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How will globalization affect the banking industry?

complete the research paper based on the attached proposal that has been approved by the university, taking into account the feedback that has been provided by the University. Also attached is the guideline for producing the final paper.

PROJECT PROPOSAL COVER SHEET
(to be completed by the student)
AIB student ID number:    A001322637

Student name:    Stanislav Rozjimaline

Teaching Centre/Adelaide/DL:    DL

Course/Specialisation:    MBA

Subject related to the
Project Proposal:
(ie which subject from the MBA course is the Project Proposal
mainly related to)
The project proposal mainly related to Human Resource Management, particularly international human resource management and Financial Banking and Institutions subjects

NB: If you are doing a specialised MBA the Subject most related to the Project Proposal MUST be related to the area of specialisation in order to receive the specialised degree

Title of the Project Proposal:    How will globalization affect the banking industry?

Word count:    1325

DECLARATION

By submitting or causing this document to be submitted, you, the abovenamed student, confirm that:
1. you understand the consequences of plagiarism and you confirm that you have not plagiarised any other person’s work in this Project Proposal and except where appropriately acknowledged, this Project Proposal is your own work, has been expressed in your own words, and has not previously been submitted by anyone else;
2. you have obtained consents from the organisation(s) to be studied and will retain consent forms from the organisation and from all persons interviewed or surveyed in the research, and further you are aware that you must attach copies of all consent forms to your Final Project.

CHECKLIST

Please complete the following checklist before submitting this Project Proposal:

0    Have you completed all sections of this Project Proposal Cover Sheet?

0    Have you adhered to the guidelines relating to word limit?

0    Where the research project is based on an organisation, have you obtained the written consent of the authorised person in that organisation and attached the letter of consent to the Project Proposal?

0    Is your document in ‘Microsoft Word’ format? AIB will not accept any other formats.

0    Is your document saved as “your full name” and “the name of the subject”? For example, the document is saved in the format “Jane Citizen – Project Proposal”.

0    Are you emailing this completed Project Proposal Cover Sheet with your Project Proposal (all in the same document) to your Teaching Centre (or to AIB directly if you are an Adelaide based or DL student)?

0    Does your email subject line state (1) your full name (2) your AIB Student ID No. 3) Project Proposal?

0    Will you retain confirmation of the time that you are emailing your Project Proposal? This Project Proposal Cover Sheet and your Project Proposal must be received by your Teaching Centre/AIB before the deadline.

0    Have you ensured that if your course is in an area of specialisation (eg MBA (Finance)) that the subject matter of Project Proposal is in that area of specialisation (eg in Finance)? You must ensure this happens if you wish to obtain a degree in the specialised area.

PROJECT PROPOSAL FEEDBACK FORM
(to be completed by the AIB assessor)

AIB student ID number:
Student name:
Course/Specialisation:

Introduction
Background information provided 0
Issue or problem identified 0

Focus for the study
Research purpose stated 0
Research questions identified 0
Significance identified 0
Project is feasible – topic & research qns  not too big, too small or too hot 0

Project related literature summary
Connection to an aspect of MBA studies 0
Alignment with MBA specialisation (NB: not required for MBA generic) 0
Literature cited 0

Research methodology
Research method explained and justified 0
Secondary data 0
Primary data 0
Data collection methods explained 0
Research approvals obtained 0

Schedule for completion
Research schedule or Gantt chart 0

Style Guide
Margins, line spacing and fonts 0
Dates and numbers 0
Harvard referencing 0
Sourcing and quotations 0
Labelling of figures, diagrams, tables 0
List of references 0

English
Spelling 0
Grammar 0

Structure and flow
Title is on the first page 0
Table of Contents 0
Logical structure 0
Connections between sections 0
Easy to read 0

Outcome:
Approved 0
Not Approved 0
Comments

Table of Contents

Introduction                                            4

Background of the Banking Industry                                4

Research Problem                                        5

Focus of the study                                        5

Statement of the purpose of the research                            6

Research questions                                        6

Significance of the project                                    6

Project Related Literature Summary                                6

Planned Methodology                                        7

Schedule for Completion                                    8

References                                            10

Introduction
This proposal represents the outline of the selected areas in the study the researcher intends to follow during the research process. The research is based on a preliminary investigation on the impact of globalization (international human resource management) in the banking industry. The main objective of this project is to write a report about the case study research to be conducted in the topic. The topic chosen for this study is “how will globalization affect the performance of the banking industry.” I am extremely interested to research on this topic to know how international human resource management can help the banking sector, for instance, banks to enhance their performance in global markets for competitive advantage. To avoid the proliferation of terminologies, I will focus on international human resource management and how it enhances the performance of employees in banks. On this note, the study will have different sections including a brief background of the banking sector, a literature review on the impact of globalization on the banking sector, and how international human resource management can enhance the efficiency of banks in the global markets, a detailed methodology such as data collection methods and how to analyze data. The report will also discuss the schedule for completion including tasks proposed, stages, and time to complete them using a Gantt chart.
Background of the Banking Industry
Commercial banks in the United States started in the 19th century. These banks acted as intermediaries, and provided insider lending because of lack of quality information systems and low bank influence. Despite their discriminatory practices of insider lending, most of these banks never failed (they reported increasing sales) hence resulting into the evolution of the financial institutions in the United States. During the 20th century, the banking sector in the United States was highly concentrated. Moreover, the 21st century globalization process has increased competition in the banking industry whereby banks are now forced to adapt new strategies in banking management approaches so as to realize a competitive advantage in the global market. The sophistication of the bank products, services, and processes require bank managers to invest heavily on management strategies in order to achieve a competitive edge in the global market. Most of the banks have extended globally as part of their strategies to get a larger share of the emerging economies hence requiring management strategies in order to attain a competitive advantage (Peek & Rosengren, (n.d), p.67). On this note, global human resource management is a core management strategy used in the banking industry to enhance their efficiency in the global market. International human resource management is the management of human resources for instance, utilizing skills, knowledge, and ideas in a global scale. The objective of international human resource management is to ensure that global companies are competitive, flexible and adaptive, efficient, and able to transform learning in the global market (Brewster & Harris, 2009, p.72).
Research Problem
Globalization has created a challenge in the management approaches of global and local employees in the banking industry. This study endeavors to discuss the impact of international human resource management in delivering quality services and products in the banking industry.
Focus of the study
The key focus of the study is how globalization has affected the banking sector, and how international human resource management can help in enhancing the efficiency of these firms in the global market.

Statement of the purpose of the research
Globalization has posed a challenge in the performance of most of the financial institutions that have expanded globally for competitive advantage. On this note, international human resource management is required in order to enhance the efficiency of the global firms.

Research questions
1)    How globalization has affected the banking sector?
2)    How international human resource management can help improve the performance of the banking industry in the global market?
3)    How different banks use international human resource management in recruiting talented workforce in their institutions?
Significance of the project
The significance of the study is to ascertain whether international human resource management can help to enhance the efficiency and performance of banks in global markets.
Projected Related Literature Summary
The globalization process has created a need for global companies to operate more efficiently to gain a competitive advantage, and one of the contributive factors towards this competitive gain is international human resource management. International human resource management is linked to organizations strategic needs (Chris & Johngseok, 2001, p.402). Most of the banks that have expanded globally have used different IHRM strategies including a full-fledged globalization of employee’s skills, business operations, and management operations in order to enhance the performance of managers and subordinate staff in overseas markets. The nature of the current competitiveness of global firms requires recruiting of world class talented managers and employees with the right knowledge and skills in order to deliver quality products and services in the global market (Edstrom & Galbraith, 2007, p.45).
Some of the forces that have forced companies to invest on international human resource management are global competition, advances in technology, company restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and telecommunication across the globe. All these factors are attributable to the globalization changes hence the need to have a human resource management strategy that will enhance the competence as well as productivity of the banking sector in global markets when delivering goods and services in the market (Barney, 2011, p.99). To enhance the efficiency of employees in overseas markets, most of the companies collaborate with leading universities in order to recruit a competent workforce in managerial positions. Therefore, international human resource management helps in developing technical expertise, strengthen global competence, value sharing, and fostering next generation of leaders. On this note, as the globalization increases competition in the banking sectors, international human resource management is one of the areas that the industry needs to focus on in order to ensure that they have enhanced their performance in overseas markets for competitive advantage (Brewster & Harris, 2009, p.256).
Planned Methodology
The research approach to be used is both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Data will be collected by means of interviews and questionnaires on the current status of the banking sector in terms of globalization, international human resource management, and quality of services provided. A total of ten questionnaires will be used during the study in order to get a general view of the respondents on the impact of international human resource management on the performance of the banking sector. Personal interviews will also be used in order to get a greater understanding and analysis of the perceptions on the impact of international human resource management on the banking industry in the United States. The target population comprises of human resource managers and bank employees to ascertain the form of global human resource management introduced by different banks in the c country. A sample of ten banks will be used during the study, and the banks will be selected on the basis that in the last five years, they had at least one form of global human resource management service delivery channel. Secondary data sources will also be used including research articles and journals from five prominent management journal articles and books published in the last ten years (2004-2014). These years were selected because they include recent articles with recent advancements on international human resource management. Meta-analysis will be used to integrate findings from the selected journal articles and books. This is a process of taking large samples of quantitative findings and conducting statistical analysis, as well so that the findings can be integrated by the researcher.
Schedule for Completion
A Gantt chart will be used in planning for the research project. The Gantt chart shows the tasks proposed, stages, and time to complete them. Figure I show the ten basic research project stages under different activities to be completed in nine weeks. Submission of the proposal is scheduled on the fourth week while the final project will be submitted in the ninth week.
ACTIVITY    1st    2nd    3rd    4th    5th    6th    7th    8th    9th
Choosing a research area

Preliminary research

Decide research topic

Decide methodology

Present proposal

Finalize methodology

Conduct research

Analyze data

Write up

Submit assignment
Figure 1: The Research Project Gantt chart

References
Barney, J. 2011. Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17: 99-120.
Brewster, C. & Harris, H. 2009. International HRM: Contemporary Issues in Europe. London: Routledge.
Chris, R, & Johngseok, B. 2001. The impact of globalization on HRM: The case of South Korea. Journal of World Business, Greenwich. Vol. 36, Iss. 4; p. 402.
Edstrom, A. & Galbraith, JR. 2007. Transfer of managers as a coordination and control strategy in multinational organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 22, pp. 248-63.
Peek, j., & Rosengren, E. (n.d). Implications of the Globalization of the Banking Sector: The latin American Experience. Available at: https://www.bostonfed.org/economic/conf/conf44/cf44_12.pdf [Accessed 4 November 2014].

Student Feedback

Reported on 20/11/2014 15:21:15
Student Name:
Subject:
Assessment Task:
Code:
Stanislav Rozjimaline
Project
MBA Project Proposal
729PROJ

Comments
Introduction
?
Background information provided
?
Issue or problem identified
Focus for the study
?
Research purpose stated
?
Research questions identified
?
Significance identified
?
Project is feasible – topic &research qns not too
big, too small or too hot
The introduction is good but you cant really find out how
globalization affect the performance of the banking
industry. You dont have a crystal ball. The study is about
The globalisation of the banking industry and human
resources – current impacts and future perspectives.
Write in academic paragraphs. Reference all information
in the background. The research problem should be
specific about the challenges. The research problem is
the thing you will address by your research, so this
should be well articulated, using references.
The research purpose should state. “this research will
investigate….” Answering the research questions should
achieve the purpose, so they should be tightly linked.
You will only get perceptions about the research
questions from interviews/surveys. This needs to be
acknowledged in the phrasing. Q3 is not phrased as a
question. Perceptions are fine but then you need to
compare them to what the literature says in the
implications section, and then you can come to
supported recommendations. See the logic of research
comment below. The significance section is
misunderstood. This should argue who the stakeholders
are that may benefit from what you find out and how.
Project related literature summary
?
Connection to an aspect of MBA studies
?
Alignment with MBA specialisation (NB: not
The lit. review was good but you don’t provide a reading
list. It should have been about what areas of literature
will be relevant and, why because it is just a proposal.
required for MBA generic)
?
Literature cited
Research methodology
?
Research method explained and justified
?
Secondary data
?
Primary data
?
Data collection methods explained
?
Research approvals obtained
Define all the terms/concepts methods that you use and
reference. for example, Convince the reader your
strategy/methods is the best to answer the questions.
Say why in relation to this study – be specific. For
example, “Smith (1999) argues that semi-structured
interviews are a good way of eliciting the perspectives of
participants. In this study it was important to get the
perspectives of participants because …” Say what
primary and secondary data are and reference.
Secondary data are raw data that you reanalyse. Will
you be doing that? a meta study of findings is a
literature review. You need to explain your sampling
strategy using theory. Say who you sampled and why.
It’s not clear which country the research will occur.
Schedule for completion
Good
?
Research schedule or Gantt chart
Style Guide
?
Margins, line spacing and fonts
?
Dates and numbers
?
Harvard referencing
?
Sourcing and quotations
?
Labelling of figures, diagrams, tables
?
List of references
Write in academic paragraphs:Structure of an academic
paragraph Topic sentence Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2 Supporting sentence n Conclusion
sentence Using structure will make your writing
academic and analytical. It will also force you to think in
a structured and logical way. A good way of
understanding a paragraph is to think of it as a mini
essay. The topic sentence tells reader the point the
writer wants to make. The supporting sentences expand
on the point; points to, describes, explains, or discusses
evidence/literature, and the concluding sentence
summarizes/and/or tells the reader what the significance
of the point is. In this way the reader knows not only
what the point is, but also what evidence there is to
make it, and importantly, why that point is being made.
The reference list is good.
English
very good
?
Spelling
?
Grammar
Structure and flow
?
Title is on the first page
?
Table of Contents
?
Logical structure
?
Connections between sections
?
Easy to read
Outcome:
Approved
Overall Comment
Good.
This was a very good proposal. My comments mainly address academic form and style which is important for
higher marks. The report should address what HRM is and how IHRM is different. Yo should then apply this to
globalisation and the banking sector in your Literature review. Be clear about the logic of research. The logic of
research is: Contextualise the study in literature discuss/critique relevant theory, don’t just describe it
(Intro/orientation/lit. review). Then say what the problem is and what you want to find out (research
problem/questions). Then say how you will find this out (methodology). Then display your results and
interpret/analyse them (data analysis). Then summarise what you have found in relation to the research
questions (summary of findings section). Then, in the implications section, compare what you have found to
theory. This will expose gaps, which you will address through your recommendations. The conclusion section
restates what you did, why, how, and what you found. You will come to recommendations by comparing the
perceptions you encounter to the literature. Expectations that need to be fulfilled for an HD. • Discuss and
critique relevant literature (discuss it in your own words and talk about how it applies to your study/
problem/organisation) • Fully describe and justify the methodology using literature. Define the terms you use and
reference. Then say how you applied these terms/methods in your own research and say WHY. Address privacy,
confidentiality and ethics. Say what the issues are (and reference) and how you addressed them. • Say how you
developed your interview schedule/surveys/questionnaires. The links should be clear from/to your initial sections.
Be transparent about what you did. • Don’t forget to include your research purpose/problem/questions and
research significance (sub)sections in the final • Use participant quotes in your qualitative analysis section for
evidence and stats for your quantitative data to support your interpretation. Show, in the summary of findings,
how the results/findings sections answered each of the research questions. • At some stage after this, compare
your findings back to the literature. The AIB learning materials say in the implications section This is where a lot
of marks are because you are applying theory to your results – see marking criteria. • Similarly, use literature to
support your recommendations. Again, this relates to the heavily weighted application of theory criterion • Aim
for a total of between 20-25 references • Be careful with detail. Read the AIB style guide 2x. Reference all
information. Novice researchers often confuse the meaning of the term “secondary data”. Although secondary
data can be found in books and journals, for example, secondary data is not literature. Literature and studies in
and of themselves are generally not secondary data. Secondary data can be found in books and journals (raw
data or summaries of data), however, you need to reanalyse this data yourself to call it secondary data. You can
analyse the books and journals themselves – for example, if researching sexism in 20th century writing, analysing
the content of newspapers would be analysis of secondary data. Most students conduct case studies of their
organisation so secondary data collected outside their organisation would rarely be useful. Exit interviews are a
classic example of secondary data because its data that has been previously collected but not by the researcher.
Separate the theory from how you apply it. For example, “Smith (1999) argues that semi-structured interviews
are a good way of eliciting the perspectives of participants. In this study it was important to get the perspectives
of participants because … Therefore interviews were chosen…”. This is important for two reasons. First, the
authors of the literature you refer to did not talk about you or your study as implied by the original referencing.
Second, it forces you to think and write in an academic way, showing your reasoning. The logic of research is:
Contextualise the study in literature discuss/critique relevant theory, don’t just describe it (Intro/orientation/lit.
review). Then say what the problem is and what you want to find out (research problem/questions). Then say
how you will find this out (methodology). Then display your results and interpret/analyse them (data analysis).
Then summarise what you have found in relation to the research questions (summary of findings section). Then,
in the implications section, compare what you have found to theory. This will expose gaps, which you will address
through your recommendations. Guide the reader through the report. Foreshadow what each section will do, for
example. Let the reader hear “your voice”. Take ownership of the writing and the report. Remember, its not so
much what you do or the conclusions that you come to that are important to marks but showing how you arrived
there (transparency). Good marks come from explaining and justifying (through logic and literature) what you
did, what you found showing your reasoning. The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate that you understand
theory and can apply it in a practical research context. Best wishes and good luck.

