Introduction to Work and Organizations
QUESTIONS, GUIDANCE AND READING
(2015 – 2016)
Your second assignment is a 1500 word individual essay (1350 words minimum and 1650 words maximum) excluding references. You need to select 1 of the questions below. The deadline for handing in a hard copy of your assignment to the Student Advice Centre and uploading a copy to Turnitin is:
Coursework Submission Requirements
1) Your assignment will be anonymously marked so you must not identify yourself other than by using your student number (P number) anywhere on, or within, the assignment.
2) Your assignment must be submitted to the Student Advice Centre (SAC) in Hugh Aston and on Turnitin by 4pm on the deadline date.
3) The front cover of your assignment should include:-
• Your P Number
• Module Code
• Name of the Module Leader
• Date of Submission
• Word Count
• Title of the Assignment.
No other information should be included on the cover.
4) Coursework must be submitted in Arial point 12 font, and double-line spacing.
5) There should be no header or footer that identifies you on any page of your assignment – either by name or number.
6) Harvard referencing rules apply.
7) There should be a single alphabetic reference list, in Harvard style, placed at the end of the assignment.
8) An assignment submitted to the SAC, or uploaded to Turnitin, after the 4pm deadline will automatically be capped at a maximum of 40%.
9) Faculty penalties for Bad Academic Practice and plagiarism apply.
Your essay will be marked according to the following criteria:-
1) Reading: The depth of your reading (number, range and quality of sources). You are expected to read most of the sources listed for the question that you choose.
2) Objectivity: Your ability to develop and sustain an objective and balanced argument/discussion.
3) Support: The extent to which your argument/discussion is supported using relevant material (theory and references) from your reading. You cannot rely on personal opinion or making unsupported statements.
4) Critical: The level of critical analysis in your writing – you cannot rely on simply description.
5) Communication: Your ability to express yourself clearly in English using appropriate terminology, correctly spelling and grammar.
6) Structure: Your ability to develop a clear, logical structure for your essay which addresses the question and guides the reader.
7) Referencing: The extent to which your essay is correctly referenced using the Harvard system of referencing.
General Assignment guidance
• A focused and well thought out piece of work that shows insight and answers the question will get a higher mark. Marks will be deducted however for waffle, repetition, padding and irrelevance. It is quality not quantity that is important.
• It is not enough for you to put forward points in your essay that are essentially “correct”. You must support those points using appropriately referenced material derived from your reading.
• It is not acceptable to use lecture notes and lecture hand-outs as a reference source. These are intended as a guide only and you must do your own additional reading.
• If your assignment contains only material that has simply been paraphrased from lecture notes, and a limited number of sources, it will be given no more than 40%.
• Using only the citation or abstract of an article is not acceptable, and you should not ‘cut and paste’ from on-line or hard copy sources.
• I will discuss assignment ideas and arguments with you, but I will not speculate on a possible mark. As a minimum you should have produced an essay plan before seeking guidance.
• Your essay should have a logical structure that would normally follow the simple model of introduction, main body and a conclusion.
• Headings are not needed.
You need to “set the scene” for what is to follow and the introduction is a key element in the essay. As marker, I do not know what is coming and you need to lead me through your argument(s). In this paragraph you could:
• Identify how you intend to address the question
• Make it clear how you have interpreted the question
• Use a quote that sums up the main ideas you will discuss
• Put forward a hypothesis (if appropriate)
In this section you need to define clearly the key concepts used. However, you should not put forward only a single definition. The selection of two or three definitions is better, and you should choose definitions so that they illustrate different aspects of the concept. Here you might also highlight any definition issues. For example, is there agreement in the literature on how the concept can be defined? Can the concept be defined? Don’t simply list your chosen definitions as you also need to comment on them. If the question has asked you to argue either for or against a statement, you also need to identify which side you are arguing for.
This should be the longest part of your assignment and contains the key points that you are aiming to put forward. This should follow on from what you have identified in the introduction. If you have been asked to discuss an issue, you need to ensure that you spend equal time discussing both sides of the argument. If the question contains more than one part that needs to be answered, you must make sure that equal time is spent addressing each part of the question as they will carry equal marks.
The conclusion is very important, yet many students neglect it, often finishing their essay in a single sentence. In the conclusion you should summarise the key points, perhaps emphasising what you think are the most important points. If you have been asked to discuss an issue it is here you should identify on which side of the debate you stand. You should not however introduce new material in the conclusion. It is important you check back with the introduction to ensure that you do not contradict yourself, and that you have done what you said you would do in the introduction.
Useful phrase in essay writing
You can enrich the quality of your writing by using a variety of phrases. However, use these carefully and don’t over-use them:-
In her work Smith (year)
focuses our attention on….
adopts the view that………
You can also use the following phrases to enrich the quality of your writing:
Among those who………….
It can be argued that……..
Smith’s writings may be regarded as…….
It is of interest to note that………….
Underlying Smith’s view is…………….
Subsequent research has focused \ questioned \ shown……….
Smith gives Jones some support in this view………..
The extent to which…………..
There is evidence that……………
This may be regarded as……………..
It follows that………..
In contrast to………..
This issue is complicated by the fact that…..
At the same time………
Early research views this…………
There are several problems associated with………..
It is pertinent to add that………..
When one considers that……….
It is not difficult to understand why……………
From the literature………….
This basic definition gives us………..
As an illustration of…………..
It is clear that…………
From another point of view……….
It is useful to note that……..
