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HRM-6603 Research Assignment

HRM-6603 Research Assignment


  1. A huge part of this assignment involves making sure that you can follow directions. I know, you are graduate students, but part of this course (and HR in general) is honing your attention to detail and ability to follow explicit instructions.
  2. Go to the Research Paper module and print a copy of the “Word Setup Everything” document. It is mandatory that you follow the instructions found in this document (note, if you have a Mac, you SERIOUSLY will want a Windows PC for this).
  3. Go to the Research Paper module and get the document, “Common issues in writing” and print it out. Before you submit your paper, make sure you don’t have any of these mistakes in your paper.  Most students lose 20 or more points on just formatting and grammar, so I put together the most common mistakes in a single document.  Use it.
  4. I have also posted a list of the most common grading comments I post when grading. You should check your document for EACH one of these issues before submitting.  The document is named simple, “6603 Grading Comments.”
  5. Get a copy of the APA style guide if you don’t already have one. The 6th edition is going to be necessary throughout your graduate program in business, so you might want to go ahead and buy a copy.  There is an example paper that starts on about page 41 or so, but I have uploaded a copy as “APA-6th-ed-Sample-Experiment-Paper.pdf”.


Your research assignment is as follows:


  1. Pretend you are the HR Manager of a company and the CEO meets with you to get your opinion on a situation that has developed involving an employee. (Choose one of the situations below).  You tell the CEO that you need to do some research and get back with him later, so you leave to do some research.
  2. Research the issue in the library databases. Look for anything applicable to the situation, but focus on HR Law cases that are very recent.  Take good notes as you go.
  3. Prepare a research paper in proper APA format that contains the following:
    1. A title page
    2. An APA-compliant abstract page. This is one double-spaced page that summarizes the entire document.  Pretend you are an HR manager writing for the CEO of the company (me).  The abstract must contain the key legal points and a brief summary of your key recommendations. Make up names as needed for the individuals in your document.  Use “Acme Anti-Roadrunner, Inc.” as the company name.
    3. 8-12 pages of BODY text (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt, 1” margins, etc.). Keep in mind that, during the grading process, I will delete the title page, abstract page, reference pages, and appendices.  I’ll then reset all spacing, margins, fonts, etc.  Your text should end somewhere on page 9 or later.
    4. At least 10 references that are journal articles, books, or court cases (don’t use websites, except for government ones, and you should have no more than one or two of those, if any). I’ll be checking to verify that all URLs actually work, so don’t use the URLs you see in the library databases.
  4. You must submit a COMPLETE draft of your paper by the end of week 6 to the “Writing Assignment (Draft ONLY)” location in Canvas. I will give it a grade and comment on all issues that I see.  You can then correct what I say to correct (or not) and then resubmit the final version of your paper to the “Writing Assignment (Final ONLY)” location in Canvas by the due date shown at the bottom of the syllabus.  If you correct every issue I noted, there is a VERY strong likelihood that your grade on this assignment will be 100%.


NOTE:  A few things are MANDATORY about your paper  (see the “Word Setup Everything” document in Canvas).


  1. Use Word’s built-in proofing tools on a locally-installed version of Microsoft Word (not the online version). I also STRONGLY suggest you use a Windows PC.  You should have the latest and greatest version of Microsoft Word installed.  See the “InstallingOffice365.docx” document for how to install the free copy that Troy University gives all students.  (Hint:  Use a Windows PC and a fresh installation of Office 365 if you want the proofing tools to work correctly.  Microsoft just completely rebuilt them and they are FAR better than earlier versions).
  2. Use Grammarly’s add-in for Microsoft Office. The free account version is pretty basic, but the College of Business pays for you to use the Premium version, so that is what I grade with.  See the Word Setup Everything document in Canvas for how to use Grammarly, but there should be a separate document for how to get the premium version working for you.  Let me know if you have any trouble.
  3. You MUST use Microsoft Word’s built-in source management tools. I won’t grade your paper if you don’t.


Remember…  Your goal with this paper is to demonstrate that you can a) write a research paper correctly, b) research an HR topic using the correct databases, and c) formulate and communicate a reasonable response to a superior as an HR manager.  You will not be perfect at this at first, but you will get better the more you do it.  Remember, you are not going to write ABOUT some topic.  That’s not the point of this paper.  You must research the topic, but your research is to be focused on what the existing legislation, court rulings, and common practice are.  You then take that information and develop an opinion about what would happen if the issue under consideration was to be ruled on by a court.  Finally, you use that opinion to put together a recommendation that explains what you think the company should do to avoid legal issues and not incur too much additional cost.  This research paper is just your method of communicating that to the CEO of the company.  Let me be clear.  I expect to see, very plainly worded recommendations.  That is, use the words, “I recommend that” followed by what it is you recommend.  If you think someone should be terminated, then say “I recommend that (name) be terminated for the following reasons” and then give the reasons.  If you think a policy should be changed or adopted, then you would say, “I recommend that we adopt the following policy” followed by a drafted policy and the reasons.  You get the idea.  I have had students who have had trouble telling a CEO what to do.  Get over it.  One of the key jobs of an HR manager is to make recommendations to a CEO and other managers regarding actions they should take.  Just don’t say “Do this”.  Instead, say, “I recommend that we do this”.




Situation #4 (The Office Bully)


Janet is a secretary at a small law office that employs over 75 people, the majority of which are female hourly staff.  The senior partner, a male, is pleased with the general performance of the business, and believes that his personally speaking to as many clients as possible is necessary to the function of the business.  Because of this, he relies heavily on Janet to manage his schedule and keep him abreast of issues in the company that require his attention.  However, as their new HR Manager, you cannot help but notice how she seems to have her hand in every little detail about the goings-on in the company, including your HR office.  You are increasingly hearing rumors that Janet takes great pleasure in abusing staff members for the slightest minor discrepancy in their performance, but rarely does so when the salaried staff are present.  Upon further investigation, you have been able to discretely determine that this behavior had been going on for some time, sufficient to cause several staff members to seek medical treatment for depression and anxiety.  As you dig deeper and get to know the workers around the office, you put together more information about Janet and how she treats everyone around her.  It’s not good.  As you begin looking at the numbers, it seems as though the turnover rate is highest in the departments nearest her work area, particularly among the other female hourly staff.  You pull the performance reviews of some of the employees that have left and a number of them name Janet’s abusive treatment as a contributing factor to negative performance.  Something needs to be done, but what?  Last week, word of Janet’s behavior got to the other partners and they asked you what could be done.  Your task is to put together a document that explains workplace bullying, outline any laws that may (or may not) be applicable, make specific recommendations about what to do regarding Janet’s behavior, and make specific recommendations about a policy on the subject (i.e. draft the policy).  Note: Your first instinct will probably be to describe what to do with Janet, the managers, hurt employees, etc. and then to draft a policy.  Most students find it much more productive to write the policy first, then use the policy to address the issues in the case.  Include the draft policy as “Appendix A” per APA.  Key things here that will cost you points would include not including a draft policy, not making recommendations about what to do with Janet, what to do with the managers who have tolerated it, and what to do about the hurt employees.  Oh, and one more thing.  Don’t delve much into the possibility that Janet may have some underlying medical issue that causes meanness.  We all know that could be the case, but it is not in this one.  Let me be clear.  She’s just a “witch” of a person.

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