CIPD Professional Development Scheme Assignment Document Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 2 Contents Introduction 5 Section 1 General Guidance 7 CIPD Assignment Guidance for Students General Guidance from your Tutors What Assignments must Demonstrate Suggested Approach for Putting an Assignment Together Generic Report Layout Marking Scheme Assignment Grading 7 10 13 14 15 16 21 Section 2 Assignments 29 Introduction 29 Leadership and Management Assignments 31
General Notes Managing for Results Assignments Managing in a Strategic Business Context Assignments Managing Information for Competitive Advantage Assignments Managing and Leading People Assignments 31 31 34 38 42 People Management and Development Assignments 45 General Brief 45 Consolidated Assignment Document 3 Generalist Electives Assignments 47 People Resourcing Assignments Employee Relations Assignments Employee Reward Assignments 48 53 57 Learning and Development Electives Assignments 63
Managing Organisational Learning and Knowledge (MOLK) Assignments Learning and Development (L&D) Assignments Managing the Training & Development Function (MTDF) Assignments Management Development (MD) Assignments L&D Electives Additional Assignment 63 67 72 76 78 Employment Law Elective Assignment 81 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 4 Introduction The CIPD assessment strategy for the Professional Development Scheme (PDS) consists of a mix of assignments, workshops, continuing professional development (CPD) and examinations for each subject.
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This qualification is at postgraduate (Masters) level, and is aimed at producing ‘thinking performers’, as defined by the CIPD The thinking performer typically plays an active role at any level in the business and has a sustained capacity for efficiency in performance. He or she is always ready to challenge current procedures to achieve continuous improvement and maintain a clear understanding of, and commitment to, strategy and purpose while taking a consistently ethical approach.
CIPD ‘On Course’ Spring 2002 This document contains details on how to produce ‘thinking performer’ assignments and gives ¦ guidance on assignment completion from the CIPD and MOL tutors a suggested report format marking criteria and the marking schedule used explanatory notes on what is expected and how fail, pass, merit and distinction level assignments generally differ detailed briefs for all assignment options across all subject areas ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
The numbers of assignments you are required to complete against each field are as follows Leadership and Management (4) People Management and Development (2) Electives – Generalist (4) – Specialist Learning and Development (4) – Specialist Employment Law (1) For the elective modules, there is always a choice of topic for each assignment you have to complete. You complete only the assignments belonging to the subjects you are studying. Assignments are assessed at ‘Masters’ level, and detailed information will be given on how to achieve this level in the Assignment Grading section later in this workbook.
You must achieve the required standard in both the assignment and examination elements for each subject, plus attend all workshops, where your tutors will give you guidance and feedback. Please read the information in this document carefully as it will help you to produce the standard of assignment required. Consolidated Assignment Document 5 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 6 Section 1 General Guidance CIPD Assignment Guidance for Students A Guide to Writing Successful CIPD Assignments Introduction
Throughout the PDS, you are required to submit a number of assignments. These assignments provide an opportunity for you to receive feedback during your studies as to the extent to which your knowledge and understanding are developing. They are also part of the national assessment mechanisms for each module. You will be required to pass both the examination and the assignments in each module as discrete elements. The Purpose of Assignments Apart from providing the opportunity for receiving feedback from your module tutors, your assignments have the following purposes ¦ o provide a focused medium for you to develop your learning in the major topics and themes that are built on throughout your study programme to develop your analytical, critical and evaluative faculties through requiring you to link the theories and knowledge that you are acquiring in your studies with the human resource (HR) policies, procedures, systems and practices that operate within your workplace to encourage you to add value to your organisation through your activities in the workplace by encouraging you to compare and contrast ‘best practice’ elsewhere with the systems, procedures and activities undertaken within your own organisation to promote practical skills in written format (particularly the systematic presentation of written materials in report or quasi-report structure) and interpersonal skills (particularly informing, persuading, gathering information and negotiating) to help you prepare thoroughly and systematically for your examinations in each PDS module to generally develop your professional knowledge, skills and understanding for your future career ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ Consolidated Assignment Document 7 There are many different forms of assignment. Some of the assignments, and particularly those that are skills-based, may take a different form to the standard written assignment. This could include materials used for a presentation, notes used as part of skills exercises, role play briefs and evaluations and discussion of a role play.
Your centre will advise you as to how such data should be presented. If you present an assignment as part of a group effort, your tutors will need to see what, in effect, you contributed to the overall document so that appropriate marks can be awarded. Assignment Topic Assignment topics are set by your course tutor and these should be wide-ranging, while being thematically constrained to, for example, recruitment/selection, training/development, coaching/appraisal, etc. The topics should have a corporate/organisational focus and the themes should include investigative work (ie in other organisations or some form of literature search) beyond your own organisation. Layout of Assignments
The appropriate layout of a particular assignment is likely to vary in the context of the actual focus of the assignment, but more and more centres specify that assignments should be produced in report form or structured as proposals to senior management. These notes are intended to give some guidance on how such assignment material should be presented. Title Page It is important that you state clearly, at the beginning of the assignment, what its title is, which module it applies to, which tutor has set it and your name as the author. The only other things to go on the title page (if appropriate) are a file reference, date and version number. Summary If the report is more than about three pages long, a summary should be provided, so that people can see at a glance what the report is about.
This summary is usually printed immediately after the title page, but if it is only a couple of sentences, there may be room to put it on the title page itself, below your name. Contents Page Page numbers, as well as section/chapter titles, should be included. If the report incorporates some appendices, their titles should be listed. Acknowledgements A list of the names, roles and organisations (if relevant) of all those who helped you when compiling the report should be included. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 8 Terms of Reference This section should answer the questions, ‘What were you asked to do? ’ and ‘What powers (ie access to others, budgets, etc) were you given? Clarifying the terms of reference will show what the report is about, and also helps to delineate the report’s boundaries. Introduction This section should provide some of the background of the subject that forms the principal theme of your report. If the report is designed to solve a perceived ‘problem’, the history of the problem can be reviewed here, culminating in the situation that prompted the report to be written. Method(s) of Investigation This section is needed for the readers to judge the authenticity of the ‘evidence’ that comprises the main body of the report. All sources should be mentioned and, if appropriate, describe how you put together your questionnaire or survey study.
