Management 320 Ė Management and Organizational Behavior

Christy H. Weer

Formal Writing Assignment


Assignment:† Each student is to write a 5 page paper and make a formal presentation based on an interview with a manager.† In general, the interview should explore what organizational behavior means to your chosen manager.  †

Interview Guidelines:† 1)† The interview should last about an hour. You may want to tape record the interview so that you can make more detailed notes at a later time. Make sure you ask permission to tape record the interview.† 2)† You should have interview questions prepared in advance.  Asking the right questions is important in making sure that you have enough data to address the required topics in your report.† 3)† Be prepared for answers different from what you anticipate.† Itís okay to probe your managerís answers, even if you didnít plan to Ė that can generate a very interesting interview.† 4)† Donít expect the interviewee to know the theories from the book.† Itís your job to interpret the answers you hear in light of concepts from the book; itís not the job of the manager you interview to do that.† In other words, donít ask the interviewee ďDo you use [a particular theory] in motivating your employees?Ē† Instead, ask how he or she motivates the employees, and you then interpret the response in terms of theories we have read and discussed.

Written Report Guidelines:† The report should include the following elements:

1) Manager Information, including (very briefly Ė no more than 1 short paragraph)

-          The managerís name, position, contact information, and organization

-          How many subordinates she or he manages

-          Information about the managerís educational and work experiences

-          Information about the managerís job

2) General OB Section:† Approximately one-half of the interview (and the report) should focus on the managerís perceptions of organizational behavior. You are required to ask the following questions to the manager:


1)      Have you ever taken a course in organizational behavior (OB)?

         If yes, what do you remember most about the course? Which topics were most relevant to your day-to-day responsibilities?

         If no, do you think a course in OB would be useful in your work?

2)      Do you think all college students, regardless of their major, should take a course in OB?

3)      What do you like the most about being a manager?† What do you like the least about being a manager?† Why?

4)      How do you motivate your workers?


3) Focus Section:† The other half of the report should focus on one specific area of OB that we study in this class, such as decision making, leadership, teamwork, conflict management, communication.†† Prepare at least 7 questions on the topic you choose before you go to your interview, put them on the interview form and take it with you as a reference. Try to ask open-ended questions, rather than ďyes/noĒ questions, to give your interviewee an opportunity to explain his or her views.†


Here are examples of some questions you could ask if you chosen topic is leadership:

-          How would you describe your style of leadership?

-          Do you think great leaders are born or made?† Why do you think that?

4) Conclusion/reflections: Wrap up your thoughts/ideas/reflections about the interview in a final paragraph. Make sure to discuss what you have learned from the interview in your conclusion.


Organize the information from the interview into a format that flows logically and communicates the major areas covered in the interview.† Write it in essay form Ė do not submit your final report in Question/Answer format. Rather, you should discuss your thoughts, comments, and observations resulting from the interview.† I am primarily interested in your interpretation of the interview, not a lengthy dialogue of what the interviewee said.


5) Paper Guidelines:† Your paper should be a maximum of 5 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12 point font.† Brevity and succinctness are important in business communications.† Wordy reports and messages are often ignored, so you need to practice writing concisely, without wasting words.† †