Problem Based Learning


Problem-based learning (PBL) should help students develop skills in both problem-finding as well as problem-solving.  Many PBL projects focus on presented problems. By this, I mean that the problem is one that the instructor found and packaged into an instructional unit. While the problem could reflect a real situation at a real organization, it is not being solved by the students in “real time.

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”This PBL project challenges you to identify and propose a solution for a problem that you identify in a real company. The problem can involve any set of organizational issues addressed within the OB curriculum. These include human motivation, values, leadership, power, politics, structure, corporate culture, national culture, communication, job satisfaction, and productivity. In this project, you must analyze the problem in terms of relevant OB theories and collect data that could shed further light on the problem and its potential solution.

Please note that I do not assume that you will have yet acquired in-depth knowledge about the specific subjects relevant to your projects. For example, you may choose to focus on a problem that concerns leadership, power, and politics, even though the course does not address these topics until later in the term. I make this point in order to emphasize that the PBL project is not included primarily as an exercise in the application of prior knowledge, but as the stimulus for new and deeper learning.

Learning Objectives

Develop skills in finding and defining organizational problems

Apply organizational theories to management of an organization

Develop the ability to identify practical recommendations for improvement of managerial practices based upon a systematic analysis

Reflect on how organizations behave as systems of human behavior

Develop skills in using video for presentations

The Problem Overview of the Project

You will frame a project concerning an organizational problem. You will identify a problem in a real organization that is suitable for analysis from an OB perspective. The problem could concern staff turnover, absenteeism, low morale, productivity, or job satisfaction or another issue that might be of interest to the organization as long as it relates to an OB topic. You should choose a relevant organization, who has publicly accessible information that showcases the organizational problem.

The project will entail the description of the problem, the diagnosis of the problem, the theoretical analysis of the problem (based on the OB literature), and a preliminary plan for how you would work to overcome the problem – oh, and the submission will be a video of you presenting this information to me.

Selecting the Problem Although you have wide latitude in terms of selecting an organization and a problem, please consider the following characteristics of a suitable problem for your projects:

The problem should be limited in scope. The problem should be something you can find in the public space (in contrast to your Major Project).The problem should be related to a problem area that is covered in the OB text. Studying the Problem Following the identification of a problem in an organization, you should search for relevant OB theories and practices. You should draw upon this information both to deepen your understanding and initial definition of the problem and to assist in designing your treatment approach. Product Specifications and Assessment You will produce a video project report that includes: Organizational Setting/History Problem Diagnosis Connection to OB theory Desired “Treatment” Program Project Report In addition to the presentation (record on – no more than 10 minutes), you will provide a single-page executive summary that is a concise written overview of the project.

The rubric for the project presentation and the executive summary includes the following criteria:

Background Description (accurate and concise) (10 points)

Accurate Diagnosis of the Problem (20 points)

Application of Theory (20 points)Recommendations (30 points)

Presentation Organization (10 points)

Executive Summary (10 points) For more information on Problem Based Learning visit this:

Problem Based Learning

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