assignment

Part One

Please read over the assignment all the way

GRADED PROJECT Background

Phoenix Advertising, with its main headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, serves clients that include banks, insurance companies and local businesses such as restaurants and shops. You’re the vice president of human resources management at Phoenix, and you report directly to Gregory S. Forest, the president of the company.

Mr. Forest advises you that in the last month, four clients have complained about the advertising work produced by the Roanoke, Virginia branch of the agency. He reminds you that the Roanoke branch and its clients are vital to the overall success of the company.

Mr. Forest explains what he has learned about the situation at the Roanoke branch over the last three months. Three graphic designers and four copywriters have threatened to quit because their creative contributions on projects are being rejected or revised without their input. They want to be part of a collaborative team, not to simply produce work that the art directors and account executives can alter arbitrarily. These changes to projects have also caused tension between the creative teams and account managers, causing an art director and an account manager to leave the agency.

In addition to the four clients who complained, others have not renewed their contracts with Roanoke. Several have posted poor reviews of the Roanoke branch on social media sites, leading to a drop in profits.

In an attempt to increase revenues, the branch is accepting new clients without evaluating the effects of the new accounts on the current project workload. As a result, without notice or compensation for the additional hours, all salaried employees are required to work long hours several days each week. Employee morale and productivity are declining day by day.

Mr. Forest directs you to conduct a field investigation at the branch itself to explore the nature of the problems that have arisen there. Your investigative goals are to

n Identify and describe specifically the causes (root issues) underlying each problem

n Show the impact of each problem on the business and on employee morale

n Provide specific recommendations for resolving the problems in order to restore the Roanoke branch to full productivity

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PROCESS Step 1: Prewriting

Prepare yourself for your visit by creating personnel information for the employees at the Roanoke branch. Brainstorm and freewrite about the number of people working in each department and the names and experience of each key executive (including the two who left). Also review the information provided by the staff person and the executive team members regarding agency and branch policies. Use the following questions to jumpstart your prewriting, but expand on them with your own questions and ideas.

n Why wouldn’t employees be paid or compensated for extensive overtime? Is the branch following employee contractual agreements and agency/branch policies? Is the Roanoke branch operating under different salary scales/schedules than others Phoenix offices?

n Is the business experiencing financial problems?

n Who at Roanoke oversees the account review process? What are the procedures for accepting a new client account and for closing completed accounts? Are these procedures being followed?

n Why are some, but not all, of the graphic designers and writers complaining? Are their complaints legitimate? Have they always complained or is this a recent development? If recent, what has changed to cause the complaints? What have the art directors already tried to do to handle their concerns? How does their negative attitude affect productivity?

n Why did one of the top executives leave recently? In what ways has the absence affected the branch productivity and employees?

n Has the loss of some management people caused the regular procedure of collaborative review to be overlooked or are the complainers not doing their jobs appropriately?

n What’s the nature of the complaints filed by the four clients with Mr. Forest? What does each request to resolve the situation?

n Does the Roanoke branch have a staff person dedicated to social media outreach?

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Once you’ve created answers to these and other questions you’ve asked yourself, determine how you’ll approach the investigation to accomplish your goals and find the facts underlying each situation. These methods might include one-to-one interviews with employees, observation of the work environment, surveys of the clients, and a review of various business reports, policies, and procedures. Use a variety of methods—don’t rely on only one, such as employee interviews, because what people feel or say may not represent the reality of the situation. Create further details as necessary to craft a clear picture of

n The branch, the employees, and the clients (both satisfied and dissatisfied) n Particular cause or source of each problem (usually more than one cause) n The impact of each cause on business and morale

Assignment: Methods

In a Word document, type the heading “Step 1: Methods.” Below it type a list of your methods and summarize what you want to accomplish with each. For example, if your method is to interview each department as a group, what kind of information related to the problems should you be able to uncover through that method?

Step 2: Gathering Information

Set aside your prewriting for a few days until you can revisit it with fresh eyes. Reread the scenario information and add ideas to your prewriting as you review it.

