HI 6005: Research Paper 2
Maximum of 10 pages (5,000 words) and 10 minutes (Presentation)
|This is a group assignment with specific individual components.
Groups choose from the list of topics that are based on the lectures. However, in this assignment you must do better than recycle the lecture. You are to research your topic in more depth providing evidence of independent research. The set of topics will be provided from which your group must choose on a ‘first-come, first-served basis’.
Note that each topic has a group component to which each group member must contribute. However there are also specific individual components which have been defined.
RESEARCH PAPER 2 Worth 25%
Listed below are points to bear in mind in regard to this Research Paper.
Topics and Presentation Schedule:
On following pages are listed a number of topics.
Topics are allocated on a ‘first come – first served basis’ and can only be reserved in writing
(e.g. by e-mail to your lecturer).
Dr Sarah Kim
Please nominate your preferred presentation time (see Lecture Schedule in the Subject Outline) at the time you bid for the topic. In the event of two different groups choosing the same topic, the group who nominates the earlier presentation time-slot will secure the topic. The other group will have to choose another topic.
Research on the broad topic is a group activity and each student must contribute to that work. Each student in the group will then research, in depth, an individual component drawn from the broad research topic.
- Topics are to be undertaken as group work in a group of three or four persons
- Each topic has a general framework as well as individual components
When researching the topic:
- The work on the general framework is the responsibility of each team member
- The work on the individual components is the responsibility of the individual choosing that component. However, that individual can be helped by other group members who in turn also can help other team members
- The Live Presentation:
Students form into groups and nominate their broad research topic. Research on the broad topic is a group activity and each student must contribute to that work. Each student in the group will then research, in depth, an individual component drawn from the broad research topic.
The live presentation (worth 10%) must be organised as a business presentation. Strict adherence to the ten minute limit is expected so the time should be carefully allocated to allow for a very short introduction on the broad topic followed by a few minutes allocated to each student to present their individual component.
The presentation is primarily assessed on presentation technique. Your tutor will make suggestions on how the academic content can be improved and that will only be assessed on the written report due in the final week of the semester. Students can therefore choose to present at any time in the semester and it is suggested that you make the decision to present earlier rather than later when there will be many assignments falling due.
- The Written Report:
The final report on your topic will be written up as a seminar report (worth 15%) and submitted to your lecturer by the end of the semester. You may incorporate ideas generated in the live presentation. The written report should begin with the broad research topic which is followed by each individual component identified by the individual student who prepared it.
Organisation of the research report
A key ingredient to writing a successful report involves the planning or organising stage. Organising can help you to sort out your ideas and to present your report in the order that communicates best to your readers. Organisation is the procedure of constructing an outline that acts as a plan for your writing task. An outline forces you to think before you write.
Your essay is to be structured and written as a business report. It, therefore, must begin with a Management (or Executive) Summary within which you state in stark form (i.e. unsupported by argument) what you are asserting in this report and you must do that in less than two pages.
As already stated above, you begin the main body of the report with some general background on the broad research topic. This introduction should end with a brief paragraph outlining the plan of the rest of the essay.
What follows is the specific issues of each individual component which were considered. As for any good business report these components should be structured into sections and sub-sections and the heading for these should be in the Table of Contents. In these individual components the in-depth discussion of the relevant issues is elaborated based on the existing literature and/or data. You must provide in-text references to your sources.
The last section of the report contains a brief summary followed by a complete list of references that are cited in the text of the essay. Follow a standard referencing method consistently.
Suggested limits are as follows:
- Management Summary: ideally one page but no more than two.
- Sections 1: Introduction 400-600 words,
- Section 2: Main body of the essay consisting of each of the individual components limit each
component to approximately 1,000 words each,
- Sections 3: Conclusions 100-300 words,
- Summary and Complete List of References (5-15 references).
There are two components of assessment adding to a total possible mark of 25% of the subject:
- The Presentation which is worth 10 marks. Here we assess the quality of the presentation NOT the academic quality of the work.
- The Opening Impact 3 marks
- Overall Presentation Technique ( Quality of the Slides) 5 marks
- Adherence to Time Limit 2 marks
- The Report which is worth 15 marks. It is here that we assess the academic quality of your work (including referencing) as well as your ability to correctly structure a business report.
- The Management Summary 4 marks
- Report Structure (TOC, Paragraphs, Sections and use of Diagrams) 3 marks
- Academic Quality (incl. Referencing) 8 marks
- Management Yesterday and Today
Outline a framework (a map) describing the developments in Western Management Theory over the last hundred years or more.