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AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE of BUSINESS the practical business school Master of Business Administration LEARNING MATERIALS PROJECT

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Master of Business Administration
LEARNING MATERIALS
PROJECT
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
1
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Overview …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Project purpose ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Pre- or co-requisite subjects ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Project outcomes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Phases and assessment ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Textbook and other reading ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Other recommended reading………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
How to Choose a Project ………………………………………………………………………… 8
What should be the topic area of the Project?………………………………………………………………………… 8
On what issue(s) should the Project focus? ……………………………………………………………………………. 8
Which methodology to use? ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
How to Structure The Project Proposal……………………………………………………..11
Title/Topic page ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
2. Focus for the study ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
3. Project related literature summary …………………………………………………………………………………. 12
4. Planned methodology (data collection, data analysis)…………………………………………………………. 12
5. Schedule for completion ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
References …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
Appendices ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Project Proposal Evaluation Checklist………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
How to Structure the Project …………………………………………………………………..15
Title/Topic page ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15
Executive summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
2. Orientation…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
3. Data collection and analysis …………………………………………………………………………………………… 20
4. Key findings ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
5. Key implications ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
6. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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729PROJ Project
Topic 1
APPENDIX A: Example Project Topics ……………………………………………………….27
APPENDIX B: Example Project Proposal …………………………………………………….29
APPENDIX C: Research Consent Forms ……………………………………………………..36
APPENDIX D: Project Proposal Evaluation Checklist ……………………………………39
APPENDIX E: Example Final Project with Assessor’s Comments …………………….40
APPENDIX F: Using Interviews to Collect Data ……………………………………………54
APPENDIX G: Referencing and Plagiarism ………………………………………………….59
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
3
Topic 1
729PROJ Project
Overview
Project purpose
For this subject, you are required to undertake a research project which addresses an issue
of strategic or functional importance to your organisation (or to another organisation of your
choice or to a project relating to a newly forming organisation). You will use knowledge of a
research method to implement that project, to report on the process and to identify the
learning gained by the relevant organisation or by yourself.
The purpose is therefore explanatory – you need to provide not only an account of what
occurred in terms of the sequence of the events but also the influencing factors, roles of key
players, and the impact of decisions both intended and emergent. In this sense, it is a
reflection on the past. But to achieve this, you may need to interview relevant individuals in
a process of reflection and analysis. Thus, one of the core challenges of a project is finding
the right balance between description and analysis.
Description without analysis will be insufficient for this Project.
Therefore, a business plan, marketing plan or anything similar is not appropriate for your
Project as it will not easily lend itself to the required analysis.
Pre- or co-requisite subjects
Before beginning the Project, you must complete the core subjects. Additionally, if you are
undertaking an MBA specialisation, you must first complete the subjects in that
specialisation or undertake them at the same time as the Project.
Project outcomes
On completing the Project, you should be able to:

Explain the underpinning concepts associated with the focus of the Project

Discuss the focus of and justification for the Project, the nature of the research
methodology chosen, the reasons for the choice of research methodology and the
issues involved in using the chosen methodology

Demonstrate high order of skills in observation and reflection, data collection, data
analysis and synthesis of results

Demonstrate creativity and flexibility in documenting the Project and its outcomes,
your reflections as the researcher and the learning acquired by yourself as the
researcher as well as the learning acquired by the participants in the Project and the
organisation or yourself which is the focus of this Project.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
4
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
Phases and assessment
There are three phases in the Project:
Phase 1:
Orientation and development of the Project Proposal
Phase 2:
Data collection and analysis
Phase 3:
Project
Phase 1 consists of:

Identifying a suitable topic for the Project. Some of the possible topics that can be
covered in your Project are shown in Appendix A. Please note that if you are
undertaking a specialised MBA, you must undertake your Project in the area of
specialisation. Failing that, you will be awarded a generic MBA, and your degree will
not reflect any specialisation,

Undertaking directed reading on case study research or action research relevant to the
Project,

Developing a Project Proposal and communicating with your Project Adviser to fine
tune the Project Proposal to an acceptable standard. The structure of the Project
Proposal is set out in the section of these materials entitled “How to Structure your
Project Proposal”.

As a guide, the Project Proposal could be between 1,000 to 2,000 words.
After your Project Proposal has been developed with your Project Advisor,
you must submit the Project Proposal to AIB and obtain AIB’s
approval before you may start work on your Project
Phase 2 comprises the systematic collection and analysis of the Project’s data and having
regular consultations with your Project Adviser.
Phase 3 consists of:

The writing of the draft Project,

Submission to the Project Adviser for comment and feedback, and

Final submission of the finished Project report to AIB with a total content of 4,500 to
6,000 words (excluding your cover page, the executive summary, table of contents, list
of references and appendices).
The Project should satisfy the following criteria:

Identify the critical need(s) or issue(s) confronting an existing organisation or a newly
forming organisation

Integrate the literature in the discipline area of the project

Describe and justify the use of a research methodology

Ensure ethical issues of informed consent are observed

Describe the research process and analyse the data.
Textbook and other reading
The textbook is: Saunders, M, Lewis, P & Thornhill, A 2009, Research Methods for Business
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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729PROJ Project
Topic 1
Students, Prentice Hall, London. Please use the most recent edition of the textbook
available.
This textbook covers topics such as:
• Formulating and clarifying the research topic (including how to write a research
proposal). Appendix A lists several project topics to provide inspiration for your Project
Proposal.
• Critically reviewing the literature
• Deciding on the research approach and choosing the research strategy (this covers a
wide range of possible methodologies like experiments, survey, case study, ethnography,
action research, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies)
• Negotiating access and research ethics – you should use the AIB Research Consent Form
with all your interviewees. This form is provided in Appendix C of these materials.
• Using secondary data (especially useful for students doing a finance Project)
• Collecting primary data using semi-structured and in-depth interviews
• Collecting primary data using questionnaires (for survey research)
• Analysing quantitative data (e.g. survey research data, financial reports etc.)
• Analysing qualitative data (like the interview data in case study research)
• Writing and presenting your Project
The textbook has numerous examples of Project research and writing.
Other recommended reading
You are encouraged to review one or two books from the list below that are appropriate for
your chosen methodology, for example, action research or case study. Note that Carson et
al. (2001) has an excellent treatment of case study, interview and focus group research that
can be used in any business field.
Abraham, S, 1994, Exploratory Action Research for Manager Development, ALARPM.
Bouma, GD & Ling, R 2004, The Research Process, 5th edn, Oxford University Press.
Carson, D, Gilmore, A, Gronhaug, K & Perry, C 2001, Qualitative Research in Marketing, Sage,
London.
Coghlan, D & Brannick, T 2004, Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization, 2nd edn,
Sage Publications.
Gomm, R, Hammersley, M, & Foster, P (eds) 2000, Case Study Method, Sage Publications.
Greenwood, DJ & Levin, M 1998, Introduction to Action Research: Social Research for Social
Change, Sage Publications.
Greenwood, Davydd (ed.) 1999, Action Research: from Practice to Writing in an International
Action Research Development Program, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
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Hart, C, 1999, Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination,
Sage Publications.
Hart, C, 2001, Doing a Literature Search, Sage Publications.
Merriam, SB 1997, Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education, JosseyBass, San Francisco.
Moon, J 2000, Learning Journals: A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional
Development, Falmer/Kogan Page.
Preece, RA 1994, Starting Research: An introduction to Action Research & Dissertation
Writing, St. Martins Press, New York.
Stringer, ET 2007, Action Research, 3rd edn, Sage Publications.
Yin, RK 2002, Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 3rd edn, Sage Publications.
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How to Choose a Project
What should be the topic area of the Project?
As indicated above, if you are undertaking a generic MBA (as opposed to a specialised MBA),
you can choose to do a Project in any area relevant to any of your MBA subjects. However, if
you are undertaking a specialised MBA, you must undertake your Project in the area of
specialisation. Failing that, you will be awarded a generic MBA. That is, your degree will not
reflect any specialisation.
The Project can be based on your organisation, another existing organisation of your choice
or a project relating to a newly forming organisation, and can be either an extension of an
assignment completed in a previous subject in that discipline area, or can focus on a
different issue.
On what issue(s) should the Project focus?
Subject to the limitation stated above regarding Projects in a specialised MBA, once you
have selected your topic area your focus within that area should be an issue that you want
to learn more about. To help you make this choice, you must draw upon your personal
interests and vision, your accumulated work experiences and the knowledge you have
gained from the subjects you have studied. Most importantly, there are two questions that
you must answer:


What is an issue or area that I need to know more about if I am going to build my career
or business?
What types of organisational or entrepreneurial examples could provide the most
learning for me?
A starting point for answering these questions is to think about the MBA subjects and the
assignments and topics within those subjects that you received the best marks for and
enjoyed the most. Appendix A has many examples of Project topics. Browsing through that
list should provide you some insights to these two key questions.
Appendix A is provided for inspiration – please do not be limited by these topics
Also, you should consider the ‘Goldilocks test’ for project selection. The topic and research
questions should not be “too big, too small or too hot – but should be just right”:


Those that are too big demand too many resources (like interviewing the CFOs of the top
50 companies in Australia).
Those that are too small are likely to be of insufficient substance (like a cost benefit
analysis comparing leasing and purchase of new equipment).
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Those that are too hot may be so because of sensitivities that can be aroused as a result
of doing the research (often this is a matter that is commercially or politically sensitive
and is unlikely to be approved by the organisation).
Whereas, a project that is ‘just right’ will not have any of the above attributes and will
typically be a case study (because action research takes so long to do) and will require
the collection and analysis of primary and secondary data.
It is very important to identify your focus from the outset. Then, you can be more selective
about what information you gather. So, it is a good idea to start with a general research idea
and then focus on a related research question that your project will address. For example,
(extracted from the textbook, p. 24):




‘Job recruitment through the Internet’ becomes focused on ‘How effective is recruiting
for new staff through the Internet in comparison with traditional methods?’
‘Advertising and share prices’ becomes focused on ‘How does running a TV advertising
campaign designed to boost the image of a company affect its share price?’
‘The use of aromas as a marketing tool’ becomes focused on ‘How does the use of
specific aromas in supermarkets affect buyer behaviour?’
‘The future of trade unions’ becomes focused on ‘What strategies can trade unions
adopt to assure their future viability?’
For an example of focus in a case study, see Thomas Davenport, “Teltech: The Business of
Knowledge Management Case Study”. (Reference:
http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/kman/telcase.htm).
Another source of good examples of focused cases is Branding Asia.com which provides case
studies
of
effective
branding
in
Asia.
(Source:
http://www.brandingasia.com/cases/cases.htm).
Some other Internet sites that may be useful sources of focus ideas are:

MIT Centre for Entrepreneurship: http://entrepreneurship.mit.edu/index.php

CMO Consulting International: Innovations in Marketing Strategies
http://www.webcmo.com/index.html

Brint.com: The Premier Business Technology Knowledge Portal and Global
Communication Centre http://www.brint.com/
If you are interested in the issues involved in entering an industry, you could obtain AIB’s
agreement to a case study research Project that is industry focused. You might then explore
one or two industries through discussing:

What are the barriers to entry?

What are the key success factors?

What knowledge and skills are required to enter the industry?

What have new entrants learnt about the industry?

What organisational structure is most effective in the industry?
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Which methodology to use?
You can choose from a wide range of methodologies to collect data about your focus issue.
Chapter 4 of the textbook is a good starting point to explore the available methodologies. As
AIB is committed to work-applied methods, we advise the use of the case study research
methodology or the action research methodology. However, if any of the following
situations apply, it might be advisable not to undertake an action research project:





You cannot get access to a change oriented project
You are limited by time and your role commitments
You do not have the knowledge, skills or access to engage in a major organisational
intervention
You lack the support of a sponsor
Your own organisation is anxious about change oriented projects
It is important that you do not underestimate the time required to do a case study research
project. It is a research project and has to be thorough in its methods and application.
One of the advantages of the case study research project is that you can undertake a study
of any organisation. It does not have to be your own organisation. It can also be broader
than just one organisation. You could, for example, study the development of a particular
management approach in a number of organisations. One typical study would be research of
the approach to new product development by two or three organisations in different
industries or in the same industry.
Conclusion
The Project is designed to enable you to pursue an area of interest that is relevant to the
development of your business. The main aim is to provide an avenue for learning for yourself
and others who might be interested in the area. In the final analysis, you should be able to
answer the three key questions:



What did I learn from the Project?
How does this learning relate to the literature, for example, to my textbooks?
What learning would be valuable for others?
Please note as indicated above, a business plan, marketing plan or anything similar is not
appropriate for your project.
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How to Structure The Project Proposal
Your Project Proposal must cover all the points explained within these materials. Please note
that you must follow all the usual rules detailed in the AIB Style Guide including guidelines
regarding citing and referencing.
Please read the example Project Proposal in Appendix B
as you read through this section of the materials
The key sections of the Project Proposal are as follows:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.


Title/Topic page
Table of Contents
Introduction
Focus for the study
Project related literature summary
Planned methodology
Schedule for completion
References
Appendices
Title/Topic page
State your proposed project research topic title. It should be descriptive of the focus and
concise. Refer to Appendix A for many examples, which you should only use as inspiration.
1. Introduction
This section has 2 parts:
Background
Provide background information about the organisation that is the site of your research.
Project research problem (need for the study)
Establish the need for your study by describing the problem and related issues in the area
that you intend to research.
2. Focus for the study
This section has 3 parts:
Purpose of research project
Provide a clear and succinct statement of the purpose of your research.
Research questions
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List your research questions. Your research questions (usually “what”, “how”, “why” or
“what if”) should number about 4-6, so that the focus of your study is manageable. These
research questions should not be so broad that they will demand too many resources, nor
should they be so narrow as to be of insufficient substance. Also, they should not be too
controversial because of sensitivities that may be aroused as a result of doing the research.
Refer to the ‘Goldilocks Test’ referred to in the above section entitled ‘How to Choose a
Project’. The purpose of your study is to discover the answers to these research questions.
Consider carefully what research questions you will ask, as these research questions will
drive your data collection and analysis.
Significance of the project
Indicate the outcomes you hope to achieve for policy and/or practice in your organisation
from this research.
3. Project related literature summary
Because the Project should cover a subject area of your degree studies, the connection to
the background of your degree studies must first be explained. For example, if you are
researching advertising, explain how it is part of the promotion mix. If you are researching
recruiting in a firm, explain how recruiting fits into the complete Human Resources
Management (HRM) function. As indicated above, please note, if you undertaking your MBA
in an area of specialisation, the Project must be on a topic within that specialisation.
Next, indicate your initial understanding of the Project topic based on a review of the
literature. Your review does not have to be extensive for the proposal. However, you should
have done an initial survey of the literature to establish your directions. List some of those
references, which will usually include one or more of your textbooks and published articles
relevant to your project. Your list must be relevant to your topic and correctly referenced
(refer to your AIB Style Guide for examples of correct referencing).
4. Planned methodology (data collection, data analysis)





Describe the research methodology you plan to use, and why it is the most suited for
answering your particular research questions. This could, for example, be the case
research method or an action research project.
Describe the secondary data sources you will use. Are there specific published
materials that can be used to provide some background and form the foundations of
your research? There may be Government, Trade, Industry or workplace resources you
can access.
Explain the primary data you plan to obtain and the data collection methods you will
employ such as observation, surveys, interviews and focus groups.
What questions will you be asking and which people or organisations would you
involve?
Explain that you will be arranging for each interviewee or respondent to sign the
Research Consent Forms as provided in Appendix C and that you will include those
forms as an appendix to your Project.
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5. Schedule for completion


Depict the tasks proposed and the stages/times for their completion.
A schedule or Gantt chart would be appropriate to help with the planning of research
activities and timelines. Label your timetable ‘Figure 1’ along with the title above the
diagram. If you include charts, tables or figures in your Project, these would be
similarly labelled and the source shown underneath (e.g. Source: Jones 2009, or
Source: developed for this research).
References
List references you have consulted thus far and appear to be useful. Refer to your AIB Style
Guide to ensure you have referenced correctly.
Appendices
Use appendices to display documents that are relevant to your Project Proposal, but would
interrupt the flow of your proposal if they were included in the main text. You may include,
for example, explanatory information about the background of your study, pilot study
material, or questions for interviews.
Project Proposal Evaluation Checklist
It is very important for you to remember that your Project Proposal must be evaluated and
approved by AIB before you can proceed to undertake the research required for the Project
and write up your Project.
AIB assessors will use the Project Proposal Evaluation Checklist (which is reproduced in
Appendix D) to determine whether your Project Proposal can be approved or not approved.
This Checklist covers the key sections of structure of the Project Proposal as detailed above.
In addition, the Checklist highlights the importance of three additional things that you must
take into account, namely:

AIB Style Guide – ensure that you carefully review the AIB Style Guide and follow all the
conventions (eg margin, fonts, line spacing etc) and in particular ensure that you use the
correct quoting and referencing method otherwise you may be found guilty of plagiarism
which carries strict penalties;

Spelling and Grammar – ensure that you have used correct spelling and grammar in your
Project Proposal by proof reading the document yourself, using the spell checker in Word
and/or asking a friend to proofread the document for you;

Structure – lastly, you should ensure that your Project Proposal has a sound structure
with connections and a logical flow. There should be a logical sequence and connections
between the sections so that the Project Proposal develops almost like a story.
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Therefore, please pay particular attention to the Checklist to ensure that your Project
Proposal will meet the requirements for approval. If not, you will be required to correct and
re-submit the Project Proposal for which an additional assessment fee will be charged by
AIB.
O STRUCTURE THE PROJECT REPORT
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How to Structure the Project
This section of the materials describes the structure of the Project.
The broad structure and key sections of the Project are as follows:



1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.


