Assignment 2 – Written assignment
Task: Critical analysis of a personal experience:
• Task 1: 500 word (max) scenario
? Task 2: 1,800 word written answer (excludes the list of references)
? Task 3: 1 page table of three recommendations
Weight: Marked out of 100 and worth 45% of total assessment
Due date: 4 May 2017 (this is a Thursday)
Submission requirements: To be completed on the assignment template available in the ‘Assignment 2’ topic area on MGT5000 StudyDesk.
You have up to midnight on the due date to electronically lodge your assignment. The submission link is in the ‘Assignment 2’ topic area on the MGT5000 StudyDesk.
Relevant modules: This assessment task requires you to demonstrate an understanding of material from Modules 3, 4 and 5.
Instructions Refer to the following for a description of the tasks.
Task 1 (up to 500 words)
Think of a story/scenario about an incident/event/problem which has occurred or is currently occurring in your working life and/or organisation (which may include experiences working/attending charity, school and sporting organisations) and in which the concepts of learning, team dynamics and communication are relevant.
Write this story/scenario down (in no more than 500 words or one page). Be sure to include the titles/descriptions of key people/actors and descriptions of relevant situational variables (who? what? where? why? how?).
Several examples of scenarios appear in the ‘Assignment 2’ topic area on the MGT5000 Studydesk (Note: some of the concepts may differ in the scenarios from the concepts you are being asked to capture).
Guidelines to write the scenario
• The scenario should commence with an opening statement which sets the scene in terms of the relevance of the scenario to you, eg, “This scenario relates to a case of a colleague in my area who caused me extra workload because he took unexpected leave.”
• Try to limit the number of people/players you introduce into your scenario – the less complicated the scenarios the more easily and accurately the evaluator can come to understand the scenario.
• The scenario must describe an event/problem which could be analysed from a learning perspective (be it an individual’s learning experience, or a team’s learning experience or even at the organisational level of learning). (See chapter 4 of text)
• The scenario must describe an event/problem which could be analysed from a team dynamics perspective. (See chapter 7 of text)
• The scenario must describe an event/problem which could be analysed from a communication perspective. (See chapter 13 of text)
• The story/scenario should be concrete (about real people, actions and events); familiar to a work setting and believable to those who read it.
• Structurally your story should involve a setting, a build-up (trouble’s coming!) and a crisis, problem or climax.
• The information you include in this assignment is for assessment purposes only. If you feel the need, you are welcome to change identifying information such as names of people, organisations and places. If you feel a particular scenario is too sensitive to discuss – then please select another scenario from your experience that you are comfortable discussing in your assignment.
Task 2 (1,800 words)
Analyse the scenario/event/problem by critically discuss the following organisational behaviour issues as they pertain to the scenario:
1. Identify content from Chapter 4 of the textbook related to learning and reinforcement that is relevant to your scenario. Critically discuss the impact that the reinforcement mechanism/s evident in this scenario had on the learning of the key player(s) in the scenario. Draw on additional sources to support your analysis.
2. Identify content from Chapter 7 of the textbook related to team-building processes, team performance and team cohesiveness that is relevant to your scenario. Critically discuss the impact that the team building process and team cohesiveness had on the team’s performance in the scenario. Draw on additional sources to support your analysis.
3. Identify content from Chapter 13 and the Module 5 Study Guide related to communication that is relevant to your scenario. Critically discuss the impact that communication had on the events described in your scenario. Draw on additional sources to support your analysis.
NOTE on Task 2: Don’t be put off by the terms ‘critically discuss’. In simple terms, it involves the process of analysis. Unfortunately, over the years, many students don’t quite understand what an analytical approach to assignment questions mean. Instead, they present an answer to an assignment question in very descriptive terms – that is, they just define terms and describe or repeat what the textbook presents. Every answer will contain an initial aspect of description but the analytical aspect of your writing is when you identify the issues in the material, the arguments and results that are apparent in the material and the differences of opinion expressed by various authors on the topic under discussion. You answer the question by presenting and analysing the ‘facts’ contained in the relevant material, and presenting an answer as a supported and logically presented argument – a critique. Your support comes from the authoritative references you present. Critical analysis or discussion can involve commenting on the significance of mismatches/matches between the scenario and theory. You can focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the theory and links between or disconnects between theories or scholarly writings about the theory. A strong answer from a student that incorporates critical discussion within the context of their scenario might for example follow this example formula:
Briefly describe Reinforcement theory X which predicts that ABC will happen when EFG occurs.
Let’s say EFG has occurred in this scenario but ABC has not resulted.
This highlights a shortfall in the theory X.
And perhaps the competing impact of Z’s theory of communication may explain this variance.
Task 3 (recommended actions – 1 page max)
Draw up a table of recommendations in which you make a total of three (3) recommendations that management could implement to resolve or improve the challenge or issue described in your scenario. You need to make a recommendation for each part of Task 2, that is, one recommendation that addresses learning and reinforcement issues; one recommendation addressing the team dynamics; and one recommendation addressing communication issues described in your scenario. Your recommendations need to be a logical extension of the discussion in Task 2. This means you need to provide a rationale for each recommendation that draws on the theories you discussed in Task 2.
