Assume you are an external consultant hired to provide executive level management a concise report about labor relations in COSTCO WHOLESALE Inc.
Discuss: How well does it manage its labor/employee relations? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Tip: One way to think about the content is through a series of questions:
–Definition: For purposes of your analysis, who is the organization? Is it only part of a larger enterprise? For instance, is it only the U.S. locations or specific operations within the U.S.? What role does labor have in its operations? For instance, how large is the labor force? Who are the employees? Is labor a critical piece of production or does technology do most of the work?
–Management’s view: How well does it think its employee/labor relations is going? Is it meeting its own criteria for “good”? Does it do what it claims in its strategic plan and public professions? What is the evidence that it is or is not? What would it continue or change if it could?
–Labor’s view: How do employees think they are treated? What is the evidence? What role have unions had/tried to have in this relationship between employees and management? What would employees/the union continue or change?
Tip: To obtain needed evidence, also consider other points of view: How does the government, industry, and other facets of society view the organization’s labor relations? For instance, has the NLRB ruled against the organization consistently for the same reason? Did the organization win any industry awards for managing its people?
Briefing Paper Checklist
You will report your findings to the class in a briefing paper (5 or 6 double-spaced pages, not including the title page and reference list). You’ll need between 15-20 sources
_____The paper is posted by the deadline in the proper place, using a Word file format. Per the syllabus, a grade penalty can apply if the document is late.
_____The title page contains your name and class section.
_____Pages are numbered.
_____The page number does not exceed the stated limit. (The page limit asks you to think about what is most important and to communicate it concisely. This is a valuable business skill since managers often have time to read only the executive summaries or the first page of a resume! Note: This does not mean that substance should be sacrificed; it just means it should be presented concisely.)
_____A 12-point font is used, and margins are reasonable.
Content (Body of the Paper)
_ Special terms are defined. The content is substantial and represents a significant literature review. In other words, the material extends substantially beyond the course readings. The issues discussed are key facets of the topic.
The data sources demonstrate a solid method of evaluating labor relations; the types of sources are meaningful and appropriate.
Both labor’s and management’s views are presented in an unbiased manner. Your task is to be a neutral fact-finder. You may draw a conclusion based on the facts that you discover, but it would not be appropriate to do the research by trying to prove one position vs. the other.
The ideas express your own analysis, and borrowed material is used primarily to substantiate your points. Remember that long quotes are usually not needed. Paraphrasing shows that you understand what the other author has said. You wouldn’t paraphrase, however, if you want expert support for a particular idea; a direct quote is preferable then.
Points are logically sequenced.
Points are well supported with logic, data, and/or examples.
_ Conclusions demonstrate integrative, critical thinking.
The introduction tells the reader the purpose of the research and the agenda for the paper. Do NOT use an abstract. ___The summary recaps the key points and provides psychological closure to the discussion. _____Technical aspects of writing (i.e., grammar, sentence structure, and spelling) are correct. Tip: If writing is not your strongest skill, consult the free writing tutors who are available via the classroom. Plan enough time for a tutor to assist. _____Academic style (i.e., appropriate diction, clarity, smooth transitions, and an audience-oriented approach) is demonstrated. Tip: Each organization has its own style for reporting to its leaders. What is important in our class is to remember that you are talking to the top level of an organization. What would they want/need to know about your topic? You don’t get much of their time in the meeting, so you need to present the most important information right away. You need to set the stage/orient your audience quickly then raise the key points. Nitty-gritty details are usually left for follow-up activities if the leaders are interested. Use enough details to support your point, but don’t get bogged down in things an executive would not want/need to know. _____Citations are given for non-original material, using APA format for the in-text citation as well as the reference list. Reference List Organize your reference list into two sections: 1) Those that are cited in the body of the presentation. This is a standard APA requirement. 2) Any source that you do not cite in the body of the presentation. Annotate these in the reference listing. Think of those as additional resources to use in a Q&A period after your presentation. This, of course, is not standard APA protocol. _____The references conform to APA format (author, year, title, etc.) The sources are appropriate (i.e., pertinent, reputable and time-sensitive).
The sources that are not cited in the body of the presentation are annotated in the reference list.