Title/Topic page
Executive summary
Table of Contents
Introduction
Orientation
Data collection and analysis
Key findings
Key implications
Conclusion
References
Appendices
The total length of the Project should be 4,500 to 6,000 words. Please observe the words
limit because you will be penalised, as per the AIB Style Guide, if you go under or over this
limit. This word count limit does not include your cover page, the executive summary, table
of contents, list of references, or appendices. So, you may place any supporting material that
exceeds this word limit into appendices. However, a reader should not have to look at an
appendix to understand the main thrust of the points you are making in your Project. Make
sure all your main points are in the body of your Project. You should refer to the appendices
that will support the points you are making in the body of your Project, because the reader
may not look at the appendices otherwise. (Note that relevant supporting material in these
appendices that demonstrates thoughtful application of concepts could help your mark.)
The contents for each section of your Project are explained in detail next.
For each section of the Project, we have provided examples with comment annotations by
an assessor on the right hand side to alert you to issues involved in the examples. A full
example Project is provided in Appendix E with an assessor’s comments included.
Title/Topic page
The title of the project may be similar to the title of the Project Proposal but you may wish to
modify it after feedback is provided from the assessor so that the title is a better explanation
of what is intended by the research.
The title itself should capture the essence of the research, perhaps by drawing on parts of
the research question(s) or the intended impact of the Project. The title should also not be
too long and 10 words or less is usually quite sufficient.
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729PROJ Project
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Executive summary
The executive summary is written after the first draft of the Project is completed. It is about
200 words long and should cover the following:






a short theme sentence to orient the reader
what was the purpose of the Project?
why did you do it, why is it important?
the research methodology (data collection and analysis) – what did you do and what
happened?
what were the results or findings (patterns or correlations in the data)?
what are the implications, what is your work good for (for example, how does it
confirm or disconfirm the literature, and what are the recommendations for
management practice or government policy)?
For your Project, the final implications in the executive summary can often be summarised in
one short sentence, for example, that managers in your local country or region can use your
Project to improve their practices.
Here is an example executive summary. It is an appropriate 195 words long and correctly has
no citations (but please note citations should be frequent in the rest of your Project). To save
space in this and subsequent examples, the font and line spacing are reduced to 11 point
and single line spacing, but the original complied with the requirements in the AIB Style
Guide. The example is based on a former student’s Project.
EXAMPLE – Executive Summary
Performance management is central to gaining competitive advantage because performance
management is the process through which managers ensure that employees’ activities and outputs
are congruent with the organisation’s goals.
Comment [CRP1]: a short theme
sentence to orientate the reader
Thus the purpose of this research is to develop and implement a SME’s performance management
system to ensure correct skills and competencies are developed. This was important because there
has been little research about performance management in SMEs and because new Australian
government regulations require this.
This research examined how one Australian SME training organisation introduced these concepts
into the business. Three stages of data collection and analysis were carried out: a review of existing
data, interviews and focus groups with 10 organisations and 15 individuals, and an online survey of
250 registered training organisations from around Australia. Ten organisations provided data for
analysis and fifteen individuals were interviewed.
The major finding was that introduction of performance management has been difficult for many
other SMEs but that the focal case had successfully gone through the transition using an action
learning approach.
The case report will benefit managers in the training industry as well as other managers in other
industries tasked with developing performance management systems.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP2]: what was the
purpose?
Comment [CRP3]: why did you do it,
that is, why is it important?
Comment [CRP4]: what did you do and
what happened (that is, the research
method)?
Comment [CRP5]: what were the
results or findings (patterns in the data)?
Comment [CRP6]: The implications
can usually be summarized in one short
sentence that says managers in your local
country or region can use the report to
improve their practices.
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
1. Introduction
The Introduction should be no more than 1.5 pages of your Project (using the line spacing
and font required by the AIB Style Guide) and should cover five core ideas that are different
from what the executive summary was about:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
establish the background field (the aspect of your degree studies that this Project will
focus on), and assert its significant position in theory or practice;
summarise previous research (only one or two brief paragraphs at the most);
indicate gaps, inconsistencies or controversies, and why they are important;
state the purpose of the present research (to address point 3), state briefly the main
aspects of how data was collected and analysed, and conclusions of the research (and
advanced students may add a sentence about their contributions (related to point 3));
outline of the Project.
[
Firstly, state what the background field is – it is usually one of the topics in one of your
degree subjects such as ecotourism, entrepreneurial characteristics or financial reports.
Secondly, very briefly summarise previous research about that established topic that was
noted in the textbook and possibly referred to in some articles.
Then you point out that there is a gap, inconsistency or controversy about an issue within
that established field. For your Project, the gap usually appears where there has been little
research about how managers in your country or region actually apply the concepts. For
example, the gap could be how ecotourism is done in Singapore or South Australia, the
characteristics of entrepreneurs in a manufacturing industry in Ghana, or how financial
statements are used in Vietnam. If you can, you might mention that this gap is an important
one because the area is significant, with supporting statements such as ecotourism is
growing in Singapore; entrepreneurship is critical for the development of Ghana; free
enterprise is growing fast in Vietnam.
Then at about the third or fourth paragraph of the Introduction, start a new paragraph by
stating your research purpose. For example, ‘The purpose of this research is to explore how
one ecotourism operator in Singapore actually manages a small entrepreneurial business’, or
‘The purpose of this research is to find the four main characteristics of entrepreneurs in
Ghana’. Then, briefly describe some key aspects of your research; and in one sentence, what
your main findings were (to entice the reader to keep reading on).
The final paragraph of the Introduction then outlines the Project, starting with the sentence,
‘This report has five sections after this Introduction’. Then, in that paragraph you should give
a brief summary of the sections – no more than one sentence per section.
Here is an example of an Introduction. It covers each of the five core ideas that need to be
presented in an Introduction.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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EXAMPLE – 1. Introduction
Performance management is central to gaining competitive advantage because performance
management is the process through which managers ensure that employees’ activities and outputs
are congruent with the organisation’s goals (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart & Wright 2006). A foundation
of performance management is a quality management system. To remain competitive, it is necessary
for an organisation to develop a quality system that will ensure not only compliance with quality
standards but also foster continuous improvement.
This importance of these quality management systems applies to small-to-medium enterprises
(SMEs) as well as to large organisations. Governments can enforce this coverage. For example, the
government in Australia requires all registered training organisations (RTOs), large or small, to have a
quality management system (The Training System 2008). In order to check this compliance, state and
territory registering authorities may conduct regular audits of a registered training organisation’s
systems, processes and practices. However, the SME registered training organisations could find it
difficult to compete with the large training organisations because their resources are limited and the
costs of compliance and change are high.
While some research about their quality management systems has been undertaken within large
government-owned registered training organisations like Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
bodies in Australian states, independent SME registered training organisations have been given little
research attention even though they are expected to meet the same standards as larger ones. The
lack of information about human resources in these SMEs is problematic for theory, research, and
practice. Current theory is often developed and tested in large organisations. Little information exists
on benchmarking by smaller organisations, including financial or non-financial performance data
relative to competitors. As a result, little is known about the extent to which the theory extends to
smaller entrepreneurial organisations (Wright & McMahan 1992).
Thus the purpose of this research is to develop and implement a SME’s performance management
system to ensure correct skills and competencies are developed. This is achieved in a case of the
successful management of a small registered training organisation within the Vocational Education
and Training sector complying with Australian Quality Training Framework 2007’s (AQTF 2007)
standards (DEEST 2007a). Electus established a system-wide approach to continuous improvement
known as the registered training organisation Quality Framework™ (Chalkport, 2007). Electus
reviewed AQTF 2007 (DEEST 2007a) requirements, researched the characteristics and behaviours of
stakeholders through interviews, focus groups and a survey of managers of similar organisations
within the nationally accredited training sector. The case report will benefit managers in the training
industry as well as other managers in other industries tasked with developing performance
management systems.
This report has five sections after this Introduction. First, a review of the literature is provided. Then
data collection and analysis are described. Then key findings are discussed. Next, key implications are
described. Finally, the report concludes.
2. Orientation
The second section of your Project will orient the reader by describing the background of the
research Project. There are two parts of this section:
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP7]: 1. This paragraph
fulfils the requirement of the first paragraph
to set the scene in the established fields of
performance management and quality
management.
Comment [CRP8]: This short sentence
at the start of a paragraph is a theme
sentence and nearly all your paragraphs
should have one. The theme sentence
summarises what the whole of the
following parts of the paragraph will cover.
Comment [CRP9]: 2. This second
paragraph summarises what has been done
in the field identified in the first paragraph.
Comment [CRP10]: 3. Good point – the
gap is noted in this sentence – no one has
done any research into SMEs.
Comment [CRP11]: This advanced
student makes the good point that the gap
identified in the first sentence of this
paragraph is important.
Comment [CRP12]: 4 Now the aim or
objective is pointed out.
Comment [CRP13]: A brief summary
of the research to make it interesting to
make the reader want to keep reading on.
Comment [CRP14]: This advanced
student points out why the research should
be important.
Comment [CRP15]: A good short
overview of the Project is provided here.
729PROJ Project


Topic 1
some more information from a review of the literature about the background field – to
establish the concepts and issues underpinning this Project;
some more information about the subject organisation(s) – to establish the research
problem and related issues, the associated research questions and the significance of
the Project outcomes to the organisation.
The first part provides some more of the literature about the background field like
ecotourism, entrepreneurial characteristics or financial reports. You provided one or two
paragraphs about this in the Introduction. But here you provide more evidence that you
have read the literature (especially the textbook) and some journal articles and articles from
the Internet. This discussion of the literature does not need to be very long – about half a
page may be sufficient although advanced students might go up to about two pages. A
definition of the core terms would be a minimum; and then a very brief description of some
of the main themes in the literature about the field, usually starting at a very broad level and
then narrowing it down. For example, if the field was ecotourism, start by defining the term
and selecting the definition you prefer for your project from among the various alternatives.
Then, start at a broad level by saying that the term of ecotourism covers a wide range of
tourism from reef activities through bushwalking to nature-based attractions like zoos.
Finally, describe the narrow aspect of ecotourism explored by your project, like reef
activities, for example.
The second part of this section describes the subject organisation that is the target of the
study. Discuss its origins, how it became involved with the business issues in question (the
research problem), what it needs to address (the research questions), and why the focus of
the study is important to this organisation (the significance of the Project). For example, this
section may describe how a reef resort was established and how it has grown, how casinos
are being developed in Singapore, how a small software company was established in
Adelaide, or how a hotel is operating in Ho Chi Minh city.
This whole section will take about three or four pages. In the example Project about Electus
noted above, there were two paragraphs explaining what performance management and
quality management were and why they were important based on a review of the literature.
Then the example section oriented the reader about the Electus case study, as shown below.
In the example below, the first part that elaborated on performance management and
quality management is skipped. It starts with the second part about the case study. Some
other parts of the section are also skipped so that you are not overwhelmed by detail, and
these excisions are shown with an ellipsis (…).
EXAMPLE – 2. Orientation
2.1 Literature review

2.2 Case study: Electus
…The Australian government recognised the need to ensure quality in the national training sector
and released the Australian Quality Training Framework essential standards in 2005, revising it
again in 2007 to include voluntary excellence criteria for continuous improvement. All registered
training organisations are required to focus on quality outcomes rather than compliance with
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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729PROJ Project
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regulations; a big shift in thinking for some of them. Electus is one of the few SMEs able to make
the shift. Furthermore, performance management measurements are the core of its required
change in strategy.

Electus is a computer application and professional development training provider, located in
Adelaide, South Australia. It has been operating for over twenty years and is dominant in its
market. As an SME, Electus has been dedicated to designing customised information,
communication and technology training solutions to meet skills development requirements for
corporate and government personnel, and for many years has been recognised as a ‘best practice’
provider. Systems and procedures have been designed to ensure clients receive quality training.
However, until 2007 when it made a strategic change, Electus was not a registered training
organisation and therefore, while providing its clients with a good service in single topic
technology training, it could not offer a training pathway for national accreditation. Also affected
by other changes in the workforce because of a national skills shortage, Electus identified itself as
being in an unsustainable position and had to craft a new strategy in order to compete in the
vocational education and training sector.
Through a SWOT analysis, Electus saw an opportunity. Government incentives for increased
training opportunities and the strength of existing best practice reputation for delivery of nonassessed courses required a change in strategy which would include the use of management
systems that would ensure compliance. After reviewing its position, a new strategy was crafted
(Thompson et al. 2006). Work was undertaken to align courseware with the national standards
for accredited training and apply for registration as a registered training organisation… Electus
also chose to move beyond compliance and aspire to the voluntary ‘excellence criteria’ that are
based on a set of validated best practice management principles contained in the AQTF 2007 to
provide a set of guidelines designed to accommodate diversity and innovation. The criteria define
the ways that registered training organisations may operate to achieve high quality outcomes
(DEEST 2007b).
Initially, Electus’ administrative, support and sales teams were confused about expectations and
found it difficult to proactively take on new tasks. Trainers were afraid the added complexity of
compliance records would create an additional workload for which they would not be
remunerated. By engaging all stakeholders in group sessions to assist in gaining an understanding
of the impact change will have on each role and gain organisation wide culture of ownership,
Electus was able to defuse much of the angst and encourage a mindset ready for change.
In brief, performance management is key part of implementing a strategy. The challenge for
Electus was to be able to continue offering a best practice service while also gaining ‘street-cred’
as a quality provider of nationally recognised training by building institutional status in a sector
dominated by government-run Technical and Further Education bodies. New performance
measurements congruent with strategic goals had to be set to align with the government
mandated standards in the AQTF (2007)…
3. Data collection and analysis
This section describes your research methodology, that is, how you collected your
information, for example, through interviews or case studies. You must provide precise
details of this methodology, for example, how many interviews were done and who was
involved; and you must describe the data collection methods used (such as how the
interviews were done) with some references to the textbook and other sources to show that
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP16]: A broad picture of
the background fields of performance
management and quality management have
already been given in the first part of this
section – a definition, various types and so
on – but it is skipped in this example. This
paragraph in the example is just the final
part of that start of the section. There is
mention of performance management in
this paragraph because that is what the
research is about. The paragraph leads from
that discussion of the literature into the
case.
Comment [CRP17]: A good amount of
specific details here.
Comment [CRP18]: This is a good,
short theme sentence at the start of a
paragraph that summarises what the whole
paragraph will be about. Excellent writing
technique.
Comment [CRP19]: A citation to the
text – good work.
Comment [CRP20]: Another good
theme sentence. This paragraph will be
about the initial steps taken by Electus.
Comment [CRP21]: This has been a
long section so this summary paragraph
at the end (starting with ‘In brief,’) is
handy. The reader now has the background
understanding required to read on.
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the methods were applied correctly. Explain how your interview or survey questions are
related to the focus and objectives of the Project. You must include a copy of the interview
questions or the survey questionnaire in an appendix.
As well, describe how your data was analysed. When reporting what the data showed, start
with the overall picture first and then go into the details; that is, give the forest before
describing the trees in the forest, as shown below. When describing information from
interviews, first give the main finding in your own words and then occasionally give a
quotation from an interviewee to prove to the reader that your interpretation is correct.
Here is an example from the Electus Project of how the forest is described before the trees
in the forest, and a quotation is added:
EXAMPLE
Discussions with managers of registered training organisations, in particular compliance managers,
illuminated three significant issues of cost, change and benchmarking. The first issue concerns
financial restraints on a small business. Implementing change in order to comply with government
changes creates financial stress in the organisation. Many respondents said that finding the
resources to train all staff in the new approach is impossible. In particular, trying to remunerate
professional staff for their time to learn about AQTF requirements, when they are paid to train rather
than for administration, is a problem. One manager participating in a focus group session talked
about his situation said, “Time and money for inviting trainers to go to professional development is
our biggest constraint”.
As well, ethics considerations should be covered, for example, explain that the AIB Research
Consent Form (see Appendix C) was used for interviewees to give their informed consent,
and that copies of these are included in an appendix.
If you use just one case, you should justify doing so. Having only one case is unusual but can
be justified if it meets just one or more of these three criteria (Yin 1994):



the case is a critical one for confirming, challenging or extending a theory because it is
the only one that meets all of the conditions of the theory;
the case is rare or extreme and finding other cases is so unlikely that research about
the situation could never be done if the single case was not investigated (for example,
a clinical psychology case sometimes fits in this category);
the case provides unusual access for academic research, and unless the case is
investigated, an opportunity to investigate a significant social science problem may be
lost. An example may be the access to his or her own firm provided to a researcher to
show how strategic marketing planning is actually done in the real world (with all its
confidential information, power politics and human weaknesses that usually prevent
academic researchers from finding out the real story about it).
Give citations for your research methodologies. Your textbook for the Project is the bare
minimum reference:
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
21
Comment [CRP22]: Note how well
organised everything is. This blocking of
everything into three blocks is very easy to
follow.
Comment [CRP23]: The overall
picture of the finding is given at the start
and then the details and proofs are given.
That is, give the forest before describing the
trees in the forest.
Comment [CRP24]: This insertion of
quotations into the report helps to convince
the reader that you have actually found
what you are saying you found. This is an
important point.
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Saunders, M, Lewis, P and Thornhill, A 2009, Research Methods for Business Students,
FT Prentice Hall, Harlow, England.
You should cite some other sources of information about how to collect data. These three
sources are excellent references about case research.



