Article Compilation

Explanation of Article Collection Synthesis Assignments

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This activity helps for building your skill at using multiple sources to reach a deeper understanding about the subject you are investigating and about possible managerial applications.

What you are doing and are not doing, when doing a synthesis – You are not looking at a set of articles about a given topic as competitors, from among which you pick one to follow. Treating multiple articles you read about a given subject as competitors, with all but one effectively being discarded after reading, would be a poor way to pick out ideas upon which you intend to further your career as a manager. Instead, you synthesize what is true and helpful in all of them together to reach a deeper state of understanding about the questions being raised.

Also, a written synthesis of ideas contained in multiple sources is organized around issues. It is never organized around individual articles and it is almost never organized around a single author. Thus, each paragraph in the body of your written synthesis focuses on one or more issues. Not one paragraph is ever focused solely on analyzing or summarizing ideas presented in a single article. Devoting one or more whole paragraphs to summarizing / analyzing individual written works is what you did for book reports in high school or as a college freshman, and this assignment is aimed at strengthening a higher-order set of critical thinking skills, skills that are much more like the kind you will want to have developed well by the time you graduate.

     A simple “rule of thumb” you can use to predict your grade, with a fair amount of accuracy, is to ask if you have one or more paragraphs that are wholly focused on one article. If your answer to this question is “yes”, then you are all but certain to receive a “D” or “F” if you submit your assignment for grading, without further editing and revision.

 

An example of an “issue”-focused synthesis – If your first paragraph about the assigned articles summarizes key issues addressed in all articles, and raises one or a few points of difference for the purpose of showing how the articles are different, then you are well on your way to doing a good synthesis. If your second and following paragraphs focus, in turn, on one or more of the issues raised in your introductory paragraph in greater detail, then you’re likely to be on the right track. If your concluding paragraph contains a summary of ideas discussed earlier, and presents a summary of what the articles you are synthesizing, taken together, are telling us about a subject (ie: how to make good decisions, how to handle inclusiveness / diversity issues, how to lead effectively, handling teams, …), then you are likely to be on the right track.

Remember your larger purpose – You always address a larger managerial challenge when looking at multiple sources about a topic–possible subjects could be decision making, motivation, performance management, leadership, change management, and a variety of other topics. Always remember your larger purpose because that becomes the most natural your “compass” for organizing your synthesis — what’s the managerial challenge you’d like to address better, after synthesizing ideas you find in multiple sources? This overall objective is true for this assignment and similar, later assignments, true for the “Synthesis of Current Literature” assignment due later in the semester, and true for the Literature Review portion of your team’s research project.

 

What do I do? – First, take the time to read everything above this set of instructions. It is crucial for understanding what you need to do, for identifying what skills you are practicing by doing this assignment, and for identifying how the skills you are practicing here will help you later in this course. Second, read the articles assigned as readings for this week. Third, upload a MS Word file containing a four to five paragraph written synthesis of no more than 600 words to the assignment upload point. You should have an introductory paragraph that summarize the issues you will raise, one or two paragraphs about issues raised in the articles, and a concluding paragraph about what the articles taken together teach us about the issues they raise, and about how managers can respond to the challenges those articles address.

This assignment is intended to be done individually, without reference to the thoughts of others beforehand, as that is how you would be likely to do this kind of reading after graduation.

 

Citations: Give in-text citations and provide a bibliography at the end, with everything done in APA format.

‘Synthesis of Current Literature Assignment

Assignment objectives: This assignment helps to develop better skills at drawing out key ideas from multiple intellectual works, so that after you are finished you have a more thorough understanding of the subject you are investigating than if you had read only one article.

Remember the larger purpose; Sample topics – You always have a larger question or issue you are addressing by looking at multiple articles about a topic–possible subjects could be decision making, motivation, performance management, leadership styles, change management, and a variety of other topics covered in the field of management.Always remember your larger purpose because that becomes your compass for organizing your synthesis assignment.

Organizing what you write – A written synthesis of ideas contained in multiple intellectual works is organized around issues; it is not organized around individual articles and it is almost never organized around a single author. An introductory paragraph will lay out the key issues to be examined, and those issues will be areas of agreement and disagreement between the articles you are writing about. That means each paragraph in the body of your written synthesis focuses on one or more issues, as the subject(s) of the paragraph. Finally, a concluding paragraph will summarize the key issues addressed, and explore the (preferably non-obvious) takeaways for managers that you were able to draw out by synthesizing good ideas contained in the articles you read to carry out this assignment.

