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Core Assessment Problem-Solution Business Report with Research Due Date: Unit 8

Core Assessment
Problem-Solution Business Report with Research
Due Date: Unit 8 by 11:59m., Sunday, CT.
The final assignment in this course will bring together all the
business communication skills you have learned throughout the term.
Your final writing project for this course is a 9-10 page formal
business report in which you will:
specify a real organization you have worked in/with
identify a real problem or situation within that organization
that needs addressing
conduct research to help you analyze the problem and weigh
possible solutions
describe the problem and recommend a course of action in a
formal report that
targets a specific decision-making audience within the
organization
How do I choose an organization?
You get to choose your problem and organizational context you
wish to write in, but the important thing is that you choose an
organization you actually are familiar with as a participant, as
this tends to make better reports. You don’t want to just choose a
random company like Nike if you have never worked for them, as you
will not be able to really identify an actual problem within the
company, or be able to suggest solutions that would actually work
in that particular organization. You also wouldn’t have any ideas
about how to persuade your audience, as you likely would not know
who your report would be directed to or what their needs,
expectations, beliefs, or values are.
You can choose organizations you currently work for or have
worked for in the past, but you might also consider other
organizations that you are involved with, for example, non-profit
or religious organizations, military branches, student groups,
parent groups, clubs, or hobbyist organizations. Sometimes students
have not had jobs before – that is ok, as you have certainly been
part of some organization in your lifetime; in fact, you are part
of an organization right now by participating in this class! Park
University does count as an organization you are part of and can
propose solutions to.
What makes a good problem?
This is an important question to really think about as not every
problem makes for a good report. One thing to consider is whether a
formal report would even be appropriate or necessary to solve the
problem you have identified. Some problems are fairly easily
solved, have obvious solutions, or do not require research to find
a solution. You want to choose problem that is
Researchable
Not yes/no or too obviously solved
A real problem that affects actual people, or that affect the
organization’s productivity, effectiveness, morale, or
profitability
Can you give me some examples?
Yes! Here are some real examples of reports other Park students
have written:
Example 1:
Bailey recently got a new job in a preschool as a classroom
teacher. When filling out her paperwork, she was asked to sign a
Gossip Policy in which she was asked to agree that she could be
terminated immediately without severance if she gossiped at work.
The policy was fairly vague about what gossip actually is, and
Bailey has doubts about the legality or effectiveness of this
policy, so she decides to conduct research on gossip policies,
gossip in the workplace, and effective strategies for preventing
unproductive gossip in the workplace.
During her research, she discovers through industry magazines
for human resources personnel that gossip policies are a new trend
in HR and have spread like wildfire throughout many companies in
the last few years. She also finds out from news sources that these
policies have already have been challenged in court and might be
considered by the National Labor Relations Board to be a
constitutional violation of the 1st amendment. By using the library
databases, she finds lots of scholarly research on gossip in the
workplace, including articles that suggest that gossip policies
could be discriminatory (since drafted research shows that women
are more likely to be perceived as gossiping). She discovers some
organizational communication research that shows that there is both
positive and negative workplace gossip, and she also finds sources
that address how to discourage workplace toxicity.
Bailey uses the information she gathered from her diverse
sources to write a formal report to the director of her pre-school
in which she shows how the current policy is problematic from both
a legal and morale perspective, and suggests a more effective
method of discouraging negative workplace gossip.
Example 2:
Ben is an international student at Park University, who
struggled during his first year to adapt to an American context and
educational system. Although Park University offers some resources
for international students to help them adjust and be successful,
Ben wonders if other schools have more effective orientation
programs for international students. Ben reviews the websites for
international student programs at other colleges and universities,
and he also discovers that there is a wealth of academic research
on international students, and innovative programs for helping
international students succeed. Lee uses this research to propose a
new orientation program for international students to the Director
of Park’s Office of International Education.
Some shorter examples:
Julie works for a local retail store with several branches in
the area. Several of the branches have been robbed in recent weeks.
She researches how retail stores like hers can discourage
robberies, and she discovers that there are a number of tactics
that have been shown by research to reduce theft and robbery. She
writes a report to her district manager suggesting changes to store
layout, inventory management, installation of cameras and mirrors,
discounts and perks for law enforcement, and use of greeters at the
door.
Jim is a former Marine and is interested in helping veterans
with PTSD and sleep disorders. He does research on effective sleep
therapy tactics used with veterans, such as sleep journals, and
suggests a special program to a director at Veteran’s Affairs as a
supplement to their already existing programs for veterans with
PTSD.
Eddie works in a food-service industry characterized by toxic
workplace relationships including both verbal (and even sometimes
physical) confrontations between employees. He researches conflict
resolution and management training programs to suggest a new
training program to his district manager to improve employee
relationships, improve management intervention, and to promote
productive conflict solutions in his workplace.
How will this project be completed?
To prepare for completion of the final draft of the report, you
will:
Discuss organizations, problems, and audiences in Unit 1
Propose a topic and audience and do some preliminary research in
Unit 4,
Prepare a first draft in Unit 6,
Receive peer and instructor feedback in Unit 7
Submit the final revised report in Unit 8
This is a term-long assignment, so you should be working on it a
little bit each unit, even if the assignments or discussions during
a particular unit may address other assignments. Feel free to
bounce ideas off your instructor or fellow students in the
discussion areas related to the assignment or ask questions about
your project in the instructor’s office area of the course.
What are the requirements for the
assignment?
We will use the medium level of formality for the report, which
you can find in a table on pg. 597. For our purposes, we will also
add a bibliography page to cite your sources.
That means that your report must have each of these parts,
correctly formatted according to the guidelines found on the sample
report beginning on page 598.
Cover Page
Table of Contents
Executive summary
Introduction
Body (with headings/subheadings as you choose)
Conclusion and Recommendations
Bibliography
Visuals
Your report must use at least one visual you composed yourself,
though you may also use other images so long as you cite the image
source under the image. We will talk in more detail about visuals
in Unit 6, but keep in mind that visuals could include photographs,
diagram, charts, graphs, tables, etc.
To make data visualizations, you can use data from your research
which you can then turn into a graph or chart. Both Word and Excel
can make simple visualizations, and there are a range of free data
visualization and image manipulation programs available. For
example, say a research article gives you some statistics in the
form of percentages. You could turn those numbers into a pie chart.
Make sure to cite your data source under the images you compose
(differentiate between image source and data source, please, so
your instructor can tell the difference between images you have
borrowed and cited from elsewhere, and images you made
yourself).
A good report will:
Follow the guidelines and format on report writing
Use effective organization and document design
Use sources effectively to construct and support your
position
Use effective and grammatically correct business style
Use you-attitude and positive emphasis
Use at least one visual you composed yourself, effectively
Be revised and edited, with the assistance of your peers and
instructor
Cite sources appropriately in the text and in the reference page
using a citation style appropriate to your field of study (MLA or
APA style; other styles as permitted by your instructor).

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