Ase: Introduction to Open Systems Theory

BACKGROUND

The case for this course is a little different from most classes, because it is an ongoing case analysis, and we call it the Integrative Case Project.

In this Module, Case 1 is about understanding OD models and applying them to a specific organization. In Case 2 and Case 3, you will use one specific OD model to analyze the Inputs and Outputs of a specific organization. In Case 4, you will use another model to analyze the Throughputs of a specific organization. And in Case 5, you will use OST and Feedback Loops to analyze the potential learning situations in a specific organization. By the time you are finished, you should have a very complete and integrated analysis of your organization.

You will analyze one organization throughout the course, applying different models to assemble an organizational diagnosis. The organization will be Industrial Services of America, Inc, identified as a leading company in Forbesa 2010 Best Small Companies.

REQUIRED READING:

Refer to the assigned and optional readings in the background for this module.

Review Case Analysis since it is so important in this final course. The purpose of a Case is to show that you have thought critically about the subject matter that you are learning AND to make an argument for a Claim about the specific situation in the Case assignment. Stephen Toulmin has developed an Argument Methodology that is very useful in Making a Case. To review Case Analysis and Toulmins Argument Methodology, go to Making a Case page.

CASE 1 ASSIGNMENT:

Make a Case for which OD model you think is the best for doing an OD analysis for Industrial Services of America, Inc. based on several current issues the company is facing. You must identify these current issues through your own independent research about Industrial Services of America, Inc. There are several parts to this assignment.

KEYS TO THE ASSIGNMENT:

As the warrant for your case, explain the purpose and the value of conducting an OD diagnosis.
Then briefly evaluate each of the models presented in the background reading by Falletta. Omit Fallettas Org Intel model. Do NOT merely describe the models. You need to infer and comment on their strengths and weaknesses, and specifically indicate what type of organizational problem or functional area would benefit from an analysis using each model. This too will add to the warrant for your Case.
Now, Make a Case. Once you have discussed each of the eleven models, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they could best be applied, identify the model that you would choose for use in your analysis of the chosen company. First, introduce the company and describe its products/services. Then clearly explain the issues you are most concerned about. Then explain why your selection would be the best choice. You may want to find more data/information about the chosen model to make a stronger case with more backing.
This should be a 5 to 7 page paper (not including Title Page and References.) This paper is due by the end of the module.

ASSIGNMENT EXPECTATIONS

Your paper will be evaluated on the following seven (7) points:

Precision Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
Breadth Is the full breadth of the subject, i.e., all the keys to the assignment, addressed?
Depth Does the paper address all elements of the topic in sufficient depth? Does it include and apply the background readings and other background resources? Are they included as references?
Critical thinking a Are the concepts of this module applied accurately, logically, and relevantly?
Organization Is the paper organized in a coherent and systematic manner? Are headings included in all papers greater than 2 pages?
Clarity Is the writing clear and the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of response to the questions, or are thoughts conveyed through excessive use of quotations?
Referencing (citations and references) Does the paper use citations and quotation marks where appropriate? Are all references listed in the bibliography used and referred to via citation?
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS

The biggest problem students run into in this assignment is in simply describing the different models. In evaluating the models, be sure to go beyond mere description and discuss them in terms of strengths, weakness, similarities, differences, etc. Stress critical thinking! Use these insights to support and justify your assessment of which of these models is best for your chosen company.
Optimize your research time: Get an overview of the case assignments so you know what information you will be looking for when you do research. As you do research for Case 1, you can also be finding information and data for the other cases, too. Continue this strategy as you do research for the next case and the next, etc. The more information you have about the chosen company, the better you will get to know it. The better you get to know it, the better your analysis will be.
You may use a simple diagram to highlight important factors. However, do not use the diagram in lieu of valuable analysis (or to take up valuable writing space) it should be in addition to your paper of 5-7 pages of analysis.
Just because you have written the minimum five pages does not mean that you have adequately covered the topic. Err on the side of writing more rather than less.
Choose the data you use carefully. Is it relevant and important?
Include a cover page and reference page, in addition to the 5-7 pages of analysis described above.
Include headings within the paper
Cite AND reference all sources that you use in your work, including those that you do not quote but paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than 5 words, and citations for that information which you have Borrowedor paraphrased from other sources.
Follow TUI Guidelines for well-written papers. (Click here if you are unsure of what those guidelines are).


For Some Additional Internet Research Tips click here.

INTERNET RESEARCH TIPS

Search for articles in the business and trade press that give an independent view of the company, because you do not want to depend solely on corporate information. Check the financial websites such as Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Morningstar, Dunn & Bradstreet and Standard and Poors for reports by industry and financial analysts. Wikis and blogs are good ways to get an Insidelook helpful for when you are evaluating their corporate culture/climate.