Purpose: This assignment provides an opportunity to practice and improve writing major reports with instructor feedback.
Outcomes: By completing this assignment you will be able to:
• Compose effective business reports that are professionally written and scholarly researched
• Identify, select and compile information using appropriate technology and information
• Apply ethical standards of business communications
Your objective is to identify a workplace problem or issue, research the issue and make recommendations to address the issue. You are writing this report for a management team and your goal is to have this team say ‘yes’ to your recommendations. Consider the management team is a ‘general business audience’ who may not have detailed knowledge of the topic and issue. The workplace issue you choose may be from personal experience, trending workplace topics, or periodicals or websites.
Follow the process outlined in the text (pages 351 – 366) on writing formal business reports.Your business report must be 6-8 pages long (single spaced, Times New Roman font, size 11). The report must include:
A title page (not included in the 6-8 page count)
A table of contents (1 page)
An executive summary (1 page)
Use of the “Introduction, Body and Conclusion” format (3-5 pages) (see pages 360 – 364 for elements included in each section) Clear recommendations that address the issue
Bibliography (1 page)
Note: Your sources of information must be cited throughout the report.
Examples of a workplace issue from your personal experience include:
– the impact of outsourcing a business function in your company
– making your workplace more health and safety friendly
– the benefits and costs of implementing a new program, system, process or service – improving environmental sustainability in the workplace
– pros and cons of implementing a cost saving idea at your workplace
– the impact of telecommuting in your workplace
– the impact of diversity programs in your workplace
You can chose whatever topic you like as long as it is related to business and/or your past or current workplace. I provided some examples for you to choose from if you are stuck – see your assignment sheet for some ideas.
Citing Scholarly Research:
Make sure your resources are based on sound research from journals, periodical and authoritative sources. As a student, you have the privilege of being able to use their library (online and on the main campus). If you are a graduate of another educational institution you may also have privileges at their library as well. Public libraries also provide research sources as well as magazines, online newspapers, etc. Refer to the “Documentation Formats” section of the Style Guide which came with the course text. You may select either MLA or APA reference citing formats, but be consistent throughout the report.
Use your final report rubric (included with the Formal Business Report assignment document) to understand how your report will be graded.
There are several parts of a formal report, but don’t be scared! It looks overwhelming but several students before you have been doing such reports in this course with little difficulty.
Your outline was approved. Therefore, you already have some research sources and a solid topic on which you can complete research. I usually find students get hung up on format so let’s start there. Follow the format outlined in Chapter 13 Proposals, Business Plans and Format Business Reports. You will find the information you need under 13-4 Writing Formal Business Reports. Pages 351-366.
1. Title Page: It may sound obvious to some of you, but many times I receive research reports with no cover page. When you identify yourself, please include your student number.
2. Table of Contents: This section shows each heading in the report and the page number on which it can be found in the report. Complete this once you finish the report to make sure you didn’t omit any heading. Your Table of Contents should include a list of figures with their titles so we know what we will see and get an idea of how they relate to your topic.
3. Executive Summary: This section of the report is a summary of what is inside. It is used to learn the purpose of the report, the problem you are addressing, your key findings from research, your conclusions and recommendations. It is used largely by busy readers to get an idea of what is to come.
Some tips in preparing the Executive Summary include:
o Purpose of the report
o Key findings
o Include a heading in it for each of the following:
o Control the length: make it approximately 3/4 to one-page maximum. Since your report is short, this should suffice.
4. Introduction: This section tells us why the topic you chose is important to you or your company. It tells your reader what events lead up to the problem or need.
For example, let’s say you decided to research the use of performance appraisals as a workplace motivational tool. You developed your inspiration from your won organization since they were unable to increase profits over the past three years to the satisfaction of corporate shareholders. Your thought was that perhaps there may be a link between performance appraisal and motivation. If so, that might play a role in increasing profit growth.
Therefore, you might state this in your background statement as follows:
For the past three years own company has been unable to increase profits to the satisfaction of our shareholders. With sales personnel unmotivated by current management practices, I sought to research the impact a performance appraisal system might have on workplace motivation and assess its appropriateness in our workplace. Perhaps it can increase motivation sufficiently to improve our financial performance.
Clear Problem Statement or Purpose:
Your Introduction should also present a clear statement of the problem or purpose for your report (in our example it might be “The importance of performance appraisal as a motivational tool that increases corporate performance in the workplace.”)
1. Body: This section reveals your research findings and your analysis of the findings. You need to show evidence that supports your purpose for writing.
2. Conclusions and Recommendations: This section interprets your findings and tells the reader how it supports your purpose for writing. This is your interpretation of the research and the inferences you draw from it. Identify specific suggestions for solving a problem.
Final Writing Tips:
• Leave yourself sufficient time to complete the report; don’t leave it until the last minute.
• Use spell check and grammar check on your computer to help assess your writing.
• Prepare the report in sections. If you get stuck with an idea, move to a different one you know you can write about.
• Avoid using I and We – since this is a formal report, it needs to sound objective. If you find yourself using too many helper verbs and passive voice, then try reconstructing sentences as best as you can.
• Read your report three times before you submit it to ensure it is clear, coherent and concisely written. Make sure you use punctuation that allows the reader to rest (commas, semi-colons and periods) and leave sufficient white space so that it is pleasing to read.
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