Introduction to Work and Organizations

Programme title: IFY, BAL
Module Title: Introduction to Work and Organisations
Module code: LIPC1170
Owning Board: Joint Academic Board (DMU/OIEG)
Faculty: University Wide Learning (DMU)
Term/semester: Spring Term, 2021, September start learners
Module Leader: Fiona Lloyd
Email address:
Assignment 1: Course work, Individual formal report
Weighting – 60%
Word count: 2000 words, (guidance, + or – 10%)
Submission: Friday 19th March, 2021, by 09.00am, UK time, via Turnitin
Learning Outcomes assessed in this task:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and theories of organisational behaviour
2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic theories and concepts put forward to describe the structure of organisations and their effectiveness in different contexts
3. Explain the principles of management built into organisational structures and the design of work in the 21st Century
4. Show an awareness of the influence of culture on organisational principles and behaviour
5. Demonstrate an awareness of current issues relating to managing organisations
The report must contain clear evidence of research. Therefore, you will need to link your discussion to a variety of academic and factual sources of information such as recent publications (journals, books) and news items.
A major expectation of all assessments whilst at DMU/DMUIC is that students work in the English language and generate their assignments in the English language. Initial work should be produced in English not a second language. This means that the use of any language generation/translation software or other websites is discouraged. The use of such tools may be considered Bad Academic Practice and the consequences outlined in the module handbook will apply.

Electric Dreams, Assignment 2
Electric Dreams
Nicholson plc is a specialist manufacturer of taxis that has been in business for more than 50 years. The company operates two factories, the original one is based in the West Midlands and the other is situated in the North East of England. Nicholson plc’s taxis have a reputation for exceptional quality and reliability.
In recent years, the company has suffered from falling sales and a decline in profitability. This has been due to:
– a fall in demand in the UK taxi market because taxi firms are replacing their vehicles less regularly
– an inability to compete with cheaper overseas competitors
– a lack of innovation in terms of developing new vehicle models.
Nicholson plc’s current Chief Executive, Peter Nicholson, is the great-grandson of the founder of the business. Aged 28, Peter has recently completed a Masters qualification in Business Administration (MBA) and he is keen to implement some of the ideas that he has learned. Peter intends to achieve the objective of rejuvenating the brand image of Nicholson plc and to achieve an annual operating profit of at least £15 million by 2024.
Peter’s first decision
Peter was appointed in January 2019. He wants to change the organisational structure of the business. He believes that the company has to respond more quickly to changes in its market and has to involve the workforce more in decision-making. During his MBA course, Peter had spent a three-month work placement at Nissan, where he had been impressed by the company’s culture and extensive use of kaizen groups.
Nicholson plc currently has a traditional, hierarchical organisational structure. Most of the managers throughout the organisation are experienced and have worked for the company for many years. However, Peter considers that they do not listen to the ideas of the workforce enough. Peter is keen to cut costs and to improve the speed of decision-making. To achieve this, he proposes to downsize and remove two management levels from the organisational structure. This will result in possibly ten managers being made redundant. The span of control of the remaining managers will double. Furthermore, Peter wants to encourage greater empowerment of the workforce by establishing kaizen groups throughout the organisation
Adapted from AQA June 2013