Copies of the questionnaires themselves or any other research instruments should be included in the appendices. If any published documents were studied, this should be recorded, although the precise list of books, articles, etc should be included in the bibliography at the end of the report. The Main Body of the Report This part of the report is likely to comprise many paragraphs or sections, depending on the quantity of information to be presented. It is often useful to break up your assignment into sub-headings. It is often easier and clearer to use a list of bullet points but you must ensure there is sufficient information to explain and justify the point you are making. Use tables, pie charts, graphs and bar charts if possible.
Your presentation of data is important. Conclusions In this section you should say what your facts or findings mean, ie discuss the key implications arising from the wealth of detail you may have collected. The conclusions should not incorporate any new facts. Recommendations Your recommendations should clearly spell out your ideas to enable them to be acted upon. In particular, if your proposals involve expenditure, you must supply a cost-benefit evaluation to show what it costs and what management will gain from it. Consolidated Assignment Document 9 Appendices All detailed statistical tabulations, graphs, lists, questionnaires, etc should be organised into separate appendices.
It may also be appropriate to include a list of references (sources that are actually cited in the report itself) and a bibliography (sources that you consulted but which are not directly quoted). Nothing should be included as an appendix that isn’t referred to in the main body of the report. Length of the Assignment Written assignments, where these are used, should generally specify a maximum of 2,500 words (+/–20%). You need to demonstrate your skill in arguing logically and concisely, as throughout your career you will be required to be succinct in your presentations to management or others. General Guidance from your Tutors Some Dos and Don’ts Assignments should be your own work.
However, in preparing to write your assignments you will typically have studied relevant sections of your CIPD flexible learning workfiles, any associated textbooks and People Management along with relevant research papers. Reference should always be made to your learning, so always quote any reference sources you have used. Always avoid copying large chunks of text out of books or articles or other people’s work – in the extreme this can constitute plagiarism if unattributed. Where an assignment calls for a report format, be careful to provide it in this way. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of how you can maximise your marks. A copy of the standard marking and feedback sheet is included in this document, together with an explanation of the categories.
If you have difficulty, please talk to your tutor. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 10 Organisational Context Markers are strongly influenced by your ability to relate theory to practice. Many assignments call on you to relate subjects directly to your own organisation. If you cannot write about an organisation that employs you, try to relate the assignment to one with which you are familiar. This could be one where a friend or partner is employed. It is helpful to the marker if you include a short appendix, giving relevant background information about the organisation on which you are basing your assignment, such as ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ize culture organisational structure products and services strategy If you use a standard appendix (including it in every assignment), you can draw attention to points relevant to a particular assignment. Length of Assignments Unless otherwise stated in the individual assignment brief, each assignment should be completed within 2,500 words (+/–20%). You need to be concise in description and in argument but you will be unlikely to do justice to yourself in substantially fewer words. The use of substantially more words will lead to a loss of marks for failure to be concise. You may include reference material as an appendix, in which case it will not be included in the word count.
However, you should be selective – assignments that are dominated by their appendices lose credibility. Further Reading You are recommended to do some background reading and use the authors’ ideas to back up the arguments in your written work. Beware of plagiarising (ie copying out large chunks from the books you read). You need to be thoughtful in how you use references to support your argument. It is always a good policy to ¦ ¦ find a good local library and learn to use it effectively use the CIPD library – ring 0208 612 7747 for advice on literature or ring 0208 612 6210 to order books or photocopies. The library catalogue is accessible online via the CIPD website at www. cipd. co. k review relevant journals regularly, eg People Management and Personnel Today read the quality press, within which there are often very useful articles visit the research section of the CIPD website ¦ ¦ ¦ Consolidated Assignment Document 11 Submission of Assignments Send two copies of your completed assignment to your tutor’s home address and keep a copy for your own reference. Tutors will always accept material by post and some tutors accept assignments and return comments by email, but you must agree this with your tutor in advance. Tutors normally mark and return assignments submitted by the deadline within three weeks of receipt. However, your tutor may arrange, for example, to return your assignment at a forthcoming workshop.
