MGT 291: Introduction to Management & Leadership

Learning Objectives The objective of this assignment is to (a) connect course concepts to the real-world by critiquing the management and/or leadership approaches of a manager, (b) develop logical, evidence-based arguments using external research to support your critique, and (c) cultivate your ability to incorporate the contingency approach when analyzing management and leadership. Assignment Overview You will conduct an interview with a manager to better understand (a) the context of their work environment (i.e., industry, organization, job, subordinate characteristics, management characteristics, etc.) and (b) the manager’s current management and leadership approach. You will identify what management and leadership approaches the manager is employing using the definitions, theories, models, and concepts discussed in class. You will then critique, using the contingency approach (Ch. 1), whether the manager’s current management and leadership approach is ideal given the context of their work environment. You will prepare a written summary of your findings and assessment, drawing from information provided in class (i.e., textbook, readings, lecture notes) and external sources (i.e., peer- reviewed academic journal articles). Manager Identification The manager must not be an immediate family member, and must have atleast two or more subordinates who report directly to him or her. Extended family members are acceptable, but discouraged. Consider this an opportunity to extend your professional social network. I strongly recommend that you interview the manager in person. When this is not possible, FaceTime, Skype or by phone is an acceptable backup. Email-only conversations are technically not interviews, and are not allowed. Interview Preparation You should do some initial background research into the business/organization the manager works before your interview. Be prepared to ask introductory questions in order to understand the manager’s work context. The point of these questions is to garner a better understanding of the industry, organization, job, subordinate characteristics, and supervisor characteristics. These questions are essential for applying the contingency approach to your critique. Example questions are listed below.

§ What is it like to work in your industry? § What is it like to work for your organization? § What are your job responsibilities? § How many people do you manage and what are their general responsibilities? § How do you spend most of your days at work?

The majority of the interview should focus on uncovering the interviewee’s management and leadership approach. You must incorporate at least three different chapters in your interview and analysis. The eligible chapters are as follows:

§ What is Organizational Behavior? (Ch. 1) § Demographics, Personality, and Intelligence (Ch. 3) § Attitudes, Values, Moods, & Emotions (Ch. 5)

MGT 291: Introduction to Management & Leadership

M&L Plan: Management Interview – Part B M. Johns – adapted from S. Dust 2

§ Social Perception, Attributions, & Perceived Fairness (Ch. 6) § Motivating Behavior (Ch. 7) § Communication (Ch. 8) § Power, Influence, & Politics (Ch. 10) § Leadership (Ch. 13)

You will need to develop an interview strategy. Please consider the suggestions below. Start with general questions and then gradually probe about specifics. For example, you could start by asking “What kind of leadership does it take to be successful at your company?” If the manager responds with something related to “someone who can deal with change”. Then ask follow-up questions such as “What kind of change?” and “What kinds of things do you try and do to deal with that type of change?” You should not expect managers to discuss how they do their job using the terms, theories, and concepts we discuss in class. Instead, ask more general questions and then interpret the responses in relation to course material. In other words, don’t ask the manager “Do you use Expectancy Theory in motivating your employees?” Instead, ask how he or she motivates employees. Then, interpret these responses in terms of concepts discussed in class. You should take notes during the interview. You may also want to record the interview so that you can take more detailed notes at a later time. If you do record the interview, make sure you first ask the interviewee’s permission first. Assignment Administration & Required Paper Sections

§ Formatting & Submission (8pts): The paper should be 5-7 pages (not including cover page, tables, figures, references, etc.), 1.5 spaced, with 12-point/Times New Roman font, and 1-inch margins on all sides. This page range is just a guide. You will not be penalized for being over or under the page range recommendations. However, papers significantly under the minimum typically do not provide enough detail, and papers significantly over the maximum typically are unfocused and lack direction. This will likely affect your grade in terms of quality vs. simply page count.

The paper must have a cover page that includes your name, section, date, the manager’s name, the business/organization’s name and the manager’s email address, and phone number if available. I will email a random selection of managers to confirm that interviews were not falsified.

You must reference a minimum of 8 scholarly (peer-reviewed) journal articles. To find these references, you must use PsychInfo or Business Source Complete. These databases are accessible through the MGT 291 Library page: The “Business Source Complete Handout” contained in the MGT 291 Library page offers search tips. For additional guidance, I strongly recommend contacting the Business Librarian, Susan Hurst (219A Laws Hall, 513-529-4144,

Cite your sources using APA formatting and include a reference page. For guidance, see the “Citing Business Databases in APA Style” link contained in the MGT 291 Library page.

The due date for the paper is Friday, November 17th at the beginning of class. Please BRING A HARCOPY TO CLASS and upload an electronic version through Canvas.

MGT 291: Introduction to Management & Leadership

M&L Plan: Management Interview – Part B M. Johns – adapted from S. Dust 3

§ Work Context (12pts) (approximately 1 page): Setup the paper by identifying the manager and his or her work context. Explain pertinent contextual elements such as the industry, organization, job, subordinate responsibilities, and manager responsibilities.

§ Managing Employees (25pts): Summarize, integrate, and interpret the interview findings using

course concepts and external research. You may organize this section however you see fit. However, it should be clear that you have addressed concepts from a minimum of three chapters. Be sure to describe the manager’s management and leadership approach using the definitions, theories, models, concepts, etc., from course material. As well, be sure to critique their approach using the contingency approach (Ch. 1). Clarify why certain elements of their management and leadership approach are ideal or not ideal given the work context.

§ Conclusion (5pts) (approximately 1 page): Summarize your critique of the manager’s

management and leadership approach given the manager’s work context. This should be an overarching summary of your contingency approach critique of the manager.

Grading Rubric (50 total points)

§ Is the work context section comprehensive, giving the reader an accurate and thorough perspective of the manager’s work context? Does the work context section set-up the body of the paper by detailing the contextual elements that dictate whether or not the manager’s approach is ideal or not ideal?

§ Are the interpretations and applications of course concepts accurate? Are the course concepts

discussed pertinent and helpful in conducting the critique? Do the course applications cover a diverse selection of concepts?

§ Are the points made within the management critique clear and logical? Is the external research

used to support the critique grounded in evidence-based management (i.e., the scientific method)? Is the external research well-integrated into the arguments?

MGT 291: Introduction to Management & Leadership

M&L Plan: Management Interview – Part B M. Johns – adapted from S. Dust 4

§ Does the critique accurately reflect the contingency approach to management? Does the critique

thoroughly consider the manager’s work context when determining whether the management and leadership approach is ideal or not ideal?

§ Does the conclusion clearly summarize your critique? Does the conclusion offer a clear and

concise summary of everything discussed in the body of the paper?

§ Does the paper use logic and evidence instead of fanciful language, slang, opinions, and personal examples?

§ Is there an overarching theme or underlying theory that connects the critiques in the paper?

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