Carson, D., Gilmore, A., Perry, C. and Gronhaug, K. 2001, Qualitative Marketing
Research, Sage, London. (The manuscript of the chapter in this book that covers
interviewing to collect information about a case is in Appendix G)
Perry, C 1998, ‘Processes of a case study methodology for postgraduate research in
marketing’, European Journal of Marketing, vol.32, issue 9/10, pp. 785-802.
Yin, R 2008, Case Study Research – Design and Methods, 4th edn, Sage, London. (Earlier
editions are adequate, too).
Here is an example of the research method (data collection and analysis) section in the
Electus Project. Note that some quotations are correctly included to verify and illustrate the
findings from interview data. Again, some parts of the section are skipped so that you are
not overwhelmed by details, and these excisions are shown with an ellipsis. By the way, do
not refer to the literature from section 2 while you are analysing the data in this section
above – the linkages back to literature and the findings are identified in the key implications
section, not in this section.
EXAMPLE – 3. Data collection and analysis
The framework for an action learning implementation of a performance management system at
Electus merged from three different but related processes. Stage one was a thorough
understanding of the requirements for AQTF 2007 standards and voluntary excellence criteria.
This stage used secondary data. The second stage involved the collection of primary data from
interviews and focus group meetings with managers and staff of Electus and other registered
training organisations (Saunders,Lewis & Thornhill 2003). Ten organisations provided data for
analysis and fifteen individuals were interviewed. Each interviewee signed the AIB Individual
Consent form. The third and final stage also collected primary data. It was an online survey
presented in the form of an opportunity for all registered training organisations to benchmark
their performance. Quantitative data collected was analysed and returned to each participating
registered training organisation for in-house monitoring of the effectiveness of their
management systems.
The research methodology was single case research (Perry 1998; Saunders,Lewis & Thornhill
2003; Stokes & Perry 2007; Yin 1994) involving Electus, a small registered training organisation.
Having only one case was justified because, firstly, it provided unusual access for academic
research, and unless the case was investigated, an opportunity to investigate a significant social
science problem may be lost. The researcher was the managing director of Electus and access to
her own firm provided information that academic researchers can miss from a real story about a
situation (like commercial-in-confidence information, power politics and human weaknesses).
A second justification for the single case is that a small registered training organisation in
Australia provides a rare chance to investigate a SME successfully using performance
management for a strategic purpose. The Australian government recognised the need to ensure
quality in the national training sector and released the Australian Quality Training Framework
essential standards in 2005, revising it again in 2007 to include voluntary excellence criteria for
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP25]: This section has a
brief summary of the three stages and then
it will go into some details of each stage in
later parts of the section that have their own
sub-heading.
Comment [CRP26]: This student really
is quite advanced. A good student will
justify the methodology and this is done in
this and in the next paragraph.
729PROJ Project
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continuous improvement. All registered training organisations are required to focus on quality
outcomes rather than compliance with regulations; a big shift in thinking for some of them.
Electus is one of the few SMEs able to make the shift. Furthermore, performance management
measurements are the core of its required change in strategy.
Stage one – initial reconnaissance
Secondary research from three sources was the first step of data collection. The National Centre
for Vocational Education Research is Australia’s principal provider of vocational education and
training research and statistics. It undertakes study of practitioners in order to determine levels
of competence and identify skills gaps. It also provides guidelines and tools that can be used to
develop managers and leaders to deliver higher quality training services nationally.
As well, the Australian Bureau of Statistics along with the Australian Government Department of
Employment and Workplace Relations provided information on: labour market characteristics,
skill shortages, vacancy trends, future directions of various occupations, and vocational
education and training participation.
Comment [CRP27]: As noted above, it
would have been acceptable for this
heading to have had 4.1 in front of it.
Comment [CRP28]: A good knowledge
of secondary and primary data sources is
given here.
Comment [CRP29]: It is helpful to use
linker words in the first sentence of a
paragraph like: As well,… Similarly,… In
addition,… In contrast,… On the other
hand,…
These sources helped Electus embed a quality system of continuous improvement as required by
AQTF 2007 and take advantage of market trends and opportunities. But note that this research
project about Electus is different from some of the research from those sources because most of
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research’s target is large public providers such as
Technical and Further Education bodies, universities and large private registered training
organisations.
Stage two – interviews
The second stage of data collection was interviews. Each interview was conducted by the
researcher who ensured all ethical issues of informed consent were observed. Approval was
granted by those quoted within the report.
Data analysis of this stage. Discussions with managers of registered training organisations, in
particular compliance managers, illuminated three significant issues of cost, change and
benchmarking. The first issue concerns financial restraints on a small business. Implementing
change in order to comply with government changes creates financial stress in the organisation.
Many respondents said that finding the resources to train all staff in the new approach is
impossible. In particular, trying to remunerate professional staff for their time to learn about
AQTF requirements, when they are paid to train rather than for administration, is a problem. One
manager participating in a focus group session talked about his situation as follows: “Time and
money for inviting trainers to go to professional development is our biggest constraint”. Danny
Harmer from Access Training Centre expressed his frustration at having to implement a new
system in order to comply with the AQTF 2007 standards but not being given enough information
about how to both fund and deploy such a system. He said, “The irony is training organisations
do not train their people well enough because they are under-funded”.
Comment [CRP30]: Note how well
organised everything is. This blocking of
everything into three blocks is very easy to
follow.
Comment [CRP31]: The overall
picture of the finding is given at the start
and then the details and proofs are given.
That is, talk about the forest before
describing the trees in the forest.
Comment [CRP32]: This insertion of
quotations into the report helps to convince
the reader that you have actually found
what you are saying you found. This is an
important point.
The curriculum and compliance manager from one of the registered training organisations said
that they were in the enviable position of successfully winning external funding from the
government’s Reframing the Future program, which enabled them to provide remuneration for
their professional staff to undergo training. Rose Vallen of the Australian Institute of
Management South Australia went on:
It would otherwise be very difficult to include these people because they are
contractors who are not happy to take time from paid work to engage in team
building or organisational development sessions without compensation. The funding
from Reframing the Future enabled them to be paid and provided a unique
opportunity for all our staff to be involved in training sessions
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
Comment [CRP33]: This quotation is
more than 30 words long and so is placed
into an indented block of its own, and is not
inserted into the text like the quotations
above.
23
729PROJ Project
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The second significant issue was that it is necessary to provide correct channels for people to
learn, accommodating their various styles, the culture of the organisation and demands on time.
The majority cited these change management issues as their biggest challenge….
The third issue was benchmarking…
Stage three – survey
In the third stage, some of the tools developed by the National Centre for Vocational Education
Research for identifying, building and sustaining the learning and development needs of
managers and leaders were used to create an online survey was created and hosted by Chalkport
(2006). The online survey was presented to participating registered training organisations as a
benchmarking opportunity which would gather data to assist registered training organisations
compare their performance. They were encouraged to participate to comply with the AQTF
Users’ Guide, ‘Strategies to monitor the effectiveness of your management system could include
benchmarking management systems and organisational performance with other registered
training organisations’. A simple questionnaire contained five questions and took about 10
minutes to complete. One response per registered training organisation was permitted. In return
for completing the survey, which was only open for three days, each responding registered
training organisation was emailed a one page analysis of the quantitative data including their
individual response for in-house discussion. Confidentiality was guaranteed with no registered
training organisation being identified to anyone else at any time.
Fully 250 registered training organisations from around Australia provided insight into how
registered training organisations could achieve the AQTF 2007- required outcomes and how
difficult it is for them to do so.
Data analysis of this stage. Analysis of the survey results indicates that while the majority have a
good understanding of the AQTF 2007 standards and their requirements they are struggling to
deploy and implement them in an effective way. For example, responses to Question 4.1 showed
69.1 percent of respondents thought that a high level of management attention is required to keep
a systematic approach in place…
4. Key findings
In this section, you take a step back and look at the data to try to identify the key findings,
which are the activities, processes and events going on. Some students would have already
done some of this step when they were doing their data analysis in the previous section and
so may not have to write much in this section. But others might have been too close to their
data in their earlier data analysis and so they do not step back and get an overall picture
until they write this section. You might use an analysis of critical incidents to derive this
overall picture.
In the Electus example Project, the data analysis had been quite thorough and so this fourth
section had to merely identify the five or so main findings from all three batches of data
collection and analysis in the third section, to give an overall picture about what had been
found.
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Comment [CRP34]: Good. Now we
know where the questions in the survey
came from – an important point.
Comment [CRP35]: A survey and an
interview should explain to the respondents
what are the benefits to them, of their
being involved in your research.
Comment [CRP36]: All these details
were good work, including the concerns
about confidentiality.
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5. Key implications
What were the three or four main learning points or principles that you and the reader can
take away and apply in other situations in the future? In this section, you look at the
implications of your findings for three different targets:



the literature, that is, ideas in your textbooks and articles
managers in the case
other managers in your country or region (the implications for these other managers
may sometimes be much the same as for the managers in the case, and then they do
not need to be listed twice).
First, take another step back and explain how your findings relate back to the literature, that
is, to your textbook or some articles that you have cited earlier. Do they confirm or
disconfirm what those references say? How and why?
Second, what do you recommend that managers in your case(s) do in the future?
Finally, what are the implications of all that you have done, for other managers and policy
makers in your country or region? These implications for other managers may often be the
same as for the managers in the case(s) you investigated, but if the case is in an unusual
industry or has an unusual structure or strategy, you may be able to develop some additional
recommendations. Remember that the assessor will look at the recommendations and their
justification in your Project, so we strongly suggest that you clearly set out in this section
what are the future actions you recommend should be done by managers and policy makers
in your country or region.
In the Electus example Project, the following points were included in this section:



that the research had investigated performance management in SMEs for the first
time;
details of how the findings made a contribution to the literature;
one clear set of recommended actions about performance management for Electus
and for other SME managers, based on the findings, together with justifications for
each of them. These recommendations were set up around a management
consultant’s software program that Electus had adopted as a result of the research
project.
6. Conclusion
In this final section, you should cover challenges or issues that remain unresolved. Then you
should give a summary statement about the organisation or entrepreneur and the
contribution of their experience, and a final tying up of the whole package to show that the
purpose as set out in the Introduction has been achieved.
Note that apart from the challenges or issues that remain unresolved, there should not be
any new concepts or ideas suddenly introduced in the Conclusion. The Conclusion merely
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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ties everything that has gone before into one short package. Thus, the Conclusion section is
rarely longer than one page or so in length.
Here is the Conclusion from the Electus example Project:
EXAMPLE 6. Conclusion
In summary, performance management can be an important part of a strategy but its use in SMEs
is under-researched. The single case of a small, Australian registered training organisation,
Electus, provided an unusual opportunity to investigate this use of performance management.
Three stages of data collection found that the government’s AQTF 2007 standards have been in
place for almost twelve months but most registered training organisations have found it difficult
to implement a quality system that consistently delivers the required outputs and outcomes.
Most organisations found that financial constraints dominated their ability to engage the
appropriate people within their organisations to make a transition from mere compliance to
continuous improvement within a quality system. While most indicated little difficulty in
understanding the requirements of AQTF 2007, they found it difficult to get their people to take
ownership and embed the quality standards into their performance as a quality system. They did
not understand the importance nor the implications of not doing so. As the Electus case showed,
being able to produce evidence that the cycle of continuous improvement is embedded into the
organisation will ensure that registration audit requirements are met.
In conclusion, this research project showed Electus how and why to develop performance
management system within a strategic situation. Its RTO Quality Training Framework™ underpins
all of the AQTF 2007 standards and allows Electus to put in place a balanced performance
management system that ensures it attains best practice in the national training sector.
Finally, list your references using the AIB Style Guide and include your appendices.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP37]: This whole
paragraph merely summarises the report
and is based around the aim of performance
management is an SME.
Comment [CRP38]: This final
paragraph tries to tie everything together
with its links back to the aim and its
uplifting tone of completeness. Nice work.
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APPENDIX A: Example Project Topics
Note: these are extracted and sometimes adapted from the textbook’s Appendix 1.





























Accountability of accountants
Competitor strategies in the mortgage market
Do the direct methods of selling financial services pose a major threat to existing
providers and what impact will this have in the future?
Does activity-based costing give competitors a competitive edge?
FRSI: are cash flow statements a useful vehicle for conveying relevant and clear
information about a business’ liquidity and financial viability?
Has the introduction of the self-regulatory organisation brought about better advice
to the public?
How do financial services market to the youth segment?
How many building societies will exist in 20 years’ time?
Insider dealing: the development of the criminal law and an evaluation of alternative
approaches
Is the demand for pension products increasing from the female sector, and if so how
are life assurance companies reacting to this change?
An assessment of the potential of a major domestic and industrial food manufacturer
within the children’s confectionary market
The acquisition of mortgage books – managing change
The cashless society – imminent reality or impossible dream?
The changing future of banks and building societies with regard to products and
services
The impact of developments of IT on financials services
The impact of the financial management of hospitals
The implications of introducing compulsory competitive tendering for services on
local government
What impact will ever-increasing improvements in IT have on a career in accounting
and/or financial services?
Global warming: what does it mean for financiers or tourism
The relationship between tobacco advertising and sport on television – can it be
justified?
Why do business sponsor sport?
Selling to China/Japan – a critical evaluation of current theories and practices for
successful market entry
Benchmarking: a critical evaluation
A study of aspects of HRM and their effectiveness today
An investigation of training in a tourism services program
From job interview to promoting a business- how effective is marketing yourself?
Internal communications – what role does it have within an organisation of the
future?
Honesty and integrity testing and the security industry
Racial discrimination in recruitment and selection
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Topic 1
Stress – the cost to employers
The armed forces, equal opportunities and equality
The changing roles of HRM
A critical review of the prospects of interactive services to the home and the
implications for marketing strategy
Has modern technology destroyed customer services within the financial services
sector?
How can IT aid marketing communications?
Women in management – the glass ceiling
A comparative study of marketing techniques adopted by body-building supplement
manufacturers/a football club/ a tourism facility/ a financial services comapan7
A critical evaluation of strategic planning and marketing techniques used in public
sector recreation provision
Airline marketing –is there a difference between what business travellers want and
what is promoted to them?
An investigation of marketing activity aimed at children
An investigation into the marketing techniques employed by the motor industry
How effective is billboard marketing?
Competition in the parcel delivery industry
Is our film industry beyond recovery?
The brewing industry – why did the investigation by the Monopolies Commission
have such a big impact on the industry
Strategy for shareholder value
What are the consequences for the price war in the yellow fat market?
Survival of the fittest; a comparison between local independent and
national/international music outlets/t tourisms facilities
How will globalization affect my industry?
How will outsourcing affect my industry over the next ten years?
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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APPENDIX B: Example Project Proposal
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A critical evaluation of the human resources strategies and policies
of the European Community Council in Vietnam.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Introduction
1.
Background
The European Community Council is Europe’s international organisation for developing
the educational and cultural relationships between Europe and other countries, and has
offices in 100 countries. The European Community Council first came and established an
office in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, in 1983 and in Ho Chi Minh City in 1987. The
European Community Council has been successful since its establishment in Vietnam,
gaining the highest recognition and position in both its markets.
Project research problem
Both offices have developed with full departments comprising of: administration,
finance, art and event, communication, European education information, exam services
and teaching. However, even though the number of employees in each office is now
almost 75 people, there is no Human Resources Management (HRM) department. The
HRM functions are attached to the job descriptions of the Finance Manager and the
Operations Manager, which has caused serious problems:

HRM is not considered to be among the strategic resources of the organisation

There are many problems in recruiting, re-training and retaining good people

There is almost no cooperation among departments within the organisation. Each
department functions independently causing a huge waste of time and resources,
inconsistent messages to target customers and a lack of synergy.
2. Focus of the study
Purpose of research project
The purpose of this project is to evaluate the European Community Council’s current
HRM strategies and policies, analysing its problems with the aim of developing
appropriate HRM strategies and policies for the European Community Council in Hanoi
and Ho Chi Min City.
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Key areas of investigation will be:

The operations of the European Community Council in both offices in Vietnam

The current HRM strategies and policies of European Community Council Vietnam

The HRM functions in each office

The effects of the current HRM strategies and policies
Research questions
The following questions will be addressed in this research:

How is HRM management practiced in both offices in Vietnam?