Shifts in any theory occur when a researcher identifies a question troubling him or her. Subsequent research is then directed at finding answers to the research question(s) and ultimately old theory is discarded and new theory adopted. For example: The Egyptians had a theory that the sun revolved around the earth. Modern theory is that the earth revolves around the sun. At some stage in between a question – a research question – arose which we would now describe as challenging whether observed motion is not absolute but relative to the position of the observer. Such questions trigger research effort to find evidence so that the questions can be resolved and ultimately old theories are discarded and new theories established.
- Scientific Management School has given way to Quantitative Management (Management Science)
- Scientific Management School has given way to the Human Relations School of Management
- Human Relations School of Management has given way to Behavioural Science School of Management
Each member of the team must choose one of these and identify the research questions and the reasons why and the evidence on which the shift in theory (the paradigm shift) occurred.
- Early Management Theories Relevant to the Modern World
From a framework (a map) describing the developments in Western Management Theory over the last hundred years or more, focus on the period from Taylor to Fayol and Weber explaining the context of their work.
Each member of the team choose one of the management theorists listed below and give specific examples of the portions of their theory still in use in the modern world.
- Fred Taylor
- Henri Fayol
- Max Weber
- The Time-line of Development of Management Theories: Relative or Absolute
The study of management theories has been criticised by some people as a waste of time because old ideas are discarded if they are found to be out of tune with today’s business context. For instance, time-and-motion studies have fallen out of favour these days. On the other hand some writers have argued that the timeline for the development of management theories is not an absolute scale but is, in fact, a relative scale. This means that what we think is an old idea may be a new idea in a different context. In this paper you are to discuss and argue these different points of view citing evidence from your research.
Each individual member can argue for or against the topic. Use examples to illustrate your point. For example:
- Taylorism: could it be relevant in an emerging economy today?
- Weber’s bureaucracy: could it be helpful in an emerging economy today?
- Empowerment: does it make sense in an emerging economy today?
In this topic, you are to research globalisation. The business press bombards us with ideas about ‘the shrinking world’, ‘the flat world’ and ‘the border-less world’ – all catchphrases to describe the impact of globalisation.
But are the (trade) borders really collapsing or are we seeing, post GFC, a resurgence in them? What is behind the extreme demonstrations against globalisation at G7 and WTC conferences?
- World 3.0: P Ghemawat’s questioning of whether the world really is as ‘global’ as we are being told it is and his ideas about how it could be globalised more effectively.
- Anthony Giddens’ ideas on globalisation.
- The “End of Poverty” movement and the contrary assertion that “Trade NOT aid” is the way to a more globalised world that mitigates against poverty
- The Hawthorne Studies
The Hawthorne studies had their origins in the Scientific School of Management and constituted a genuine attempt at discovery through research. By today’s standards there were deficiencies in the research which will be highlighted in the individual components of this topic. In your introduction outline the overall context of the Hawthorne studies and in your conclusion, stress the significant outcomes from the studies notwithstanding the acknowledged defects in the research methodology.
- The Illumination Studies: One member of the group choose this phase of the studies.
- The Relay Room Experiments: Another member of the group choose this phase of the studies.
- The Bank Wiring Experiments: The third member of the group choose this phase.
Apart from describing the phase you have chosen, you must identify the specific research methodological weaknesses inherent in that phase.
- Corporate or Organisational Culture
Discuss why corporate culture is such an important determinant of organisational success. Outline the dimensions commonly used in describing a particular organisation’s culture.
Each individual should focus on one (or two) of the dimensions and identify a specific organisation noted for its emphasis of that dimension. Describe how that organisation stresses that particular component of organisation culture and comment on whether they have been successful. [Note: Individual team members must choose different dimensions and thus outline different actual cases.]
- National Culture
Discuss why an understanding of national culture is important for multi-national or trans-national corporations seeking to operate in a global business environment. Outline the dimensions commonly used in describing national culture.
Each individual should choose a different country classifying it in terms of the commonly-used dimensions for describing national culture. Choose the countries wisely so that differences can be highlighted. Each member should seek to find specific examples in their country of choice to illustrate the classification they have made.
- Lessons from the Motor Vehicle Industry
The Automobile Industry was, for a long time, the world’s biggest industry (only overtaken towards the end of the twentieth century by the Information and Communications Technology Industry). It, therefore, should not surprise that the automobile industry has been a rich source of experience.