In all cases where the original deadlines are not met, tutors will mark assignments at a time convenient to their own timetable. Deadlines Deadlines for presentation of assignments are set by your tutor to enable the script to be marked and feedback provided according to the group timetable. There are also absolute deadlines for submission of marks to the CIPD. We would therefore ask you to observe carefully the assignment deadline dates. In special circumstances your tutor may agree an extension to the assignment deadline. However, in cases of late submission of assignments without prior agreement from your tutor, a maximum mark of 50% will be awarded to your assignment. CIPD Examinations
National CIPD examinations are taken in regional exam centres in May and November of each year. Assignment marks must be submitted by MOL to the CIPD at the end of March and September respectively for the examinations to be taken six weeks later. If you do not submit your assignment(s) at least a fortnight before these deadlines, you may prejudice your examination result(s). This is because the mark(s) can support a marginally weak exam result on review by the Chief Examiner, so helping to turn a marginal fail into a pass. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 12 What Assignments must Demonstrate General Principles Your assignment must demonstrate that you have ¦ systematic understanding, and a critical awareness, of current knowledge and new insights into the field of practice covered in the topic a comprehensive understanding of applicable techniques ¦ and that you can ¦ ¦ deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively use your understanding of the subject relevantly to inform your analysis, conclusions and recommendations propose/make convincing decisions in complex and possibly unpredictable situations make sound judgements on how to implement tasks at a professional or equivalent level communicate clearly to non-specialists, or those outside your organisational sector ¦ ¦ ¦ ‘BACKUP’ Competencies
The CIPD requires you to display the following in all aspects of assessed work, and you will be judged in both the assignment and exam on how far you have met the ‘BACKUP’ criteria. Definitions are as follows B = Business Focus Orientation towards results, HR as strategic/business partner, people empowered as ‘thinking performers’ to add value to the organisation’s strategic goals. AC = Application Capability Addresses practical issues, develops solutions to problems, designs implementation and action programmes with meaningful outcomes. K = Knowledge of Subject Matter Displays a thorough grasp of the content of the relevant parts of the syllabus, familiar with main concepts in the field, aware of recent/current developments. U = Understanding in Depth
Ability to go beyond fashionable mantras and simplistic generalisations, to recognise the ambiguities, subtleties and political complexities of organisational life. P = Presentation and Packaging Is systematic, lucid, businesslike, whilst being persuasive and convincing. How far these aspects are displayed will affect your final mark. More help on how these might affect your assignment grading are given in the Assignment Grading section. Consolidated Assignment Document 13 Suggested Approach for Putting an Assignment Together Key Steps Outlined here are the key steps in the process. 1 Read and re-read the assignment brief to ensure you fully understand the assignment objectives. Consult the CIPD standards to understand the knowledge and performance criteria applicable in this area. 3 Develop a broader knowledge of the subject areas by using workfiles, other reading, research, discussion and web resources. 4 Brainstorm the key issues and produce an overview of the interrelationships (perhaps use a mind map). 5 Focus on your chosen organisation and assess the issues in relation to it. This may mean having meetings with others, and developing methods of collecting data via questionnaires, etc. 6 Benchmark against external sources of information, eg your knowledge of other organisations, articles, best practice and published research. Develop a balanced view of your organisation’s current position in relation to the issues – for example by doing a SWOT analysis. 8 If necessary, re-frame the scope and/or objectives that you feel are realistic for you to achieve in the word count. 9 Develop an outline structure: sections, headings, appendix information, etc. 10 Sift and decide which evidence you will include in your facts and findings, which you will include in appendices and which you will omit. 11 Think through your angle or approach, ie what points are you going to make? , what do you agree and disagree with? , etc. Do you have evidence to back up the assertions you make? 12 Refine your outline structure and start adding the detail – what and how much detail will you go into?
Do type directly onto your computer rather than from a paper copy. Also do back up to disc as you go along as computers lose information! 13 Formulate options in terms of differing courses of action to take to tackle the issues and the pros and cons of each course. There is never one perfect solution to a complicated problem. 14 Think through the conclusions of your analysis and a rationale by which you decide and justify your recommended course(s) of action. What are the effects of your recommendations likely to be on the organisation? 15 What are the costs of your recommendations and what resources will they require? What likely benefits will occur? Can you quantify these in terms of added value? 6 Produce an implementation plan that proves you have thought through the actions, responsibilities, timescales, costs, etc. 17 Put the assignment aside for a period of a few days if possible or give it to someone else to read, and see if it makes sense at a ‘distance’. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 14 If this is your first attempt at a CIPD assignment, it will take you longer to put together. Once you have been through the process, you will become more efficient at working through these stages – and should be able to do it in 12-16 hours. If you spend much longer than this, then the law of diminishing returns increasingly applies. Generic Report Layout
Cover sheet Title of Assignment Name Address for return Contact tel. no. Terms of reference Ringfences the assignment Scope and any limitations Sets out the process and methods of research Sources of information and objectives of the assignment Contents page Introduction Background and context CONSIDER P – Present situation P – Problems P – Possibilities Main body of report REMEMBER TO BE A – Accurate B – Brief C – Clear Look back Options Look forward Recommendations Feasible changes Realistic appraisal Implementation plan as appropriate Conclusions Positive commitment required Implementation plan Remember to include in contents page Bibliography List of references
Appendices Keep brief Directly related to the analysis Add value Learning Review Learning achieved Taking it forward fig 1 Report layout guide Consolidated Assignment Document 15 Word Count In all the assignment briefs, the required number of words for the assignment is set at 2,500 (+/–20%). Regardless of the question set, the following sections in the generic report structure are not included in the word count ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ title page terms of reference contents page appendices learning review bibliography list of references Within the main body of the report, diagrams, models and tables of figures are not included, but tables of verbal analysis, such as a table of options, are included. Marking Scheme
You will receive a total mark based on your performance against the following criteria. In determining your marks your tutor will be considering the following. Structure 10% Supports and enables the required outcomes. Contains appropriate scope, terms of reference, methodology, bibliography, sections and balance of themes. Aids coherence and development of arguments. Appropriate language, presentation and length. Underpinning Knowledge 20% Demonstrates comprehension of relevant concepts, approaches and theoretical frameworks. Validity, quality, currency and relevance of information gathered and used. Application 20% Uses appropriate examples from own experience.
Has evidence of relevant external comparison and demonstration of understanding/ applicability to own organisation. Uses underpinning knowledge to inform understanding of organisation/sector. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 16 Analysis 20% Shows capacity for objective review and critical evaluation. Uses information and underpinning knowledge to provide a balanced critique of relative strengths and weaknesses, and to justify choices/decisions. Takes account of contextual ambiguity and complexity. Develops coherent and justified arguments and conclusions. Forward Thinking 25% Outlines possibilities, implications and recommendations. Finds a relevant and practical way forward in prevailing circumstances.
Demonstrates creativity and innovation where appropriate, balanced by demonstration of added value and costs/benefits. Relevant detail and implementation plans given which are resource-based, time bound with appropriate allocation of responsibility. Learning Review 5% Reflection on problems encountered, and strengths confirmed/to be further developed. Learning achieved and how this will be applied in the future. Personal development plan included where appropriate. Consolidated Assignment Document 17 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 18 Standard Assignment Marking and Feedback Sheet Name and Cohort Module & Title Tutor Assessment Criteria Structure Supports and enables the required outcomes.