What are the similarities and differences in how HRM management is practiced in
the two offices?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current HRM management practices
in each office?

What appropriate HRM strategies and policies could be introduced in the two
offices?

How do you plan to implement those strategies in the two offices?
Significance of the Project
The European Community Council offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City will benefit from
having more effective HRM strategies and policies. These strategies and policies may also
benefit 98 other European Community Council Offices, as well as other non-profit
community organisations in the world.
3. Project related literature summary
The project will cover HRM strategies and policies which is an aspect of the strategic
human resources subject of my MBA studies.
My initial understanding of the project topic is based on the textbook, and a review of
the literature. A list of published articles on how HRM strategies and policies are
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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developed and implemented with specific emphasis on how non-profit organisations
manage their HRM function is provided below. Further literature on how to introduce
change in non-profit organisations was also reviewed, as this has relevance to this study,
and this literature is also provided below.
Hunter, I, Saunders, J, Boroughs, A, & Constance, S 2005, HR Business Partner,
Schwartz Bookshops, London.
Mesch, D.J. 2010, “Management of Human Resources in 2020: The Outlook for
Nonprofit Organizations”, Public administration review, vol. 70, pp. S173-S174.
Patrick, P 2006, Contemporary HR Issues and Insights: from Rocket Science to
Tsunamis, Singapore Human Resources Institute, Singapore.
Porter, K, Smith, P, Fagg, R 2005, Leadership and Management for HR Professionals,
Butterworth Heinemann, London
Rutowski, K., Guiler, J. & Schimmel, K. 2009, “Benchmarking organizational
commitment across non-profit human services organizations in Pennsylvania”,
Benchmarking, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 135-150.
Schmid, H. 2002, “Relationships between organizational properties and
organizational effectiveness in three types of non-profit human service
organizations”, Public Personnel Management, vol. 31, no.3, pp. 377-395.
Planned methodology
4.
This project is a case research report where the two offices of the European Community
Council and its HRM strategies and policies will be studied. This methodology collects
real information directly from the people that it affects (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill
2003). The literature review and my real world knowledge of the topic including my
previous work experience at the European Community Council will be used to identify
the problems and write the report.
In addition, data will be collected from two main sources:

Secondary: internal documents including an annual staff survey of the two
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Vietnam offices as well as relevant Industry journals, magazines and newspapers
will be reviewed.

Primary: interviews with all current HRM managers in the two offices in Vietnam
and selected employees with over five years working experience will provide
information on current HRM practices. They will be asked questions about
current work efficiency and effectiveness. The interviews will follow ethical
procedures for this kind of research as outlined in the AIB Guidelines. All
interviewees will sign the Research Consent Form provided by AIB that certifies
they have given informed consent to the research.
5. Schedule for completion
The expected schedule of the project report is as:
Table 1: Timeline
07/12/2007
10-17/12/2007
18-31/12/2007
01-07/01/2008
08-31/01/2008
Project
Proposal
Project
Literature
Research
Data
Collection
First draft
Review
03/02/2008
Final
Submission
(Source: developed for this research)
References
Hunter, I, Saunders, J, Boroughs, A, & Constance, S 2005, HR Business Partner,
Schwartz Bookshops, London.
Mesch, D.J. 2010, “Management of Human Resources in 2020: The Outlook for Nonprofit Organizations”, Public Administration Review, vol. 70, pp. S173-S174.
Patrick, P 2006, Contemporary HR Issues and Insights: from Rocket Science to
Tsunamis, Singapore Human Resources Institute, Singapore.
Porter, K, Smith, P, Fagg, R 2005, Leadership and Management for HR Professionals,
Butterworth Heinemann, London.
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Rutowski, K., Guiler, J. & Schimmel, K. 2009, “Benchmarking organizational
commitment across non-profit human services organizations in Pennsylvania”,
Benchmarking, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 135-150.
Saunders, M, Lewis, P and Thornhill, A 2003, Research Methods for Business Students,
Prentice Hall, London.
Schmid,
H.
2002,
“Relationships
between
organizational
properties
and
organizational effectiveness in three types of non-profit human service
organizations”, Public Personnel Management, vol. 31, no.3, pp. 377-395.
Slack, N, Chambers, S, Johnston, R & Betts, A 2006, Operation and Process
Management, Prentice Hall, London.
Thompson, A, Strickland, A & Gamble, J 2007, Crafting and Executing Strategy – The
Quest for Competitive Advantage – Concepts and Cases, 16th edition, McGraw-Hill
Irwin, New York.
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APPENDIX C: Research Consent Forms
There are two types of Consent Forms:

Organisation Consent – this must be obtained when you intend to use an organisation as
your site of research and to obtain information about that organisation. It may be your
employer organisation or another organisation of your choice. The consent form must be
completed and signed by a senior person in the organisation who has the authority to
provide such consent on behalf of the organisation.
If your research involves obtaining information from more than one organisation, you
must ensure that you obtain such consent forms for each organisation.

Individual Consent – this must be obtained when you intend to interview or otherwise
obtain information from individuals as part of your research. Each individual that you
interview or otherwise obtain information from must complete and sign the form.
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ORGANISATION CONSENT
I,___________________________________________________________________
of___________________________________________________________________
understand that _______________________________________________________
is a student at Australian Institute of Business (AIB).
I further understand that the student has to complete a research project as part of the
student’s studies with AIB and that the student wishes to base the research project on my
organisation named below:
Name of organisation:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….
My consent is subject to the following conditions, which I insert in my own handwriting:
I hereby my consent to the student basing their research project on my organisation and
confirm that I am authorised to grant this consent on behalf of the organisation.
I understand that the information obtained by the student about my organisation will be
kept strictly confidential and only viewed by the student, the project examiners and essential
AIB staff, except where I have otherwise granted consent in writing.
Respondent’s signature:
__________________________________________
Respondent’s job title:
__________________________________________
Date of consent:
__________________________________________
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
37
Topic 1
729PROJ Project
INDIVIDUAL CONSENT
I,__________________________________________________________________________
__
of__________________________________________________________________________
_
understand that
_______________________________________________________________
is a student at Australian Institute of Business (AIB). I further understand that the student
has to complete a research project as part of the student’s studies with AIB and that the
student wishes to use data from interviews with me and my organisation named below for
the purposes of the research:
Name of organisation:
…………………………………………………………………………………………….
I hereby consent to the student using data from interviews with me and my organisation for
the purposes of the research.
My consent is subject to the following conditions, which I insert in my own handwriting:
I understand that the information obtained by the student from me will be kept strictly
confidential and only viewed by the student, the project examiners and essential AIB staff,
except where I have otherwise granted consent in writing.
I accept that my participation in this research is voluntary and that I may withdraw my
consent to participate at any time.
Respondent’s signature:
__________________________________________
Respondent’s job title:
__________________________________________
Date of consent:
__________________________________________
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
38
Topic 1
729PROJ Project
APPENDIX D: Project Proposal Evaluation Checklist
AIB student ID number:
Student name:
Course/Specialisation:
Introduction
Background information provided
Issue or problem identified
Focus for the study
Research purpose stated
Research questions identified
Significance identified
Project is feasible – topic & research qns
not too big, too small or too hot
Project related literature summary
Connection to an aspect of MBA studies
Alignment with MBA specialisation (NB: not
required for MBA generic)
Literature cited
Research methodology
Research method explained and justified
Secondary data
Primary data
Data collection methods explained
Research approvals obtained
Schedule for completion
Research schedule or Gantt chart
Style Guide
Margins, line spacing and fonts
Dates and numbers
Harvard referencing
Sourcing and quotations
Labelling of figures, diagrams, tables
List of references
English
Spelling
Grammar
Structure and flow
Title is on the first page
Table of Contents
Logical structure
Connections between sections
Easy to read
Outcome:
Approved
Not Approved
Comments
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
39
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
APPENDIX E: Example Final Project with Assessor’s Comments
Now we look at a full example Final Project. There are some good and problematic
components to this Project and they are noted in the assessor’s comments on the right hand
side. The final comment at the Conclusion of the Project shows the assessor thoughts about
the final mark. This example Project is based on an MBA Project but the Project has been
changed in many ways to highlight and capture the issues.
Project (example)
Table of contents
[Table of contents is standard and has been deleted to save space for the purposes of this example]
Privacy statement
The participants of this research project have been afforded complete anonymity in the written paper.
Each participant has agreed to participate without limitation beyond anonymity; therefore, gender,
age, religion, role, characteristics, views and opinions are factual and those of the participants.
Similarly, the sponsoring organisation has requested that it be identified by a pseudonym and agree
to participate without limitation provided its identity is protected together with the geographical
locations in which it operates. Thus figures about revenue, for example, are only approximate.
Otherwise all research data gathered from the organisation is provided without limitation of use. To
conform to this agreement the pseudonym of the organisation will be the ‘College’. Participants will
remain ‘unnamed’.
Executive summary
The College has reached a critical milestone in its evolution and growth as a dominant vocational
education and training provider. This growth dictates careful planning to ensure its ongoing success
and sustainability through effective leadership. The research objective of this report is to identify the
best approach for building and sustaining leadership capability in the College. That research objective
was addressed using a combination of research tools and a number of participants including technical
and administrative managers and subordinate staff. In terms of the required management and
leadership capabilities the research found that the managers identified significant gaps in their
required level of proficiency for leadership roles compared to that of their actual level of proficiency
held at the time of research. In particular the study found that all managers rated their actual level
of proficiency as ‘low’ under areas relating to the business acumen, where they considered the
required level as high to very high.
1
Introduction
The research focuses on the processes of leadership combined with the characteristics of individual
leaders and draws on literature from a selection of vocational education and training sector
leadership studies and a range of academic texts. The purpose of the research is to gain insight into
the conditions for, and characteristics of effective contemporary leadership in the College now and in
future years. The College has identified that leadership competence of its management threatened
the continued growth and sustainability of the organisation. This research presents an opportunity
for the College to identify the motivators that attribute to the best approaches for building and
sustaining leadership capability in the College.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
40
Comment [CRP39]: This privacy
statement was good work. Although this is
not often included in a Project, it does show
concern for privacy and had to be here in
this Project.
Comment [CRP40]: Good orientation
for the reader – the first of the five parts of
an executive summary
Comment [CRP41]: Good aim of the
research – it is the second part of an
executive summary
Comment [CRP42]: More details
about this methodology should have been
added here.
Comment [CRP43]: The findings are
summarised in this executive summary –
good.
Comment [CRP44]: The five points of
a good Introduction can be only glimpsed
through this paragraph because the five
parts of an Introduction are not clear,
unfortunately. These five points in the
Introduction should have been more
obvious:
1 establish the background field, assert its
significant position in theory and/or
practice
1.summarise previous research (only one
or two brief paragraphs at the most )
2.indicate gaps, inconsistencies and/or
controversies, and why they are important
3.state purpose of present research (to
address 3), state briefly the main aspects
and conclusions of the research (and
advanced students may add a sentence
about their contributions (related to 3))
outline of the project
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
Sections in this report detail the literature review and the College, and explains the methodology
used to evaluate the research questions. It provides detailed results of the research and concludes
with recommended strategies for building and sustaining leadership capability in the College.
2
Comment [CRP45]: The aim and the
outline of the project that should be in the
Introduction are here.
Orientation: Contemporary analysis of leadership and the case
There are many definitions relating to leadership with claims of up to 350 documented variations
(Daft 2002). Furthermore, leadership is believed to be one of the most researched yet least
understood aspects of management. The varied definitions can help one appreciate the multitude of
influences which impact on leadership as well as the many perspectives from which to understand it
(Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy 2006). Leadership is understood when it is considered holistically and is
relevant to the situation and those involved in the process. Leadership is the process of influencing
an organised group towards accomplishing its goals and it requires the ability to rationalize and
motivate through emotional influence (Roach & Behling 1984) . This section looks at these aspects of
leadership in the literature and introduces the case where the investigation of leadership occurred.
2.1
Comment [CRP47]: The student is
defining a key term (that is, leadership)
right at the beginning. Good work.
Leadership defined
There is a history of debate about what is entailed in the concept of leadership. It is recognised that
there is possibly more research and models dedicated to defining leadership than any other area of
social science. Additionally, there are many definitions supporting these models which are now
regarded as a mature field of study. Using the definition gathered from the literature review, for the
purpose of defining leadership in the context of the College and the wider VET sector, this research
relies on the definition provided by Callan et al. (2007):
The capacity at both the individual and institutional levels to: identify and define organisational goals
and the desired outcomes; develop strategies and plans to achieve those goals and deliver those
outcomes; guide the organisation and motivate people in reaching those goals and outcomes. To do
this requires energy, commitment, persistence, integrity, intelligence and a capacity to inspire from
the leader and the encouragement of these attributes from the organisation.
2.2
The research focus is the management and leadership capabilities of those in roles within the College
who are required to lead and direct those who consider themselves a follower or subordinate. This
research aligns closely with that documented in Callan et al. (2007). Their research supported claims
that transformational leadership is comprised of at least four interrelated behaviours or sets of
actions:

Intellectual stimulation – promoting opportunities and organisational cultures of creativity and
innovation among staff.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
Comment [CRP49]: This definition for
this research is good. But why is it a good
definition?
Comment [CRP50]: This is a
quotation, so there should be a page
number in the citation. This is not good.
Comment [CRP52]: This discussion of
the literature is good – it starts at a broad
level of one of the leading schools of
thought about leadership.
The leading school of thought regarding leadership is the transformational model. This model relies
on the change and the leader’s direct influence on the individual employee’s motivation and
performance. Transformational leadership has not yet been recognised as a complete theory of
leadership, however, it is emerging as a preferred model on the basis of the role the leader plays in
promoting both personal and organisational change, in particular the role they have in supporting
staff to meet and exceed expectations about performance (Callan et al. 2007).
Inspirational stimulation – articulating an appealing and evocative vision about what the
organisation aims to achieve and how it wants to serve its customers and related stakeholders
Comment [CRP48]: Where is it
recognised? A citation is required to prove
this claim of “It is recognised…’ here.
Comment [CRP51]: This heading is
only two words. Often, a longer heading is
more helpful to the reader
Leadership models

Comment [CRP46]: Correct citing.
Good.
41
729PROJ Project
Topic 1

Idealized influence – providing a role model for staff at all levels

Individualised consideration – engaging in coaching and mentoring roles that empower staff.
A common theme throughout the literature is the styles and characteristics of transformational
leaders. Avolio (2005) summarized the following features relating to application of transformational
leadership styles consistent with other findings:

Transformational leaders are judged by their subordinates as more effective leaders.

