Assignment Briefing (level 7)
|Module Name||Investigating a Business Issue|
|Assignment Title||Research Portfolio|
|Type of Submission||Portfolio|
|Weighting of the assignment in the overall module grade||20%|
|Word Count/Time allocation (for presentations)||<3000 words|
|Issue Date||27 September 2016|
|Submission Date||24 April 2017|
|Date of Feedback to Students||22 May 2017|
|Where feedback can be found||On StudySpace – bubble comments on the text; general comments box, and rubric.|
|See next pages.
Investigating a Business Issue
Research Portfolio Template
This portfolio simulates key aspects of doing the management research report.
This is a template – a document that provides a structure for your assignment.
You can organise your assignment in a different way provided you include all the sections with the correct headings.
- Describe your variables of interest: 5
- Hypothesis. 6
- Executive Brief. 7
- Measuring the variables. 8
- Statistical data analysis. 9
- Interview (textual data) analysis. 11
- Evidence-based and costed recommendation.. 12
- Individual reflective note.. 13
|The new Division Head in your company has found a number of problems. These include high levels of sickness absence, missed deadlines, and low morale and energy levels. In addition, staff turnover is high, and exit interviews reveal perception of a rather autocratic style of management. The recent ‘engagement’ survey showed that engagement levels were lower in this Division than elsewhere in the company. As a result the new Division Head believes she has a problem of ‘engagement’ to deal with.
However, from experience you know that managers often jump to conclusions. They can also be strongly influenced by widespread ideas, such as that lack of ‘engagement’ is the cause of the kinds of problems mentioned above.
What do you think all these symptoms might indicate? Is the Division Head right, or has she jumped to a conclusion without considering the evidence? Is one thing (lack of ‘engagement’) likely to be the cause of all these problems?
Visible problems are often the symptoms of something else. Assuming the differences between this Division and the rest of the company are real, use your experience and diagnostic skills to think what might be causing some or all these problems.
Before going further, record your thoughts here.
Given the informations about sickness absence, missed deadlines, low morale, high turnover rates and low engagement coupled with reported autocratic style of management is one way to judge the situation.
The used directive autocratic style of management/leadership instead of some flexible permissive style of leadership (where subordinates opinion is given importance) impact on the low morale and lack of engagement.
An effective worker is the source of organizational success. Performance at work is a matter of the individual employee character, predisposition and working style. However, the effectiveness and quality of work also depend on organizational culture and practices designed to motivate an employee to achieve the best results at work both intrinsic and extrinsic.
One of the most common factors affecting employees is the fatigue. Relapse may have different causes. It can be due to poor management of people, by overburdening the employee with an excess of duties or overburdening with tasks that exceed employees skills or qualification.
Sometimes it is an employee who is unable to manage own time or is unable to make it clear that is not capable of undertaking any additional task. Inappropriate people management can reduce productivity not only by affecting employee well – being. The autocratic style of management strongly linked to unhealthy work pressure or lack of tolerance for even small mistakes can bring about the employee with a strong stress (Akor, 2014). Moreover, an organizational culture where induced is excessive competition rather than trust and teamwork. In such an atmosphere, employees will not identify with the organization, and work will only be a nasty duty, rather avoid. The negative implications of these findings apply to all employees even those whose exceptions are high and work well well under pressure, as the result of the poor people management usually after a short time face severe stress and burnout.
The high level of sicknesses, low morale, and energy levels is strongly related to the lack of the incentives. HR function is to ensure people in work feel safe, physically and emotionally, that they feel recognized and treated fairly. According to Maslow Hierarchy of Needs; Every individual in a company needs a certain level of “belonging” (to be considered part of society) which in this case the previous manager was unable to offer.
However, the deepest problem of the organization lay in the lack of the recruitment and selection practices that ensure the person- organization fit and a good pay system with the incentives that motivate people to execute the organizational strategies.
|You have now had a few days to consider the problems outlined above. From your experience and reading you have identified factors that research indicates are likely to be causes of some of the problems.
The following table sums up your research so far. On the right are the “predicted variables” – the problems. Some of these directly represent problems identified in the case. You felt it would be useful to investigate Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) as this relates to a wide range of employee behaviours. The “predictor variables” on the left are those for which there is evidence that they might be causes of the predicted variables on the right. The relationship is not the simple one that you might think the table shows. ANY of the variables on the left can be considered as predictors of ANY of the variables on the right.
For this exercise, choose one variable from the first column – any one that interests you. Think what knowing about this variable will help you to predict, and write that down before doing any further reading. Then choose a predicted variable, and again without doing any research, write down why you think this might be predicted by your chosen predictor variable. For example, suppose you think that knowing about person-job fit would help to predict job performance, choose person-job fit, and job performance – and most important, write down your initial thoughts about how and why person-job fit might predict job performance.
Now you can do some research! Look up some research articles where these variables are defined. Read about them. Then briefly discuss and define the two variables, and sum up what you have found about their relationship. For this you should use at least three research-based papers. Given the references at the end (using the Harvard referencing style).
Finally, reflect briefly on what you have learned about the relationship between these variables – did you find anything from the research that was not present in your original thoughts you noted first? Present your original ideas, your literature based discussion, and reflective thoughts, below (about 350 words).
The research determine the person-organization fit and employee turnover.
|Continuing with the activity begun above (describing your variables) formulate a hypothesis about how your two chosen variables are connected. (Hint: the literature should provide you with some idea of how people think your two variables are related to each other. Whether, for example, one variable might be a cause of the other).
Build a hypothesis connecting the two variables that you have chosen to focus on. Explain how your hypothesis stems from empirical findings or theories in the research papers you have found.
You can specify the direction of the relationship between your variables if the literature enables you to but it is not mandatory. Use at least three references, and list your sources using the Harvard referencing style (250 words)
|Now that you have done some background research, and formulated your ideas (formally in one or more hypotheses) about possible causes of the Division’s symptoms, it is time to make a case to the company’s Executive Board to allow you to do the research you think needs to be done.
In this section, write a short briefing paper to make the case to the Board for doing your research. This should offer sufficient information about the chosen issue for the Board to make an informed decision as to whether to allow you to proceed, or to give the job to someone else. So it’s important that you write a convincing argument in language the Board is familiar with.
Your executive brief should include an introduction and some background on the key variables, a description and explanation of the likely research strategy (you have decided to do a survey, and some interviews).
As you are making a business case for doing the research, it is important to outline the potential costs and benefits of your research proposal.
Note that at that stage it is fine to outline your ideas in generic terms.
Word count: about 500 words
|For the survey part you need to identify two measurement scales.
Measurement scales are sets of questions that we use to measure a complex variables (like those above). Researchers make great efforts to develop valid and reliable measurement scales, and it is important to use scales of this kind when collecting data.
For this part of the portfolio, identify one scale for each of your key variables. These scales should have been used at least once in an academic article.
In this section please provide:
There is much more to doing a survey than identifying measurement scales. However, this is a very important task, and here we do not have time to continue with developing the questionnaire, choosing the sample, administering the survey, and collecting the data. (About 250 words).
|Now assume that you have collected the data, and are proceeding to do the analysis. For this part of the portfolio data will be provided for you.
In this context it is important to have some additional background information:
· The Division has three branches, and a total of 600 employees.
· Your survey was conducted in Branch A where there are 300 employees in total. You sent the survey out to all of them using the internal mailing list.
Begin your analysis by testing the hypothesis that you formulated earlier.
Your client felt strongly that the masculine management style of her predecessor may have favoured men. So she has insisted that you test a second hypothesis: whether women trust the organisation less than men.
For each hypothesis, please follow this standard procedure:
1. Describe the two key variables of the hypothesis
o What is the range of values that your variable can take?
o What do the scores represent? (higher scores mean more…?)
o Have you created index variables? If yes, how?
o Are your data normally distributed?
2. Provide basic descriptive statistics for your two variables. Describe those in words and if appropriate, with relevant data displays.
3. Provide the results of the statistical test that you have used to test the hypothesis and interpret the findings.
trust1 to trust7 are items on a perception of trust scale.
Gender tells you the gender of the respondents
PJFit1 to PJFit4 are items on a Person-Job Fit scale
POFit1 to POFit4 are items on a Person-Organisation Fit scale
OCBI1 to OCBI4 are items on an Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (Individual) scale
OCBO1 to OCBO4 are items on an Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (Organisation) scale
LMX1 to LMX7 are items on a Leader-Member Exchange scale
To create a single item measure from a set of several items (a scale) you have to create an index variable. For example, to create a single measure of trust you will have to create an index variable comprising the average score of the items trust1 to trust7. (About 350 words).
|HYPOTHESIS 1. (Re-state your hypothesis here)
|HYPOTHESIS 2. Women trust their organisation less than men.
|You also interviewed some employees for additional background. The focus of your interviews was to get some answers to the question:
“What are the drivers of employees’ motivation?”
Three of the interview transcripts have been provided for you.
Analyse the interviews using the thematic analysis technique presented in class. There is no total word count here.
To complete this section of your portfolio, you should include:
1. A coding framework (codebook):
2. Your data matrix for summarising the data needed to answer the question.
3. A brief description of the findings for your client. (about 250 words).
|Now that you have as much evidence as you can get about the problems you chose to focus on, as well as some general information about employee motivation, you need to use this evidence to make a recommendation to your client. It is very important to indicate to your client the likely costs they would incur if they implemented your recommendation.
In this section, you should include:
1. One recommendation
2. Describe the evidence you based your recommendation on. This can come from the literature and/or from the data analysis that you conducted for your research portfolio.
3. Discuss how benefits will be tracked (i.e. what measurement and control mechanisms will be in place to ensure that change sticks and that benefit flows from it).
4. Costings should include:
a. A clear budget for your implementation plan (e.g., number of hours, materials, and so on …).
b. An expense flow forecast to indicate costs phased over the period.
c. A list of costing assumptions. These could just be bullet pointed (e.g., all costs are approximate, cost of employees per hour, does the technology cost include licences? And so on …).
d. Contingency expenses or time and rationale for the amount of contingency (i.e. if it is 50%, why?).
e. Reference to any other costs you might not be able quantify (e.g. organisational stress, individual burn-out…) and if anything should be put in place to mitigate, track, monitor these.
Feel free to present your recommendation and its costing in a table or in the text. (about 400 words for this section).
|Reflect on your learning journey during the research process and how you plan to develop your research skills in the next 12 months (350 words).
(Becoming a reflective practitioner is something the CIPD encourages. There is also evidence that it facilitates learning).
Place evidence here supporting your claims or demonstrating the skills you described in this portfolio.
The portfolio is worth a total of 20% of your module assessment. The grid indicates strengths and weaknesses of each section but does not give weightings in finalising the overall mark awarded.
|0-49%||50-59%||60-69 %||70-74%||75-84%||85% +|
|Very poor- Poor||satisfactory||Good||Very good||Excellent||Outstanding|
|Three relevant references||Missing or very poorly done||Present but with a couple of mistakes||Present and very good – outstanding formatting, very good – outstanding justification|
|Hypothesis||Missing or very poorly done||Present but with a couple of mistakes and/or lacking justification||Very good to outstanding hypotheses, very good to outstanding justification|
|Executive brief||Missing or very poorly done||Present but with a couple of issues and/or not business pitched||Very good to outstanding executive summary, complete and pitch for a business audience|
|Scales||Missing or very poorly done||Present but not entirely relevant||Present and fully relevant|
|Quantitative data analysis||Missing or very poorly done||Descriptive and inferential statistics are presented but with a couple of mistakes and/or their meaning is unclear||Very good to outstanding descriptive and inferential statistics|
|Qualitative data analysis||Missing or very poorly done||Satisfactory to good code book, definition of themes and interpretation. Annotated text present in appendices.||Very good to outstanding code book, definition of themes and interpretation. Annotated text present in appendices.|
|One evidence-based and costed recommendation||Missing or very poorly done||Present but not relying enough on evidence/ unclear costing||Very good to outstanding use of evidence, clear and appropriate costing|
|Reflective piece||Missing or very poorly done||Present but lacking critical reflection.||Very good to outstanding critical reflection on your research experience.|