Leading and Managing People (SHR012-6)
Assignment1: High Performance Working
Aim:To develop a critical awareness of current factors affecting leading and managing people and to demonstrate how effective policies can add value to the business’ strategic goals.
To be able to
Make constructive contributions to the development or enhancement of Leading and Managing and People strategies
Critically evaluate existing work practices and propose cost effective improvements
Optimise the use of available tools and techniques in the field of research and IT
High performance working (HPW) is one response being made by organisations to meet the demands of change and the increasing needs faced by many organisations of mass customisation and fulfilment of individual customers’ needs. The potential for employees to raise levels of corporate performance and profitability has been noted by governments and policy makers. Jeffrey Pfeffer’s early work on the business benefits of engaging workers (The Human Equation, 1998) claimedthat not only were people at the heart of business success, but that the management requirement could be reduced to a set of key Human Resources policies.Pfeffer argued that the closer organisations get to this set of policies, the better performance is likely to be. This seems to characterise most if not all of the systems producing profits through people.
HRM Policy (input) Company Performance (output)
1. Employment security and internal labour markets
2. Selective hiring and sophisticated selection
3. Extensive training, learning and development
4. Employee involvement and participation, worker voice
5. Self-managed teams/team-working
6. High compensation contingent on performance
7. Performance review, appraisal and career development
8. Reducing status differences/harmonising terms and conditions
9. Work-life balance
Source: Compiled from a number of sources but initially adapted significantly from Pfeffer, J.(1998) The Human Equation. Boston Press.
Produce a professional report of approximately 2700 words, addressed to your organisation’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, on the tasks stated below. Include cost-effective recommendations and an action plan to improve effectiveness and add value to the business.
Ensure your report has sufficient academic rigour to support your arguments and conclusions and to guarantee its credibility to the organisation.
NB: Appendices should not be included unless they add substantial benefits; Recommendations should pass the ‘immediate implementation test’.
1. Critically discuss what is meant by High Performance Working (HPW).
2. Given the nine key areas identified above, critically discuss the extent to which any three of these high performance working areas is evident in your own organisation.
3. Make recommendations leading to an action plan based upon your findings, to improve performance in your organisation, clearly stating how it can add value to the business performance. Recommendations must be timely and fully justified stating clearly costs and benefits and any further implications to the organisation.
Section / Title Details / Guidance
University coversheet Include name, student ID number, unit title and code, assessment title, date of submission.
Title page Title of your report. Address (to/from) and date the report.
Executive Summary Summary of your whole report, including some of the key recommendations.
Contents Page Include page numbers.
Introduction Short introduction to the report setting out what the aims and objectives of the report are, what the report will cover and why. You may want to provide a brief overview of your organisation at this stage(approximately 200 words).
(Task 1) Using third party sources (e.g. academic literature or practitioner-orientated material) for support analyse the theoretical concept underpinning high performance working, explaining why HPW is such a ‘hot topic’ in HR circles.
What it is, to what extent is it thought to work or not and why it benefits (or not) an organisation. You should make reference to any relevant models, frameworks etc. of HPW and include critical viewpoints. You are also expected to include relevant examples of organisations using this way of working (around 1000 words).
(Task 2) Consider the existence and impact of HPW (if any) on your organisation by evaluating how any three of the nine areas mentioned above are manifested in the organisation and so can contribute (or not) to the organisation achieving its goals (around 900 words, 300 words for each area).
Conclusions This section should initially answer your report objectives and draw together the main points from your analysis of literature and other discussion about your organisation. It summarises what has been learned from undertaking this research. It should also begin to weigh up the options available to the organisation and what would impede implementation of further action. It should reach an overall conclusion as to the extent and effectiveness of the issues identified on your organisation and based upon option evaluation begins to identify the way forward. No new information should be presented in the conclusions(around 200 words).
