Informal Systems

Paper Requirements:

 Section A:  Background of the company & information about the interviewee (~1 to 2 pages) 

(a)   Provide a thorough description of the company (approx. two to three paragraphs), including relevant information about its history, industry, primary product lines, location of corporate headquarters, and size (e.g., approximate number of employees).

(b)   Describe who you interviewed, including name, formal title, tenure with the company, educational background, and any other relevant background information (e.g., worked with a close competitor and thus is able to describe differences across ethical cultures within the industry). Also, provide the date and time of the interview, how it was conducted (i.e., via Skype, telephone or in-person), the length of the interview, and contact information for your interviewee (name, job title, email address and phone number; this information is required to receive credit).  

 (c)   If you visited or spent time in the company to learn about its ethical culture, briefly describe how that was done and how much time was spent there. Also, describe any other unique materials you may have referenced to prepare your paper (e.g., employee handbook).

Section B: Examples of Formal and Informal Systems (~5 to 6 pages)

 In this section, you will choose 3 formal systems and 2 informal systems within your focal company to illustrate with examples. I suggest that you have questions in your structured interview that attempt to get information about ALL of the Formal and Informal systems. This way, you can choose to write up those sections about which you were able to gather the best information. 

Formal Systems – choose 3

·      Executive Leadership

·      Selection System

·      Policies/Codes

·      Orientation/Training

·      Performance Management System

·      Structure

·      Decision Processes                                                       

Informal Systems – choose 2 

·        Heroes/Role Models

·      Norms                                                 

·      Rituals

·      Myths/Stories   

  • According to the myth, Alan Stillman thought up the name TGI Fridays™ while he was skiing with his friend, when feeling furious because his friend had defeated him, he screamed out “Thank Goodness it’s Friday!” Till then the restaurant had no name and he decided to name it like this.         (Fridays .com)                           

·      Ethical Language

For each system, you will need to:

a)     Define the system in a general sense, so that someone unfamiliar with these systems would understand what you’re about to discuss. Then, discuss the system in your focal organization and thoroughly describe examples from the company that illustrate that system. You need to provide enough detail to help the reader understand what message is being communicated to employees. 

Choose those systems that can be illustrated best by specific examples; no credit will be given for “this type of system does not exist” responses (while it is possible that a system does not exist in the organization, you should choose systems that DO exist for Section B of this assignment; the lack of a system, though, can and probably should be discussed in Section C). 

Keep in mind that examples must be explicitand provide enough detail to understand what message is being communicated to employees. For instance, simply stating that the company has a code of conduct is NOT enough information to analyze the company’s ethical culture; you need to discuss the content of the code of conduct—what are some of the major points of the code; what does the code not discuss; does the code have a “rule” for times when a specific behavior is not covered in the code; etc. Similarly, if you choose “executive leadership,” you should be able to point to specificpeople who exemplify this role and specific examples that explain why this person (or persons) is being used to illustrate this system (e.g., do you have a quote from the CEO?). Hint: in order to demonstrate to me that you have done your research, examples should be specificto the organization. Credit will not be given for generic examples that can be applied to any organization. 

Be sure to specifically identify your examples as fitting into the above categories. Use subheadingsto identify the categories. 

b)     Describe how each of the ethical culture systems either support or don’t support ethical behavior in the organization. What message is each example communicating to the company’s employees? Be specific.

An important component of this paper is choosing examples that are truly illustrative of the ethical culture concept. Be sure you review and know each concept. (Be careful that you are choosing examples that are specific to the ethicalculture of the company and not just to culture more generally.)

Section C: Reporting Your Findings to Top Management (~3 to 4 pages)

Based on what you learned in Section B, provide a detailed analysis of the health of your company’s ethical culture and provide specificsuggestions/guidelines/initiativesthat the company should follow to improve the health of its ethical culture. You must present the information as if you are attempting to convince top management about what you found and how it can be improved. Remember that top management did not hire your consulting company to hear a “your ethical culture is perfect” answer. 

In this section, you need to address the following:

·       Provide a synthesis of what you learned about the company’s culture, including strengths and weaknesses

·       Discuss the alignment of the cultural systems (e.g., are they aligned and what type of behavior are they supporting? If they are not aligned, why is this problematic and where, specifically, is the misalignment? Is the ethical climate of the organization benevolent, egoistic or principled, as described in the textbook?)

·       Suggest specific initiatives that logicallyaddress the strengths/weaknesses 

Throughout your response, be sure to provide support for your points by using specific examples and coherent, logical arguments. 

Other Formatting Requirements:

Outside references– You must use at least 2 external sources(in addition to the textbook and the interview) to complete the paper. Appropriate sources might include newspaper or magazine articles, news stories, taped interviews with or speeches by CEO/top management, annual reports, training materials, etc. One of these sources may include the company’s website. However, the company website (and anything found on it) only counts as one source; you cannot count individual web pages within a website as more than one source. Also, the textbook does NOT count toward these two external sources (although you should use it as a source).

Internal citations and reference page– this paper must include appropriate internal citations and a reference page. To reference an interviewee or one’s personal experience, the format is as follows (for the reference page):

Smith, Michael. Personal Interview. October 1, 2011.

Personal Experience. Joan Smith’s Personal Experienceas Customer Service Representative, 2000 to 2002.

Personal Observation. Joan Smith’s Personal Observationin Fayetteville store. February 27, 2012.

Then, in the paper itself, be sure to use internal citations where appropriate. For example, (Smith, 2011) or (Personal Experience, 2000-2002).

Be sure to use internal citations and quotation marks as appropriate in your paper. It is your responsibility to know and use the university plagiarism guidelines. All incidences of plagiarism will be reported to the Academic Integrity Monitor. If you have any questions, please contact me. You can also bring your paper to the WCOB writing center. 

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