Category Archives: Academic Writing

Talent Management Case Study

Your tasks for this first assignment as as follows:

  1. Choose your case. This must be a real organisation – it could be one where you are currently or were recently employed, or one with which you are familiar, or one that you have identified yourself and plan to research independently. The key is to be guided by what is of most relevance and interest to you.
  2. Identify one OB/HRM theme or topic that is particularly pertinent to your chosen case and critically analyse it with reference to the theories and concepts presented in the module.

For this assignment, it is vital that you focus, as stated in the task, on Talent Management.

The choice of focus should be guided by your own questions and curiosities about the case. 

The more familiar you are with the organisation you choose, the more material you are likely to have for critical analysis. It is suggested and encouraged that you use your own experience as case material whenever possible. The ‘people issues’ in your chosen organisation should be ‘meaty’ enough for you to conduct a systematic critical evaluation of the situation. Unless it is a relatively small organisation, you should consider whether analysing the whole organisation is the best way forward. It is sometimes better to focus on one area with which you are familiar and about which you have knowledge and information. It is, of course, important to set this sub-unit within the broader organisational context. Generally speaking, an analysis that is thorough and deep is more convincing than one that is broad but superficial.

It is vital that you focus, as stated in the task, on ‘talent management’

Of course, OB/HRM themes and issues are interrelated, and you will probably find that in your organization your chosen topic is closely linked to many others that are also relevant. It is fine to mention these other areas and their relationships to your key thematic focus in your analysis, but you should avoid becoming too distracted by them. Do not be tempted to deal with every people issue in your organization or to cover every topic from the module. This would make the assignment too broad and superficial and unlikely to be very successful in terms of marks. However, when it comes to conclusions, discussing how your chosen issue impacts on others in your organization may be very helpful in developing your insights further. 


a) Introduction to the assignment and statement of chosen focus (probably no more than 150 words) 

It’s often helpful to let the reader know what your aims and intentions are for the assignment. Given the requirement to focus on a theme or topic, it’s a good idea to make this crystal clear at the start, probably with some comment on why you’ve chosen this theme – i.e. what makes it of special interest in relation to your case study?

b) Overview of the case study (up to 350 words) 

You should give a brief overview of the case study at the beginning of your analysis, but do not spend too long describing it. We would not recommend exceeding a maximum of 350 words. For example, this section might include:

  • Details about the organisation
  • Short history/background
  • How the organisation presents itself to the world (brand/image/website etc.)
  • Any stated policies/values, especially with regards to employees/HRM Key problems and issues, especially with regards to employees/HRM
  • Any background directly relevant to you chosen OB/HRM issue – explain how.

Overall, be guided by your chosen OB/HRM issue in terms of what organisational background is relevant and would be helpful in this section. 

c) Critical evaluation (at least 1500 words) 

The main body of the assignment should be devoted to a detailed analysis and critical evaluation of your case study, focusing on your chosen theme, and using theory from your reading around the module.

Evidence is important. Aim to substantiate assertions or inferences you make with illustrative material. This can be drawn from your own memory/experience, from documents, or from ‘conversations’ with those involved. When using this type of material, show that you are aware of limitations in the evidence, e.g. the need to consider alternative perspectives and interpretations, and to be cautious in generalising too widely based on the subjective accounts of a limited number of people.

Consider what light your case might throw on the particular theories/frameworks you choose to discuss. Remember, evaluation works both ways: theories help to understand practice, and practice also helps to evaluate the utility of theories. A case that can be claimed to contribute something towards the latter appears to have ‘added value’.

d) Conclusion (up to 500 words) 

Conclude the assignment by indicating how the lessons learned from this case might be of use in making sense of OB and HRM issues in other organisations and contexts; for example:

  • What are the general principles that seem to be involved? 
  • How transferable do you imagine these are? 

Your conclusion is a good place to make links to other OB/HRM topics and issues, drawing insights about how they can impact on each other in your chosen case and beyond. Consider synthesising a few key messages that flow logically from what you have analysed rather than a summary of all the points.

d) References 

Make sure you use Harvard referencing style. Some materials are attached in addition, some citations must be from this book: Kramar, R. & Syed, J. (2012). Human Resource Management in a Global Context. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan

It can be downloaded from: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=15Lim-KAxc8LUx3W7g3u-ysPS6IeFxQeq&export=download


Guidance


  • Your case analysis should be 2500 words +/- 10% in length, not including references and appendices. 
  • Small tables should be integrated into the report; longer ones should be included in an appendix.
  • Words in appendices and tables are not to be included in the word count, but will not be given equal importance to materials in the main report.
  • The use of graphs is encouraged! 