(Task 3) Make a considered initial list of recommendations for improvement based upon your conclusions, clearly stating how they can add value to the organisation.(around 200 words)
Also include an action planwhich addresses these recommendations as an appendix to the report. The action plan should be fully feasible and justified stating clearly costs, priority level, time-scale, resources, who is responsible, benefits and any further implications to the organisation. Your proposals should be actionable (‘immediately implementable’)not just a list of ideas. You can use a table to help structure your action plan (see page below). The recommendations for action should be linked to creating an acceptable level of HPW to enhancing the existing level, or to introducing some new practices and processes to make the current degree of HPW more sustainable in the longer term or if any future threats to the company appear likely to jeopardise an HPW culture. In other words, your recommendations should cover every conceivable contingency, but should also be linked to identified individuals who could be held accountable for their implementation.
Reference List A list of the third-party sources you have consulted and which are cited directly in the text. All these sources should be properly identified.
Harvard style (see the Learning Resources website: lrweb.beds.ac.uk/help/guide-to-ref).
Appendices Lengthy appendices are not necessary and must be discouraged. You may includeextra relevant background information (no more than a page) regarding your organisation if not already in the introduction. Also include the action plan.
Word Limit 2700 words +/- 10% (not including executive summary, contents page, reference list and appendices)
Submission Deadline for submission is12 noon Oman time (7.59am UK time)on 12th November 2015.
You should submit your report electronically via Turnitin on Breo.
Assessment Criteria As illustrated on pages 6-7.
Poor Academic Practice Please see appendix A at the end of this brief for guidance on this issue.
Draft Recommendations Template
Suggested format for an action plan
(what) Business Justification
Benefits Specific Intervention
(how) Time Frame Who Cost Method of monitoring Consequence of not doing
State what needs to be done Link to the business’ objectives
Make clear the rationale Added value – Reason why business needs to take this action Training
Purchase of a resource Short, medium, long term
Next 3-6 months etc Who will action these
Who has ownership Time
Rough ’ indicator When will we review this action This should be the ultimate act of persuasion
Some key additional questions:
How affordable is all this to the business
How realistic is this plan – is it ‘do-able’ and ‘deliverable’
How politically sensitive are the actions recommended
Are issues of diversity covered
Is the plan immediately implementable
Outstanding/Excellent Pass (Mark Band: 70-100%)
Knowledge of the subject-matter concerning HPW – both the theoretical/academic literature and the application case-studies – is demonstrably comprehensive. The reader can be confident that this student ‘knows his/her stuff’, with a judicious mix of factual knowledge, critical evaluation and constructive action-building.
The material discussed in this section demonstrates a strong focus on the importance of business-related outcomes as a justification for promoting HPW areas in the organisation. Thestudent discusses and shows consistently that business priorities are crucial in order to underpin ‘high performance’ people strategies.
All the recommendations and proposals for action are cogent, defensible, relevant and strategically imaginative. The responsibilities for implementation are clearly identified, and the recommendations themselves follow logically from the preceding literature, discussion and conclusions.
Presentation and Persuasion
This report is produced in strict conformity with the guidelines contained for the assignment brief. The text is wide-ranging, the style mature, the approach measured, the presentation reader-friendly. Third-party sources are properly described, and the logic of the argument throughout the report is strongly persuasive.
Commendable Pass (Mark Band: 60-69%)
The report exhibits a good understanding of HPW from both theoretical and applied perspectives. The submission is liberally supplied with references to and citations from authoritative third-party sources. There are useful references to named organisations where levels of HPW are exceptionally high and perhaps others where the levels are disappointingly low – with appropriate business consequences.
The report has clearly identified and analysed each chosen area of HPW in the organisation and adopts an evidence-based approach. Clear evidence of selecting and analysing content which reveal insight and may offer some originality.
By and large the recommendations and proposals for action are logically derived from the conclusions and the preceding analysis. Most of the recommendations are ‘actionable’ in the sense that they could be implemented by the reader without further enquiry about precisely what is meant. There are no significant omissions.
Presentation and Persuasion
The overall presentation of the report material is articulate, lucid, structurally sensible and mature in expression. The concept of HPW is clearly explained and the subtleties concerning its operation in practice are discussed in an appropriately logical, clinical and persuasive fashion.The references are well organised.
Good Pass (Mark Band: 50-59%)
Some of the essential literature and research sources on HPW have been consulted and are referenced throughout the report. Occasionally the student relies on some low-level citations or some third-party material is quoted without question. The report appears strong on description and narrative but would benefit from greater evaluation and critique.