What not to do for this assignment – Do not look at a set of articles about a given topic as competitors, from among which you pick one article to serve as your one and only guide. Treating multiple articles you read about a given subject as competitors would be an extraordinarily poor way to pick out ideas upon which you intend to further your career as a manager. Instead, look for what is helpful in each, and all, of a set of articles, to synthesize what is true and helpful in all of them together so that you reach a deeper state of understanding about the issues being addressed. Accordingly, no paragraph should focus on analyzing or summarizing ideas presented in a single article; grades will be very low for “synthesis” assignments that are written in the manner of a series of disconnected article summaries.

An example of an “issue”-focused synthesis, for this assignment – If your first paragraph summarizes key issues addressed in your chosen articles, and raises some (substantive and meaningful) points of similarity and difference between your chosen articles, then you’re heading in a good direction.If your second through second-to-last paragraphs focus, in turn, on one or more of the issues given in your introduction, then you’re likely to be on the right track.If your concluding paragraph contains a summary of ideas discussed earlier, and presents a summary of what the articles you are synthesizing, taken together, are telling us about a subject (ie: how to make good decisions, how to handle inclusiveness / diversity issues, how to lead effectively, forming or managing teams, …), then you are likely to be on the right track.

Article Selection — pick out 5 to 7 scholarly articles and/or high-quality practitioner articles related to a specific, single, and fairly narrow subject area in management theory and practice that is not related to your term project.These articles must have some meaningful disagreement about some issue of importance to the practice of management.Possible examples include articles presenting different views about team-building, about the merits of using path-goal leadership theory and Fiedler’s contingency theory to decide how to lead, about how managers might make practical use of expectancy theory or intrinsic motivation, and so on …

     Check with me if you’re uncertain about whether or not disagreement exists between the articles you collect.Provide me with either a copy of your articles or links to them, when asking questions.

     You may pick a maximum of one of the articles assigned as readings for this course to be one of the 5 to 7 articles you use to carry out this assignment.

Sources for articles to analyze:All sources must have been published in the last ten years.And, the use of high quality sources is required for this assignment.Use only articles from the following sources:

     Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, California Management Review, Sloan Management Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Academy of Management Perspectives, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal

… if you have an article in mind from a different source, that you would like to use, then you need to pre-approve it with me before going ahead.Articles from other sources, and not pre-approved, will not be accepted for this assignment.

 

Assignment Format and Submission Procedures

     Hand in a 2-3 page analysis, typed and single spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, with 1 inch margins for each page.

     Provide full citations for all articles you used.Follow the APA citation style for the citations you give.

     As always, an upload point will be available on Moodle for this assignment.

Grading Rubric

Click on the “Rubric” link on the left hand side of this webpage to view the grading rubric for this assignment.

 

4 Synthesis of Current Literature Assignment

4.1 Grading Rubric for Synthesis of Current Literature assignment

 

Quality

of Work

 

 

Description

Grading Range

 

Superior

Clearly describes the management problem or opportunity to be addressed and carries out an insightful, thorough, and creative synthesis of chosen articles to do a superior evaluation of options for addressing the management problem or opportunity that has been described. Must be well written to be “Superior.”

 

A-toA+

Able

Strengths are as given under “Developing” (given below), with no significant weaknesses.Must be at least fairly well written to be “Able.”

 

B-toB+

Developing

Uneven, with multiple strengths and one or more significant weaknesses; one or more strengths could include good choice of sources, a well developed comparison of strengths and limitations of the chosen sources, an insightful examination of similarities and differences between chosen sources, and well developed efforts to draw implications from chosen sources for the practice of management. Possible weaknesses are as given for “Beginning”, but are less severe in how they undermine the quality of the synthesis.

 

C-toC+

Beginning

At least one serious weakness; possibilities include poor quality sources, poorly developed comparison of strengths and limitations of chosen sources, weak analysis of similarities and differences between chosen sources, a poorly developed description of the management problem or opportunity of interest, or a poorly developed explanation of how chosen sources can help in addressing the management problem or opportunity that has been described.

 

D-toD+

(Way Off)

At least one fatal error; possibilities include using inappropriate sources, a set of independent, disconnected, and shallow article summaries that offers little or no synthesis of ideas in the chosen sources, or no attempt to draw out ideas from the chosen sources that would be helpful for management practitioners.

