Case study for business report (3,500-4,000 words)
Sammie Pet supplies is a national supplier of pet foods and accessories. Its selection process has consisted of an application form and a semi-structured interview. The majority of staff, on starting with the company, had 5 GCSE’s A-C including maths and English and some experience of working in retail.
The organisation has now decided to recruit graduate-trainees so that they can develop them into the next generation of managers. The graduate trainees will complete their training over a 2 year period. The training will involve job rotation across 4 departments, namely sales and marketing, finance, learning and development and business strategy. They will spend 6 months in each department.
Your role is as an Occupational Psychologist advising the organisation on the following
• Competencies required for the graduate trainee post
• Recruitment and selection process
You should write a consultancy report using the guidelines provided in the module guide.
BUSINESS REPORT MARKING GUIDELINES
The title of the report should be concise and clear, identifying the nature of the report. The name of the author should be included as well as the person or organisation that requested the report. The date of completion of the report should also be included.
The contents of the report should be laid out in a consistent format and you should include both page numbers and title numbers. A contents page should also be included to direct the reader to the relevant sections.
This section should be presented in prose and be similar in nature to an abstract for a journal article or your own research project. Its purpose is to provide the reader with an easily digestible and lucid overview of the nature of the case and the issues inherent in the case: the key interventions proposed with the rationale for their proposal and a statement of the recommendations. These will have to be in summary form and since this section is the most important part of the report, it should be written last.
This section should not contain the word ‘I’ but should be written in the passive voice. Instead of writing “I would restructure the management team” you need to write “Due consideration may be given to restructuring the management team, to increase the reporting lines between staff”.
Introduction/Terms of Reference
The introduction should outline who, what and when of the report; who the report is written for, what the report is about and when the report is being presented.
It is necessary to examine the context in which any piece of investigation is undertaken, whether it is a piece of ‘pure’ research that is intended to be published in an academic journal or an action research/consultancy document that is produced as part of a consultancy exercise. Undertaking a piece of consultancy work without reviewing the appropriate literature and picking out the material most pertinent to the case under investigation is more like ‘backing a hunch’ than consultancy.
This section ought to cover only those aspects of psychological theory that you believe are pertinent to the case that you are writing about. It should NOT be an attempt at a full overview of the theoretical writings in the chosen field. You will need to be quite selective in your choice of material here. The idea of the section is to explain to the reader of the report that there is considerable information and theorising already in existence that can shed light on how the case under scrutiny may contain problems to be solved and to consider how this information and theory may point the way forward for an analysis of the case and, provide support for any eventual recommendations.
It will not be possible to give a very full account of the theories that you focus on, but you ought to aim to enlighten the reader about what has been done in this field to bring ideas together, e.g. a theory. This section should also be presented in prose and should not contain the word ‘I’ but should be written in the passive voice. You will need to reference the theories referred to in the same way that you would in an essay.
In a consultant’s report it is usual to outline for the reader some ‘facts’ that the consultant’s employer may need to be aware of in coming to a final decision about how to make progress. These ‘facts’ will vary according to the nature of the report, but will typically include topics such as the nature of the labour market (national, international and local), the costs incurred in advertising, in testing, in interviewing, in training and the costs involved in losing staff. There are figures available from various sources on these topics, e.g. Social Trends or Mintel.
The reason that ‘facts’ is in inverted commas all the time is to allow you to present your own information.
This section should contain tables of data, graphs and commentary on them. All tables should be appropriately numbered and labelled.
Although this may be thought of as the centerpiece of an investigation into a particular case the analysis is only going to be as good as the overview of selected theory and the choice of data on which to base the investigation. The outcomes of this section will, obviously, inform the next section on the interventions that could be implemented and, from there, the recommendations to the employer.
Your task here is to pick out the points in the case that you have chosen that you believe need some form of remediation. You should note the PSYCHOLOGICALLY IMPORTANT points that you have picked out from the case and comment on why they are deemed to be important and what effects they may be having within the organization.
You may use sub-headings in this section with each heading indicating to the reader the main issue. Once again your writing should not contain the word ‘I’ but should be written in the passive voice or in the third person, so instead of “I consider that there are poor interviewers here” you may have ”It would appear necessary to examine the skill levels and effectiveness of the interviewing personnel”.
You would be advised to have a brief section that summarises the analysis at the end of this section
This is the part where you become a consultant and make proposals to management about how they may change their current practice to improve their performance IN LIGHT OF THE CASE ANALYSIS.
The capital letters above may have given away the idea that it is critical that any proposals for intervention and possible change are based on the actual analysis undertaken. It should also be evident that the analysis was based on an overview of theory pertinent to this study so that any proposal for intervention should look at both the key issues that emerged from the analysis and the theoretical background to this analysis as that area of work will be the basis on which sound proposals can be based.
This section could be prose based, it could use sub-headings or it could use bullet points, but it should not contain the word ‘I’ but should be written in the passive voice or third person.
The most important thing is that the nature of any interventions is clear and the reasons for these are explicit: important matters such as the timing of the intervention, e.g. ‘within the next six months’ and a cost-benefit analysis showing the possible costs to the organisation and the possible benefits should also be mentioned here. More weight should be given to outlining the nature of the interventions.
Here you spell out what ought to be introduced into the organisation in order to improve performance based on (obviously) your analysis.
The purpose of this section is to allow the employers to have one page to refer to when they discuss the implementation of your consultative document. They will find it very helpful to have a snappy, transparent and well-presented set of recommendations that they can all refer to at the same time.
This is your chance to impress them with some clear-sighted view of what you think should be done.
This section would almost certainly be most appropriately written as bullet points, but it should not contain the word ‘I’ but should be written in a passive voice.
This should contain a summary of the main findings. Clearly state how you arrived at the conclusion.
These should include all the references to books, journals, websites, etc. that you cited in your report.
Within any research or consultancy, the importance of ethics is paramount. This means that you should act in a socially responsible and lawful way. When conducting any work with clients, you should explain the legal aspects related to your client’s organisation; avoid any conflicts of interest such as personal relationships with clients or receiving personal benefits from the organisation.