Question 1: Explain whether leaders and managers are the same thing
A fundamental issue in the area of leadership is the exact nature of leadership, and whether a leader and a manager are the same, or they are different roles.
• Read this short article from the Wall Street Journal – “Are leaders and managers the same?”
• Moorcroft, R. (2005) To lead or to manage? That is the question. The British Journal of Administrative Management, Oct/Nov pp. 4-5.
• Zaleznik, A. (1992) ‘Managers and leaders: are they different?’ Harvard Business Review, 70 (2) pp. 126-136.
• Bratton, J (2015). Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, 3rd edition, Chapter 12
• King, D and Lawley, S (2013). Organisational Behaviour, Chapter 12
Question 2: Group think affects decision making in organisations. Discuss.
Groupthink strives toward achieving consensus within groups by minimizing conflict. In an environment of groupthink, minimizing conflict becomes the primary goal rather than producing concrete results or achieving true consensus.
• Eaton, J. (2001). Management and communication: The threat of groupthink. Corporate Communication, 6, 183-192.
• Gunnarsson, M. (2010). Group decision making. Frederick, MD: Verlag.
• Rose, J.D. (2011). Diverse Perspectives on the Groupthink Theory – A Literary Review. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 4 (1), pp. 37- 57.
• Bratton, J (2015). Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, 3rd edition, Chapter 10
• King, D and Lawley, S (2013). Organisational Behaviour, Chapter 6
• How group dynamics affect decisions
Question 3: Explain the role of money and other financial incentives in motivating individuals to perform better at work
One of the most contentious issues in the study of motivation concerns the role of money or financial reward in trying to encourage people to perform better. Early work by Taylor and others believed that to get people to work better (faster?) you simply needed to pay them more.
• Professor Adrian Furnham of Imperial College discusses whether money can motivate people in The Guardian:
• Read the following paper “Motivating people: getting beyond money”. (2009) McKinsey Quarterly. Available from: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/motivating_people_getting_beyond_money
• Read Wiley’s useful paper (1997) What motivates employees according to over 40 years of motivation surveys? International Journal of Manpower, 18 (3) pp. 263-280.
• Bratton, J (2015). Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, 3rd edition, Chapter 6
• King, D and Lawley, S (2013). Organisational Behaviour, Chapter 9
Question 4: Explain the concept of resistance to change and critically discuss what managers can do to minimise it.
Whenever change occurs within organisations, there will always be a point at which those changes will affect people. As a basic principle of behaviour, people tend not to like change as they prefer situations with which they are familiar.
• Read the following short article by US academic and management guru Rosabeth Moss Kanter:-
• Read Chapter 8 in Buchanan, D. & Badham, R. (2008) Power, Politics and Organisational Change: Winning the Turf Game. 2nd edition
• Read the following article: Ford, J.D., Ford, L.W. & D’Amelio, A. (2008) Resistance to change: the rest of the story. Academy of Management Review, 33 (2) pp. 362-377.
• Bratton, J (2015). Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, 3rd edition, Chapter 18
• King, D and Lawley, S (2013). Organisational Behaviour, Chapter 11
Question 5: Explain the concept of learning style and whether they can be applied to improve the learning of people at work.
In most organisations, learning is an activity that all employees engage in at some point – whether that formally in the context of a learning & development event, or informally in learning on the job. Given the investment this requires – in time, resources and lost working time – any means to improve the outcome of that learning has an attraction for organisations.
• Wilson, M.L. (2012). Learning Styles, Instructional Strategies, and the Question of Matching: A Literature Review. International Journal of Education, 4, (3), pp.67-87
• Watch this short video by Professor Daniel Willingham of Virginia University explaining why learning styles don’t exist – is he right?
• Read the following article by Redford, K. (2007) Learning styles: do they matter? Training and Coaching Today. Available online at the following link:
• Read this article by Romanelle, F., Bird, E. & Ryan, M. (2009) Learning styles: a review of theory, application and best practice. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 73 (1). Available from:-
• Bratton, J (2015). Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, 3rd edition, Chapter 7
• King, D and Lawley, S (2013). Organisational Behaviour, Chapter 11
Undergraduate Grade Descriptors
Faculty of Business & Law
Modules are marked on a range of 0-100%. Mark descriptors are given in the table below. A mark below 40% indicates a Fail grade (the shaded boxes).
Mark Range Criteria
90-100% Indicates that no fault can be found with the work other than very minor errors, for example typographical, or perhaps failure to satisfy the most challenging and exacting demands of the assessment.
80-89% Indicates a very high level of understanding evidenced by an ability to engage critically and analytically with source material. Likely to exhibit independent lines of argument. Only minor errors or omissions.
70-79% Judged to be very good, yet not outstanding. May contain minor errors or omissions. A well developed response showing clear knowledge and the ability to interpret and/or apply that knowledge.
60-69% Indicates a sound understanding of basic points and principles but with some failure to express or to apply them properly. Hence the answer is essentially correct, has some errors or omissions, and is not seriously flawed.
50-59% Indicates a more limited understanding of basic points and principles, with significant errors and omissions. These errors and omissions, however, do not cast doubt on the basic level of understanding.
40-49% Indicates questionable understanding of basic points and principles yet sufficient to show that learning outcomes have been achieved at a rudimentary level.
30-39% Indicates an answer that shows only weakly developed elements of understanding. The learning outcomes have been insufficiently realised.
20-29% Very little knowledge has been demonstrated and the presentation shows little coherence of material or argument.
0-19% Only isolated or no knowledge displayed.
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