Describe a work experience* you have/had, including your role and tasks. What skills, knowledge or capacities do you need to conduct your tasks? Describe the main difficulties you face in getting tasks done.

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HRM2018 summative assessment: Individual essay instructions

Describe a work experience* you have/had, including your role and tasks. What skills, knowledge or capacities do you need to conduct your tasks? Describe the main difficulties you face in getting tasks done. How do you overcome the difficulties? What are the causes of the difficulties? If you were a management consultant, what changes would you implement to help you overcome the difficulties in your work tasks? In your answer, refer to at least ONE from box A and TWO from box B below:

A

  1. Henri Fayol’s five functions of management
  2. Scientific management
  3. Post-Fordism or Neo-Fordism
  4. Human relations management
  5. High performance teams
  6. Culture change management 

B 

  1. The iron cage of rationality
  2. Red tape
  3. Bureaucratic personality
  4. Blau’s notion of bending the rules of bureaucracy
  5. Marx’s notion of alienation
  6. Braverman’s deskilling thesis
  7. Ritzer’s McDonaldization of society
  8. Organizational Panopticons
  9. Bell’s critique of the human relations approach
  10. Barker’s notion of control through team-work
  11. Willmott’s notion of control through culture
  12. Theories of empowerment
  13. Mary Parker Follett and workplace democracy

*The following count as work experience:

  • Paid employment in an organization
  • Voluntary work
  • Work internship
  • Paid or unpaid employment in family business
  • Work that forms part of a formative or summative group assignment at university
  • If you struggle to think of a suitable work experience, please talk to your tutor or the module leader

Recommended references

The main textbook King, D. and Lawley, S. (2019) Organizational Behaviour (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14

Guideline structure of essay

Introduction

  • The introduction should include the following:
  • State your work role and the type of organization
  • Provide a brief but clear outline of the essay (what you will write about in the essay and the theories you will draw on)
  • Around 250 words

The main body: Description of work role and tasks

  • In this part of the essay, you should define your role, what type of organization you work for, describe your tasks and the skills, knowledge or capacities you need to carry your tasks out. Describe the main difficulties you face and how you overcome them
  • Around 800 words

The main body: Analysis of work role and tasks drawing from theory

  • The rest of the essay should be spent on analysis of your work tasks and difficulties, underpinned by theories covered in the class (ONE from box A and TWO from box B)
  • You should answer the following questions, by referring to theoretical concepts:

What are the causes of the difficulties?

If you were a management consultant, what changes would you implement to help you overcome the difficulties in your work tasks?

  • You need to define key terms and show that you have understood theoretical concepts
  • Around 1200 words

Conclusion

  • The conclusion should provide a clear summary of the essay.
  • This means briefly repeating the answers to each question above.
  • Around 250 words

Marking criteria

Criteria

Excellent

+70%

Good

60-69%

Average

50-59%

Pass

40-49%

Fail

-39%

Introduction

- Work role is clearly stated

- A brief but clear outline of the essay is given (what will be written about in the essay and the theories that will be drawn on)

- Around 250 words

 

 

 

 

 

Theories

- Relevant theories are discussed (ONE from box A and TWO from box B)

- Shows understanding of theories

- Relevant application of theories to the work role and work difficulties

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence of use of research

- The relevant chapters in the main textbook has been properly read and referenced

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation and structure

- Use of academic writing skills

- Clear and logical structure

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on question

- Addresses the questions

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion includes

- The conclusion provides a clear summary of the essay by repeating the answers to each question.

- Around 250 words

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What headings should I use in the essay?

It is strongly recommended that you use the following headings in your essay. This should also help you to structure your essay:

  • Introduction
  • Tasks and skills, knowledge and capacities required
  • Difficulties of the task and how I overcome them
  • Theories and concepts: Causes of the difficulties
  • Theories and concepts: Recommendations for change
  • Conclusion

Even though this is a reflective essay, you still need to use theories and concepts in organizational behaviour. If you do not properly explain and discuss theories and concepts from box A and B by making reference to the academic literature (such as the essential textbook), you will likely fail the essay or get a reduced mark.

What is the difference between the role and tasks?

Your role is your formally assigned title. Your tasks are the activities and duties you carry out when actually working.

What do knowledge, skills and capacities mean?

These terms refer to the abilities and competencies required to carry out your tasks well. When you describe this, do not just draw from what is stated in your formal job description (such as the education level required to carry out the role). You need to refer to the skills and capacitates that are required to actually carry out the work. Sometimes the capacity is an emotion, such as patience or enthusiasm (this is called ‘emotional labour’ in the literature), which is not always explicitly stated in your job description.

Shall I write about the difficulties of the job from my perspective or from the perspective of the organization I work for?

This is a reflective essay about your own work experience. So you need to write about the difficulties that you face from YOUR perspective, not from the perspective of the organization - although of course, they may be linked.

How many references are required?

You need to make reference to at least 2 chapters in the essential textbook. These are the minimum required references. You can of course use more academic references, but the quality of your answer is more important than the quantity of your references. Note: You have to prioritise reading the chapters in the essential textbook rather than other sources.

Do I need references for the section where I describe my tasks? No, you don’t necessarily need to reference this as you are describing your tasks, drawing from your own experience.

Do I need references for the sections on ‘causes’ and ‘recommendations’? Yes you will need references here because you will have to draw from theories and concepts to explain the causes of the difficulties and to make the recommendations. In these two sections, you will have to engage in a discussion, comparing and contrasting the ‘managerial’ and ‘critical’ perspectives in organizational behaviour. Remember, if your essay does not sufficiently discuss theories or concepts from the module, you will probably get a reduced mark.


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