 

FtoD-

Grades can be higher or lower than the given grade ranges, depending on two issues:

     Quality of the writing

     Following the APA citation format

Writing quality – Writing is expected to be coherent, concise, and professional in tone. English errors should be few in number, or nonexistent.A particularly well written “Synthesis” assignment will generally receive a higher grade than would be indicated only by looking at the portion of this grading rubric given directly above–and vice versa.

Citations – No grade will be assigned until the APA format for citations has been correctly followed.

 

Synthesis of Current Literature Assignment

Assignment objectives: This assignment helps to develop better skills at drawing out key ideas from multiple intellectual works, so that after you are finished you have a more thorough understanding of the subject you are investigating than if you had read only one article.

Remember the larger purpose; Sample topics – You always have a larger question or issue you are addressing by looking at multiple articles about a topic–possible subjects could be decision making, motivation, performance management, leadership styles, change management, and a variety of other topics covered in the field of management.Always remember your larger purpose because that becomes your compass for organizing your synthesis assignment.

Organizing what you write – A written synthesis of ideas contained in multiple intellectual works is organized around issues; it is not organized around individual articles and it is almost never organized around a single author. An introductory paragraph will lay out the key issues to be examined, and those issues will be areas of agreement and disagreement between the articles you are writing about. That means each paragraph in the body of your written synthesis focuses on one or more issues, as the subject(s) of the paragraph. Finally, a concluding paragraph will summarize the key issues addressed, and explore the (preferably non-obvious) takeaways for managers that you were able to draw out by synthesizing good ideas contained in the articles you read to carry out this assignment.

What not to do for this assignment – Do not look at a set of articles about a given topic as competitors, from among which you pick one article to serve as your one and only guide. Treating multiple articles you read about a given subject as competitors would be an extraordinarily poor way to pick out ideas upon which you intend to further your career as a manager. Instead, look for what is helpful in each, and all, of a set of articles, to synthesize what is true and helpful in all of them together so that you reach a deeper state of understanding about the issues being addressed. Accordingly, no paragraph should focus on analyzing or summarizing ideas presented in a single article; grades will be very low for “synthesis” assignments that are written in the manner of a series of disconnected article summaries.

An example of an “issue”-focused synthesis, for this assignment – If your first paragraph summarizes key issues addressed in your chosen articles, and raises some (substantive and meaningful) points of similarity and difference between your chosen articles, then you’re heading in a good direction.If your second through second-to-last paragraphs focus, in turn, on one or more of the issues given in your introduction, then you’re likely to be on the right track.If your concluding paragraph contains a summary of ideas discussed earlier, and presents a summary of what the articles you are synthesizing, taken together, are telling us about a subject (ie: how to make good decisions, how to handle inclusiveness / diversity issues, how to lead effectively, forming or managing teams, …), then you are likely to be on the right track.

Article Selection — pick out 5 to 7 scholarly articles and/or high-quality practitioner articles related to a specific, single, and fairly narrow subject area in management theory and practice that is not related to your term project.These articles must have some meaningful disagreement about some issue of importance to the practice of management.Possible examples include articles presenting different views about team-building, about the merits of using path-goal leadership theory and Fiedler’s contingency theory to decide how to lead, about how managers might make practical use of expectancy theory or intrinsic motivation, and so on …

   Check with me if you’re uncertain about whether or not disagreement exists between the articles you collect.Provide me with either a copy of your articles or links to them, when asking questions.

   You may pick a maximum of one of the articles assigned as readings for this course to be one of the 5 to 7 articles you use to carry out this assignment.

Sources for articles to analyze:All sources must have been published in the last ten years.And, the use of high quality sources is required for this assignment.Use only articles from the following sources:

   Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, California Management Review, Sloan Management Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Academy of Management Perspectives, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal

… if you have an article in mind from a different source, that you would like to use, then you need to pre-approve it with me before going ahead.Articles from other sources, and not pre-approved, will not be accepted for this assignment.

 

Assignment Format and Submission Procedures

   Hand in a 2-3 page analysis, typed and single spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, with 1 inch margins for each page.

   Provide full citations for all articles you used.Follow the APA citation style for the citations you give.

   As always, an upload point will be available on Moodle for this assignment.

Grading Rubric

 

Click on the “Rubric” link on the left hand side of this webpage to view the grading rubric for this assignment.

 

 

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