An example of a ‘table of recommendations’ appears in the ‘Assignment 2’ topic area on the MGT5000 Studydesk (Note: the topic area in the example is different to the ones you need to discuss).
Structure of the assignment
This assignment should be prepared in three parts.
Part 1 containing task 1: An opening statement and the description of the scenario/telling the story (no more than 500 words). Present your scenario in well-constructed paragraphs.
Part 2 containing task 2: An analysis of the scenario/story according to the guidelines above. Use three sub headings to reflect the three main themes (ie: learning and reinforcement; team dynamics; and communication) (1,800 words in total – which mean you aim to write about 600 words per topic). An essay response is not required (that is, there is no need to write an introduction and conclusion) but you must present your answer in fluent, grammatically correct sentences and well-constructed paragraphs.
Part 3 containing task 3: Recommendations in table format according to the guidelines above (1 page)
Research and referencing
? You are required to find and cite within your answer a minimum of ten (10) sources.
? The emphasis should be on refereed journal articles to support your arguments; however you are also to refer to your text book as a distinct source.
? Private web pages such as pages of study notes from other university courses are not acceptable. If you elect to use a website it must be of a scholarly and credible nature that clearly displays the sponsoring organisation, and if available, the author of the article.
? These sources should be published from the year 2005 to the present. However, this rule does not apply to ‘seminal’ articles that contain original thought on a theory (for example, Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model was authored in 1976!)
? Use Harvard AGPS referencing conventions. Here is a link to guidelines for using Harvard AGPS: http://www.usq.edu.au/library/referencing/harvard-agps-referencing- guide .
? The template contains a reminder to include a list of references at the end of your paper using the Harvard referencing style.
? You MUST use the template available on the MGT5000 StudyDesk for your assignment. This template contains the marking criteria sheet upfront for the evaluator to complete. You write your assignment from page two of the template.
? This template is set so that your paper is presented with 2 cm margins all round, 12 pt Times New Roman; 1½ line spacing. For Task 3, the table of recommendations is set at single line spacing.
? Your assignment must fall within the required length guidelines: +/- 10% of the word count indicated for each question.
? Page numbers, headers and footers have been included in the template. You need to insert your student details into the header.
? Headings, diagrams and/or brief tables are permissible in your responses (but they are included in the word count). Tables and diagrams (if used) must be labelled and referenced and must be explained in the body of your answer. If you have solely developed it, cite it as ‘Developed for assignment’. If you adapted someone else’s work, cite (Adapted from: author, year pg. no).
? Compile a single List of References on the last page of the assignment (as allowed for in the assignment template) according to Harvard AGPS requirements.
? The course teaching team reserves the right to submit any or all students’ assignments for a plagiarism and collusion check through 'turn-it-in'.
General comments in relation to assignment 2
? The aim of the assignment is to test your understanding of some of the key concepts in the material covered in the study modules, examine your ability to critically analyse a particular behavioural and organisational situation and to demonstrate how the concepts, ideas, suggestions, content, theory and research results can be applied in a practical situation.
? A further objective of the assessment task is to draw you into questioning of the current organisational practice evident in the case/scenario and to facilitate reflection, self-awareness and a better (critical) understanding of others and yourself.
? Don’t close the textbook and think ‘I will think about it’. You need to DO something after reading every module, chapter and article. What do you need to do now?
? Get out your computer or your notebook. Start the assignment now. Map it out in the form of a structure. Then put into this structure that you create for this assignment, your notes from the material you have just read. Make notations on what is missing and what you need to do as soon as possible. Of course, the structure will follow closely the questions you have to answer.
? Make sure you refer to the marking criteria sheet used to evaluate the assignment.
? As far as the material is concerned, go back over the material on definitions and make notes. Identify what you see are the issues between the definition and the reality of describing the workplace pictured in the assignment.
? The word limit is always an issue. It acts as a guide to the quantity required. First impressions are that the requirements are significant. However, what generally happens is once students start to get their teeth into their answer, the word count becomes a limiting factor. Please do not go over the limit.
? Students can get bogged down in the reading to a point where they believe they are reading too much and have lost the plot. There is a general amount of reading at the outset that is suggested in the study notes. This is to understand and absorb the thrust of each topic. These initial stages of reading promote general learning. You get to understand the concepts. You start to see how it does and can apply to your work specifically and to the organisation in general. Once you have achieved this general understanding, you then start to look at how you are going to approach the assignment questions. These questions are set to test your understanding of the key topic areas. Reading from this point is quite specific. You are looking for material to support your assignment and make your case.
Please check the electronic discussion board on a regular basis for answers to frequently asked questions on the assignments. ENJOY!
Marking criteria for Assignment 2
The content is the most important regarding the relative contribution of each of the dimensions. ‘Understanding and interpretation of assignment questions’, ‘critical analysis’, ‘research’ and ‘interpretation and application of theory’ account for 80% of the final grade on the assignment. Technical and academic care such as ‘presentation’, ‘written expression’, ‘structure’ and ‘academic referencing protocols’ account for 20% of the final grade on the assignment.