Suppose you decide to create two questionnaires, one for all the employees at Roanoke and one for all the clients Roanoke has serviced in the last 12 months. Your purpose is to determine when the problems began, how they’re defined by those involved, what caused them, and how the employees think they could be solved. Write several possible questions and jot down any facts you hope to establish with each question.

Assignment A: Employee and Client Surveys

Continue with the Word document begun for Step 1. Type the heading “Step 2A: Surveys.” Below it type “Employees” and list in correct sentence form the top three employee questions from your brainstorming. Choose words and phrases appropriate for the intended purpose and audience. Under each question, write one or two sentences describing the information you hope to establish through the use of that question.

Type “Clients” and list the top three client questions from your brainstorming. Under each one, write one or two sentences describing the information you hope to establish through the use of that question. Use language appropriate for the intended purpose and audience.

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Assignment B: Letter to CEO of Roanoke Branch

Continue from Step 2A in the same Word document, but begin a new page. Write a full-block style, neutral letter to the CEO of the Roanoke branch in which you explain the reason you’re coming and the preparations he or she must complete before your visit. Use the ABC approach to developing each paragraph. Use correct sentence structure and word choice appropriate for the intended purpose and audience.

Based on your prewriting, detail what reports and client accounts you’ll review during that visit, the meetings and interviews you want to conduct, any branch policies on which you need further information, employee performance reviews, procedural manuals, and so on. Be sure to end in a positive tone showing appreciation for the CEO’s assistance. Include a representation of your signature above your typed name (such as typing it in italics or script font).

Step 3: Organizing

Now imagine that you’ve visited Roanoke, met with the people, conducted the interviews, and reviewed the surveys and other information. You’ve returned to Charlotte and are sorting the information gathered from your investigation according to the primary problem.

Review all your prewriting and freewrite on any problem not yet clearly defined in terms of causes, the impact on employee morale and/or productivity, and possible solutions.

Assignment: Problems and Illustration

Start a new page in the same Word document after the Step 2B assignment for this section. For the “Problems” portion, you may use words and phrases in bulleted or numbered form to represent your thoughts instead of complete sentences. For the “Illustrations” portion, you must use complete sentences.

Begin with the following labels for the Problems section.

Problems: Facts and Causes: Impact and Effects: Solutions Illustrations::

Under “Problems,” list four or five of the primary problems you discovered in your investigation. Although President Forest categorized the problems into three areas, you will have found that one or two need to be broken down further, and/or you will have discovered other problems unknown to Forest.

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Choose one of the problems you listed. Under “Facts and Causes,” list those you identified— not only what people said or felt, but also the proof or facts you’ve uncovered that identify the causes and underlying issues of the problem. Remember, a major problem is the result of several factors working together.

For the chosen problem, describe under “Impact and Effects” the impact on the business and on the employees for each of the underlying issues you identified in “Facts and Causes.” In your discussion, include numbers such as percentages to show changes in productivity, employee work time, and so on. For issues involving employee morale, be sure to explain the impact on the business as well.

Finally, under “Solutions,” list ideas for each cause that will end the negative impact as well as improve the situation, making sure the solutions actually address the issue. For example, suggesting that the branch dedicates a full-time staff member to hand social media outreach would not be effective unless the quality of the work improves. If you create a solution you want to use but haven’t laid the foundation for it in the causes and impact sections, then return to those sections and create the necessary information to support your solution.

After providing the above information, type “Illustration” and below it identify a specific type of illustration (table, bar graph, pie chart, etc.) you might use to represent numbers related to causes or impacts. Then write two or three sentences explaining why your choice is the best way to convey the information to the executive team of Phoenix Advertising.

Revising

Referring to the above instructions and the evaluation criteria for the exam, revise your work carefully. For the survey questions and letter (Step 2A and B), revise for directness, emphasis, sentence variety, coherence, and appropriate word choice for the audience and purpose. Carefully edit grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Read through your

work backwards, first word by word, then sentence by sentence, and then paragraph by paragraph.

Word by word. In this way you can locate spelling errors. Be alert—you may see the word here in your essay, a correctly spelled word. But also check the words on either side. Did you mean here in terms of location or did you mean the sense of hearing?

Sentence by sentence. By looking at each group of words separately from the context, you can more easily locate run-on sentences or fragments. Compare the length and structure of each sentence for variety. Also check the connections between sentences— are they coherent?

Paragraph by paragraph. Locate the controlling idea of each paragraph and compare them with your primary focus for the memo and email. Does the paragraph help to develop that focus in some specific way? Compare it with the controlling ideas of the paragraphs before and after it. Do they follow in logical order?

PART TWO

Overview

You’ll gain practical experience in writing an informal report, using an email format, by building on the background information, prewriting, and emails about Phoenix Advertising you prepared for the graded project in the study unit Writing Effective Communications.

Instructions

Step 1: Review the Scenario and the Goals

Phoenix Advertising, with its main headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, serves clients that include banks, insurance companies and local businesses such as restaurants and shops. You’re the vice president of human resources management at Phoenix, and you report directly to Gregory S. Forest, the president of the company.

Mr. Forest advises you that in the last month, four clients have complained about the advertising work produced by the Roanoke, Virginia branch of the agency. He reminds you that the Roanoke branch and its clients are vital to the overall success of the company.

Mr. Forest explains what he has learned about the situation at the Roanoke branch over the last three months. Three graphic designers and four copywriters have threatened to quit because their creative contributions on projects are being rejected or revised without their input. They want to be part of a collaborative team, not to simply produce work that the art directors and account executives can alter arbitrarily. These changes to projects have also caused tension between the creative teams and account managers, causing an art director and an account manager to leave the agency.

In addition to the four clients who complained, others have not renewed their contracts with Roanoke. Several have posted poor reviews of the Roanoke branch on social media sites, leading to a drop in profits.

In an attempt to increase revenues, the branch is accepting new clients without evaluating the effects of the new accounts on the current project workload. As a result, without notice or compensation for the additional hours, all salaried employees are required to work long hours several days each week. Employee morale and productivity are declining day by day.

Your investigative goals are to

n Identify and describe specifically the causes (root issues underlying) each problem

n Show the impact of each problem on the business and on employee morale

n Provide specific recommendations for resolving the problems to restore the Roanoke branch to full productivity

© PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 WRITING THE REPORT PAGE 40 Graded Project

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Step 2: Prepare to Write

1. Review the information on outlines in the study unit Organizing, Researching, and Illustrating Your Material.

2. Review the instructions on informal and formal reports and format in this study unit.

3. Reread the information about field investigation reports in this study unit.

4. Review the background and prewriting work on which you based your exam for

Writing Effective Communications.

Step 3: Write the Topic Outline

Prepare a topic outline (no sentences) using the four Roman numeral points shown in the text box Guidelines for Writing Your Outline. Organize all of your prewriting and scenario information according to those four points. The following partial outline will guide you, but don’t be limited by the capital letters or numbers. Subdivide each level more or less as necessary to incorporate all your ideas.

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Guidelines for Writing Your Outline

When you write your outline, begin with the four points listed as Roman numerals; then subdivide and add details.

I. Purpose for investigating, including the location, the branch, and general nature of the problems

II. General approach to investigating the causes of each problem

1. One way you investigated the problem, such as interviews (subdivide two or more levels as needed)

1. Four of the ten employees from the Graphics and Design Department 2. Head of the Graphics and Design Department 3. All ten employees during a group meeting

2. Another way you investigated the problem (subdivide as needed)

3. Another way you investigated the problem (subdivide as needed)

III. Overall findings about the underlying issues (primary findings as capital letters and specifics about that finding as numbers)

1. First primary issue matched with first investigation method 1. One cause of the problem and/or the impact on business/morale 2. Another cause/impact 3. If appropriate, another cause/impact

