The Structure and Components of Outline Report
You were originally asked to provide an Outline Report with the following elements:
- Analysis 40%
- Conclusions 20%
- Recommendations 10%
- Development Plan 30%
A surprisingly large number of students failed to include a Development Plan in their first submission, immediately losing 30% of their grade and thereby making it very difficult to attain a Pass. Please use the above information and other suggestions in this briefing note as a checklist, ticking off each point to confirm that you have addressed all the relevant issues before resubmitting the Report.
An equally high number of students failed to place the components in the correct order. Please be clear that your Development Plan concerns how the Recommendations will be implemented. The Recommendations are based on your Conclusions and those Conclusions are derived from your Analysis. Conclusions are not a summary of what you have written but they answer the question, what can we conclude from our Analysis, what does it all mean?
Content and Key Theories
The assignment is intended to assess your knowledge and understanding of the Module. Therefore you must demonstrate that knowledge and an ability to apply the Module theories. Even if you did not do the homework tasks and readings during the Module, at this point you must use the Module texts. No one will Pass this assignment without meeting this criteria. To remind you, the Seminars and key texts were as follows:
Key and Useful Readings
|1. Organizations and their Environments
2. Organization Culture
3. Organization Development
4. Leadership and Management Development
5. Change Management
6. Employee Development
|Castellano and Laloux
Wilber, McLuhan, Wolfe
Hersey & Blanchard
Mabey & Mayrhofer
The relevant chapters of Rees and French were required reading for every seminar and details can be found on the Moodle site. Numerous additional readings that may be useful for referencing purposes are also provided under each Seminar tab on Moodle and under the tab, Further Reading.
What is Analysis?
I guess there can be many different answers to this question. However, for us, Analysis is the application of critical and appreciative thinking to a defined issue(s) or problem(s). The broad issue defined by this Assignment is:
“elements of societal and organisational culture and their impact on approaches to leadership and management in specific organisations”,
where the latter is the organization that you have chosen to analyse. Whilst we broadly expect you to conduct this Analysis by progressing through the six seminar topics, we are perfectly well aware, as you should be, that there is no way you can cover all of those topics in any depth. Therefore, you must prioritize, highlighting issues that are of particular importance to the organization you are considering.
In conducting your Analysis, we expect that you will demonstrate the extent to which the organization operates consistently with the ‘best practices’ suggested by the theories. To do this effectively, we strongly advise you to employ examples, such as those discussed in the relevant texts, as a means of benchmarking, comparing and contrasting. A failure to do this will result in a Report that is both abstract and devoid the means to gauge and support any conclusions that you draw. So, for example, one might say something like:
“we know that company we have been analysing is Green on Laloux’s scale of evolution because whilst it doesn’t have the self-managing structures of a Teal organization (ABC), it relies more strongly on culture as a driver of productive behaviour than the Amber public service organization XYZ, whose leaders are much more autocratic in style.”
Furthermore, when discussing the details of different artifacts, espoused values, leadership styles, approaches to managing change and other organizational phenomena you must back up your analysis with specific examples. Your Report must be clearly connected to the company that you have chosen and not be so vague that it could apply to any number of organizations.
Please remember, when you are writing your Analysis, you are effectively constructing an argument. You are trying to convince the reader of the virtues of the case that you are making. This is not a neutral, tiresome and passive process but an active, energizing and engaging one. Your words must carry a sense of how much you care and how strongly you believe in what you are saying. Bland, non-descript and trivial writing won’t do because it will alienate the reader even if the essence of your case is fine.
Use Tools to Manage Your Word Count
In addition to prioritizing and limiting the number issues you discuss, you will also have to employ various tools to manage your word count. Those tools include but are not limited to:
· Charts, Tables, Diagrams or other Visuals
|Provide an opportunity to include additional information of interest to the reader, but not essential to the flow and understanding of the main body of your text.
These may be inserted in the flow of your text to convey additional information. As is obvious, they are primarily in a different format but can be quite simple and may include text boxes as seen in most publications. Please note that the inclusion of these figures must be addressed in the main body of the text (i.e. an explanation as to why you are including the table or chart)
These are included at the end of your document and most often comprise longer and more detailed pieces of information, like supplementary reports. These can be useful for parking longer pieces of analysis such as questionnaire results and surveys (i.e. 3-level cultural analysis). When referring to Appendices in the main body of a text, one will normally share the highlights of the Appendices or at least indicate why anyone might be interested in consulting them
The Development Plan
Many of the original submissions that both Passed and Failed, did not include sufficiently detailed Development Plans. Rest assured, we’re not seeking a 10-page document for this part of the assignment. However, we do require you to address the essential elements of a plan. Therefore, the following guide may be of help.
First of all, please remember that a plan is defined as: a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. This normally involves making sure that it achieves the following:
i. establishes priority actions based on your Recommendations?
ii. specifies what needs to be done, how and by whom?
iii. details what resources are required for implementing the actions?
iv. determines how results are to be measured?
v. states how it will be known when the goals of the plan have been reached?
I repeat that the plan need not be overly detailed, but it would be good to see each of the above points addressed for the important actions that you recommend.
Please prioritise and manage the number of Recommendations. You really shouldn’t need more than three Recommendations, but if you do have more than that, then list them in a table. You may then explain that the Development Plan will only address the most important of your Recommendations.
Finally, if you are concerned about the word-count, consign your Development Plan to the Appendices and only give a very brief overview of it in the main body of your text.
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