Discuss the numerous advances in the understanding of management and organisation issues which have come out of the motor vehicle industry.
Each individual should select a key insight from the industry such as those attributed to:
- Henry Ford: “Bringing the work to the worker”
- Alfred P Sloan: Cost Centres
- The ‘World Car’ Concept
- Mergers such as the Chrysler Mercedes-Benz or Nissan Renault
- Management Decision Making: Overview
Decision making pervades everything a manager does from deciding about the details in a plan of action through to making decisions in a control context such as what to do when targets are not met. George Bush liked to be called The Decider. It is daunting to contemplate the impact of decisions a President has to make. In business, the manager also makes decisions that impact upon the success of the business and on people’s careers and lives.
The importance of insights into decision making can be judged by the fact that two Noble Prizes have been awarded to researchers whose work has enlightened our knowledge of decision making processes. In the general framework of this paper, you should outline the general approaches to management decision making.
Each individual should select a key aspect of the decision making process to expound, such as:
- Heuristics that can assist the decision maker in speeding up the decision making process
- Common Biases that can skew the decision making process
- Social influences that might skew the decision making process
- Management Decision Making (continued): Cognitive Biases
Decision making pervades everything a manager does from deciding about the details in a plan of action through to making decisions in a control context such as what to do when targets are not met.
Managers pride themselves on their ability to make sound, objective judgements. However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that bias creeps into decision making.
In this topic you are to present, as a general framework, the overall view outlined in the paper by D Arnott (1978) (see resources attached to the Assignment specification on Blackboard)
Each individual should select one or two of Arnotts’s list of 37 biases and explain using examples. Choose examples of biases NOT discussed in earlier assignment presentations.
- Management Decision Making (continued): Social Model
There is little doubt that social influences have a significant impact on decision-making behaviour. Social pressures and influences may cause managers to make irrational decisions. Outline, in the general framework, a model of social influence on decision making.
The individual components of this topic introduce some classic studies as illustrative of the impact of social influences on decision making.
- Solomon Asch’s classic study into the impact of social conformity on decision making
- Stanley Milgram’s classic study of the influence that obedience to an authority figure can have on decision making
- Fred Luthans’ study on the influence of information presented in a computer printout in contrast to the same information presented from an ordinary typewriter
- Groupthink examples
- Stakeholder Relationship Management and its influence on Management Decision Making (continued)
Relationship management is one of the highest level managerial functions. Use an example to illustrate poor relationship management and the outcome that resulted from it. Outline the four step approach to stakeholder relationship management recommended in your textbook.
Construct an example to illustrate good stakeholder relationship management. Using your example:
- Define the general external environment of your example, identifying stakeholders within it
- Define the specific external environment of your example, identifying stakeholders within it
- Discuss how the multi-advocacy approach to stakeholder relationship management would assist managers in decision making which is sensitive to managing stakeholder relationships
- Organisational Structure
Outline, six key elements commonly used to define the structure of an organisation identifying the management theorist who identified each of these elements.
Then outline four factors (contingencies) that are commonly used to define the situation (the organisational environment).
Each individual should select an example organisation – a real example – and suggest what you believe to be the structure of that organisation in terms of the six key elements that are used to define organisational structure. For your example organisation, you should define their organisational environment in the terms of the four contingency factors and comment on the match (or mis-match) of the organisation to its organisational environment.
- Organisational Structure
This is a photo of the workplace taken in a Melbourne bank 100 years ago. If you were to look at a similar bank in Melbourne today, it would look quite different. In the General Framework, you are to discuss the changes that have occurred to the organisational structure of a typical bank over that hundred year period and identify the issues that have driven those changes.
A glance at the NAB Docklands headquarters clearly demonstrates evidence of the fact that organisational structure is still changing.
Each individual in your group is to choose one, from the following list of influencers (drivers) of change to an organisation’s structure and explain how it impacts organisational structure.
Drivers of change to an organisation’s structure:
- networking and empowerment,
- collaboration and teamwork,
- work specialisation by project and function,
- the need to manage the existing business as well as the need to develop innovations (i.e. ambi-dexterity).
- Goal Setting and Planning
Outline the importance of goal setting in planning and the characteristics of well defined goals.
- Discuss Miles & Vergen’s landmark study into goal setting and the three conditions they identified to be satisfied to ensure best practice in goal setting
- Discuss Management by Objectives
- Discuss contingency factors which influence a manager’s approach to planning
- Discuss different types of plans
- Planning Tools/Techniques
Discuss the Planning function in the context of the work of the manager. Illustrate with a case study.
