Problem Based Essay – Case Memo style (3-5 page assignment)
Please note: I’m looking for insightful analyses (projections, comparisons, conceptual linkages, and so on), original ideas, and sound thinking. Please do not give me a write-up of raw data, mere description, or general statements and recommendations.
You will choose from 3 cases to read and write a problem based essay about. Use a memorandum style as if you were an outside consultant reporting to the main character or “Change Task Force” of the company if no main character is defined. Remember, you are completing this assignment as if you are writing to an actual person or team of individuals. The format for memoranda is: typed using 12 point Times New Roman font, 1” margins, 8.5”x11” paper, use single spacing within paragraphs and double spacing between paragraphs. Each memo should include a separate cover page that identifies the student(s) by name. Exhibits follow behind the memo text. The maximum length for the memo text (not including the cover page and optional exhibits) for each formal written assignment is 5 pages.
All memoranda should begin with the first sentence below and continue including the following elements using the listed headers.
“Thank you for the opportunity to work with your organization. Please find my report below for your review:”
I. Executive Summary
This first paragraph is critical. The Change Task Force should get the gist of what you are proposing (i.e., your specific proposed solution/action) AND what you expect to gain from it (i.e., specific benefits resulting such as increased employee productivity, decreased turnover, profit, market share, etc.). Make sure you are concise, yet specific (this is harder than it sounds!). That is, the manager reading the executive summary should be able to make a decision based on the information communicated in 1-2 paragraphs. Hence, the executive summary should summarize 3 components: 1) definition of the problem, 2) specific recommendation(s) and 3) specific results expected.
The paragraphs following the executive summary should describe your diagnosis. It would be wise to consider how the assigned reading may influence your analysis. For example, be sure to address 1) important details surrounding any main characters, 2) any examples of causal links with evidence, and 3) any explicit and implicit questions contained in the case. The following is an example of a diagnosis paragraph from a case:
(State problem(s) in detail including symptoms that relate to overarching problem defined in the executive summary.)
Don Rogers faces an array of difficulties. His division’s performance is declining and their reputation for delivery and services has been slipping. Employees have low morale, do not trust those from other groups, and conflict among team members has increased.
(Begin presenting summary of diagnosis – principle cause(s) of the problem)
Many of these problems can be traced back to the underlying culture of the division, the differing leadership styles between the managers, poor decisions by Rogers, and the lack of alignment among different groups in the division.
(Provide the causal links for the first principle cause using evidence in the case)
(Summary of evidence) Maintaining two cultures within one organization is incompatible. (Evidence) Widgets, Inc, is a close-knit family in which hierarchy does not matter. (Evidence) People discuss problems face to face, there are informal and formal relationships at work, and people interact socially outside of work. (Evidence) However, Roger shaped the culture of his division to suit his autocratic leadership style. (Evidence) This resulted in a strong hierarchy where employees do not feel free to express themselves comfortably like their colleagues in other areas of the company. (Evidence) As a result there is little cohesiveness, no in depth discussion of problems, a great deal of politics, and all the meetings are too formal. (Conclusion) Rogers is under pressure to align the division more closely with the rest of the corporation, but their cultures are very different.
Next, you will follow the same format for any remaining principle causes (i.e. the differing leadership styles between the managers, poor decisions, lack of alignment (listed above)).
III. Action Plan
Your action plan seeks to improve the situation or solve the problem. This section is the most important section and should be the longest. It is better to provide depth of solutions for a few problems than to provide broad and les detailed solutions for many problems. Identifying the problems are important, but the solution to the problem is even more important. Include recommendations in detail, along with persuasive arguments regarding why those recommendations should be implemented, and what results you expect to realize. To convince the reader to follow your recommendations, you need to persuade the reader your recommendations are sound. To do so, you need to explain why your analysis is appropriate.
Make sure you tie the recommendations to organizational objectives. Be sure to consider constraints. Please do not use vague support statements that do not contain any concrete information regarding the rationale behind recommendations. For example, “XYZ has a strong brand and that’s why we should go with distribution plan ABC” is less specific than it could be. The following is more specific: “XYZ has a strong brand name that can serve as an umbrella for new product introductions. To capitalize on this strength, XYZ should be channelled through ABC to garner the following benefits. Etc.” Identify long term goals and short term goals for your plan along with at least 3 steps for implementation of those goals. Remember to keep goals SMART – specific, measurable, achievable and acceptable, relevant, and time bound.
Use theory, intervention techniques, best practices and empirical evidence you learned in class to support your plan. Cite references when using any theory or empirical evidence. Say, for example you develop a plan to motivate employees. You may present your plan and then discuss expectancy theory as evidence for why your plan will work. You may also include an example of what another company did, but you have to also explain the theory or use empirical evidence to demonstrate that you understand why your plan will work. Do not forget to cite your references in the exhibit section.
If it improves reader understanding, use sub-headings.
References, examples of surveys you would administer, conceptual models, gantt charts, tables, etc. are to be included in your exhibits and labeled as figure # or table #. References are mandatory, but I encourage you to use other exhibits which may add 2 extra points to your grade for content if executed well. If you can get your points across within the memo, exhibits are not necessary (excluding references). If, however, you have financial calculations, projections, scenario plans, flowcharts of action plans, etc. that are too complex to describe in detail in the memo itself, an exhibit would be useful to the reader. Make sure that the reader can make sense of the exhibit without having to refer to the memo (and vice versa). Feel free to use explanatory notes in your exhibit that help the reader make sense of the graph/figure/table. However, be careful about your notes – do not use them as paragraphs of additional text to extend the length of the memo.
Employee motivation, according to the head of Human Resource, was significant in the realization of the business set goal and objectives with the efforts to survive in the existing competitive business environment. Through the leadership and stewardship of Marilyn, the Las Vegas casino had done so much for the employees that they could realize positive outcomes as compared to her fellow competitors. However, the need for sustainability of the business strategy in the motivation of the employees was proving difficult with the hard economic times. Most of the business competitors within Las Vegas had laid off a considerable number of workers something that the human resource manager did not do. The business needed a thorough understanding of the issue and come up with a strategy that would improve its status. The various strategies proposed must take into consideration the implications and role of all stakeholders such as employees. In addition, the business must take the necessary measures to ensure that it maintains customers’ priority. Incentives, enhancing the operational strategy of the business, offering free time to socialize to employees and providing clear and responsive communication channels are some of the economical ways to motivate employees.
The incentive plan that was developed by the HR was targeted at customer service delivery and satisfaction. The business studied and identified the customers’ needs and therefore had to strategize effectively to meet such diversified wants and needs in a more cost-efficient manner. The levels of service delivery and customer satisfaction had risen considerably once the incentive plan was actively implemented. However, the business had to revise and consider redesigning the incentive plan so as realize good profits and desirable business growth and development. The plan had cost the business 16 million dollars and had to come up with strategies that would increase the profit margins of the business and at the same time motivate the employees to work hard with a lot of diligence and commitment…