Marking


This activity represents the second and final assessment for the module and represents 70% of your overall mark

Your mark for this assessment will be made up of the following elements: 

Criteria Description Percentage of mark
Introduction and case background The assignment should focus on a clear theme or topic, as noted above. Thorough but concise background details enable the reader to understand the real organisational context.  20%
Reading and critical understanding of theory You are encouraged to read widely beyond the core textbooks, including refereed journals, published texts, and relevant professional and industry publications. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theory you use; where possible, show evidence of criticality. Avoid the tendency to just quote or refer to theories and concepts without reference to the given context.  20%
Case analysis Demonstrate your ability to apply OB/HRM theories to the particular organisational context, supported by evidence. Aim to develop depth of analysis and appreciation of the complexities of organisational realities. Debate alternative interpretations and critically evaluate practice in your chosen case. Markers will look for substantiation of argument and inference. 30%
Development of insight You should demonstrate that you have gained further understanding of the subject by extracting lessons for future practice (or theory) from your case analysis. Conclusions should be clearly drawn from the case analysis. Any recommendations should be specific, practical and realistic.  20%
Presentation (format and style) We expect a well-structured assignment that is written in a good standard of English. Explanations and arguments should be readable and logically presented. Diagrams and figures are encouraged (words that appear in diagrams, figures and tables are included in the overall word count). This is an academic-style assignment not a business report so correct academic referencing in a consistent referencing style (Harvard) is essential.  10%

Essay Conclusion: How to Write a Compelling Conclusion

While an essay conclusion is generally an opportunity for you to restate your position and the overarching evidence presented in the essay, there is always too much at stake. Having a strong conclusion is particularly critical when writing an academic essay, research paper, thesis/dissertation. The conclusion is your final opportunity to assert your position and create a long lasting impression. This is the final opportunity to assertively impress yourself into the reader’s mind both as a true researcher and thinker.

The aim of your essay conclusion is to achieve one or all of the following:

1. Accentuating the vitality and purpose of your work
2. Elaborating the impacts of the essay findings
3. Establishing the profound application of the findings of the essay
4. Establishing your essay as a foundation for further discourse
5. To show other inquiry directions into the subject
Your conclusion must, thus, contain a sense of closure and completeness as well as the topic’s larger meaning, implications, and lingering possibilities. It should “close the discussion without closing it off.”

Establishing a sense of closure in your essay conclusion

You can develop the sense of closure by:
1. Linking the final paragraph to the first. The best way to do this is to restate your thesis statement (the main idea) as presented in the first paragraph. This creates the sense of summing your work up.
2. Use simple words to create the effect of the understated drama.
3. Use sentences with a parallel or compound structure since these sentences enable the establishment of a sense of order or balance that may seem compelling at the end of a complicated discussion

Closing the discussion without closing it off

To close the discussion without closing it off, you would need to:
1. Conclude with a quotation from a source that emphasizes your thesis statement/idea. The quotation must, however, be specific and not introducing any new aspect of your discussion. It can complicate or confirm your assertions.
2. Concluding by setting a wider perspective of your discussion
3. Redefine your key terms
4. Consider your argument’s implications. What does your thesis suggest, imply or involve

Structure of an essay conclusion

Conclusions have varied structures and its writing should not be prescriptive. With a clear and well-formulated introduction and body, the reader is already expecting a conclusion and so do not stuff it with phrases that indicate its arrival. For a hypothetical abstract essay, a conclusion can follow this structure:
• A transitional sentence this transitions the conclusion from the last paragraph of the essay’s body.
• The restatement of the thesis statement/the main idea.
• Sentence showing how the essay has qualified the thesis statement
• Implications for further study. Implications of your findings on the reader’s comprehension of the topic; other areas that can apply the same discourse; areas needing further studies
• Final thoughts

Things to avoid in your essay conclusion

1. The essay conclusion isn’t a mere summary of your essay. While a short synopsis may be important, more so, in long essays (10+ pages), restating the main ideas is main ideas may work better in most essays.
2. Avoid leading phrases e.g. in conclusion, to sum up, finally, to conclude etc
3. Do not apologize for anything. Even if there are 100 or more approaches to the topic of discussion, stick to your point and don’t be remorseful about it. Avoid such phrases as “this may just be one of the approaches..” “this is not to say I am an authority…” etc