course project description

course project description - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA...

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Unformatted text preview: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Walter A Haas School of Business Dr. Banks COURSE PROJECT DESCRIPTION 919.com The purpose of this course project is to create the opportunity for students to learn skills in observing, analyzing, and forming a critique of an actual human resource program or function in a real organization. Early in the semester (by the third week of class), students must identify a human resource executive (Vice President, Director, or Manager) within an organization you are interested in studying. You will have the chance to meet and interview this executive who will be your partner in the project. You will conduct a one or two hour interview with your partner to gather information that you can use to form your critique. You may follow-up with other people within the company who can add to the information you collect from your partner. The more relevant information you gather, the better information you have to formulate your critique, and thus, the more things you can say to write a good report. In the interview, you will learn how the program or function works: how was it developed? what need created the program or fiinction? what are the principles underlying the program or function? how well does it work? how do they know it works? 'Collect as much information as possible in order to obtain an in—depth 1 understanding of the subject of your critique. Do not hesitate to ask for follow—up ' interviews with your partner or others-«they are actually glad to help you! During or after the interview, collect as many materials as possible that describe the program or function for your reference. Often in an interview, your partner will forget things to tell you, or he/she might give you a different impression than what actually exists. Try to get real company materials whenever possible. (Of course, they won’t give you confidential materials like their tests, interview questions, and business plans-—-but try to get information that gives you a flavor or what the content is.) Use these materials for your critique and include them with your report if they are central to the comments you make in your paper. (They can be returned to your partner if requested.) To identify a partner, think of what company you would like to learn more about or even work for. (Doing this project often gives students the visibility within the personnel department to land them an employment interview or even a job!) Once you identify the company you want to do your project on, phone the company and ask for the following information: o The HR Executive’s name (correct spelling) and title 0 The HR Executive’s full and correct address (including zipcodes!) o The HR Executive’s phone number If you have trouble obtaining this information, talk to the secretary of the personnel department and describe the project you are doing. Be clear that this isn’t a clever way of getting access to the top person so you can contact him/her personally for an employment interview. (This is slightly different.) Complete the attached form and turn it in at class as soon as possible. ° A note about voice-mail. Don’t let yourself get caught in voice-mail hell. Do not leave messages because they rarely call back when they don’t know what you are asking for, and they callback when you are at the University. Rather, talk to alive person, any way you can. To get to a live person, you will need to explain what you need and get someone to take on your request. It doesn’t matter who it is because you simply need a name, address, and phone number. Persevere. It pays off. After I receive your partner’s information, I send a letter to them and ask for their participation. I usually receive affirmative responses. I will give you copies of the letter so you know what I told them. One week following the mailing, you must follow-up with a phone call to confirm their interest in the project. Stress that the project will only ' require one or two hours of their time over the next two months. And, schedule your interview with your partner at their convenienceunot yours! You will need to get started on this task as soon as school starts because in some cases, a student must identify two or three successive partners before one commits. Topics You may pick any of the topics covered in class for your assignment. The earlier in the course the topic is discussed, the earlier you can get to work on your project. Nonetheless, if you pick a later topic, you can still read ahead and talk over your topic with. me to get you started in the direction of collecting relevant information. If the topic you want to cover is not addressed in this course, you must get my approval before starting your project. Typical topics include: recruitment and selection workforce trends and selection practices performance appraisal executive compensation non-financial and financial rewards affirmative action and EEO training programs management develop career development 000...... One approach is to pick two to three topics that interest you. When you talk with your partner the first time, give your partner the choice of topic within the ones you prefer. The partner doesn’t know what you are studying so he/she won’t know what to suggest. Therefore, you must be ready with your preferences. Also, pick a topic that relates to a program or function that is already in place--not currently under development. It must have some history and outcomes for you to evaluate. Save the developing programs for your internship! ' ' The Interview Once you have selected a topic, begin formulating your interview questions. First, review your class notes and reading material on the subject. What were the major points that were made about the subject? Make a list. What were the goals and principles involved in successfully implementing corresponding programs and functions? What is the program or function trying to achieve? What makes a good one? What makes a bad one? Answers to these questions will help you to develop questions that collect information that will answer your basic question in the critique, “Is this an efi‘ective or ineffective program/fiinction? In what ways? Why?” Here are some tips for conducting the interview: 0 Start out the interview with a basic description of the program or fimction. What is the purpose? What does it do? Who is involved? How does it relate to other aspects of the human resource department? Get your partner to give you concrete information-«examples, illustrations, materials used, materials describing it, etc. 0 Then get a description of how it is implemented. How does it work? What are the steps involved? ' ' 0 Then ask how well it works. What is the organization trying to achieve with it? Who is satisfied with it? Who is not? What problems have surfaced with its implementation? How have the problems been addressed? Push for concrete data or evidence to support your partner’s particular View. Don’t just accept his/herjudgment-«get him/her to expand on the judgment-«how did he/she arrive at that judgment? 