Contains appropriate scope, terms of reference, methodology, bibliography, sections and balance of themes. Aids coherence and development of arguments. Appropriate language, presentation and length Mark 10% Tutor‘s Comments Underpinning knowledge Demonstrates comprehension of relevant concepts, approaches and theoretical frameworks. Validity, quality, currency and relevance of information gathered and used. 20% Application Uses appropriate examples from own experience. Evidence of relevant external comparison and demonstration of understanding/applicability to own organisation. Uses underpinning knowledge to inform understanding of organisation/sector. 20% Analysis Shows capacity for objective review and critical evaluation.
Uses information and underpinning knowledge to provide a balanced critique of relative strengths and weaknesses, and to justify choices and decisions. Takes account of contextual ambiguity and complexity. Develops coherent and justified arguments and conclusions. 20% Forward Thinking Outlines possibilities, implications and recommendations. Finds a relevant and practical way forward in prevailing circumstances. Demonstrates creativity and innovation where appropriate, balanced by demonstration of added value and cost/benefits. Relevant detail and implementation plans given which are resource-based, time bound with appropriate allocation of responsibility 25% Learning review Reflection on problems encountered, and strengths confirmed/to be further developed.
Learning achieved and how this will be applied in the future. Personal development plan included where appropriate. 5% TOTAL MARK Consolidated Assignment Document 19 General Comments Signed Date Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 20 Assignment Grading The allocation of a grade to your assignment will be based on the following criteria. Fail: Less than 50% An inadequate piece of work, which does not meet the required standards. You will be asked to resubmit this work. Resubmission will attract a maximum mark of 50%. Further shortfall may lead to a second resubmission, again with a maximum mark of 50%. A maximum of two resubmissions is allowed. Weak Pass: 50-54%
This piece of work is a pass grade but barely adequate. You will have probably made some omissions or answered the question in too superficial a manner. Strong Pass: 55-59% A sound piece of work that shows you understand the subject, but your answer is not sufficiently rigorous or searching to warrant a higher mark. Merit: 60-64% A convincing piece of work that fully meets the objectives and demonstrates a good understanding of the issues and their implications. Proposals clearly add value. Strong Merit: 65-69% A highly readable and credible piece which shows a sophisticated understanding of the issues, and makes a very strong case for strategic change.
Distinction: 70%+ A truly outstanding piece of research that compels organisational strategy and/or thinking in the field to move significantly forward. The following tables have been produced for guidance only to give an indication of positive and negative indicators of a particular grade against the marking criteria. Consolidated Assignment Document 21 Fail An inadequate piece of work, which does not meet the required standards Positive Indicators Structure Negative Indicators Drifting from answering the question Objectives not achieved Conveys lack of understanding of the subject Does not answer the assignment question Poorly written and presented
Poorly structured, little or inappropriate use of format required Some serious omissions or errors Missing a key section, such as recommendations, or such a section may be seriously weak Difficult to understand BACKUP criteria not achieved Knowledge Application Analysis Cheating, plagiarism or copying from texts or another student Lacks evidence of knowledge of own organisation Descriptive rather than analytical in nature Evidence of faulty judgement or logic Difficult to understand Forward thinking Cost considerations largely ignored Of little or no use to the organisation Lack of credibility for a senior audience Learning review Table 1 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 22 Weak Pass A pass but barely adequate. There are probably some omissions or the question has been answered in too superficial a manner. Some of the following positive indicators will apply.
Positive Indicators Structure Terms of reference include assignment objectives, which are broadly covered in the report Sections, headings and appendices (if appropriate) used Generally understandable and reader friendly language used Refers to core texts/CIPD workfiles in passing, (but in a generally descriptive sense) Knowledge Application Basic knowledge evident Basic organisational background given (but inadequate or not focused enough on the question) Basic approach to understanding the problems involved and some solutions given Negative Indicators Language is inappropriate and includes jargon and colloquialisms Repetition or obvious gaps evident Inappropriate use is made of appendices – hence the 'catalogue effect' with too much information in the appendices and may be referenced in the wrong sequence Doesn’t put self in the position of the reader, hence may be too detailed to follow or oversimplified Not demonstrating a clear enough understanding of the subject Internally focused: solely in own organisation Tendency to deal with ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ as separate issues Answer generally operational and present focused on a narrow area rather than strategic, future looking and integrative Arguments and points may be confused making it difficult for the eader to understand what is being said Descriptive rather than analytical approach to answering the question Conclusions drawn from incomplete data Conclusions a summary of previous analysis and non-value adding Forward thinking Will come up with a way forward (but it may be tentative or weak) Will not have considered possible alternative actions Will not have considered implications Recommendations tending to be generalised and not supported by a convincing explanation of ‘how they will happen’ Recommendations may be idealistic or impractical, or non-value adding Cost considerations not fully explored or unrealistic Learning review Table 2 Little reflection on learning Analysis Consolidated Assignment Document 23 Strong Pass A sound piece of work that shows an understanding of the subject but the answer is not sufficiently rigorous or searching to warrant a higher mark. As a Weak Pass and some of the following positive indicators will also apply. Positive Indicators Structure Title page and appropriate format used. Contents page given. Appendices included and correctly referenced. Proof read. Length near to required word limit (+/- 10%); not too long/padded out, not so short that it doesn’t make good sense.