Each member of the team is to choose one of these techniques and explain the technique through the use of an example.
- Budgets and Forecasts
- Sensitivity Analysis and Scenario Analysis of plans
- Gannt Charts
- Strategic Planning
Discuss Strategic Planning distinguishing it and contrasting it with other planning functions and techniques.
- The use of BCG Analysis in formulating the strategies for the management of a portfolio of products or services offered to the market
- Product life cycle as a guide to the management of a portfolio of products or services offered to the market (Take two examples: CISCO’s FLIP camera and the typical electric jug)
- SWOT Analysis and the concepts of ‘fit’ and ‘stretch’
- Porters Competitive Strategies (Illustrate with examples)
- Cross Cultural Teams: People Issues in Global Business
Discuss the challenges in recruiting and effectively managing cross cultural teams.
- From the work of Hofstede and others, identify issues likely to face the expatriate manager
- Discuss the skills and abilities which have been identified in successful international managers
- Demonstrate how multivariate analysis might be used in recruitment of international managers
- Discuss acculturation issues in expatriation and repatriation of international managers
Discuss the emergence of teams as a key feature of the modern workplace and trace its origins in the context of the changes in thinking associated with the development of schools of management thought.
- Outline Tuckman’s stages in team development identifying the leader’s role at each stage (Use examples)
- Apply insights from the study of managerial decision making to decision making in teams
- Give examples of how the physical structures have been designed to facilitate teamwork
- Outline the ways in which managers might promote teamwork
- Performance Management
Discuss Performance Management in the context of the identifying the relevant School of Management Theory. Identify positives and negatives in the approaches to performance management.
- MBO, Review and Agree, 360-degree Feedback
- Compare and contrast strengths and weaknesses of cohesive versus non-cohesive teams and the application to High Performance Organisations
- Performance Management from a Control Theory Perspective
- The Balanced Scorecard Approach
- Motivation Overview
Outline the meaning of motivation as it applies in the work place.
- Discuss this question: Can a manager instil motivation into employees or is motivation a process of drawing out something from employees? Discuss coaching.
- Provide a map of the various theories of work motivation and explain the map
- Discuss John Holland theory of personality and job fit as an explanation of work motivation
- Describe the difference between a content theory and a process theory of motivation
- Motivation: Content Theories
Describe the difference between a content theory and a process theory of motivation citing examples of how some process theories, under criticism, have been reduced to content theories.
- Discuss Maslow’s theory and detail the criticisms that have been levelled against it
- Discuss Hertzberg’s theory and detail the criticism that have been levelled against it
- Disciss McGregor’s theory of work motivation
- Behavioural science research expects to be scrutinized and criticism levelled against it. Summarise with examples from Hofstede’s work through to the theories of motivation
- Motivation: Process Theories
Provide a map of the various theories of work motivation and explain the map distinguishing the differences between content and process theories of work motivation
- Discuss McClelland’s work and theories of work motivation
- Discuss Goal Setting and its role in work motivation: the ‘Review & Agree‘ Process
- Discuss Equity Theory using examples
- Discuss Expectancy Theory using examples
- Change Management
Outline the “Calm-waters” and the “White-water rapids” metaphors for Change Management.
- Discuss Kotter’s theory of Change Management
- Discuss Force-Field Analysis: giving examples
- Changing an organisation’s culture may be necessary as part of change management. What can a manager do to change an organisation’s culture?
- Gerstner, at IBM, recognised from the outset the need for urgent change management. What was that urgent need for change management? Gerstner also realised that IBM’s culture had to change as a precursor to achieving the necessary organisational change. From the IBM case study, summarise the value of the case in understanding change management and the role that change in the organisational culture might play in it.
The study of control theory is an academic discipline in itself and is known as cybernetics. Control mechanisms are ubiquitous. Some examples are: the engineering control of the trajectory of a space rocket to the control of the speed of a train. Outline the well-known control mechanisms and explain why control in the management sense may be more difficult than engineering control.
Individual Components…You get a choice of which individual components you will investigate.
- Describe the role that each of the ‘elements of control’ must play and how the effectiveness of control mechanism is dependent on each.
- Give an example of how feed-back (reactive) control is used in business and identify the situations where it would be effective and those where it would not be effective
- Explain how the standard (the goal) should be set in a managerial control context
- Explain why feed-forward (proactive) control is more difficult to apply than feedback (reactive control)
- Explain the concept of Requisite Variety in the Activating Unit