0 Then move to what needs to be changed in your partner’s view. If he/she could change anything, what would it be? Why? How should it be done differently? Why? During the interview, take extensive notes (practice shorthand or abbreviations) or tape record your interview so that you can refer back to your notes. Nothing is worse than spending an hour and not remembering anything. Remember, this interview forms the core of your paper, so do it well. Pre arin Your Pa er Following the interview, summarize what y0u have learned about the program or function according to the information provided by your partner. Compare what you learned in the ' interview with what you have learned about these programs and functions from the class. What principles and concepts from class related to the organization’s implementation of the program or function? What do the textbook, readings, and class discussion suggest regarding how this program or function should be practiced? How should it work vs. how it does work? What is the organization doing right? What is it doing wrong? Focus your critique on what you think the organization is doing well, and what needs improvement and why. ' Given your analysis of the effectiveness of the organization’s program or function, develop recommendations for the organization to follow to increase effectiveness based on principles and concepts presented in class. Be specific in your recommendations—«make them implementable. Be sure to justify your recommendations with rationale and potential benefits to be reaped from the change. To write your report, follow these guidelines: 0 The introduction to your paper should include a description of the organization and the background of your partner and other people you talked to. A company description can be found in an annual report or employee handbooks and recruitment materials. 7711's section should be 1 or 2 pages in length. 0 Next, describe the program or function as it currently exists in the organization. You need to get as much information describing the history, development, stages of development, and resulting problems/rssues/concerns as possible. This section represents a distillation of all the information you collected during the interview and from written materials. This seetion should be 3 to 4 pages in length. 3 Next, critique the effectiveness of the organization’s program or fimction. First outline the key aspects or principles that should make it effective. This forms a framework for understanding the basis for your critique. You have to be clear in your mind what effectiveness looks like and communicate it to your reader so that they understand how you arrived at your judgment of effectiveness. This section is the most important part of your paper. Begin your critique with your framework for effectiveness, and then report your evaluation of the organization’s program or fimction within this context. How similar ordit‘ferent is it? How well is it working? What is missing? What is wrong with the way the organization is doing it? Why is it working, if it is? Relate all your evaluation to your framework so that the reader can follow your evaluation and be influenced by it. What led you to your O conclusions? Be sure you compare what the organization does to what it should have done, given guidance from the course. This section of your paper should be 3 or 4 pages in length. ‘ Next, generate recommendations for improving the program or function. For each recommendation, give some rationale for offering it. Help the reader understand why it is a good idea. What would the consequences of implementing these changes be? Relate your recommendations to principles and concepts in class. This section should be 1 or 2 pages in Ieng1h. Write a conclusion to end the critique. Close the paper with the most important things the reader should remember. This section should be at most 1 page. Attach copies of supporting documents, charts, forms, etc., which you have collected to illustrate your points or to support your description of the program or function you reviewed. Also, include a bibliography if additional reading supplemented your research or analysis. Provide a copy of your paper to your partner. You may want to present a “sanitized” version of the paper, if you find little that is positive. To help prepare you for this assignment, you may come in during office hours and view previous reports written by students in prior classes. This will give you a very concrete idea of what the project entails and what good papers look like. Course project papers are due M W, NOVEMBER 237% gm. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY BERKELEY - DAVIS 0 IRVINE 0 LOS ANGELES ' MERCED 0 RIVERSIDE - SAN DIEGO C SAN FRANCISCO SANTA BARBARA o SANTA CRUZ WALTER A. HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 545 Student Services Building it 1900 Berkeleygfomia 94720-1900 February 3, 2003 P l/ Dear Sir or Madam: 5 I am writing to ask you to be a partner for one of the students in my undergraduate business class, Human Resource Management. I am teaching the course from a practical managerial perspective. Because of this perspective, I need students to be exposed to the top-level human resource professionals in order to obtain a critical first-hand view of the complexity of issues involved in effective human resource management. Your willingness to share you experience and perspective with a student will be invaluable in enhancing their understanding of these issues. I would like you to meet with your student partner, , at least once during the course of this semester (up to May 1“). Your student partner will interview you regarding a particular human resource function at your company. Students will complete a project report, and you may receive a copy of the report upon request at the end of the semester. I am sure you will read it with interest, as I will. If you agree to be a partner, please email me at banks @haasberkeleyedu to indicate your interest. After we hear from you, your student partner will arrange for an initial meeting with you. I sincerely appreciate your contribution to their practical education. I am convinced that they can achieve a clear understanding of human resource management in real organizations only through a partnership between academia and the business community. I hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, 7 WW Cristina G. Banks, PhD. Senior Lecturer ...
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course project description - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA...

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