Word limit included Shows the methods of research used, and all sources of information A relevant introduction that sets out the background and draws the reader in Presentation of data is interesting, clear and logical, eg sub-headings, charts, diagrams, bullet-points, models used Knowledge Collects basic primary data (eg via interviews with colleagues) as well as desk research Shows comprehension of the principles under investigation Clearly has analysed relevant sections of CIPD material and associated text books. Refers to readily available publications such as People Management and makes comments Supporting information may not have validity or be partial May not be using the most up to date information/research Will probably draw on well-known and older theoretical models and frameworks Does not fully use he theoretical frameworks or research to help gain a deeper understanding of organisational issues Is not critically evaluative of ‘theories’ or the applicability of ‘best practice’ to own organisation Application Treats the answer systematically and logically Gives specific and relevant examples to illustrate points Organisational context is quite clear and level of detail is generally appropriate Helps reader understand organisational technicalities Analysis Attempts to achieve a balanced view, and gives pros and cons Is thinking above and beyond current role Looks at the options and possibilities in general terms Conclusions state what facts and findings mean, the key implications and do not contain any new material or facts Will tend to be weaker on broader external focus, dealing briefly and superficially with benchmarking other organisations Will not convince of a clear grasp of the national HR scene or wider issues in own/other sectors Will probably not mention the external commercial context that will affect the proposed changes May be drawing conclusions/making recommendations on insufficient evidence Tends to focus on the task and process issues without looking at the ‘softer’ and more ambiguous/challenging dimensions that often hinder change – eg power, status politics, personalities, culture, behaviours, etc Negative Indicators Uses appendices for information not central to answering the question Forward thinking Recommendations are generally relevant to the organisation objectives and clearly flow from the facts, findings and conclusions It is clear how the recommendations will be taken forward and their relative importance to the organisation Provides a relevant plan to implement recommendations Shows commitment to adding value through improvement and change Gives basic detail on costs and obvious benefits and these are broadly realistic Generally convincing to a senior audience Learning review Some basic reflections on learning achieved Table 3 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 24
Merit A convincing piece of work that fully meets the objectives and demonstrates a good understanding of the issues and their implications. Proposals clearly add value. As a Strong Pass and some of the following positive indicators will also apply. Positive Indicators Structure Makes it interesting Negative Indicators May be too long or over-detailed to gain a strong merit, and has not distilled the key points into a Clearly shows what is in and out highly coherent argument of scope of the assignment, and any limitations on completion Very clearly demonstrates that all the objectives have been met Uses appendices concisely and effectively Demonstrates all the BACKUP principles Knowledge
Draws on a range of academic research and information beyond core texts and People Management, uses web sources, etc and these are correctly referenced Will tend to refer to some leading edge information May not use enough leading edge material Application Pitches the assignment convincingly at the audience Has valid primary data to evidence facts and findings Has striven to benchmark organisation against others using reliable sources Gives clear evidence of understanding of national HR issues within the context of the question Looks beyond own sector for evidence and comparative information May not draw on a wide enough range of opinions or data Primary data will probably not be clearly statistically significant May not have fully convinced about depth and breadth of related HR issues outside own organisation Analysis
Balances academic and practical issues, and integrates theories into analysis to achieve a greater understanding of own organisation Does not take theories and best practice at face value but will clearly set out and justify areas of concurrence and disagreement Uses facts and figures to persuade Provides an objective and balanced view giving pros and cons and advantages and disadvantages, based on evidence May not be challenging or far reaching enough to gain a higher mark, but is convincing in what it does propose May be open to further challenge or exploration May not have considered possible implications in enough depth Table 4(a) Consolidated Assignment Document 25
Positive Indicators Forward thinking Proposals clearly add value to the organisation Has thought through the implications of implementing changes in terms of efficiency and effectiveness Has looked at the feasibility of different options, and thought through disadvantages, difficulties or barriers to changes proposed Takes account of the softer issues in making change happen and stick Is not afraid to challenge norms or received wisdom Proposals seek to contribute to organisational purpose Takes account of differing stakeholder positions and needs Adopts a collaborative and partnership approach to making change happen Produces detailed resourcebased implementation plans clearly showing areas of responsibility, timeframes and resource issues Provides a convincing and thorough cost-benefit analysis that seeks to quantify added value and contribution to results Has looked at cost effectiveness in proposals, and puts forward a sound business case for any additional investment Is likely to persuade a senior audience to agree the proposed action with little further probing Learning review Detailed and honest review of personal learning and learning about the organisation with some intentions to take this forward Table 4(b) Negative Indicators May not have considered the effect on the organisational system and relationships Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 26 Strong Merit A highly readable and credible piece that shows a sophisticated understanding of the issues and makes a strong case for strategic change. As a Merit and some of the following positive indicators will also apply.
Positive Indicators Structure Knowledge Uses the structure to enable a concise but sophisticated analysis Will draw on up to date and leading edge information/research rather than more tired sources Will demonstrate a wide and strong knowledge of external-to-organisation practice and issues and use this to inform any facts and findings May look beyond the UK for comparative information Will provide a strong critique of how organisation measures up to others Primary data is statistically significant and correct analytical tools and statistical models used in analysis Analysis Will be lucid, persuasive and succinct Will take full account of ambiguity and complexity in the situation Is able to challenge current mindsets and assumptions and is proactive in approach Forward thinking Will balance bespoke solutions and ‘best practice’ Will demonstrate a strong commitment to partnership working in any solutions Proposals are strategic and far reaching and should effect major changes Learning review Table 5 Does not move the field forward in a genuine way May be less creative or radical than possible Negative Indicators Application Consolidated Assignment Document 27 Distinction A truly outstanding piece of research that compels organisational strategy and/or thinking in the field to move significantly forward. As a Strong Merit and some of the following positive indicators will also apply.
