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Refining topics given by your employing organization

If, as a part-time student, your manager gives you a topic, this may present particular problems. It may be something in which you are not particularly interested. In this case you will have to weigh the advantage of doing something useful to the organisation against the disadvantage of a potential lack of personal motivation. You therefore need to achieve a balance. Often the project your manager wishes you to undertake is larger than that which is appropriate for your course project. =

In such cases, it may be possible to complete both by isolating an element of the larger organisational project that you find interesting and treating this as the project for your course. One of our students was asked to do a preliminary investigation of the strengths and weaknesses of her organisation’s pay system and then to recommend consultants to design and implement a new system. She was not particularly interested in this project.

However, she was considering becoming a freelance personnel consultant. Therefore, for her course project she decided to study the decision-making process in relation to the appointment of personnel consultants. Her organisation’s decision on which consultant to appoint, and why this decision was taken, proved to be a useful case study against which to compare management decision-making theory. In this event you would write a larger report for your organisation and a part of it for your project report. Section 14.4 offers some guidance on writing two separate reports for different audiences.

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