For this paper, your task is to seek out and interview a manager and prepare a paper based on what you learn. The manager should not be a family member but could be your own manager. It does not have to be your own manager.
Create a broad question derived from a topic from the textbook that interests you (E.g., How can a manager best keep employees motivated?). Prepare an interview protocol consisting of 5-10 smaller questions that address this broader theme. Given that the paper is due mid-way through this 7-week course (see the Course Schedule for the due date), you might need to read ahead a bit to locate and learn about a topic that is of particular interest to you. Skimming the textbook’s table of contents can help to initially direct you to a topic of interest.
Use your interview protocol in an hour-long interview with a manager and prepare a paper based on what you have learned through the interview with the manager, in terms of your topic of interest. Your paper should be 5-6 pages (1-inch margins, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font). You can use whichever other formatting you choose, as long as it meets these specifications.
(1) Start your paper by naming and describing the manager you interviewed in a few sentences.
(2) State the broad interview question you crafted.
(3) Compare what you have learned through your interview to what you have learned in the course/textbook. Explicitly reference course concepts.
(4) The manager you interview will likely bring up problems they regularly experience. Think upon those problems and indicate in your paper how, if you were a management consultant, you might draw from the course material to suggest potential solutions.
(5) Include your 5-10 question interview protocol, as well as the contact information for the manager, at the end of the paper in a single Appendix. The Appendix does not contribute toward your page limit. No special formatting is required for the Appendix – please keep font size and spacing and margins consistent with what is listed above. Simply put the title ‘Appendix’ at the top center of the page.
Do not waste space within the actual paper repeating your 5-10 interview questions – this should not read like a Q&A. If you need to give context by referencing an interview question, you might wish to number your interview questions in your Appendix and then reference the question number in the text of your paper.
When referencing concepts in the textbook, you can simply say “In the textbook, we learn that…” or “Williams says that…” (Williams is the textbook author). You do not need to provide citations for the textbook.
Since you only need to relate your interview content to the textbook content, a bibliography (references section) is not required. If you wish to relate to outside sources (this is not required), please cite those in text and append a bibliography to your paper [citations and bibliography in the consistent style/format (e.g., APA, MLA) of your choosing]. This bibliography does not count toward the page limit.
A highly-graded paper will:
(1) Provide an appropriate, broad question that is inspired by the textbook material (e.g., How can a manager inspire high levels of productivity among subordinates?) and that serves as the theme for the interview.
(2) Contain well-designed interview questions that effectively address this broader question. Well-designed questions are concise, easy to understand, and address a single issue at a time. Some example questions that would help get at the broader question above: “In your experience, what are the biggest hindrances to your subordinates’ productivity?” and “What are the incentives that you use – if any – to enhance productivity among subordinates?”
(3) Draw explicit connections between the course material and the responses provided by the manager. Does the manager provide answers that confirm what you’ve learned in this course or do they challenge what you’ve been learning? If it’s the latter, why do you think that might be? Be specific here. Name the textbook concepts/constructs that you are comparing the manager’s responses to. So, going back to the example I’ve been using, you might compare the manager’s responses about incentives to the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards in the textbook chapter on motivation.
(4) If applicable, make suggestions – using course concepts – to problems that the manager being interviewed discloses. This might not be applicable if the manager does not disclose any struggles when they’re providing answers to your questions. But I expect that they will. I do not expect you to give these suggestions directly to the manager (though of course you’re free to!), but you would simply include them in your paper. Going back to the example I’ve been using, this might look something like this: “Melissa indicated limited success using extrinsic rewards, such as commission, to sustain productivity. Based on what I have learned in this course, I believe she might have more success if she learns what her employees find intrinsically rewarding in their work, and restructure their work where possible so that it offers more intrinsic rewards.”
(5) Be free of spelling and grammatical errors.
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