Positive Indicators Structure Is publishable, as it stands, to a wider external audience – professional and/or academic Contains a full range of leadingedge evidence based on published research, and a very wide range of academic sources Benchmarks against national/ international strategic HR Has valid, reliable and statistically significant empirical evidence based on primary research Uses appropriate statistical analysis and modelling techniques Analysis Is highly persuasive in expression Usually a highly original and compellingly argued piece of work Full academic rigour and erudition displayed Is highly challenging, proactive and genuinely innovative Synthesises models, theories and ideas to produce new approaches Can be brave and controversial, but is backed up with necessary evidence Successfully questions received wisdom and assumptions/ paradigms Comes up with genuinely new and original insights Forward thinking Adopts a genuinely innovative approach to expressing the issues, analysing the situation and solving the problems Will convince senior audience to significantly change their approaches Moves the subject forward in a real way Learning review Table 6 Negative Indicators Knowledge Application Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 8 Section 2 Assignments Introduction Assignment Options For each module, you have a choice of at least two assignments, and only need to write one assignment. There is an additional assignment brief which you may wish to do instead of the options, for any of the Learning and Development (L&D) electives, as it is a research-based project brief, and therefore very flexible. Length and Format All assignments will need to abide by the CIPD restrictions – they are limited to 2,500 words (+/–20%, excluding terms of reference, appendices, bibliography and learning review) and will need to be sent to the tutor on the date agreed at the first workshop.
Please carefully note the submission deadlines, as failure to meet these may mean a restriction on your mark. Most assignments will require a report format. You will agree with your tutor how they require the assignment to be submitted (by post or email), how they will mark and return the assignment and what the turnaround time for marking is. When sending work through the post, attach the assignment feedback form onto the front of the assignment, and ensure that your work has you name, address, telephone number, cohort number and word count on the front. Relationship to CIPD Standards and Materials The CIPD standards consist of both knowledge indicators and indicative content for each elective.
In the assignment briefs, tutors refer to the standards and/or knowledge indicators applicable to each assignment topic as a guide. It is worth looking at the knowledge indicators and indicative content of the standards in detail as part of your assignment preparation. Topic files are also referred to. A general look through all of the workfiles is usually useful, as subjects may crop up in several subject areas within the elective, and across electives themselves. Guidance and Assessment Criteria This is given in Section 1 of this document. Consolidated Assignment Document 29 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 30 Leadership and Management Assignments General Notes
You will need to make reference to current research about the topic area, and give examples from both an organisation you are familiar with and external organisations for comparison, within the main body of the report. Theory should be included and there should be discussions about the degree of fit of the theory and research in the organisations used for examples. The learning outcomes given with each assignment indicate the nature of the information the topic is intended to cover. Whilst you should aim to cover as many outcomes as possible, you are not expected to cover them all. Appendices should expand the information already in the report and support arguments. Think carefully about the appendices you attach to the report. If your organisation is large you may want to limit the scope of the assignment to a particular part.
This needs to be identified in the introduction of the report along with the reasons for this. Managing for Results Assignments Option 1 – Brief Critically evaluate how managers communicate and whether the methods used add value to the organisation. Do the methods used match those expounded in current research and how do they compare with those methods used in different organisations? Make recommendations for the changes needed to improve how managers communicate. Explain how these changes will give additional value. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you ¦ understand how managerial communications and networks contribute to business uccess can research theoretical models of communications and analyse their applicability to the situation in your own and other organisations, so differentiating between effective and ineffective communication methods can make persuasive recommendations to solve the issues identified Consolidated Assignment Document ¦ ¦ 31 PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicator: 1. 2 Knowledge indicator: 1. 2 Performance infrastructure: 1. 2, 1. 3 Performance differentiators: 1. 1, 1. 4 How to Tackle the Assignment You need to identify how managers currently communicate, the substance of their communications and how effective these methods are in achieving their aims. What communication models are available and what research is there on this topic? What do both these sources state is needed for effective communications and why are the ingredients required?
Do the communications methods used in your organisations agree with the theory and research? Give examples, reasons and alternatives available. What do other organisations do to address the shortcomings identified in your communications methods? Are the methods used elsewhere effective and how easily would they translate into your culture? Make recommendations to change the methods used and give the organisational benefits of these changes. Option 2 – Brief Assess how well managers at all levels in your organisation manage change. Using research and examples from other organisations, suggest ways in which managers could further facilitate change within the organisation. Learning Outcomes
You should demonstrate that you can ¦ identify how managers can help foster an environment in which change is seen in a positive light benchmark your organisation against others and analyse the findings to present a convincing case for change apply the theoretical basis for coping with change to the situation in your own organisation and use this to justify the changes recommended ¦ ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicator: 2. 2 Knowledge indicator: 2. 2 Performance infrastructure: 2. 2, 2. 3, 2. 4 Performance differentiators: 2. 5, 2. 8 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 32 How to Tackle the Assignment
If you work in a smaller organisation you should be able to include the whole organisation; in a larger organisation you will need to choose part of the whole to look at. In the latter case, other parts of the organisation could be internal comparators, but you will still need to identify how other organisations manage these factors and what your organisation can learn from them. It would be useful to compare areas that manage the change process well and those that leave something to be desired. How does the performance of the areas differ and what problems are encountered? What are the trends identified in research and recent articles, using other organisations as examples or case studies?
What benefits do they see from adopting a more positive approach to change, risk and innovation? From the options that are available what would you recommend your area do to improve the current situation? How will these changes benefit the area chosen and the organisation as a whole? Option 3 – Brief Which factors within your organisation need to be improved and how, to give increased customer satisfaction? How do these factors relate to research and practice in other organisations? Explain the benefits the changes would bring to customers, management and staff and make recommendations about how they could be achieved. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ dentify what differentiates your organisation from others in terms of external customer service and analyse why your customers find this so attractive use analytical tools such as SWOT, force field analysis or other appropriate tools to investigate the situation both internally and externally and justify the recommendations made research the needs of internal customers and use this information to draft effective proposals for change apply the findings of academic research into customer service to your own and other organisations ¦ ¦ ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicator: 3. 2 Knowledge indicators: 3. 1, 3. 2, 3. 3 Performance infrastructure: 3. 1, 3. 3, 3. 4 Performance differentiators: 3. 5, 3. 6, 3. 8 Consolidated Assignment Document 33 How to Tackle the Assignment A lot of research has been done on this topic and a lot of books have been written about it. There is also a lot of information on the topic in the personnel and general press. You will find it useful to benchmark your external customer services standard with other organisations to explain how you are currently perceived.
