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Principles of Management - Prof. Richards: Your Assignment

Final Research Paper



Instructor: Professor Patricia Richards


Purpose: This assignment will provide you an opportunity to examine the impact of effective management on the overall success of an organization.  You will need to utilize resources available through the library and other sources (including the internet) to obtain information.  You will be required to examine an organization from a variety of points of view with a focus on its leadership, management style, ethics commitment, strategies and strategy execution.  In your paper you should discuss and identify as many Principles of Management concepts as possible.  A minimum of 4 concepts is required.  Conclusions should be drawn regarding the effectiveness of the use of the broad range of management tools and their impact on the success of the company.  In class you will present the summation of your paper as well as your specific, critically thought out conclusions.


Introduction:  It has been a belief for many years that the long term success of an organization is based largely on the quality of its management.  Much has been written about the “Search for Excellence,”  “The Quest for Quality,” “The Sustainable Competitive Advantage.”  All this research and all of the studies of the “100 Best Companies,” have eventually focused on the importance of the quality of management.  Nothing seems to have a greater impact on the financial returns, shareholder value or employee satisfaction than the quality of the organization’s management.  Your challenge is to select a company you can examine from the variety of perspectives covered in this course.  Most specifically, these include POLC, Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling.  You will examine the company you select utilizing a variety of research sources: business publications, the company’s own external and internal communications, the mass media, etc.From your research, you will be able to answer the following questions.  Your paper, which should be 7 - 70 pages in length, should follow standard format for citations and presentation utilizing the MLA guidelines.  If you have any difficulty in structuring your paper, contact the resources of the Library (Beth Seelick) which are available to all students.


Directions: Select a publicly traded US company. Companies in the Fortune 500 are strongly suggested. Ideally select a company that has had new management since 2000.  Research the top management of the organization, and detail the strategies that they advocated to help grow the company. As many companies had problems starting around 2008 – 2010 which led to lay-offs and retrenchment, that may be a good period of time to focus on how management helped move the company through those difficult economic years. Examine the critical issues that the organization faced, and detail the strategies employed to mitigate them.  All top managers are not successful.  If the company you choose employed strategies that failed, detail the failure and add analysis as to why it failed and what may have been done to foster success.


   Items that should be discussed with your selected company include:

  • Mission and Vision
  • Values and Ethics
  • Organization structure and culture
  • Leadership style and motivational style
  • Overall measurements of success for this company 

    The following questions should be addressed:

  1. Who is/are the Top Leader(s) of the company, and under what circumstances did they become leader?
  2. What issues did they face?
  3. What are the major strengths of the company?
  4. In what ways did Planning, Organizing, Leading & Controlling contribute to the company’s success (or failure)?
  5. What was the most important thing leading to that success (or failure)?
  6. What do you see as major challenges facing this company in the next five years?
  7. What are your conclusions about the management based on your research?


  • The paper should be minimum of 10-15 typed pages, using one and a half spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font.  Diagrams and charts are encouraged (ex. Org charts, financials, stock performance, etc.) but will not be counted towards the page count of the paper.
  • There will be 5 team members researching each company. This is a hybrid team/individual project. Each student should work independently to contribute to the final project.  Each team member should document hios/her contributions to the paper.  Grades will be determined by individual effort.
  • A discussion of the use of a minimum of 5 Principles of Management Concepts is required. The more concepts used in the paper the better. 
  • You should use and document at least five sources.  Sources are available from the business databases in the library.  You are encouraged to use as many library sources as possible.  All sources must be appropriately identified in your paper.  You must follow MLA rules for documentation of sources and bibliography. The librarians are extremely helpful in providing guidance for your research and MLA guidelines.  Due date for the paper is detailed on the syllabus.
  • Teams will be presenting a 20 minute oral review of your paper focusing on a summary of the company, its management success (or failure) and your individual, well thought out conclusions.





In Memoriam

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Beth Seelick
This research guide was created by Professor Beth Seelick (1955-2019).
"A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." ― Henry B. Adams

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