Transformational leaders exist at all levels of the organisation
Comment [CRP53]: A good theme
sentence at the start of this paragraph. It
shows that the paragraph will look at some
of the writers in the literature before
actually summarising what the literature
says.
The more transformational leadership exists at the higher levels in the organisation, the more it is
seen in the lower levels, including in the teams.
As well, Falk and Smith (2003) found that effective transformational leaders build positive
psychological states and emotional capital among their employees. Furthermore, emotionally
intelligent leaders and managers who are transformational in their style are able to switch their
leadership style to adapt to the needs of the particular environment, such as authoritative,
democratic, and coaching through their higher levels of self-awareness, their ability to read a
situation, and their adaptability. There is continued controversy about definitions of emotional
intelligence (Goleman 1998, 2000). Emotionally intelligent leaders manage themselves and their
relationships effectively. In particular, they display sets of transformational behaviours that
demonstrate self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.
Throughout the literature review there was much support for this emotional intelligence approach to
leadership. Leaders with higher emotionally intelligence are more able to switch styles at appropriate
times. Transformational leaders are known to establish more intellectually stimulating workplaces,
which in turn foster more openness, creativity and a willingness by their employees to challenge the
status quo (Callan et al. 2007). Detailed research across educational and training institutions has
made claim to not only the presence of transformational leadership, but rather the demand for it in
this rapid pace of change.
2.3
Leadership development
How can the leadership above be developed? Developmental opportunities are learning
opportunities that give managers the knowledge and skills to enable the organisation to achieve its
strategic objective. They enhance capability and facilitate positive change and innovation. Capable
managers are more confident and effective in dealing with their often complex and demanding jobs
(Falk & Smith 2003). Furthermore they display higher levels of job satisfaction, commitment and
engagement. Organisations with a strong commitment to management and leadership development
find that the returns are positive and high, in terms of organisational productivity, organisational
learning, continuous improvement and quality, and customer service (Callan et al. 2007). In addition,
management and leadership development has benefits that extend beyond the organisation and into
the broader community…
Dynamic environments in which organisational success is harder to achieve and resources are
scarcer, mean that we must use approaches to the selection and development of managers which
have a demonstrable link to organisational performance (Cockerill (1994, cited in Mulcahy 2003).
Competency requirements for management development should be linked to performance
requirements in the workplace (Turcato 1998). Similarly, management learning should be pragmatic
and located within the organisational context and reality (Beckett 1998).
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
42
Comment [CRP54]: Another good
theme sentence at the start of a paragraph.
This paragraph is summarising the writers
above.
Comment [CRP55]: But where is the
evidence for this claim? There should be a
citation that supports this claim about
‘detailed research’.
Comment [CRP56]: A good short
theme sentence that links the sections
above to this one coming up. Good work.
Comment [CRP57]: Note that citations
are correctly inside brackets. Writing a
sentence with the author’s name outside
brackets is usually not preferred, for
example, the last sentence in this form is
not preferred: ‘Beckett (1998) said
management learning…’
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
2.4 The case College’s background
The organisational l context and reality of the College will be the focus of this research. The College
has become one of the largest private training provider in the Region. The business has a $5m annual
turnover with a $1.5m net profit and an annual growth rate of 20 percent over the past year. The
College has undergone major changes aimed at creating capacity to manage growth and provide a
culture that promotes lifelong learning that values the contribution of its staff.
A recent SWOT analysis of the College identified that leadership competence of management was a
threat to the continued growth and sustainability of the organisation. This research presents an
opportunity for the College to identify the motivators that attribute to the best approaches for
building and sustaining leadership capability in the College.
2.5 Research questions
In recent years there has been a significant focus on the VET sector with extensive research and
development surrounding reform, contestability and leadership. Using the recent research and
development of the VET sector together with the academic literature available on leadership
development and sustainability, the research can be framed around the best approaches for building
and sustaining leadership capability in the College. These research objective questions seek to
identify the best approach for building and sustaining leadership capability in the College in order to
achieve further competitive advantage and market sustainability.
That is, based on the concepts covered above, this report concentrates on two research questions in
the focal case:

What approaches to leadership and management development are being used in the College and
across the broader vocational education and training sector?

What types of management and leadership capabilities are required now and in the future to
ensure the sustainability of the College?
3.0
Comment [CRP59]: This description
of the College is too brief. The privacy
issue could be an explanation for this
brevity but other projects normally provide
a lot more information about their case.
Comment [CRP60]: Advanced students
sometimes narrow the overall research
objective introduced in the Introduction,
down to some specific research questions
at the end of the Orientation section. This
student is doing that. Good work.
Comment [CRP61]: This conclusion to
the orientation section is good – it identifies
some core ideas from the literature that
have to be investigated in the case. This
was an excellent way of finishing this
whole section. But it is a pity that the two
questions were not referred back to in the
key learnings or conclusions sections of the
report below.
Research methodology of data collection
A case study methodology was used to collect information about the research questions above
relating to building and sustaining leadership capability in the College. The case study method offers
a proven tool for achieving a profound understanding of a specific trend or experience. Numerous
studies over the past twenty years have demonstrated that the case study method successfully
probes beneath the surface of a situation. To achieve the breadth and depth of understanding of the
research, both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used in the study about the case.
Interviews together with surveys were used as the data collection methods for this research project
which enabled an analysis of leadership capability within the College; an insight into the perceptions
of leadership; and the variations of required leadership proficiency compared with actual leadership
proficiency of managers.
3.1
Comment [CRP58]: Another good
theme sentence. It links the previous
paragraph about context to the discussion of
the case organisation that is coming up
now.
Comment [CRP63]: There should have
been at least two citations about the
methodology here. One could have been the
textbook, of course, and another could have
been an article or book by Perry, for
example.
Comment [CRP64]: A citation was
necessary to prove that there were
‘numerous studies’.
Comment [CRP65]: A very good
student would have tried to justify the
methodologies and the use of just one case.
First stage: Interviews
First, the research involved semi structured interviews of five managers form the College with
representation from across the administrative and technical and support divisions consisting of
Comment [CRP66]: A good
introductory sentence about what the whole
of this section 3.0 is going to cover.
two females and three males. The sample contains two female administrative managers, two male
technical managers and one male support manager. An example of the interviewer’s guide used for
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
Comment [CRP62]: A good short
theme sentence that links the sections above
to what is coming up here.
43
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
the interviews is included at Appendix A.
3.2
Comment [CRP67]: Good idea.
Example of the interviewer’s guide in an
appendix.
Second stage: Surveys
In addition to the interviews, two surveys were used to gather research data. The managers
volunteered to participate in a leadership proficiency evaluation using a management and leadership
capability profile which analysed the variation between required level of proficiency and actual level
needed to perform the role from their perspective. The survey was designed from a number of tools
located on the NCVER website designed specifically to evaluate management and leadership
development. A copy of the survey is included as Appendix B.
A copy of this survey’s questionnaire was also given to a group of ten subordinates for the purpose
of gathering the views and opinions of the staff relating to their managers. This survey was
conducted in one group session and was used as a cross checking forum against existing policy and
the managers’ surveys. The survey was designed to evaluate the leadership proficiency of managers
from the subordinate’s perspective using a selection of measures identifiable to junior staff and
taken from the leadership proficiency survey.
3.3
Procedures for the interviews and the survey
The interviews were conducted back to back over one day ranging from 30 to 50 minutes per
interview. The surveys were issued to the managers to complete over a five day period to encourage
maximum input. The subordinate cross check forum was done individually in one group sitting over
one hour.
The reliability of the managers’ contribution is considered valid and high. The five managers were
selected on their potential as recognised by the Managing Director of the College and each actively
volunteered to participate. The reliability of the cross checking forum has some limitations as the
selection was random beyond gender, age and work area and the group setting promoted consensus
that may not have been evident if done in isolation.
4.0
Comment [CRP70]:
Excellent procedure. It should be done in all
projects.
Comment [CRP72]: This number is
less than 10 and so had to be written out in
words rather as a number. If the number is
10 or more, it can be shown as a number
and does not need to be written out in word
form.
Comment [CRP73]: Note that the word
‘percent’ is used in the text, not the symbol
‘%’. The symbol % is used only in the top
of columns in a table.
Comment [CRP74]: Good details here.
Comment [CRP75]: This comment
about the reliability of the methodology is
very advanced.
Comment [CRP77]: This heading is a
slightly too short – a heading can be up to
about ¾ of a line long
Managing complexity
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
Comment [CRP71]: Another good
short them sentence that shows what the
whole section and/or paragraph is about.
Comment [CRP76]: Often,
information about findings is put into the
previous section, especially if the data
analysis of the findings is done after each
stage of data collection and before the next
stage. But positioning findings into their
own section here is OK.
Data analysis: Research findings of the interviews and the survey
Leadership and management issues facing the College are many and varied. The research produced
the following findings about managing complexity, business acumen, capabilities required of
managers, leadership capability profiles, staff development
4.1
Comment [CRP69]: Good – now we
know where the questions in the survey
came from.
Participant selection
The respondents in this research were reasonably representative. The College employs a total of
eighty four staff (sixty seven males and seventeen females) ranging in age from 21 through to 56
years of age. The nationality is approximately ninety percent Australian and ten percent other
nationalities. Less than fifteen percent hold tertiary qualifications, with sixty five percent holding at
least one vocational qualification of certificate III or above which is normally a combination of
technical trade qualifications and training and assessment qualification. The selection of managers
was based on equilibrium of gender and areas of business across the College (that is, at least one
manager from each department). The same five managers participated in both the management and
leadership capability proficiency profile and the leadership development survey. Likewise, two
subordinates from each department participated and where possible, they varied in age and gender.
The total sample of managers was 60 percent whereas the sample of subordinates was limited to
fifteen percent.
3.4
Comment [CRP68]: Another good
short theme sentence that links the
previous section about interviews with what
is coming up in this next section. Good
writing.
44
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
The challenges listed by the respondents closely parallel those described in previous reports (Callan
et al. 2007; Mitchell et al. 2003). A major obstacle is getting individuals to cope with change and the
increasing complexity of their management responsibilities. Participants viewed the role of leaders to
be about giving a sense of direction to the organisation and setting an appealing vision for the future.
The demands associated with change or further change were difficult ones for managers, and often
occurred in difficult circumstances. Two managers reported that the constant change of government
funding models created frequent and detrimental business changes due to poor consultation with
stakeholders. The subordinate responses suggested that change was implemented without
consultation or reference to internal policy. Three respondents thought that the managers hid
behind government policy when making decisions relating to change. One respondent claimed:
We were made to change the whole process for new enrolments because our manager came up with
a process that was not well thought out and when she realised it was not as good as she thought, she
told us the process was implemented to conform to the government’s policy.
A major factor driving the complexity is the wide range of stakeholders expecting more flexibility and
customisation of their training product. Additionally managers are now required to not only manage
their staff internally – they need to coordinate industry placements and vacancies created from these
additional demands. Therefore, the challenge for managers is described by one of the technical
managers:
We need to maintain closer links with our employers to find out what they need. The challenge I face
is to persuade, and support teachers to deliver more flexibility and to support them to switch from
their comfort style to a new style of learner-centred that is really more appropriate for these types of
students. My leadership skills need to extend beyond the College, I need to be able to communicate
and influence industry support.
4.2
Comment [CRP79]: Fortunately, here
is a quotation. Good.
Comment [CRP80]: Another quotation.
Good. But shorter quotations than this large
quotation are also useful.
It is good that the essence of the quotation
is described in the text before the
quotation is presented. Doing that
confirms to the marker that the student has
thought about the ideas in the quotation.
Business acumen
The managers interviewed unanimously reported on their low levels of confidence about their
business acumen. Among the five managers interviewed, not one identified themselves as having the
competence for the responsibility and accountability of their division and still remains dependent on
the CEO and CFO to initiate strategic business initiatives, particularly those that are external. Callan
et al. (2007) have mentioned the scarcity of true entrepreneurs in the VET sector, the lack of support
and rewards they often receive for their efforts and, ultimately, their sense of burnout. One manager
failed to recognise the need for business acumen completely:
I am very comfortable that my skill contribution to the College is appropriate for the current
operation and the future from where I see it today. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the
business accountability and it is he who should remain business savvy. I would feel that my role
would suffer if I focused on the commercial operation of the College.
The subordinates all reported that their managers did not manage the financial performance of the
company and it was the CEO who reported the financial position to the Board. They view them as
having a major responsibility albeit not holistic. One respondent claimed that:
My manager is a bit like my dad, he looks after parts of the house and other stuff at home, but in the
end mum will decide what happens – I guess the CEO is mum here!
4.3
Comment [CRP78]: It would have been
good to provide some short quotations from
the respondents to prove that the project is
reporting their views correctly.
Capabilities required of managers
Those interviewed believed they need to focus more on strategic objectives and the needs of
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
45
Comment [CRP81]: It would have
been better if the student had not referred to
the literature while he was detailing the
findings. The linkages between the findings
and the literature should be in the key
learnings section and not in the data
analysis section, as is done here,
unfortunately.
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
industry more than ever before. Operational issues remain important and the logistics of working
with industry were also essential. Due to the size of the College, the managers are required to
maintain focus on service and support. It was reported that managers need to be more aware that
teaching and learning must be seen as the core business and the peripherals must insulate it so that
it can generate business.
As one manager said:
It is not our business systems that are the most important in our organisation, but how our systems
support our ‘core business’ of learning.
Another manager summarised his views in the following way:
Our teams need more time to absorb. There is a gap between the administrative and teaching
managers. We need greater collaboration so that we can avoid duplication and share what I view as
an imbalance in workloads. We don’t have the business acumen to run the commercial aspects of the
company and frankly it takes us away from our core business – training.
During the interviews, the managers believed that the greatest factors impacting on their work in the
coming years will be new technology, more competitive training environments, and further changes
to funding. It was felt by subordinates that some managers found the concept of internal support
difficult to comprehend and there were some suggestions that managers need to offer more support
to the staff on the ‘road and floor’. This was seen as a major obstacle, by the subordinates, for the
managers to resolve before their full leadership role could be appreciated. One respondent claimed:
Sometimes I feel that I have to hide the work that I am doing for the trainer from my manager so that
he and I do not get into trouble – I really struggle with limiting what support I can give him – it’s like
being at school again – I am not cheating I just want to help but the teacher doesn’t see it that way –
so much for being an adult!!.
Throughout the interviews most managers agreed that they needed to be more business-focused,
willing to engage at a more strategic level with their staff and the CEO. They felt that they needed to
be more innovative in their application of leadership and management skills and felt that they are
applying what they did five to ten years ago, but without having the same effect today. One manager
claimed:
I have better facilities, more staff, ‘that may be the problem’ – I am as enthusiastic as I was five years
ago. I want to do what is best for my staff and the College but it is becoming more difficult each day. I
feel that they do not respond and see things as complex… a huge issue for the trainers I manage…
especially those who have been around for a while.
4.4
Leadership capability profiles
The leadership capability profiles have shown great disparity for all managers between the required
levels of proficiency to that of the level held by the managers. The research focused on the following
nine capabilities:

Corporate vision and direction

Strategic focus

Achieves outcomes
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
46
Comment [CRP82]: A good theme
sentence again – it summarises what is
coming up in this paragraph and/or section.
It would have been better if there was some
linking word or phrase that linked this
section up with the previous ones. For
example, the sentence could have begun,
‘The third issue raised in the interviews was
the need to focus …..’
Topic 1
729PROJ Project