The report demonstrates a competent understanding of the arena for HPW, including the identification and some analysis of the chosen key areas which provide the impetus for HPW and the managerial processes which must be in place if an aspiration for HPW is to be translated into a reality so far as workforce perceptions are concerned.
Most of the recommendations make sense and are ‘actionable’, but occasionally the student may produce proposals which appear not to emanate from the internal logic of the report, or which have little evidential foundation, or which raise more questions than they solve. The latter recommendations may be platitudinous without any adequate accountabilities having been identified.
Presentation and Persuasion
Though the report is generally systematic, there are improvements that the student should have implemented, for example: over-long and discursive paragraphs which render some pages un-reader-friendly or too short and fragmented paragraphs which does not allow arguments to be fully developed or new information wrongly introduced in the closing sections of the report or unpersuasive recommendations.
Satisfactory Pass (Mark Band: 40-49%)
Some of the literature and research sources on HPW have been consulted and are referenced throughout the report. Occasionally the student relies on some low-level citations or some third-party material is quoted without question. The report appears reasonable enough on description and narrative but quite short on evaluation and critique.
The student demonstrates some understanding of the arena for HPW, including the identification and perhaps description of key areas for HPW in the organisation. However the discussion is narrow and insufficiently analytical of the chosen areas which provide the impetus for HPW. Little mention is made of the managerial processes which must be in place if an aspiration for HPW is to be translated into a reality so far as workforce perceptions are concerned.
Some of the recommendations if made , may make sense and are ‘actionable’, but too often the student may produce proposals which appear not to emanate from the internal logic of the report, or which have little evidential foundation, or which raise more questions than they solve. The latter recommendations may be platitudinous without any adequate accountabilities having been identified.
Presentation and Persuasion
Though the report is generally systematic, there are improvements that the student should have implemented, for example, over-long and discursive paragraphs which render some pages un-reader-friendlyor too short and fragmented paragraphs which does not allow arguments to be fully developed or new information wrongly introduced in the closing sections of the report or simplistic and unpersuasive recommendations.
Marginal Fail (Mark Band: 35-39); and Fail (Mark Band 1-34%)
There is little evidence that the student has undertaken any serious study about HPW. Instead, the report relies on a very limited number of largely low-level, descriptive and narrative sources which are presented uncritically. There may even be some misunderstanding of the key concepts.
The report betrays some fundamental errors of understanding about the nature of high performance working and the business benefits associated with these changes. There has been little attempt made to discuss relevant areas in a meaningful way if at all.
Most of the recommendations (if at all made) are platitudes focused on what “they” should do or should not do, unsupported by any convincing justification or persuasive rationale that might otherwise have led “them” to believe in whatever is proposed. Some recommendations appear to be separated in logic from the preceding material in the report: they are either divorced from the text or are based on some entirely new assumptions and evidence not previously mentioned.
Presentation and Persuasion
The structure of the report is very poorly structured or unacceptable, as it deviates from the model presented in the report brief yet does so without any attempt to persuade the reader that such deviations might be legitimate. Section headings are not used, or do not reflect the contents beneath; the references are confused, poorly listed or omitted.
Appendix A: Academic Discipline Policy
(extracted from the Academic Discipline Policy September 2014)
New registrations (first teaching term/semester)
i. A student registering for the first time at the University of Bedfordshire, and who submits an assignment within the first teaching term of the start of their taught course (i.e. the submission deadline occurs before the end of the teaching period) and who is found to have made use of the words and/or ideas of others with attribution that is inaccurate or incomplete (poor referencing), but where it is possible to evaluate the submission for grading purposes, will have their work graded and returned only within the context of a face to face discussion between the marker and the student, recorded on the APG1 form. The form will be kept on record in the Faculty.
ii. A student who has made unattributed use of the ideas and/or words of others, with no evidence of attempt to acknowledge sources (bad academic practice), the work will be considered a fail (grade F-) and the student required to undertake specified guidance and support as a condition of referral. A record of the occurrence will be maintained within the Faculty (AOF). In such cases, a letter from the Faculty Dean will confirm:
a) the process and penalty to be applied (as above);
b) the requirement for guidance and advice, and for confirmation that this has been undertaken, as a condition of resubmission;
c) the date of the meeting for guidance if it has been set, or a requirement to arrange a meeting with the tutor for guidance by a set date.
