The general purpose of this exercise is to learn to be able to critically discuss how relevant Organisation Behaviour ideas and theories relate to a living case: SPC Ardmona.
The material for this case has been taken from the public domain and will be posted on UTS-Online in the Assignments Section. The material can also be augmented by your own research in this area. Your analysis should consist of two parts.
Part a) The first part should be a thorough researching of the literature relevant to your topic chosen from below. This includes collecting information from a range of academic sources including recent peer reviewed academic journals, books and edited book collections. You should also make sure that some recently published articles are part of your references (please avoid website material and trade magazines) and there is an expectation that you read many more articles beyond those that you reference.
There is no expectation of an exhaustive literature review, as this would be an enormous amount of work, but you are only expected to survey enough of the literature to get a general sense of the key ideas and concepts in the literature related to your chosen question. For the purposes of this essay, you should begin with the textbook and other general sources which describe the history of the topic and what might be the landmark ideas and concepts. It is always helpful to get a sense of why a particular area is interesting to researchers and what ‘generative’ questions they are pursuing. The initial survey will enable you to be able to relate your question to the main ideas, key findings, and the general themes that have emerged in the literature. This is an academic research essay and you are also required to briefly explain how these main ideas appear to have developed and go beyond what is outlined in the textbook. Meeting this expectation requires that you augment your general overview with more recent work from academic journal articles (minimum of 2) from the literature. Please do not use any material sourced directly from the web (such as in Wikipedia or through use of google or another search engine). It is important that you learn to use academic literature that is sourced from scholarly peer reviewed articles as distinct from journalistic and industry accounts. You should also include at least one contrasting perspective to those of the textbook which shows that you have examined the controversies and arguments that have arisen in the literature, such as in critical texts. For example, whilst the textbook (McShane) is uncritical of teamwork, some authors argue that team approaches are a two-edged sword and can become yet another tool by which managers get more work from staff, as becoming team members can create even higher expectations of contribution, conformity and cooperation, by exerting additional social pressure from one’s work mates.
Part b) Based on your research and the materials found on UTS-Online in the Assignments Section including the summary on SPC-Ardmona choose one of the following three topics, analyse the case and reflect on how you might be affected if you were in the position of being a manager at the plant in this perspective.
Topic One: Decision Making and Power Relationships
Detailed instructions: From this perspective this case is interesting because it highlights the complex nature of decision making in organisations. You can approach this case in many ways, a key issue is how major decisions get made and who is responsible for the under-performance of the plant. Is it the Unions, the management, the parent company, or the various levels of government? Discuss the importance of understanding Decision Making and Power Relationships in making sense of what is happening at SPC.
Topic Two: Motivation
Detailed instructions: From this perspective the case is interesting because much of the discussion about the failure of the plant revolves around the union negotiated enterprise award. Drawing upon motivational theory, look at the award and other evidence to examine how well motivated the employees might be to achieve extraordinary performance necessary to compete with international competitors. On the basis of your analysis evaluate whether the enterprise agreement was the source of the company’s performance failings, and suggest how much impact various motivational tools may have in turning around the company. Critically examine the value of motivational theories in light of this case and the possible impacts of recent decisions to freeze wages.
Topic Three: Leadership
Detailed instructions: From this perspective several important questions arise about leadership. Although leadership is not directly discussed in the media on this case there is enough information to reflect on the validity of how thinking about leadership applies to such a situation. Who is leading change in this case and why? What do the complexities of this case mean in terms of understanding how leadership works in real life? Contrast different theoretical views of leadership and discuss which might best inform your perspective.
Note: Claims must be backed up by evidence and facts collected from your research or the press articles. Source documents must also all be correctly referenced.
This is a task for an individual student, and must not be done with others.
Word limit: 2500 words
Requirements for the Written Report
• The report must be original and have a critical perspective
• Length of report: maximum of 2500 words (±10%, excluding references).
• Pay special attention to what constitutes plagiarism
• The report must be properly and fully referenced using Harvard referencing system
• Attach one completed Research Report cover sheet to your assignment. The cover sheet may be downloaded from the UTS Online course site (or see below p. 8).
• 1½ spacing.
• Proof-read to a high standard. A good practice here is to have someone else read your work for errors in grammar and for readability.
• Use an academic style of writing (see p. 32).
Submission. One hard copy of the assignment to be handed to your tutor in class and an electronic copy to be submitted to Turnitin and attach a Turnitin summary to the hard copy assignment.
Suggested report structure is outlined as follows:
1. Abstract 4. Case Analysis.
2. Introduction 5. Conclusion
3. Overview of the literature 6. Reference List
Assessment Criteria for individual research report (Assignment A)
Criteria (Weight) Good
Demonstration of academic and research skills (5/30)
Written expression, including sentence structure, paragraphing, logical flow, grammar and referencing
Structure and format of a very high standard very few or no referencing errors; high quality of references.
Overview and critical analysis of competing ideas and development of current understandings
A coherent description of relevant OB concepts from the literature identified and well-structured overview of the literature with appropriate interpretation with few inaccuracies
Case Analysis (12.5/30)
Careful analysis and research
Argument/analysis demonstrating insight, originality and critical reflection to a high standard.
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