Organizational Psychology

The goal of the project is to think as if you are consultants and you have been hired by a company to figure out why they are having the problems they are having and what to do about them.  You need to write a paper that is worth the thousands of dollars the company might have paid you to do this work!  Each of you will probably write a minimum of six pages – minimum means that it is an “OK” (or C) paper, and that’s only if it’s actually good. If your group is two people, we will expect more writing and more work.
Note – this project is a PRETEND project – we are not using REAL companies, nor are we truly doing REAL research or implementing solutions – we are just PRETENDING to do so and writing about it.  Your research should LOOK real, but you are just describing what you did as if you did it – you are not actually going out and doing research.  Hopefully you took a research or stats class so that you can speak meaningfully about data.  You will be making data up, but it should still make sense.
Below is a detailed description of how to go about writing this paper.  The paper MUST be discussed with your TA in the first four weeks if you hope to do well.  The paper is due no later than week 8 – there are no late papers accepted for any reason at all, even death or trauma (in the real world – late would get you fired!!)
The companies/problems you can choose from are listed on a separate document.  Do not use a company or problem that I have not listed, you will get zero points.
I.    Choose a company from the descriptions given.  Then choose ONE problem.
II.    First, introduce your company – tell us that you are a consultant who was hired by such and such company (be creative and give some details) and then describe the company that hired you –give me a lot more details than I have given you and don’t just copy me (especially since turnitin will not like that at all).
III.    In the next section you will introduce the problem that the company feels it is having.  You might have to thin the problem down a bit from what we wrote if the problem is too big.  Next you will write about how you researched the problem (to identify the source of the problem and confirm that it IS a problem).  You will use at least TWO separate types of data collection which will result in two sets of information – for example: an employee survey AND a series of interviews with management or a review of data from HR AND a detailed questionnaire given to current managers…  Do NOT use two surveys and do not question the same people twice. Try very hard to get objective data (not just subjective opinions or thoughts).  If you are using already available data (from HR) then detail the steps THEY took to get that info and why they have it and what you did with it.  Write a lot of details about your research section – be sure to tell us ALL the (pretend) steps you took to get your data and figure out what the source of the problem is. Include graphs and charts if you want .  This section must be very heavy on details – we really want to know the WHO/WHAT/WHEN/WHERE/and WHY’s of the problem – what is really going on and why is it going on, according to your findings.  This section needs to be truly, truly detailed – don’t make assumptions that the reader knows what you are talking about – spell it out for them.  Also, make sure this is tailored to your company and not generic (same with the solution section – tailor it to the company you are working with, don’t just make generic statements)
IV.    Now, figure out a solution for the above problem and include at least two separate solutions, or two very detailed big steps for one solution (ie: job analysis leading to job description leading to structured interview). The solution should relate to your research – basically your research led you to this solution.  Don’t solve problems you did not research.  Be very specific and detailed here also.  Write out ALL the steps that must be carried out to solve the problem. Be realistic – don’t tell the company to do things that are way, way expensive or unrealistic or illegal or anything.  Be very detailed in this section.  Don’t just list a solution like “utilize structured interviews”, provide ALL the details necessary for an outsider to understand what the heck you are talking about and how they would go about doing that – be very specific.  Use professional language, don’t use slang – even I-O slang (“social loafing” and “the peter principle” is I-O slang)!  Be sure your solution is from the field of I-O psychology (re-designing the workspace, getting new chairs, building a new building, moving to a new location, buying better headsets, etc would NOT be I-O psych for our purposes).  We have given you a list of possible solutions and chapters where you would find them.  Read ahead in your book for this information and use info from class.  Don’t assume the reader knows what you are talking about: spell it out with very exact details- again focus on WHO/WHAT/WHEN/WHERE/WHY – really tell them what they need to do and exactly how, and who will do it, and when, and how much it will cost, and how long it will take, etc.
V.    Write a conclusion that summarizes your findings and your recommendations – this is just a paragraph or two, but it really serves to bring the paper together.  So, your paper will have an intro, a research section with summary of findings and then a solution section with recommendations and a brief summary.  It will be professional looking and will not contain grammatical or other errors.  It will stay on task and will follow all our prompts and not leave things out.
VI.    Be sure that in your document you clearly define terms and other I-O concepts – don’t assume the reader knows what you are talking about when you say things like “structured interview” – be clear and specific and describe these concepts.  You do not always have to provide citations and references, but do NOT copy or paraphrase directly from any source without citing and referencing it.  If you talk about something that is published (like an assessment instrument) then cite and reference that.  The goal would be to put things in your own words as much as possible.
VII.    Be absolutely sure that this document has student names and ID numbers on the cover page, and that each section is clearly identified as to who wrote it (if there are two of you).  Also, be sure that the document is nicely presented following the guidelines on the grading rubric.    We are also asking you to have an outside person- someone other than you – read your paper and grade it before you hand it in.  Remember, there are no late options – late papers will get zero points, so be on time!
VIII.    We will be using turnitin.com to verify authenticity, so be prepared to submit your paper to turnitin.com before handing it in to us.  If it is more than 20% “similar”, then it is possibly not OK.

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