You are to keep a diary in regard to a particular decision in which you have been involved in your workplace and submit a report based on it.
The decision should be reasonably significant—not trivial. It should be a decision in which you are a leader, though if you are not in a leadership or management position currently, you may choose a decision in which you are participating in a meaningful and substantial way, albeit not as a formal leader. The decision should not be one with a single straightforward and readily agreed solution or outcome, but rather one that has a level of ambiguity and complexity and may require making trade- offs. Examples include a decision which requires identifying the best resolution (not a perfect or ideal one) in the circumstances, creates new value for one or more stakeholders or sets a clear direction for the enterprise.
You may choose a decision that has just started to be considered or one that is already underway but some way from completion. If the decision is already underway, then you should be sure to identify anything you would have done differently had you completed Topics 1–5 before you acted.
If you are unsure of the suitability of your selected decision, discuss it with your Unit Chair before adopting it.
What to include
The report should be a professional and academic reflection and analysis of your own participation in the decision making and not a ‘ casual chat’. Self-awareness and self-reflection is critical. Do not focus exclusively on others, though you may certainly consider their behaviours in the context of interacting with your own attitudes, beliefs, emotions and behaviours. A report that focuses exclusively or heavily on factors external to you, the author, is unlikely to gain a pass mark.
The report should link to conceptual frameworks discussed in Topics 1–5 using the following structure:
? Managerial/leadership balance: the balance of managerial versus leadership context and the approach to handling the decision ? Change and innovation: the relationship of the decision to change and innovation for the organisation, if any ? Framing the opportunity: how the problem or opportunity was framed and any effects of the framing ? Decision model: any structured approach or model used in the decision making ? Deciding how to decide: how you and/or others decided how to decide ? Stakeholder analysis: what stakeholders were considered for which kinds of engagement, when and why ? Sources of information: what sources of information and advice that you used, both formal and informal; which you didn’t use and why ? Tools used: which tools you used for generating alternatives, judging them and making a selection; and how you used them ? Alternatives judgement criteria: the criteria (qualitative and/or quantitative) that were established to judge alternatives ? Ambiguity and uncertainty: the kinds of ambiguities and uncertainties present and how they were handled
? Conflict management resolution: any conflict arising in the decision process and what was done about it ? Decision-making styles: a description of your own natural decision-making style, relating it to the style of others involved in the decision (at least to the best of your perceptions—be as fair and objective as you can)
? Human factors: significant human factors that were present such as procrastination, traps and biases and attitude towards risk ? Ethical dilemmas any ethical dilemmas, what influences they had and how they were handled in the decision-making process ? Status/outcome: the status of the decision as at the concluding date of your report (if the decision is made, explain what decision was actually taken).
Structuring your report
Your report should be prefaced by an Executive Summary of half a page or less. Next, your report should contain an Introduction: a brief background to the decision introducing your organisation and providing an outline of the one or two key issues giving rise to the need for a decision, in half a page or less.
The body of the report should be arranged according to the topics listed above.
Conclude your report with a brief discussion about the most important things you have learned by consciously monitoring and reflecting on your attitudes, beliefs, emotions and behaviours as you participated in this significant organisational decision. Describe how you will change your own approach to decision making on the basis of what you have learned during this assignment, if anything. Include recommendations for how you would change your self-reflection role compared to the factors and process given in this assignment, if any.
Use of secondary sources You are required to use literature citations and references to underpin the concepts you discuss. Do not reproduce material from the Study Guide, though you may use citations to refer to it where you believe appropriate. Do not limit yourself to citations from the Study Guide: wider reading and referencing is encouraged. Your bibliography forms part of the appendices and is not included in the word count.
Awarding of marks
Students sometimes like a fixed formula for marking, but this assignment teaches you in part to deal with no-formula ambiguity in your decision making, in this case about how to prepare your report.
There is no fixed formula for awarding ‘marks per item’ in this assignment. One decision might have very little ambiguity, in which case there is little need to report on it; other than saying so. Another decision might have little in the way of ethical dilemma, but much in the way of sources of information and advice. Still another decision may have little to do with management (only leadership), but have a very complex stakeholder network, and so on.
Your report will be judged on how appropriately you dealt with the factors, and especially on how you integrated the factors surrounding your involvement in the decision. Reports that evidence wider study, strong self-reflection and learning, cite relevant literature and articulate new insights will be awarded higher marks.
A report which simply states dates and actions with little or no self-reflection, assessment or recommendations will fail to gain a pass mark.
PART 2: Organisational Decision Making Audit Report
You have been asked to conduct an audit of decision making in your organisation, section, department or unit and submit a report based on it.
You have two audit instruments at your disposal—the decision-making audit questionnaire and a data- recording spreadsheet (both are available for download from the 431 e-Community). You must ask 8– 12 people in your organisation or unit to complete the questionnaire according to the instructions. You can then enter the data into the spreadsheet. Try to get the most senior people in your organisation or unit to participate. You must then analyse, interpret and report on the results of this audit.
If you are unsure of the suitability of your selected organisation or unit, discuss it with your Unit Chair before proceeding.
What to include
The report should be a professional and academic audit of the selected organisation’s decision- making capabilities. You must analyse, interpret and make sense of the results you obtained. It is not acceptable to simply list results.
