Synthesis Project Description: Research Briefing Paper

Synthesis Project Description: Research Briefing Paper. Note: Submissions will not be accepted after grades for this assignment have been posted.  Alternate assignments are not available.

Synthesis Project Description: Research Briefing Paper

This document explains the requirements for the briefing paper. Please read all sections carefully. In some instances, the instructions intentionally do not follow APA format. If you have questions about this assignment, please post them in the Ask the Professor discussion forum so everyone will have the same information.

NOTE: Per the Originality Policy (in the syllabus), you may not use any work that was submitted to another class, including a previous section of HRMD 620.

TIP: Begin checking for available material right away to be sure there is enough for you to do what you intend. Engage a librarian to help you obtain the best material available. Librarians often know more sources to consult.

General Description of the Assignment (from the syllabus)

Research Briefing Paper (Synthesis category = 20% of Course Grade) The purpose of this assignment is to strengthen your research skills, enhance your presentation skills, and expand your knowledge. You will need to research material beyond the class readings to investigate labor/employee relations at a specific organization. You will report your findings to the class in a briefing paper (5 or 6 double-spaced pages, not including the title page and reference list). You’ll need between 15-20 sources. Scholarly sources from academic libraries should dominate your research.  Wikipedia is not an acceptable source. Of course, you may use online libraries, such as the one at UMUC.  Given much of the information available via the web is not screened for accuracy, you should be careful in selecting information from this source.  In other words, website information should be used appropriately (i.e., to describe a specific company’s program or report a governmental policy).  APA should be used to reference your sources.  Additional instructions will be provided. (Course Objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 6)

Note: Graduate School courses require about 25 sources for a standard term paper. The 15-20 sources needed here are part of the overall research requirement. Instead of writing an 18-25 page paper, however, this assignment reduces the requirement to 5-6 double-spaced pages of an executive briefing. This way you meet the research requirements but have a smaller writing task. Being concise and knowing which information to include, however, can be challenging; so, allow yourself enough time to craft a suitable product. Good presentations of any nature have much more research to support the amount of material that is presented, so this is a good skill to develop. It may help to think of this assignment as a presentation to a meeting of very busy people. They will give you a few minutes of their time to present your 5-6 double-spaced pages of information. You’ll want to include the key points in it. Exceeding the 6 page limit does not indicate a “better, more thorough” paper. Having less than 5 pages raises the question of adequacy.

Identifying your Topic

Choice of Organization 

Assume you are an external consultant hired to provide executive level management a concise report about labor relations in an organization. Choose one current organization in the private or public sector. You will likely need to choose a large, visible organization in order for material to be available. There is usually a sufficient amount of material for retail giants, supermarkets chains, clothing manufacturers, prominent hotels, key airlines, automotive manufacturers, hospitals, mining companies, and large government agencies. In order to keep an objective mindset, do not select an organization for which you work or did work. Perhaps you’d like to choose an organization that provides a product or service that you use. Just be sure there is enough accessible information. You will need to consult publicly-available material, such as reputable news reports, journal articles, and government documents. Confidential information internal to the organization should not be used, but public material provided by the organization and/or a union can be used as long as its credibility is given appropriate weight.

Once the organization is selected, discuss: How well does it manage its labor/employee relations?  What are its strengths and weaknesses?  Tip: One way to think about the content is through a series of questions:

–Definition:  For purposes of your analysis, who is the organization?  Is it only part of a larger enterprise? For instance, is it only the U.S. locations or specific operations within the U.S.? What role does labor have in its operations?  For instance, how large is the labor force?  Who are the employees?  Is labor a critical piece of production or does technology do most of the work?

–Management’s view:  How well does it think its employee/labor relations is going?  Is it meeting its own criteria for “good”? Does it do what it claims in its strategic plan and public professions? What is the evidence that it is or is not?  What would it continue or change if it could?

–Labor’s view:  How do employees think they are treated?  What is the evidence?  What role have unions had/tried to have in this relationship between employees and management? What would employees/the union continue or change?

Tip: To obtain needed evidence, also consider other points of view: How does the government, industry, and other facets of society view the organization’s labor relations? For instance, has the NLRB ruled against the organization consistently for the same reason? Did the organization win any industry awards for managing its people?

Synthesis Project Description: Research Briefing Paper

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