Key focus areas for this individual report:
1. Peter Nicholson proposes to downsize and remove two management levels from the organisational
structure and to encourage greater empowerment of the workforce in creativity, innovation and decision making. Discuss and evaluate this proposal. Identify conflicts might Peter face in implementing such a strategy and the impact on operational performance of issues such as motivation, team work and management.
2. In such a climate of organisational change both management and leadership skills throughout the workforce will be crucial to the success of Peter’s strategy and to the long term viability of Nicholson as an organisation, Analyse the methods of communication Peter Nicholson could use to inform his employees of forthcoming organisational change and the impact of communication on the management of change.
3. Peter thinks he could use Nissan’s culture of team working and consultation at Nicholson Plc, seeing the similarity in vehicle production as a specialist manufacturer of taxis. Discuss the Kaizen method, its advantages and disadvantages and advise Peter if this would be an appropriate method of empowerment for his staff, or is there an alternative method?
You are required to submit a formal structured report with content covering the specified focus areas above.
Your report should offer an Introduction to the strategies of downsizing, restructuring and the Kaizen methodology, and a brief overview of the organisation featured in the case study.
In a section detailed Findings you are required to demonstrate your ability to apply the learning from the module to the scenario outlined and complete the tasks below.
What is downsizing and what advantages, disadvantages might such a restructuring and associated job losses at management levels in particular have on the workforce of Nicholson plc.
What is empowerment and might such a workforce be ready for this type of employee engagement.
Will the new structure and opportunities for engagement improve motivation, performance and enhance team working throughout Nicholson plc
Communicating such drastic change is difficult, and no matter how it is done it will impact on all individuals. Impact can be minimised through good communication, how.
What are the basic principles of the Kaizen system and how could the advantages of such a methodology help Nicholson plc become more profitable and sustainable for the future?
In your Conclusions you should clearly evaluate all the proposals under consideration and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats to success and the longer term viability of Nicholson plc.
As a result of your learning throughout the module you should end your formal report with Recommendations to the Director on the implementation of change due to the adoption of his downsizing and restructuring proposal, minimising the impact on both the human and financial capital in the short, medium and long term, and identify a range of Key Performance Indicators, (KPIs) that could be used to judge the success of the changes.
References as usual.
Criteria Proposed marking structure Marks
Evidence of research
Good quality sources
Required range of sources • Student has undertaken some research, and at least two academic sources (up to 6 marks)
• Student has undertaken research that covers a range of sources including at least one book, one webpage and one other that is appropriate to the task (up to 11 marks)
• Student has undertaken thorough research that covers a wide range of resources as above in addition to a journal or further academic source (up to 17 marks)
• Student has undertaken extensive research that covers a wide range of resources as above in addition to further current academic sources in the public domain. (up to 25 marks) 25
Analytical Approach:
Arguments are justified through use of supporting evidence
Evidence is analysed • Basic descriptive discussion with little analysis, that begins to answer the question(s) (up to 9 marks)
• Some more developed discussion with analysis, using supportive statements and theories that answer the tasks set (up to 17 marks)
• Considerable discussion with analysis, evidence and examples to support task answer and with application of relevant theoretical models to the scenario (up to 23 marks)
• Excellent discussion with strong analysis, using a range of theoretical models and supportive evidence and examples and which draws justified conclusions, evidenced with a high level of research including various sources, (as detailed above) and followed through with recommendations. (up to 30 marks) 30
Student Voice:
Use of own words and style of writing; use of quotations is not excessive
Critical approach: stands of evidence are compared, contrasted and questioned • Own interpretation, own style developed, discussion evidence (some critical analysis within discussion can be drawn out of the evidence within the answers) up to 15 marks
• As above, with developing critical analysis, used to draw together and create contrast and comparison elements (up to 20 marks)
• As above, with excellent critique throughout, to draw strong conclusions that make sound discussion allowing an analytical and evaluative critique and offering recommendations that are justified (up to 25 marks) 25
Formal report Format
There is a sequential logic and clear structure to the assignment • Basic structure with unidentified elements of a beginning, middle and conclusive end (up to 5 marks)
• Developed formal identified structure with a conclusive argument woven and followed through that creates an appropriate justified conclusion, followed by an attempt at recommendations. (up to 7 marks)
• Excellent formal structure with an argument drawn from the structure of the report throughout with a final strong conclusion that is valid, relevant and appropriate to the arguments made throughout the assignment and with appropriate justifiable recommendations (up to 10 marks) 10
Correct use of Harvard conventions (in-text citations, reference list, cross-references)
• Harvard “Cite them Right” Referencing is evident, correct, alphabetised, and is appropriate (up to 5 marks)
General presentation:
Front cover
Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Correct use of paragraphing
Text formatting (line spacing, font size, word count, fully justified text) • Spelling, punctuation, grammar, appropriate use of paragraphs and a cohesive layout, which includes a front cover, a contents page, sub headings for report structure, as well as page numbers and a suitable footer (up to 5 marks)
• Text formatting (Arial 11 or 12, and double line spacing), and full justification, left and right 5
TOTAL: 100
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