Structuring your report
Your report should include:
? a table of contents ? an executive summary (ES) of half a page or less. Note that an ES is not an introduction. It should summarise your report findings. ? an introduction: a brief background of your organisation, section or department and the most frequent and the most important types of decisions it currently has to make, in half a page or less. ? a body, which discusses your audit survey results. What do they tell you and the organisation about its decision-making capabilities? What are the areas of strongest performance? In which decision-making capabilities does the organisation need to make significant improvements? Are there particular dimensions on which everyone agrees, or where there is significant disagreement? Were there any people with a significantly better or worse view of their and the organisation’s decision-making capability than others? What, if any, improvements in individual capabilities could be made in addition to overall organisational capabilities? The body of your report should also include a brief section on what you personally learned by undertaking this audit, and any comments on the questionnaire instrument and methodology you wish to make. ? a conclusion, which briefly summarises the strongest and weakest decision making capabilities. Your conclusion should also make specific, actionable recommendations for what the organisation can do to improve on its weakest performance factors.
How to submit your report
You must submit two files:
1. Microsoft Word document containing your report and all appendices other than your raw audit data 2. Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing your raw audit data (using the supplied data-recording spreadsheet).
Use of secondary sources You are expected to use literature citations and references to underpin the concepts you discuss. Do not reproduce material from the Study Guide, though you may use citations to refer to it where you believe appropriate. Do not limit yourself to citations from the Study Guide: wider reading and referencing is encouraged. Your bibliography forms part of the appendices and is not included in the word count.
Awarding of marks
Students sometimes like a fixed formula for marking, but this assignment teaches you in part to deal with no-formula ambiguity in your decision making—in this case about how to prepare your report. However, you should assume that a significant majority of marks are designed to be awarded to your interpretation of and insights about the audit data. A report that simply records the results with little analysis and interpretation is unlikely to receive a pass mark. Your recommendations for action to correct areas of poor performance are a key part of the report. Higher marks will be awarded for recommendations that are practical (can be implemented willingly by those affected) and are relevant to and likely to result in performance improvements in the decision-making areas of weakness.
How to use the questionnaire and spreadsheet
You may use aliases for your business name and people’s names if you wish, but report the correct organisation size and type in the spreadsheet. Explain to people what you are doing and how it can benefit the organisation as well as your studies.
You are to survey 8–12 people (‘respondents’) in your organisation or unit using the questionnaire supplied. Each person will answer the 50 questions on the questionnaire about themselves and the organisation or unit.
Put your name into the questionnaire form at the indicated place, print off a copy for each respondent and hand them out. Collect your completed questionnaires as promptly as possible.
Spreadsheet A Microsoft Excel Data-recording spreadsheet is provided for you to record your answers.
? Save the spreadsheet file prefixed with ‘431’ and your own name and student number as the file name. Notice that the spreadsheet has two worksheets: Cover and Data. ? On the cover worksheet: ? Fill out the basic information. You may use an alias for the organisation’s name if necessary but enter the correct industry sector and unit size. ? Note that the audit statistics will be displayed automatically when you have entered your raw data. ? On the data-recording spreadsheet: ? You should enter data only within the table in the white areas. Do not type in blue areas or you could damage formulae. ? Fill in the initials or codes of the twelve respondents in the ID row at the top of the table, with the most senior person on the left and the most junior on the right. ? Record each individual’s level in the organisation in the Level row. ? Record your raw questionnaire data in the white regions within the table. ? Where a respondent has not given an answer in the questionnaire, leave that cell blank in the spreadsheet (do not enter a value)—except in section 3 where a non-response should be entered as a zero. ? Once you have completed your raw data entry, averages and totals will be displayed on the two worksheets.
The data-recording spreadsheet has statistics built in. Within the table detail (questionnaire responses raw data), any cell that is more than two standard deviations lower than the mean of that row (i.e. 95% confidence or p<=0.05) will be displayed in red. Any cell that is more than two standard deviations higher than the mean of that row will be displayed in green.
In the data-recording spreadsheet’s ‘Avg’ column on the left of the table, the same statistical colouring applies.
You may now inspect and assess the results of the spreadsheets to write your assignment report, discussing your important findings from the audit.
1. You should obtain permission from your organisation or unit head before commencing this study. Chifley Business School will keep all reports confidential, and may publish only summary headline results classified by industry sector and organisation size.
2. You should give some thought to ethical standards in the conduct of this research. You are asking people to assess themselves. Self-reported data may cause embarrassment if publicised. For this reason you should not publish (apart from submitting your assignment for assessment) any results that identify or can be used to identify specific individuals. At best, you may consider privately providing a summary of how an individual ‘performed’ relative to the group.
3. As an incentive for participation, you may consider offering a copy of the summary report to interested respondents in a way that does not allow any individual to be identified. You may not coerce anyone into participating in this study. Participation must be voluntary.
4. It is possible that colleagues may not know what some of the questions specifically mean as they have not studied this unit. You may choose to rely on the questionnaire instructions that advise the respondent to leave blank the questions that they do not understand. On the other hand, if you feel it is more appropriate in your work culture to offer respondents the opportunity to have certain questions explained before they complete the questionnaire, you are free to do so. You should refrain, however, from including any value judgement in your explanation: just explain the concept in as neutral a way as possible.
5. The audit instrument used in this assignment has not been externally validated through structured research and therefore should be used only as an educational and indicative tool.