PROJECT GOALS: The goals of this project are to help students:
1. Gain a better understanding of how management is practiced in an actual business organization.
2. Develop skills in interviewing, gathering, and organizing data, and preparing a written report.
PROJECT SCOPE: This project involves interviewing a company manager and organizing the information into a professional report.
COMPANY SELECTION: The Company selected for the project must be a for-profit business and cannot be a business owned by any of your family members or relatives. It cannot be a company that you currently work for or have worked for in the past. The manager selected must be a manager who has individuals reporting to them and has some actual management responsibilities. You are encouraged to select a company that you would like to learn more about, and perhaps one that you might consider working for or in an industry that you may want to work in.
CONFIDENTIALITY: You must maintain the confidentiality of all the information provided by the manager. You cannot share any sensitive information with anyone regarding the individual manager or any information that the manager might consider ‘company confidential.’
You must also advise the manager of the interview’s purpose and let him know that you will maintain the confidentiality of the information provided.
INTERVIEWS: To complete the project, you will interview the manager to gather the information required for the final report. THE INTERVIEW SHOULD BE FACE-TO-FACE whenever possible.
Interview the manager in sufficient time before the assignment is due to ensure that you have adequate time to complete the assignment on time.
Remember that you are representing Arkansas State University to an outside business and expect to conduct yourself professionally at all times. To be most effective in the interview, prepare a list of questions to ensure that all points are covered adequately and that you are not wasting the manager’s time. Also, obtain from the manager examples and specifics for each of the topics covered in the interview. This will enhance your learning and help when you write your report to explain the various aspects of the manager’s job.
INTERVIEW CONTENT: The following information is to be obtained from the manager during the interview:
1. MANAGER AND MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES- who the manager is (job title and primary responsibilities). Explain them and give examples.
2. BACKGROUND OF MANAGER- Education and training; include both formal education and on-the-job training. How many years have they been with the company- years in a current management position, prior background, etc.?
3. MANAGEMENT SKILLS -which skills (technical, human, conceptual, and motivation to manage) does the manager feel are the most important for success as a manager in his job? Explain why and give examples of their use?
4. MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS, which of the four management functions (Plan, Organize, Control, and Lead), is most important to his success. Explain why and give examples.
5. LEADERSHIP-Describe the type of leadership that the manager practices with their employees (participative, directive, transactional, a blend, etc.) Give examples and explain why the manager feels this is the most effective way to manage.
6. OVERVIEW OF THE COMPANY-company name, the industry the company is in, its Mission, major products or services, annual revenues, number of employees, etc.
7. CULTURE AND VALUES-describe the culture and values of the company. What is important to the company? What are some of the norms and values that have been established in the company? How do the values and culture help the company in managing and attaining its goals? Give examples.
8. MAJOR GOALS of the Company-what are the major goals that the company has set for the next year or two (e.g., increase sales, reduce expenses, improve customer service, increase market share, develop new products or services, etc.). Be specific and explain why these goals are important to the success of the company.
9. MAJOR COMPETITORS-who are the major competitors of the company? The relative size of the competitors compared to this company (are they larger, smaller, or about the same?)
10. THE STRATEGY OF THE COMPANY-is this company trying to be the low-cost provider of their products or services; or are they trying to differentiate
themselves from their competitors by offering better or different products or services; or are they trying to focus on a limited or narrow product line or services in their industry; or do they have a combination of several of these strategies? How is their strategy different from their major competitors? Explain and give examples.
11. MAJOR CHALLENGES/BIGGEST PROBLEM- What are the significant issues that present obstacles or challenges to the company’s success (external environment, internal environment, technology, and competitive)? What is the biggest problem that the company faces? What if there were a solution found? Would it make a big difference in the business performance and financial results?
12. CONTROLS-what are the main things that the manager has to control in the business to ensure that goals are met? How are they controlled? Give examples.
13. MOTIVATION AND REWARDS-How are the managers and other employees motivated? What is the reward system in the company? Are employees rewarded for individual performance, team performance, or both? Are the rewards financial or non-financial, or a mixture? Give examples.
14. DIVERSITY-Is there much diversity in the company (age, gender, ethnicity, education level, etc.)? Describe and give examples. Does the company try to foster diversity? If so, how? Does the manager see any advantages to diversity?
15. GOOD EMPLOYEES-What does the manager say the most important characteristics of a good employee are? How does the manager recruit and select employees?
16. SUGGESTED CHANGES-If, the manager, could change two things in the business, what would they be? What would be the benefit of the changes to the business?
Format of Paper: follow all of the written assignments’ requirements as outlined in Course Guidelines posted on Blackboard. The paper must use APA format and have a minimum of four credible outside reference sources used in the paper.
Paper is to have a Cover Page, Abstract, Introduction, content sections of Manager Background and Major Responsibilities; Management Skills; Management Functions; Leadership; Company Overview, Culture, and Values; Strategy and Major Goals; Major Competitors and Strategies; Major Challenges/Biggest Problem; Controls; Motivation and Rewards; Diversity; Characteristics of a Good Employee; Suggested Changes; and Summary and Conclusions. Use headings for each section.
Grading: The grade is based on content accuracy and completeness, format (APA format required), and grammar.
Submitting Assignment: Paper is to be submitted as an assignment in Blackboard by the due date. Submit only as a Microsoft Word or a PDF document.
Students may select ONE other class member and do the project as a team. Both team members must conduct the interview together. The project is to be a cooperative effort of both team members. Both team members will receive the same grade and submit one paper with both names on it.
Having a partner for the manager interview project is OPTIONAL, and students can choose to do the manager interview without a partner if desired.