The new tech industry: To complete the Organizational Behavior course, you are asked to write a 3,000 word-essay.
The precise date of submission of your coursework will be issued by the GSO.
Your assignment must demonstrate that you have developed a good knowledge of the main organizational behavior theories by applying them to a topic/question (see the list below).
The ability to analyze and reflect will be demonstrated by critically engaging with existing organizational behavior theories and practices.
Here is an indicative and straightforward process I recommend you adopt to frame your topic:
1. Select one, and only one, topic/question offered in the list below
1.1 . “Cool culture” in the new tech industry
Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple… rank amongst the most desirable companies to work for (see website https://www.glassdoor.com). But are they really the cool companies they look like?
If you opt for this topic you are encouraged to develop a reflection substantiated with academic references going beyond the rosy and naïve picture of the new tech industry.
Analysis of the topic and discussion in the light of the relevant literature
Since you have chosen one of the three topics or questions, you have now an “angle” to engage with organizational behavior material covered in lectures and seminars.
Make the effort to develop an articulated and personal discussion. To do so, the structure of your essay must clearly reflect your line of reasoning. Phrase headings and subheadings reflecting your line of reasoning.
Then your argumentation must be substantiated by organizational behavior theories and references. Avoid marketing or strategy theories, you are writing an OB essay!
Don’t fall into the trap of description and paraphrasing i.e. absence of theory, celebrating managerial practices in the workplace without reflection, naively taking for granted corporate information delivered by websites or leaders/top managers biographies…
3. Assignment clinic and support
The last lecture will be dedicated to final questions about the assignment. In addition, seminars four and five taking the form of a formative assignment will offer you the opportunity to discuss your assignment with your tutor. For more efficacy, following the above examples I recommend you prepare a piece of work as soon as possible (see folder about seminars four and five). The sooner the better as your level of engagement and your capacity to critically discuss your topic will be paramount to get a good grade.
Over the past years it appeared that students struggled with referencing. Could you please take a close look on your MSc Student Handbook. Textbooks are not particularly appropriate either. Textbooks represent a useful resource because they synthesize the academic knowledge. Of course you can use textbooks to improve your understanding in Organizational Behavior but when it comes to writing your assignment I recommend that you refer to academic journals or original books. For example, if you discuss scientific management you do not quote the textbook we use in this course (Bratton, 2017) but Taylor (1911).
One of your questions might be “how many references must I use in my coursework?”. Actually there is no ideal number of references. Instead, the answer could be that the value of your academic work (accuracy and depth of engagement) will determine the number of references. Put differently: one statement must be supported by one reference and illustrated by one example.
5. Marking criteria
Your assignment will be marked in accordance with the marking guidelines of the school. For more details please refer to the MSc Student Handbook.
In addition to the criteria provided by the school, here are few heads-up:
1. In the introduction, recall the topic and the question raised, introduce and explain why the theoretical framework you will be using is relevant to your topic. Do not forget to announce the structure of your essay and justify it.
2. Your capacity to engage with your topic will be a significant criteria for markers. Expression of your opinion is good but not sufficient. You must substantiate your argumentation with academic references. Don’t forget that one statement must be supported by one reference and illustrated by one example.
3. Displaying knowledge in organizational behavior is a good but not enough. You must demonstrate a capacity to reflect and answer the question raised by weighting the pros and the cons. Don’t be naïve. What is said of a corporation/famous person in a book, newspaper or website, is not necessarily sufficient to get a good understanding of the situation. Remember that official or corporate information is often partial and biased. Take some distance with your sources and try to think by yourself with the support of the relevant academic literature.
4. Make sure that your line of reasoning does answer the question. Make sure that your line of reasoning is reflected in the structure/sections adopted. Make sure that your headings and subheadings are good conveyors of your line of reasoning.
5. To build a solid argumentation/demonstration, avoid the “piling up syndrome” where your marker must figure out what you are trying to elaborate because you deliver a list of ideas/section without a precise logic, without connections between sections.
6. In the conclusion, do not forget to reconnect all the pieces previously addressed: remind your reader of why you have picked this topic, the conceptual framework you have picked and its relevance to a better analysis of the topic. In addition you can also elaborate on what you have learned over this process of essay writing.
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