Group Project Organizational Analysis Instructions
Once every group member has submitted their sections, your group will have a complete Business Plan. Read through the final document. Is it coherent? Are the choices and descriptions in each section of the business plan compatible with the other sections of the business plan?
Together as a group, you are to conduct an analysis of your own business plan, using the framework that we have learned in class to analyze cases (e.g. Atchison, Harrah’s, Southwest, etc). In class, we identify the People, Work, Formal Structure, Informal Structure (Culture), and Strategy of the companies, and then ask the question “do these elements fit with each other?” You should do the same with your organization, as it is described in the business plan. For example, does the culture fit with the hiring strategy (part of formal structure)? Do the people hired fit with the culture? Does the rewards system fit with the culture? Does the organization structure fit with the kind of work to be done? Etc.
Be sure to include (as an exhibit) a graphic which summarizes the main elements of People, Work, Formal Structure, Informal Structure, and Strategy – just like we do on the board in class.
The results of your analysis should provide two things: 1) a set of strengths (arising from alignment between elements of the organization), and 2) a set of weaknesses (arising from misalignment/tensions between elements of the organization). It’s important to keep in mind that no organization, no matter how well planned, will be perfect. There will always be some weaknesses. However, if your group did not coordinate adequately before writing up the business plan, then you will have many weaknesses, resulting in a longer and more difficult analysis!
After identifying strengths and weaknesses, you should then consider recommendations for improving the organization. Should some elements of the organization be changed, to make them more compatible with the rest of the organization? Or should tensions between elements of the organization be managed in another way?
You should also consider and respond to two extra questions:
- In every organization, some people have power, while others do not. This disparity in power in the organization can lead to tensions and conflict between groups of people (e.g. management vs. employees, finance vs. marketing, front office vs. back office, etc). Considering your organization, what power struggles would you anticipate, and what would you do (if anything) to ameliorate the situation?
- What ethical challenges might the people in your organization face, as a result of your choices about the organization’s People, Work, Formal Structure, and Informal Structure? [You may find it helpful to refer to our in-class analysis of Enron as an example.]
Finally, your organizational analysis paper will conclude with a brief section analyzing your own group’s process throughout the semester. When things went well, why did they go well? When things didn’t go well, why didn’t they go well? What are your lessons learned? Note that this section is very open-ended, but your goal here is to apply our course concepts about groups when reflecting on your group’s experience.
Overall, your Organizational Analysis paper is expected to be about 20-25 pages, but there is no minimum or maximum page length. The key is to do a thoughtful and thorough analysis of the organization, and explain all course concepts that you use (define them).
All group members will receive the same grade for this paper. However, if a member of your group does not participate in this group assignment, then you can petition the instructor for that person to receive a lower grade or 0 for the assignment; those situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
You should use the following format:
- [Optional – use as needed] Additions to the Business Plan: If your Business Plan is not complete, or has gaps that prevent you from doing a full analysis here, then discuss in this section what should have been included in the business plan. You can then proceed with the organizational analysis as if these additions were included in the original business plan.
- Briefly (no more than 2 pages) summarize the five parts of the organization (People, Work, Formal Structure, Informal Structure, and Strategy) – refer to your exhibit which should have more info on each.
- Strengths: Identify exactly how and why some parts of the organization are compatible (aligned). Take time to explain each.
- Weaknesses: Identify exactly how and why some parts of the organization are NOT compatible (misaligned). Take time to explain each and the implications (what can go wrong?).
- Recommendations: For each weakness, make recommendations for improvement. Be sure to explain how these recommendations will fix the problem.
- Power struggles: Considering your organization, what power struggles would you anticipate, and what would you do (if anything) to ameliorate the situation?
- Ethics: What ethical challenges might the people in your organization face, as a result of your choices about the organization’s People, Work, Formal Structure, and Informal Structure?
- Self-reflection: Briefly analyze your own group’s process using our course concepts (approx. 2-3 pages).
- Exhibit(s) – the full listing of the five parts of the organization
Please answer these questions for self-reflection part:
- How about the process our group used to organize?
Everyone contributed with their ideas and we discussed which strategy worked best to organize ourselves. We divided the work in equal part and everyone was responsible for their specific part. However we were all available to help anyone who needed help with their part.
We did not have hours long meetings. However, we can divide the work in parts efficiently and everyone is willing to do their parts.
We communicate with group members very often by text messages. I think communication is quite important for a group.
- What stages of development did we go through?
- How did we make decisions?
decision points were made within the group message and everyone contributed to determine what our strategy would be. Everyone had to opportunity to give their input and everyone’s ideas were taken into consideration. But when we came to decision making it was essentially an informal voting system where majority ruled
- Did we fall into any decision-making pitfalls/traps?
we often put off our decision making to later in the process
- Where there group faultlines?
we had faultlines between english speaking and mandarin speaking group members
and between commuters and residents, male and female, and marketing and finance majors.
- What lessons did we learn about how best to run a group project?
Planning is essential so that everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for. Open communication is also very important. Everyone in the group has to feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns.