MGT210 HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMEN of the Journal

The Journal

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The Journals (done as individuals) are designed to provide immediate applicability of the course material. As such, it provides an opportunity for a real world test as well as extensive and intensive consideration of the course material. The Journal is a document whereby individuals use the course material to evaluate their own experiences and observations in an organizational setting. I prefer the use of your own current employment for the journals. It is not acceptable to use second‑hand situations (e.g., spouse, friend‑of‑a‑friend). By the same token, events should not be excessively dated. The latter may be open to negotiation.

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In a perfect world, you would be writing a journal paper after each class meeting. I recognize this is quite idealistic so I would encourage you to at least sketch a paragraph or one page outline on what you might do if you chose to pursue that week’s topic. In terms of the course requirements, two (2) entries will be submitted. Each entry should be approximately between 8 and (no more than) 10 pages in length, and should demonstrate thoughtful and serious consideration and application of the course material. Given the personal nature of the journal, their content will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

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The content of the journal entries must address the three criteria below. I will not dictate writing structure or style. Some prefer to present the paper in sections. Others like to structure the paper by contributing factors and blend all 3 within each aspect of the story.

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Objective I: The paper must “describe” the situation or practice to which a concept will be applied. Best are current as yet unresolved issues. Next best would be immediately recent events. The rest of the paper will be dedicated to showing how violation of or adherence to the course concepts created a particular experience or pattern of experiences. You will need to give a narrative illustration of the event. Be sure to provide enough “hard facts” to give the reader a picture. Be careful not to provide so much that you do not stay focused on your chosen topic, or that one begins to get lost in the trees. But do not be so generic or ambiguous that one does not feel familiar with the situation. “Sufficient data” typically means the use of people and specific behaviors as illustration. Later sections will use the concept to analyze why the situation exists, and possibly what went wrong.

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Objective II: The paper must “explain” the situation or experience. I anticipate each class session will provide two or more “key learnings.” These issues may be enlightened self-awareness, a labeling of previous knowledge, a realization of the importance of a previous event, or something completely new. You will identify the key learnings to be used for the journal. You should reference the dates of the class; the discussion topics, exercises, or readings that you will be utilizing; and the theoretical objectives of the topic. Advice here is to consider both class and reading material.

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You will apply the course to the selected incident. The objectives here are to demonstrate your familiarity with the concepts in two ways. On the one hand you will show your learning through your ability to present the concept, while showing your understanding of the concepts through their application to the situation. The major emphasis here is on using the course material to show why the situation occurred; how the material helps you understand how and why it occurred, and how this reflection has enlightened your understanding of human resource management. This objective is critical to your grade. Objective I above is the story/description aspect of the paper, while this objective addresses the analysis aspect.

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Objective III: In building on your prior analysis, the paper should extrapolate your learning towards human resources improvement. Using your discussion up to this point, consider ways you could embark on using the “key learnings” to better the situation and/or the organization. You should also use this section to develop specific action plans to guide your improvement strategy.

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General Guidelines:

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As a guideline, simply stating “Bob and I had poor communication.” or that “I learned I need to improve my listening skills by not reacting so quickly and defensively” is an inadequate response to the assignment. Such an approach will result in an undesirable evaluation (read “poor grade”). Stating this and then describing in vague, general terms that to be non‑defensive you need to do “a, b, & c” is better but only marginally so if you seem to be repeating the list of guidelines from the reading summaries. I do not want to see a regurgitation of “recipes.”

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An excellent journal use specific actions and plans describing specific relevant situations and steps. For instance recognizing common contributors or catalysts that create the issue, describing how to recognize and “freeze frame” before acting, what conscious steps will be taken to change/correct the situation. Again, framing the journal entry around a specific work example or behavior pattern is an excellent way to facilitate your discussion. Do not paint a how‑to picture that is applicable to any stock situation.

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I am more than willing to discuss any questions or ideas related to the Journal‑‑format, issues, and topics. However, I will not tell you what to write or how to write, although I will review your written rough drafts and give you feedback. In addition, I may not appear very “friendly” if these inquiries are left to the last minute. Plan and think ahead on these. Take notes, jot down ideas constantly, in class or elsewhere. This is not an “all‑nighter” assignment. As a final suggestion, selecting and focusing on consistent patterns of behavior is a proven way to enhance the learning potential of the journal. You can select single episodic (“one‑shot”) incidents, but they need to be of major consequence. The analysis of on‑going behavioral patterns often proves to be easier to apply to the assignment, and more enlightening in terms of self‑awareness.

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