Develops and manages resources

Change leadership

Interpersonal relationships

Personal development and mastery

Business and entrepreneurial skills

Develops and empowers.
From the nine capabilities the five managers rated their current proficiency level as having a variation
of four levels below the required proficiency to do the job, whilst only two capabilities were rated
equal in required and actual level of proficiencies, as shown in Table 1. These were interpersonal
relations and achieves outcomes which were rated mid range level skills. The five critical findings
were all related to the core business functions that were also evident in survey responses: business
and entrepreneurial skills; change leadership; corporate vision and direction; develops and manages
resources; and focuses strategically. These five capabilities were rated by all participants as requiring
a very high to extremely high level of required proficiencies, whereas the average response for actual
proficiency was ‘some’.
Table 1 Summary of managers’ proficiency ratings
Capability
Required
Actual
Proficient
Rating average
Rating average
for actual
proficiency
Personal
development and
mastery
74
42
57%
required for
proficiency
Very high
Business and
entrepreneurial
skills
22
12
55%
Very High
Some
Develops and
empowers others
24
14
59%
High
Some+
Achieves
outcomes
23
21
91%
Moderate
Some
Corporate vision
and direction
42
22
52%
Very high+
Some
Focuses
strategically
54
33
61%
Very high+
Moderate
Develops and
manages
resources
54
46
85%
Very high
High
Change leadership
54
31
58%
Very high+
Some+
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
Comment [CRP83]: That this part was
based on the survey results should have
been noted. We have been looking at
interview data before now, and a link back
to the survey would have helped the reader.
Comment [CRP84]: This explanation
in the text about what is in the table is good
– a reader should not have to look at a
table to find the important ideas involved
– doing that is the writer’s job, not the
reader’s job. If there is anything important
in a table or figure, make sure you write
about it in the text. Do not assume the
reader will look at every table or figure.
Comment [CRP85]: This is a good
example of the title at the top of a table or
figure. All tables and figures should have
one.
Moderate
47
Topic 1
729PROJ Project
Interpersonal skills
26
18
70%
Very high
Moderate+
Source: Analysis of survey data.
A snapshot using the proficiency percentage rate and comments provided in the subordinate
survey, the research noted a discrepancy between the manager’s satisfaction in proficiency and the
subordinate’s observations. One respondent made the following comment:
One of the biggest issues is that our managers are not technically savvy – this limits their
innovation and kind of prevents them from listening to what we might say…. It’s because
they are not comfortable with the technology. Sometimes it is them that are the road
block.
Comment [CRP86]: The source of
every table and figure should be put at the
bottom like this. Good work.
Comment [CRP87]: It is confusing
whether this is an interview or not.
The proficiency profile identified a total deficit, in actual proficiencies of thirty five percent below
the level considered necessary to perform their current role. Several subordinate respondents
commented in favour of this finding, relating their observation to being ‘teachers’ acting as
managers. One comment was:
I think they try their best, but really they are not trained business people and when I
compare them to managers I have worked for in other roles… they are so different and
more like my high school teacher than my manager.
4.5
Staff development
Some excellent examples of integrated approaches to staff development in the College emerged
from the interviews. The limitation on these findings relate to the age of the policy being less than
eighteen months old. Some managers are attempting to build leadership and management at
various levels. The organisation has an excellent top down attitude to professional development;
however the conversion from concept to action limits its full potential. Opportunities exist for
formal learning (tertiary or vocational), mentoring and in house training. Three respondents from
the subordinate group indicated that they were currently participating in diploma and advanced
diploma business courses which were fully funded by the college and provision for study time was
allocated on a weekly basis. This opportunity was considered a favourable benefit made available
to them by the manager, which they did not think they would get the opportunity elsewhere. One
comment was:
The best professional development opportunity I have been given is the time and financial
support to get my Diploma in Business (HRM). I don’t think I could have done this without
the support from the College and I have never had this opportunity in other jobs. I believe
it is something that comes from being a training facility and people believe in learning.
Although the opportunity is available to managers, only one out of the five had participated in a
formal professional development program sponsored by the college. The major obstacle listed by
the managers, was the lack of perceived time to take on additional study.
The College policy describes a systematic approach to professional development, covering training
needs and gap analysis, planning of strategies, implementation of strategies, evaluation and review.
This policy details overarching priorities, professional development strategies and a number
options available to staff. Such strategies include partial and full funding for attendance at formal
courses, and time off to attend a course. The policy does not articulate a transformational
leadership style nor does it provide any other recognisable framework to standardise the
professional development pathways. The College maintains staff profiles which conform to the
requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF), however, the research found
that the professional development plans did not link to any position description or career
progression pathway.
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP88]: What is the link
between this section coming up and what
has gone before?
729PROJ Project
5.0
Topic 1
Key implications
As a result of the findings from the interviews, surveys and the literature review, the following
strategies are presented to achieve the best approach for building and sustaining leadership
capability in the College:

Conduct a training needs analysis on existing managers and develop a customised intensive
leadership and management development program that aligns with a contemporary
leadership framework suitable for a VET environment (transformational leadership style).

Formalise a leadership and development program for all staff linked to career progression
pathways. This will communicate a common language about what should be identified to
effectively develop as leaders at various levels, and delivers a more strategic approach to
designing professional development requirements and activities for staff at varying career
points.

Continue to promote efforts to seek funding for external development opportunities, and to
support staff in terms of study time. These opportunities need to be considered earlier in the
manager’s career to enable effective transition from teaching to managing. There must be a
focus on business acumen and human resource management.

Develop succession plans that include senior executive key leadership development programs
that meet the specific need of the College. This may include individual qualifications (MBA) or
customised cohorts to programs that promote collective and organisational learning
objectives. In terms of staff retention, these opportunities should be recognised as career
progression initiatives that aim to result in promotion and financial reward.

The College should consider alliances that may result in partnerships with other VET
organisations. This could involve different levels of management and provide a more strategic
learning opportunity relating to the broader VET sector. Additionally it would benefit the
College through professional networks and alliances between managers, and could be used to
resolve complex management issues.

Develop human capital procurement strategies that will import business acumen to the
College. This strategy will potentially import external corporate knowledge.
This list of actions could apply to any other training organisation in Australia, I suggest, because the
leadership situations of many of them are not that different from the College. Further research
would be necessary to confirm this suggestion, of course.
6.0
Comment [CRP89]: What about the
key activities section after the data analysis
section that the reader is expecting to see
here? It is sometimes missed because the
key findings have been covered in the data
analysis section but it would have been
reassuring for the student to have noted this
somewhere.
Comment [CRP90]: The student has
made some references to the literature while
discussing the data analysis. Mixing up data
analysis with the literature is not normal or
preferred procedure. It would have been
better if the student had made the
connections between the literature and the
findings in this section about key learnings.
Comment [CRP91]: This list of clearly
set out recommendations to the managers
of the case and their justifications is
excellent.
Comment [CRP92]: This is a good
small comment that relates the findings to
other managers, too. Good work.
Conclusion
In summary, although the research was limited in scope and time, the data gathered throughout
the study indentified a critical gap in business acumen across the entire sample of the managers
who participated. The primary contributor was linked to the lack of succession planning, in
particular the transitions of teachers to managers, who traditionally supervised young adults. These
managers did not receive adequate professional leadership and management development which
has resulted in a discrepancy between their actual level of competence and the level required for
their role.
The immediate priority should be to develop the existing management to the level of capability
required to effectively lead and manage the business and its people. The succession plan for future
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP93]: This Conclusion is
a good short summary of the research
without any new concepts added. But see
the next Comment about the Conclusion,
too.
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
leaders will deliver the best approach for the College to build and sustain leadership capability.
Comment [CRP94]: One more short
paragraph that tied the whole project
together and linked it back to the research
objectives/questions should have been put
here.
References
Bennis, W. (2004). The Seven Ages of the Leader. Harvard Business Review , 46-53.
Callan, VJ 2001, What are the essential capabilities requested for those who manage training
organisations?, NCVER, Adelaide.
Dickie, M, Eccles, C, Fitzgerald, L, McDonald, R, Cully, M, Blythe, A, Stanwick, J & Brooks, L 2004,
Enhancing the capability of VET professionals project: Final report, ANTA, Brisbane.
Daft, R. L. (2002). The Leadership Experience. (2. Edition, Ed.) Ohio: Thomas Learning.
Finch-Lees, T, Mabey, C, & Liefooghe, A 2005, ‘In the name of capability: A critical discursive
evaluation of competency-based management development’, Human Relations, no.58, pp.1185–
223.
Foley, J & Canole, L 2003, A draft leadership capability framework to assist leadership development
in the Victorian TAFE sector, Victorian Department of Education and Training, Melbourne.
Goffee, R & Jones, G 2006, Why should anyone be led by you?, Harvard Business School Press,
Boston.
Goleman, D 1995, Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, Bloomsbury, London.
Comment [CRP95]: There were some
good and bad things about this Project. But
it had enough good things relating to the
first three heavily-weighted criteria to bring
it up to a low distinction level like:
•the excellent literature review
•the detailed research design
•the inclusion of both interviews and a
survey
•the excellent list of recommended actions.
The mark would be higher if these poor
things related to the less heavily-weighted
fourth and fifth criteria had not been
present:
•the key learnings’ link to the literature had
been handled better
•there had been more references to the
methodology literature
•some of the sections of the Project had
been written better and linked together
better
•the references had been presented in one
correct style.
Refer to the Final Project Cover Sheet to
learn more about the 5 criteria
Goshal, S, Bartlett, CA & Moran, P 1999, ‘A new manifesto for management’, Sloan Management
Review, no.40, pp.9–20.
Gosling, J., & Mintzberg, H. (2003). The Five Minds of a Manager. Harvard Business Review , 54-63.
Guthrie, H 2004, The vocational education and training workforce: New roles and ways of working,
NCVER, Adelaide.
Comment [CRP96]: This is incorrect
and inconsistent referencing as some
references have brackets around the dates,
and some do not. This student should have
followed the AIB Style Guide.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2006). Leadership Enhancing the Lessons of Experience
(5th Edition ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Hunt, JG 2004, ‘What is leadership?’, in The nature of leadership, eds J Antonakis, AT Cianciolo & R
Sternberg, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp.19–47.
Kouzes, J & Posner, B 2002, The leadership challenge, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Mabey, C & Ramirez, M 2004, Developing managers: A European perspective, Chartered
Management Institute, London.
Mitchell, J 2002a, The never-ending quest: Effective strategy-making and change management for
high-performing VET organisations, ANTA, Melbourne.
Mitchell, J, Clayton, B, Hedberg, J & Paine, N 2003, Emerging futures: Innovation in teaching and
learning in VET, ANTA, Melbourne.
Mitchell, J, McKenna, S, Perry, W & Bald, C 2005, New ways of working in VET, ANTA, Melbourne.
Mulcahy, D 2003, Leadership and management in vocational education and training: Staying
focused on strategy, volume 1, NCVER, Adelaide.
Sankar, Y. (2003). Character and Not Charisma is the Critical Measure of Leadership Excellence. The
Journal of Leadership and Organisational Studies , 45-55.
Yukl, G. A. (2002). Leadership in Organisations (2nd Edition ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Comment [CRP97]: A copy of the
interview questions and/or the survey
questions should always be in an appendix.
Appendix A: Manager Survey
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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This survey has been adapted from the tools used by the NCVER to meet the objectives of the
research question. This research is examining: the leadership and management development
efforts that are being used or that are planned to be used for building and sustaining the
capabilities of College staff who engage in managing and leading people as part of their role.
Informed consent:
The researcher for this project is following the ethical guidelines issues by AIB as a criterion of the
research project.

No individuals will be identified in this report.

Opinions will be incorporated under major themes

The organisations will not be identified

All interview notes will be summarized and destroyed at the end of the project

The results of the research will be available to all participants early 2009.
Opening question
Q. As you look to the future in terms of the management and leadership talent required for the
College to continue to be competitive and innovative in the VET sector, what are the three most
pressing leadership and management issues that are facing:
1.___________________________________________________________________
2.___________________________________________________________________
3.___________________________________________________________________
Specific areas for management and leadership development
Q. In your opinion, for the teaching staff who engage in management and leadership roles, the
College is most focused about developing their management and leadership capabilities in the
three areas of:
1.___________________________________________________________________
2.___________________________________________________________________
3.___________________________________________________________________
Q. In your opinion, for the administration and learning support staff who engage in management
and leadership roles, the College is most focused about developing their management and
leadership capabilities in three areas of:
1.___________________________________________________________________
2.___________________________________________________________________
3.___________________________________________________________________
Current or planned management and leadership development strategies
Q. In terms of management and leadership development, what is occurring at present, or what is
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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Comment [CRP98]: The source of the
questions should always be explained.
Comment [CRP99]: This sentence
about the benefits of participating in the
survey is good.
Comment [CRP100]: An excellent part
of the introduction to the survey. People
will want to participate with this kind of
care about privacy.
729PROJ Project
Topic 1
planned and what policy does the College have on professional development?
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
______
Major achievements to date in management and leadership development
Q. What are you proud of, and can point to as a major achievement in leadership and management
development for either yourself, a colleague?
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
________
Q. Are you facing a generational change of management in your division or another division that
you are familiar with in the next five years?
Yes / No
If yes, how is the College (you and others) planning to respond to such changes – including
succession planning for various types of staff.
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
______
Q. Do you apply/follow any of the following policies to your management role at the College: the
human resource management plan, the strategic plan, or plans to use to sustain across the
organisation its management and leadership capabilities?
Yes / No
Q. At present, what are the biggest constraints that you need to deal with in building the
management and leadership capability of your staff?
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
____
Q. What contemporary leadership and management practices or development do you or others in
the College use that you would rate as effective or better?
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
____
Appendix B: Management and Leadership Capability Profile
©Australian Institute of Business. V11-12.02.12
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729PROJ Project
Instructions: Listed in this survey are various management and leadership capabilities. For each
management and leadership capability, you will be asked two questions. Firstly, please consider the
level of proficiency you believe is required to perform your current leadership and management
roles effectively. Insert a number from 1-6 in the box provided.
Commencement: Using the scale to the right, for each item listed below; please indicate the level
of proficiency you believe is required to perform your current role effectively. Then indicate the
actual level of proficiency you feel you now exhibit in doing your role.
Required Level of Proficiency
Actual Level of Proficiency
1.
Not Required
1.
None
2.
Low Level Required
2.
Low
3.
Some Level Required
3.
Some
4.
Moderate Level
4.
Moderate
5.
High Level Required
5.
High
6.
Very High Level Required
6.
Very High
Comment [CRP101]: Some of the
survey questions from this example have
been deleted
[Some parts of the questionnaire in the rest of this appendix below have been deleted]
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APPENDIX F: Using Interviews to Collect Data
If you are basing your research Project on an organisation, please make sure you obtain
signed consents from an authorised signatory of the organisation (use the Organisation
Consent Form in Appendix C). Also, obtain signed consents from the people you interview
(use the Individual Consent Form also in Appendix C).
Essentially, an interviewer should follow these rules that are described in more detail below:

Describe the purpose of the meeting

Don’t evaluate, for example, do not say ‘that is interesting’

Don’t interrupt

Don’t bias by introducing your own ideas

Don’t worry about pauses – let the interviewee fill them

Check your understanding, ie paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase = active listening

Take notes

Thank the respondent
Extracted from Carson, D., Gilmore, A., Gronhaug, K. and Perry, C. 2001, Qualitative Research
in Marketing, Sage, London.
Introduction
Interview data is a major source of information for many qualitative researchers. Thus this
section will introduce some general principles of interviewing that can be used in the
interviews in case studies.
In depth interviewing
Whatever an interview’s form, its purpose is to get inside someone’s head and ‘enter into
the other person’s perspective’ (Patton 1990, p. 278) to find out things like feelings,
memories and interpretations that we cannot observe or discover in other ways. Thus, the
researcher should always be careful of imposing his or her own perspective on to the person
being interviewed.
Despite this single, overriding purpose, in-depth interviews range in form along a continuum.
At one end, they can be almost like an informal conversation with a friend as in
constructivist research that explores a person’s perceptions because they are interesting in
themselves. These interviews have virtually no structure or a direction placed on them by
the interviewer for they are a constructivist research where the main aim is to explore the
internal reality of the interviewee. Interviews in an ethnographic study would be examples
of this sort of interview. At the other end of the continuum, interviews can be more
structured and directed, like a job interview for instance, and are a form of realism research
where perceptions are interesting not for themselves but for the picture that they present of
an external reality. Interviews in case study research would be examples of this form of
interview. We will try to assemble some principles of in depth interviewing that can be used
along most of this continuum of forms of interviews.
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Planning the interview
Most interviews are planned. Firstly, the overall objective of the interview should be sorted
out within the context of the whole project. For example, it may be to explore perceptions
about ‘the culture of beer consumption in Australia’ or ‘how international marketing
relationships are established, maintained and terminated’.
Secondly, an interview guide or protocol is then written as a memory jogger during the
interview for the researcher. This interview guide will be about some general, open-ended
interview topics that address the overall objective, such as ‘what is the role of beer in
Australian life?’ In constructivist research or in the early stages of a research project, there
may be only one or two of these general topics. But in realism research or towards the end
of a research project when more about the overall phenomenon is known by the researcher
and he or she merely wants to have that knowledge confirmed by the interviewee, there
may be ten or more of these general topics. During the interview, these topics do not have
to be addressed in the order they are written on the interview guide and so there is no need
for alarm if the discussion jumps about the topics.
Thirdly, within each of these general topics, there may be more particular probe questions
that are raised only after the general topic has been raised and if the interviewee has not
raised or discussed them in his or her answer to the more general question; for example,
‘how much beer have you drunk in the last month?’ where? when? with whom? and why?’
Note that these general topics and associated probe questions may not have to be explicitly
raised in the interview. With skill and luck, a researcher may be able to get the interviewee
involved in a conversation rather than an interview, and the conversation will cover the
general topics and associated probe questions without the interviewee knowing they were
planned to be raised. Techniques to facilitate this conversation are outlined below. In brief,
in a good interview, the questions are often answered before they have to be directly asked.
Finally, the site for the interview must be selected. It should if possible be familiar to the
interviewees to set them at ease, be quiet, and be able to be closed off from office traffic. To
more easily build rapport, chairs should be the same height for the researcher and the
interviewee. By the way, the researcher should dress appropriately to build rapport. For
example, do not wear a suit to an interview in factory and do wear a suit to an interview in
head office.
Starting the interview
After normal greetings and some chit chat about the weather or the journey to the
interview, the researcher should begin the interview when he or she feels the interviewee is
ready. Because the researcher expects the interviewee to be honest and open with them,
the researcher should try to be the same with them. So the interview starts with a very brief
outline of the purpose of the research to assure the interviewee that it is important and has
some benefit for them (and then never raise that purpose again). Because informed consent
to be interviewed is now a normal ethics requirement for research, confidentiality of the
data and of the interviewee in the report should be mentioned, and agreement to be
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interviewed should be confirmed. Next, permission is asked to take notes and to use a tape
recorder. If permission is granted, the tape recorder is brought out of the briefcase and the
interviewee showed how he or she can push the ‘pause’ button whenever they like. The
interviewee is asked if they would like a copy of a report of the study. Finally, the
interviewee is asked if they have any questions or want anything clarified before the
interview begins.
Note that some authors do not favour the use of tape recorders, usually because they
distract both the interviewee and the researcher during the interview (for example, Wolcott
1990; Dick 1990; Lincoln and Guba 1985). Indeed, the ‘click’ when a side of tape is finished
can be distracting and may suggest to the interviewee that the interview is about to end. (So
if you do use a tape, use the longest playing one you can find.). Moreover, some
interviewees do not like a tape recorder to be used. However, some authors strongly
recommend their use and transcription of the tapes (for example, Patton 1990). Others are
between these two extreme positions, thinking that it is merely ‘a matter of preference’ (Yin
1994, p. 86).
We ourselves usually prefer to try to tape interviews (but also take good notes in case
background noise drowns out the interview or the tape recorder does not work – a tape
recorder has appeared to be working by a check of its revolving cassette and still not work!).
The tape of an interview is then played back within an hour of the interview in the summary
making stage. We also usually make a transcription of the tapes of the first two or three
interviews because they reveal how bad the notes or even the questions were, and so they
improve the note taking and the questioning in later interviews. Transcription of these early
interviews could almost be viewed as a necessity. However, for some researchers, the costs
of transcription in time of later interviews, or in money for someone else to do the
transcription (it usually takes about four to five hours of transcription per hour of interview),
often means that transcription of them is a luxury they cannot afford. That is, the tapes are
merely played back to check the handwritten notes of the interview.
Managing the interview
Now the interview proper can begin. The first question should be very broad and be in terms
that the interviewee would use, for example, ‘How do you do international business?’ I often
ask them to ‘please tell me the story of your experiences in [whatever the research is about]’
because they do not have to think about the answer or wonder if their answer is precisely
what was behind the question – they can just start telling a story which anyone can do. After
the opening question, the researcher asks about the general topics in the interview guide
and their associated probe questions, always keeping the answers flowing in the ways
described next.
Throughout the interview, the researcher follows the rules of good interviewing. He or she:



Uses small encouragers like a murmur of understanding or ‘yes?’,
Maintains eye contact and smiles expectantly during pauses as if expecting the
interviewee to continue;
Uses the active listening technique of feeding back answers in the researcher’s own
words to check his or her own understanding and to remind the interviewee that what
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they are saying is very interesting, for example, ‘You mean that price is not as
important as distribution?’, and
Asks non-directive questions like ‘Could you please elaborate?’, ‘Can you give me an
example?’ and “You mentioned that…?’
Moreover, the researcher:

Uses the interviewee’s terms rather than academic ones, for example, ‘partnerships’
rather than ‘strategic alliances’;

Allows the interviewee’s interests and concerns to decide the order in which the
general topics and their associated probe questions are discussed, if the interviewee
seems to want to talk about them before the researcher finds it in the interview guide;

Goes from the general to the particular whenever possible to ensure the interviewee’s
perspective is not overruled by the researchers’;

Never interrupts an answer,

Never asks leading questions that imply what answer is most acceptable to the
researcher, for example, ‘There is a lot of beer drunk around here – do you drink
much?’

Never introduces his or her own ideas into the interview,

Never evaluates an answer, not even by saying ‘That is interesting’ for example,
because doing so will start pointing the interviewee away from his or her own
perspective towards the researcher’s perspective; and

Never worries about a ‘pregnant’ pause – the researcher lets the interviewee fill the
pause by appearing to be writing some notes.
At the end, the researcher asks if there are any other points that could have been raised and
remembers to thank the interviewee for their precious time. Soon afterwards and when he
or she is some distance from the site of the interview, the researcher jots down some
memory-joggers about the interview like its date and duration, the clothes the interviewee
was wearing, how often they were interrupted, what the person’s desk was like, what
awards were on the wall, and so on.
Analysing the data
So now we have masses of words in notes or typescripts. How do we analyse all this stuff?
Most qualitative researchers use some form of content analysis to analyse their data, that is,
they code groups of words in their transcripts into categories. These categories usually are
determined from the research questions that were the starting point for the research.
Examples of codes for research about marketing strategy would be: ‘cost leader’,
‘differentiator’ and ‘focus’, and the segments or ‘chunks’ of the transcript which are coded
could be phrases, sentences or paragraphs. In effect, these codes are keys to organising the
mass of data into patterns -‘Codes are used to retrieve and organise the chunks… The
organising part will entail some system for categorising the various chunks, so that the
researcher can quickly find, pull out, and cluster all the segments relating to a particular
question, hypothesis, concept, or theme’ (Miles and Huberman 1994, p. 57).
Two steps are usually involved in content analysis:

A first pass simply assigns codes to words or segments of words;

A second pass makes comparisons and contrasts between the coded material.
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The first step is sometimes called ‘axial coding’ and the second called ‘selective coding’
(Neuman 1994, pp. 408-409). In very constructivist research like grounded theory or
ethnography, another pass called the ‘open’ pass precedes these two passes; in the open
pass, the initial codes are found within the data itself. But for many researchers with
interview data, most of the codes are known before the data is looked at, for they are based
on the general topics and their associated probe questions in the interview guide.
So let us assume that the first coding pass is the axial pass. In this axial coding pass through
the data, the researcher writes the code against each paragraph or sentence, and possibly
writes additional notes in the margin. New codes or new ideas may emerge during this pass,
but the emphasis should be on the original list of codes.
Then in the second, selective coding pass through the data, the researcher tries to ‘select’
situations that illustrate themes and makes comparisons and contrasts after most or all data
collection is complete. For example, a researcher studying life in an office might decide to
make gender relations a major theme. In selective coding he goes through his field notes
looking for differences in how men and women talk about dating, engagements, weddings,
divorce, extramarital affairs, or husband-wife relations. The aim is to make generalisations
about these topics that summarise the similarities and differences between what people are
saying.
Summary
We do interviews to find the perspectives inside someone’s head. This is no easy task and
each person we interview will be a bit different. But if we plan for the interview, start and
flow it with skill, and analyse it with care, we will find out very interesting things for our
research projects. To illustrate this, consider how the general principles above can be
applied in the particular form of interviewing called convergent interviewing.
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APPENDIX G: Referencing and Plagiarism
Abstract. This document outlines, with examples, how to cite a source in the text of your
work, and how to reference sources from articles, books and the internet at the end of your
work. It also discusses plagiarism. More details about other sources are in the appendix or
can be obtained from AIB.
Background. Consistently using a ‘house style’ like the Style Manual (2002) in your
assignments and other reports will protect you from the criticisms of idiosyncratic and
pedantic examiners. There are two or three style manuals to choose from but we
recommend Style Manual because it is used in all communications with the Australian
government, for example, in proposals for consulting projects, and is used by most
publishers of books and journals in Australia.
If you are using Microsoft’s Endnote, you could perhaps use the Chicago Style Manual
format of the prestigious Journal of Marketing until the Style Manual format is provided in
Endnote. More inexpensive bibliographic software are:

the free, very basic Biblioexpress software (the introductory version is downloadable at
http://www.biblioscape.com/biblioexpress.htm – the full version called Biblioscope costs
$US 139 or $US 99 with the education discount). I suggest you use its APA option for
referencing.

Scholar’s Aid 4 AE is another, similarly cheap and possibly better bibliographic software
available from http://scholarsaid.com/index.html

Or you can try the free shareware bibliographic software running on Firefox 2.0 called
zotero – you can search for this using Google or yahoo search; or you can find other free
software by searching for ‘free bibliographic software’ using Google or Yahoo search.
Citations. In the text of your work, the citations of authors are presented in the Harvard
style. For example, if an idea came from Smith, you write the idea and then write in brackets
the name and year of publication as in (Smith 1998). If you quote from Smith, you have to
give the page number too, so give the quotation and then write in brackets (Smith 1998, p.
3). Note that there is no comma between the name and the year, but there is a comma after
the date if a quotation necessitates the page number being added. Provide complete details
of all your citations in the references at the end of your assignment, as shown in the
examples below.
Consider these citing practices in more detail. You must acknowledge the sources of ideas in
an assignment by referencing the author or organisation and the date, but without the page
number; for example, you could refer to a textbook as (Sherman 1999). When using the
name of the author in your sentence you write the name outside brackets as in ‘Smith (1999)
found…’ These ideas are not copied word for word from your textbook or another source,
but are expressed in your own words.
When you are copying word-for-word from your textbook or from another source, you must
acknowledge where those sentences, paragraphs or extracts came from. To do this
acknowledgment, you must do two things:
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Put quotation marks around the quote from your source

Cite in brackets what the source is and the page number; that is, after the quotation
marks, cite a reference in the Harvard style, for example, (Smith 1998, p. 3) – note that
there is no comma between the name and the year, but there is a comma after the year.
Consider this citing in more detail. You must acknowledge the sources of ideas in an
assignment by referencing the author or organisation and the date, but without the page
number; for example, you could refer to a textbook as (Sherman 1999). These ideas are not
copied word for word from your textbook or another source; this is paraphrasing or the
expression of ideas in your own words.
When you are copying word-for-word from your textbook or from another source, you must
acknowledge where those sentences, paragraphs or extracts came from. To do this
acknowledgment, you must do three things:

Put quotation marks around the quote from your source (except for long quotes that
exceed 30 words – these are shown as a separate paragraph with no quotation marks,
are single spaced and indented 1.5 cm on the right and left hand side)

Cite in brackets what the source is and the page number; after the quotation marks, cite
a reference in the Harvard style, for example, (Smith 1998, p. 3) – note that there is no
comma between the name and the year, but there is a comma after the year, and

Provide complete details of the reference at the end of your assignment.
If there is no author to cite, cite the name of the sponsoring organisation or the title of the
book or article, for example, Australian Government Publishing Service (1994) or Style
Manual (1994) or (‘Here and there’ 2001). If there is no date, put n.d., for example, Smith
(n.d.).
The above principles of referencing are also used for internet sources. That is, the author or
the title of the article or the sponsoring organisation is cited in the text, for example, Smith
(1996, p. 2) and (The World in Cyberspace 1999; ‘Hello and goodbye’ 2000; World Health
Organisation 2000).
Referencing. You should provide a complete reference list at the end of your answers and
assignments. The list is in alphabetical order and if you have more than one reference from
one author, place them in chronological order. Examples are (Abel 1999; Baker 1990) and
Smith (2000, 2001). For multiple citations in the same year use a, b, c… immediately
following the year of publication, for example, (Fox 1997a, 1997b).
Examples of how to provide the details of a book, a journal article and an Internet source
follow. Note that:

A comma follows the family name but does not come before the date

Book and journal titles are in italics

Article names have single quotation marks around them

The publisher and its location are in that order, and

You have put the viewing date into internet references.
Books
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Bradley, F 1991, International Marketing Strategy, Prentice Hall, London.
Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers 2002, 6th edn, Australian Government
Publishing Service, Canberra.
Thorelli, HB & Cavusgil, ST (eds) 1990, International Marketing Strategy, 4th edn, Pergamon
Press, Oxford.
Articles
Minor, M, Wu, WY & Choi, MK 1991, ‘A proposition-based approach to international entry
strategy contingencies’, Journal of Global Marketing, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 69-87.
Internet references
Lee, MT 1996, Guidelines for Citing References and Electronic Sources of Information United
Nations, Vienna, viewed 12 May 1999, <http://www.eliz.tased.edu.au/refs.htm>.
Guides to Citing Electronic Information n.d., viewed 6 May 2000,
<http://www.uvm.edu/~ncrane/estyles/apa.html>.
Tables and figures. Note that an examiner should not have to look at tables and figures to be
able follow your arguments. If there is an important point in a table or figure, you have to
incorporate it into your text – the examiner should not have to do your work by ferreting for
points in tables and figures (the same thing applies to appenduces). That is, an examiner
should be able to pass your work without having to look at any of its tables or figures, if he
or she is in a hurry. Similarly, tables and figures should be able to be read somewhat
independently of the text, so ensure the titles of tables and figures are rather long and selfexplanatory, and any symbols in a table are explained in a note to the table. That is,
someone who has not read the text should understand a table. By the way, a table has rows
and columns and a figure does not.
The title of a table or figure should be reasonably self-explanatory; that is, it should not be
too short, and its source should be at the bottom. A table or figure should be referred to in
the text of your work by its number, not as ‘above’ or ‘below’.
We have tried to develop some rules of thumb for writers using software like Microsoft
Word that are as close as possible to Style Manual’s standards. Examples of Figure and
Tables titles, notes and sources follow:

Titles are shown at the top of a table or figure (with bold for the name but not for the
number, and no full stop, in 12 point font), and

Notes and sources are at the bottom of a table or figure (with a full stop at the end of
them, and they are in that order, in 11 or 10 point font).
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Note: Figures are for civilians whose family status could not be determined.
Source: Gibbs (1999).
Source: developed for this research.
Source: analysis of field data.
Figure 1.2 Outline of this thesis, with chapter numbers and their interrelationships
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Literature review
Chapter 3 Stage one: focus groups
and convergent interviews
Chapter 4 Stage two:
case research
Chapter 5 Case research
data analysis
Chapter 6 Conclusions and implications
Note: Dashed line highlights the methodology chapters in two stages.
Source: developed for this research based on (Perry 2002).
Reference
Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers 2002, 6th edn, Australian Government
Publishing Service, Canberra.
Some more points about style in Australia

Use a capital letter only at the start of a heading or the title of a figure and table,
and then use lower case for all the other words. More advice on presenting
tables and figures is provided above.

Use a capital for one particular unit but all lower case for many, generic units, for
example, ‘my University’ and ‘many universities’.

Write out numbers from one to nine in words, and larger numbers as numbers,
for example, ‘nine’ and ‘10’. However, if you are comparing a number above 10
with a number below 10, present both of them as number, for example, ‘7 out
of the 15 people were blind’.

However, never use numbers at the start of a sentence. For example, do not
start with ‘1998 was…’ or ’77 percent was…’; instead, start with something like
‘The year 1998 was…’ or ‘As much as 77 percent…’
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Nevertheless, use numbers rather than words for parts of a document, and
present them with a capital when referring to a particular part of the document,
for example, ‘Chapter 2’ and ‘Figure 6.1’.

Present a title of a book or journal in italics, for example, Tom Thumb.

Do not place full stops between the letters in established abbreviations like ‘US’
or ‘ASEAN’.

Use country names and abbreviations like this: ‘United States’ is a noun or an
adjective and ‘US’ is only an adjective.

There is a difference in the use of a full stop at the end of an abbreviation and a
contraction. For example, ‘Dr’ and ‘Oct.’ are different because the ‘r’ in Dr is the
last letter in the full word but ‘t’ is not the last letter in October.

Use single quotation marks rather than double quotation marks, except when
you have a quotation within a quotation when double quotation marks should be
used. Here is an example: He said, ‘Bill shouted at me, “Go away!” I could not
believe it.’

However, if your quotation is more than 30 words, present it as an indented
paragraph without quotation marks and with a one line space before and after
the indented paragraph. As well, the font should be one point less than normal,
that is, 11 point font in a thesis that follows the usual 12 point font. This font size
difference does not apply for quotations less than 30 words. For example, he
said:
I am going to speak more than 30 words. I am going to speak more than 30
words. I am going to speak more than 30 words. Look, I did speak more than 30
words.
Note that all quotations should be preceded by a precis in your own words of
what is in the quotation – you cannot hide behind someone else’s words just
because you do not have the brains to express the idea in your own words. It is
your task to read the literature and synthesise its ideas into a pattern for your
thesis. You should not force the examiner to do this by just plopping in a
quotation for him or her to read. In brief, use short quotations that you have first
expressed in your own words, and use them sparingly.

If you use your own, unusual words or slang words, present them with quotation
marks the first time you use them but not when you use the words after that; for
example, ‘quasi-probabilistic’ and ‘confirmatory/disconfirmatory test’ have a
quotation mark when first used but not afterwards.

Occasionally use ‘I’ or ‘we’ when describing what you actually did, but do not use
them to present your own value judgements in phrases like ‘I feel’ or ‘I consider’.

Do not use slangy contractions like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’; instead, write ‘do not’ or
‘cannot’.

Please do not use comparative or superlative adjectives and adverbs such as ‘all’
authors or he worked ‘harder’, because they are essentially just value
judgements and if the examiner wanted to know about value judgments he or
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she would look at the letters to the Editor of a newspaper.

Use italics for emphasis very sparingly – as a usual maximum, italicise only one or
two words per one or two pages. Using italics too often will make them lose their
impact. (This appendix is not an assignment or thesis and so I have used italics
here more often than I would in one of these documents).

A date is written as 12 May 2002, in that order and without a comma.

The terms ‘pm’ and ‘am’ are written without full stops, for example, 12.15 am.

For numbers, thousands do not need a comma but larger numbers should be
presented with spaces instead of commas, for example, 5000 and 50 000 000

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