The objective of this assignment is to allow you to apply course material to real-world situations after conducting an interview with an organizational manager or leader. The assignment is as follows:
1. Select a person who is in a leadership or management position. Ideally, you would speak to this person several times during the course of the semester. But, if you only conduct one interview, make sure that you have enough time to discuss issues at the appropriate depth and to ask follow up questions.
2. Your objective is to gain a better understanding of his/her approach for handling common managerial problems/issues. Design your interview questions to touch on at least 10 different concepts related to the course (e.g., motivation issues, selection and retention efforts, stress management, equity concerns, dealing with problem employees, performance appraisal issues, dealing with generational differences, managing the opportunities and challenges associated with diversity, general career advice, and so on) . Be prepared to act as a reporter. Ask open-ended questions and ask follow-up questions as needed. If your initial question draws a complete and compelling answer, then great. However, if your question draws a relatively short response, then ask follow-up questions that allow you to more fully understand the issue. Do what you can to draw out interesting and informative responses.
3. Avoid asking theory-specific questions such as How do you try to increase employee instrumentality within the expectancy theory model of motivation and, instead, ask general questions about motivational practices like What, specifically, are some of the practices that you use to enhance employee motivation?. The person you are interviewing does not need to know course-specific theories. Instead, it is your job to later examine his/her answers through the lens of course concepts when you reflect on the interview.
4. Your report should contain the following sections:
A) Brief Introduction – Describe the person you interviewed (name of individual, job title, organization, number of employees that he/she supervises, your connection to the individual, etc.).
B) Q & A Entries (a minimum of 10) – Each entry should include: a) the question asked and b) the response given.
C) In-Depth Analysis Select 1 response to analyze in depth. In your in-depth analysis, please use course concepts, critical thinking, and your own experiences to critique the managers responses to the selected question. In terms of the specific issue in question, what is the manager doing well and/or what could he/she do better? Especially if the managers approach is inconsistent with course concepts, discuss why the inconsistency occurs, the potential problems that this could lead to, and/or why the inconsistency makes sense within this particular organization (in contrast to the general principles discussed in the course). Again, use both course concepts and your own critical thinking skills to examine the effectiveness of the managers approach. (Hint – You are likely to interview someone that you respect and someone that you think is performing well. But, we all have areas in which we can improve. For you in-depth analysis, make sure to focus on an aspect of his/her approach that has room for improvement.)
D) Recommendations – At the end of the analysis develop a set of specific recommendations that you think the manager or organization should implement moving forward. It is fine to note the things that should be continued, but also note things that should be changed. Also, make sure to discuss the potential costs and benefits of your recommendations. Could your recommendations be implemented in a cost-effective and time-effective manner?
5. In terms of grading this assignment, the sections containing your analyses and recommendations are the most important. So, please do a thorough job on those aspects. The in-depth analysis section should be at least 1 full page single-spaced or 2 full pages double-spaced). You should discuss both things the manager is doing well and things that could be improved. In all cases, though, you need to explain why the managers approach is either effective or ineffective and, even if things are going well, you should certainly touch on areas that could be improved in your recommendations.
6) This assignment is worth 30 points and will be graded as follows (which assumes all required elements are included):
Organization and Clarity (well organized, easy to follow, thoughtful presentation) 5 points
Writing Quality (grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, level of detail) 5 points
Analyses (appropriate use of course material, thoughtful analysis, thorough critique) 15 points
Recommendations (logical, well-supported, tied to analysis, cost-benefit assessment) 5 points
Total 30 points