Employee surveys are likely to provide information about internal standards and areas where improvements could be made. A force field analysis might be a good way of identifying the drivers for change and their relative importance both internally and externally. You need to look at how other organisations both within your economic sector and others tackle the shortcomings you identify, to give options you can evaluate for implementation. Consider how well these possible solutions will fit the culture and structure of your organisation. Produce an action plan to enable internal and external customer service to be improved to achieve stated targets. Managing in a Strategic Business Context Assignments Option 1– Brief
Research the drivers that are pushing organisations to take an increasing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. Give examples from your own and other organisations of the organisational responses to these drivers and make recommendations to move the organisation, or your part of it, forward in relation to these two topics. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ use SWOT, PESTLE or other appropriate analytical tools to identify the current situation within your own organisation and also those external drivers which will have most effect on the direction taken research what other organisations are doing in this area and the benefits they see from doing business in this manner; ie what competitive advantage do they gain rom being socially responsible and doing business in an ethical manner present a strategic case for business change based on sound business reasons supported by current research ¦ ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicators: 1. 2, 9. 1 Knowledge indicators: 1. 2, 9. 1,9. 2 Indicative content: 9. 1, 9. 3, 9. 5 Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 34 How to Tackle the Assignment You need to identify what CSR and business ethics cover generally and identify how organisations are currently covering these issues. Look at the trends in the external environment, using appropriate analytical tools and analyse their impact on organisations. What do these trends mean for the future?
How are your own and other organisations planning to address them? Can you learn anything from the strategies adopted by other organisations? Make recommendations for your organisation to move forward in relation to CSR and business ethics. Option 2 – Brief Using appropriate models and analytical tools, determine the effects of globalisation on your organisation in the next decade. Compare this with the trends identified by research and the responses of other organisations. Analyse the effects of these factors and recommend actions the organisation can take now to enable it to adopt a proactive response to the effects identified. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ efine what globalisation means both generally and in terms of your own organisation identify the drivers for globalisation and how they relate to your organisation use appropriate analytical techniques to identify how globalisation has affected both your own company and others within the same sector. Use this information as a basis on which to predict future trends for your company in the next decade compare your organisation with others and use this information to gain a competitive advantage in the market place ¦ ¦ ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicators: 1. 2, 3. 1 Knowledge indicator: 3. 1 Indicative content: 3. 1, 3. 3 Consolidated Assignment Document 35 How to Tackle the Assignment You could start by identifying what globalisation is and something about its history. You will need to use an analytical tool to look at what factors will affect your organisation/sector most.
What is your organisation doing about the factors identified and how do other organisations deal with these issues? Can anything be learnt from other organisations that will be of use in your organisation? Justify the answer to this question. What does your organisation need to do to place it in a position to proactively respond should the effects you foresee come about? Option 3 – Brief Critically evaluate the impact on your organisation of two of the following STEEPLE factors ¦ ¦ ¦ economic social technological Make recommendations for how your organisation, including HR, should respond now and in the future. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ ustify the choice of the factors chosen with reference to developments in the wider economy identify which of the many factors will have the greatest impact on your organisation and why this is the case, using appropriate theory to support your arguments research how other organisations deal with these factors and analyse if their responses are relevant to your own organisation. If so, what would the benefits and outcomes be? make justified recommendations which will move your organisation forward ¦ ¦ ¦ Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 36 PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators The Competitive Environment Operational indicators: 1, 2 and 3 Knowledge indicator: 4 The Technological Context
Operational indicators: 1 and 2 Knowledge indicators: 1, 3 and 4 Social Trends Operational indicators: 1 and 2 Knowledge indicators: 1 and 3 Developing Strategy Operational indicators: 1 and 3 Knowledge indicators: 2 and 3 Demographic Trends Operational indicators: 1 and 2 Knowledge indicator: 3 How to Tackle the Assignment 1 Explain why the two factors were chosen and summarise the key areas within them which will affect your organisation. Use theories and models to supplement these discussions. 2 Give examples of current effects and your organisational response, critique their effectiveness and identify areas where improvements/changes could be made. Use external examples to show what has been achieved elsewhere and evaluate the possibility of using these options within your own organisation to ameliorate the weaknesses found. 4 Make recommendations based on the preceding discussions of what should be done in the short, medium and long term to address the issues identified. Consolidated Assignment Document 37 Managing Information for Competitive Advantage Assignments Option 1 – Brief – Finance Using a company of your choice, indicate the purpose, content and structure of the three financial statements companies produce in their year-end accounts. Explain the key measures that can be used to evaluate the financial performance of a company.
Using the company from the first part of the assignment analyse their performance over a number of years in relation to these measures and compare it against a comparable company in the same sector. Identify areas in which the main company can improve and provide some broad suggestions for methods to tackle the shortcomings identified. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ explain the content and reason for production of the financial statements and the annual report choose appropriate measures of a company’s financial health and use them to analyse the performance, over a period, of your own organisation and another in the same sector.
As a result of this analysis you should then be able to make suggestions to tackle the areas of concern identified in the main organisation ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicator: 2. 1. 2 Knowledge indicator: 2. 1, 2. 3 Indicative content: 2. 1, 2. 2 How to Tackle the Assignment You will need to look at the financial statements and ratios for at least two organisations. Analysis of what they show in terms of raw data in the statements and the information from the ratios is what will gain marks, not a description of what the financial statements contain, what the ratios might mean and how they are calculated. How can the statements be of use and to whom? Why are these statements produced? What governs their format? etc.
