is to analyze the problem that you have chosen to address. This step can involve, but is not limited to, any combination of: interviewing individuals involved with the organization, observing the organization to get a firsthand view of the situation, administering surveys and questionnaires, and reviewing any relevant information that is available through organizational publications and communications (i.e., annual reports), or through articles or stories found in mainstream media outlets (i.e., TV, newspapers, magazines, Internet). The more information you gather, the more of a complete picture you are likely to have and the better understanding you will have of the situation. You must decide what combination of data is appropriate to the problem you are examining, and be ready to justify your choices to me. Analyses that rely only on one type of data will be more heavily scrutinized than those that employ balanced data collection.
Step 4: Analyze information to diagnose problems and suggest solutions.
Your analysis should focus on what organizational, individual and interpersonal/group level dynamics may have caused the problem, and as a consequence, how the problem can be solved. After identifying the problem and analyzing the situation, it is up to you to develop viable solutions for solving the problem. These solutions MUST be based on topics covered in class. While topics are limited to those that are covered in this class, material about these topics may come from the book, lectures, cases, class discussions, management journals, or any other credible source. When developing solutions, think about the strengths of each solution (i.e., why and how it will help resolve the problem) as well as weaknesses of that solution (i.e. things that might keep that solution from being completely successful). You will also develop an action plan that details how these solutions will be implemented in order to solve or alleviate the organizational problem. In summary, you will do in-depth research to identify sources of an organizational problem, and draw on research to present a viable solution to this problem, and explain how and why you arrived at that conclusion.
The paper should outline the problem as you see it, the causes of the problem, and solutions based on your research. The final paper should discuss the main points of your project while providing enough background and detail to make it a coherent, self- supporting document. This paper should follow the style guidelines typical of business writing (i.e., 12-point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced, no jargon or casual language, etc.) and may be a maximum of 10 pages. However, you may use additional pages for appendices and references. Please see below for directions about how to properly cite your research. Because the organizations and problems that you are studying vary quite widely from student to student, it is difficult to offer specific directions about how to write up this problem analysis paper.
However, here is what I see as the main elements of the paper. I have put in page guidelines, but again these should just serve as a rough suggestion, and you will be responsible for figuring out how to best allocate your space to convey your work and understanding of management theory.
A. Introduction and Historical Background
Here you will provide the background information about the organization that you are studying. Depending on your organization and its problem, this section could include (but not be limited to) any number of these factors: the size of the organization, brief history of the company, brief description of industry and competitors, organizational system, mission, hierarchy system, division of labor.
B. Description of Problem
In this section, you will describe the problem that you are studying.
In this section, I will be looking for:
a. Have you identified a problem that is relevant to this class and have you described it clearly and correctly?
b. Did you offer compelling arguments regarding the importance of the problem? In other words, as a reader am I convinced that caring about this problem is important?
C. Diagnosis of Problem
In this section, you will draw from management theories to diagnose the causes of the problem at hand. Your diagnoses should be augmented or informed by research.
In this section, I will be looking for:
a. Your ability to recognize the connections between what you’ve observed at your organization and the relevant management theory concepts.
b. Have you properly applied concepts from course lectures and readings to your diagnosis of the problem? It is your responsibility to show to me that you know you are applying a concept. You will benefit from explicitly mentioning the theory and class concepts you are applying and from using the terminology we use in class.
c. Have you described your research methods clearly and succinctly?
D. Discussion of Solution
In this section, you will use management theories from the classroom lectures, textbook, and outside research on management to come up with a solution and an action plan for that solution that is appropriate and relevant. Solutions may also be informed by or augmented by research collected.
I will be looking for:
a. Is your solution relevant to this class? It your solution informed by management theory? Again, it is your responsibility to show to me that you know you are applying a concept. You will benefit from explicitly mentioning the theory and class concepts you are applying and from using the terminology we use in class.
b. If applicable, have you sought additional research from the textbook, academic journals, or other sources to help identify and evaluate your solution?
c. Is your solution realistic, specific, and actionable?
d. Is your action plan for implementation specific, giving step-by-step directions for your organization to follow? Can you include any metrics that management should follow to gauge whether the problem has been solved, diminished, or exacerbated?
d. Can you discuss possible disadvantages or negative repercussions that may be associated with the implementation of your chosen solution, and how management can minimize these effects?
You will be required to use APA format in your citations. All information that you use from outside sources must be documented. When in doubt, cite your work! Please don’t hesitate to ask me if you are in doubt about whether or not to cite something, and how to cite.
ORGANIZATION THAT I CHOSE IS EXPEDIA TRAVEL COMPANY
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