After the first term/semester
iii. All other students at level 2 (FHEQ 5), or above, which are not new registrations in their first teaching term/semester, will be deemed to have a responsibility for the proactive development of their academic practice and sufficient ability to be permitted to register with advanced standing or status.
iv. Bad academic practice will be treated as an issue of academic concern where it constitutes the unattributed use of the ideas and/or words of others, with no evidence of attempt to acknowledge sources (bad academic practice) or the use of the ideas and/or words of others with attribution that is incomplete and/or inaccurate (poor referencing):
v. The work containing bad academic practice will be considered a fail (grade 1 F-) and the student required to undertake specified guidance and support as a condition of referral, and confirm by a specified deadline that this support has been received, noting this on the AGP2 form.
vi. A record of the occurrence will be maintained within the faculty (AOF)
Where a student does not attend for guidance on the set date, or does not arrange a meeting by the specified date, this will be taken to mean that the student fully understands the University regulations regarding acceptable academic practice, and that the student does not require guidance. This should be recorded on the AOF and any further academic offences will be referred automatically to the ACP.
For all students with a recorded academic concern, any subsequent case arising in the work of the same student, and which is deemed, on the basis of available evidence including the support provided in response to earlier similar issues, to reflect a breach of the principles of good academic practice will be referred automatically to the ACP using the AOF form unless they meet the criteria set out in 4.5.1 above.
Guidance on academic practice
1. Good academic practice
Good academic practice is the use of ideas, research findings and text by a learner in ways that recognise where these represent the knowledge of others. It is important because it enables learners:
To demonstrate their breadth of reading by identifying and comparing their sources of information;
To demonstrate an individual understanding of their findings as they learn, by using their words to describe and interpret the ideas of others;
To develop their own originality by synthesising, commenting on and structuring their argument around the contributions of others;
To apply their reading and their understanding to a range of subjects and situations in ways that make clear their process and their conclusions.
To do this, learners are required to:
Recognise the origins of ideas and of statements, where these are not theirs, to recognise the difference between the two, and to deal with each appropriately within their own work.
Report accurately the findings of their research (primary and secondary)
Submit work for assessment that represents their individual and independent effort unless otherwise advised in the assessment brief.
Doing this is good academic practice.
Referencing systems are used to identify where a writer is using the ideas and words of others. They ensure that both writer and reader are able to distinguish accurately between a learner’s own ideas, their interpretation of the ideas and words of others, and their direct use of the ideas and words of others in their own work.
2. Academic practice and learning
The University encourages its learners to demonstrate their reading and their research by making appropriate reference in their work to the ideas and words of others.
It requires learners to use a referencing system (see http://lrweb.beds.ac.uk/guides/referencing), and it expects learners to use this system fully and accurately as a way of making clear to readers where the ideas and words of others have been used.
It recognises that learners need to develop their use of referencing systems as part of their learning process, within the subject area(s) they are studying.
It also recognises that the importance of acknowledging the ideas and words of others as a requirement of good academic practice is new to some of its learners.
In this context, the University outlines the responsibilities of learners as follows.
B. The responsibilities of learners
To identify accurately where they have used in their work the words and/or ideas of others.
To use referencing systems accurately in that identification.
To avoid practices that may give rise to academic concern and/or suspicion of academic offence.
To read this policy, and to attend and make use of the guidance and support offered at induction (or the additional/replacement guidance and support sessions offered for late arriving students).
To make use of the further guidance and support offered at each study stage in advance of the first deadline for submitted work.
To seek assistance if they are, for any reason, unable to take advantage of the standard guidance and support offered.
To complete and sign the assignment coversheet for each piece of work submitted, confirming that they understand this policy and its requirements
To take full responsibility for work that is submitted in their name
To bring to the attention of an invigilator any circumstance or event that might be evidence of, or suggest, a breach of academic discipline.