For the ratios you will need to analyse at least two organisations in a similar sector and use the ratios to compare and contrast their performance over a period of time and internally to show what changes had been made. To provide adequate analysis of the situation you need to look at at least two ratios from each of the three areas. Your recommendations will be ideas about what might be done to address the areas of concern. They should be practical in the light of what you know about the business and identify the main stakeholders and what they could do. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 38 Option 2 – Brief – Statistics
Your organisation recruits large numbers of people into its telephone sales department. Staff in this department have some limited product knowledge and their purpose is to create appointments for sales representatives to visit potential clients and sell them financial products. No cold calling is undertaken. All calls are made as a result of either referrals, or responses received to advertising campaigns and mail-shots. Candidates for vacancies in the telesales department are assessed against competency-based criteria. Application forms are sifted and interviews conducted using the same criteria. The appraisal system is also based upon the same competency framework.
Recruitment costs equate to approximately ? 5,000 per person recruited. There are 160 employees in the department and the attrition rate is currently running at 15%. Recently, a reputable test publisher has published a test, which your HR Director thinks might help recruit better people at lower cost (because candidates whose applications pass the sifting process can be tested before deciding who to shortlist for interview, thus reducing the numbers actually interviewed). The HR Director asks you to consider the test’s feasibility. Write a report to your HR Director indicating how you propose to evaluate the test as an aid to selection. Your report should include details of ¦ ¦ he benefits and pitfalls of testing generally how you would ensure that testing was fair to all applicant groups what information you would gather how you would gather the information how you would set about analysing and interpreting the data to draw sound conclusions and to underpin your recommendations ¦ ¦ ¦ Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ ¦ explain how a pilot study would be set up show what effects different sample sizes and composition of the samples would have on the choices made guide the reader in the choice of information to be collected and analysed use tables, charts and graphs to illustrate aspects of the analysis draw sound conclusions from the analysis and interpretation of the data make clear recommendations supported by an implementation plan ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
Consolidated Assignment Document 39 PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Performance Infrastructure Operational indicators: 3. 1. 1, 3. 1. 2, 3. 1. 3 Knowledge indicators: 3. 1. 1, 3. 1. 2 Indicative content: 3. 1. 2, 3. 1. 3 Performance Differentiators Operational indicators: 3. 2. 1, 3. 2. 2, 3. 2. 3 Knowledge indicators: 3. 2. 1 Indicative content: 3. 2. 1, 3. 2. 2 How to Tackle the Assignment Make sure you understand the concept of testing and its pros and cons. Acquaint yourself with the issues of reliability and validity. Decide how you would select people for your pilot study. Determine performance factors that could reasonably be predicted by testing.
Demonstrate, with examples, how you would collect, analyse, interpret and display the information, using appropriate software as required. Show how you would establish parameters to determine acceptable results and indicate what those parameters would be. You do not have to research or recommend a particular test or tests. The standard marking guide will apply to this assignment. Good students will demonstrate that they have read around the subject, and/or have existing knowledge. They will explain how the pilot study would be set up, consider issues of sample size and composition, and provide examples of the information to be gathered and analysed.
Successful students will use tables, charts and graphs to illustrate aspects of the analysis, indicate parameters and provide reasoned argument to back them up, draw sound conclusions from the analysis and interpretation of data and make clear recommendations, supported by an implementation plan. Consolidated Assignment Document CIPD ConsAss v3. 2 9/09 40 Option 3 – Brief – Systems Evaluate, in systems terms, how knowledge is collected and disseminated throughout your organisation. How does this compare with the theoretical methods and what research states about knowledge management? How well would the ‘good practice’ methods work within your organisation? Make recommendations to improve knowledge management systems in your organisation. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ nderstand and use systems thinking as a problem-solving tool research both within your own organisation and through literature searches what ‘good practice’ is in relation to knowledge management apply the findings of your research to different organisations so to establish their applicability in different situations show how the successful use of knowledge within an organisation can lead to competitive advantage and make convincing arguments for this to happen within your own organisation ¦ ¦ ¦ PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators Operational indicators: 1. 2. 1, 1. 2. 2 Knowledge indicator: 1. 2. 1, 1. 2. 3, 1. 2. 4, 1. 2. 6, 1. 2. 8 Indicative content: 1. 2. 1, 1. 2. 3, 1. 2. 4, 1. 2. 5, 1. 2. 8 How to Tackle the Assignment This assignment is about both formal IT based systems and more informal systems for moving information around the organisation. You will need to identify communication models and feedback mechanisms and how they reflect the reality in your situation.
You might want to use case studies of how different organisations use knowledge management systems and how applicable they are to your organisation and look at the research into knowledge management to see where researchers think this topic is moving. You will need to look at where the current system breaks down, evaluate options for improving the situation based on research and how other organisations deal with the topic, and suggest methods to improve how knowledge is captured in your organisation. Consolidated Assignment Document 41 Managing and Leading People Assignments Option 1 – Brief Using the CIPD ‘Managing the Psychological Contract’ tool, analyse the state of the contract within your organisation.
Evaluate the results and compare with current research and other organisations. Make recommendations for improvements or, if the contract is fine, make recommendations to maintain the current good health. Learning Outcomes You should demonstrate that you can ¦ use the tool to identify the current state of the psychological contract within your organisation research the theory behind the contract and look at research about the topic. How do your findings compare with what is in the published literature? analyse the effectiveness of the current methods of managing the contract both within your organisation and others evaluate a range of options and make justified recommendations to improve the contract ¦ ¦ ¦
PDS Professional Standards – Performance Indicators The Framework Operational indicators: 1. 2 Indicative content: 1. 3, 1. 4, 1. 5 The Differentiators Operational indicators: 3. 3, 3. 5 Knowledge indicators: 3. 1, 3. 3 Indicative content: 3. 7 How to Tackle the Assignment 1 Discussion of the theoretical basis of the psychological contract, review of these theories and their applicability to organisations. The effect it could have on organisations with examples. 2 Discuss the findings of the survey within your own organisation and compare with the results of the CIPD tool. Use graphs and other prese
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