2. Second primary issue (such as, lack of communication) 1. Cause/impact 2. Cause/impact

3. Third finding/issue, subdivided as necessary

4. Continue to subdivide Point III to identify all your findings.

IV. Overall recommendation for/approach to solving the issues you found

1. Recommendation 1 (match with issue identified in III.A.) 1. Details

2. Details

2. Recommendation (issue III.B)

3. Recommendation (issue III.C)

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Make sure the topics within the subdivisions (A, B, C or 1, 2, 3) are of equal importance. Your first Roman numeral point requires no subdivision; it merely states the purpose of the field investigation and gives the location. For the other points, use your brainstorming information to add appropriate subdivisions and a significant number of details beyond the scenario.

Revise your outline for clarity and completeness. Your outline must show depth of detail, as well as correct format. Remember: You’re preparing this outline after you’ve finished your investigation of the site in order to organize your thoughts for your report.

Ask yourself the following questions when reviewing your outline:

n For Point I, did I state the purpose and branch location without subdivision?

n For Point II, did I list a variety of specific investigative methods, including with whom, where, and when?

n In Point III, did I specify causes for each problem and show the impact of the prob- lem (effect) on morale and productivity?

n In Point IV, did I provide clear solutions that address each cause in the same order as I listed them in Part III?

Step 4: Write the Informal Field-Investigation Report

Begin a new page in the same Word document as your outline. Follow your outline as you draft your informal report using the illustration on page 9 in your study unit (do not use an email app). Use the ABC method for developing paragraphs and the headings shown in the sample field-investigation report in this study unit.

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If you subdivide a point, you must have at least two divisions. For example, if you subdivide to level 1, you must have at least a 2 as well. You can’t subdivide something by one.

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Keep in mind your purpose is to inform the Phoenix Advertising executive team about your investigation and recommend solutions for the problems at Roanoke.

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After providing your purpose statement and location of the branch, use the following along with your outline to write your report.

1. Descriptionofinvestigation. Describeincompletesentencesandparagraphs the ways you investigated the problems to find the causes of each problem and their impact on business/morale. This section must describe a variety of objective, specific methods used, such as employee and management interviews, surveys, attendance records, budget reviews, and organizational observations. Use different methods to verify facts and causes—don’t use just an employee’s words or feelings.

2. Results. Write a numbered list of findings using complete sentences in which you fully identify the source of the causes underlying each problem and show the impact of each cause on employee morale/business. Provide a clear analysis of each problem in the scenario, identifying the underlying causes of each one and describing the impact on the company. Don’t merely summarize the scenario. By showing the underlying issues connected to specific impact/results, you establish a basis for your recommendations and show you’re addressing the root of the prob- lems. You’ll probably need more than one sentence for several of your findings.

3. Conclusions. Clearly summarize the primary causes for the problems and their impact on business/morale. Use complete sentences and one or two paragraphs.

4. Recommendations. List detailed solutions connected to the root cause of each problem, which you identified in the Results section. Define specific procedures or processes that Phoenix must undertake to boost morale and profitability. List each recommendation in the same order as the causes you defined in Results. You may use imperative or declarative sentences.

Step 5: Revise

Referring to the above instructions and the evaluation criteria for the exam, revise your work carefully for clarity, content, and coherence. Edit grammar, spelling, and punctua- tion thoroughly.

Read through your work backward using the following methods:

Word by word. Use this way to locate spelling errors. Be alert—you may see the word here in your essay, a correctly spelled word. But also check the words on either side. Did you mean here in terms of location or did you mean the sense of hearing?

Sentence by sentence. By looking at each group of words separately from the context, you can more easily locate run-on sentences or fragments. Compare the length and structure of each sentence for variety. Also check the connections between sentences—are they coherent?

Paragraph by paragraph. Locate the controlling idea of each paragraph and compare them with your primary focus for the report. Does the paragraph help to develop that focus in some specific way? Then, match controlling ideas of each paragraph to the one before it and the one after it. Do they follow in logical order?

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