IB 8180
Final Paper Outline

This outline is intended to provide you with an idea of what you should include in your paper.  As you prepare each section make sure that you show me what you know in the area.  Show me that you can come to conclusions based on your own analysis and integration of the material that you have collected and what has been presented in the course.  Show me that the analysis and integration is well grounded and defensible.

In doing your analysis, be sure to remain objective and to provide insight.  It is easy to slide off into a PR document for a particular perspective, political view, or opinion.  Similarly, it is easy to present a collection of facts on the topic with no or little analysis.  As a general rule you will want to consider cutting quantity in place of quality and depth. You will want to show me a paper that indicates that you are capable of organizing and integrting a range of data and making discerning judgments.  This should be a paper that would enable an experienced international businessperson to make good decisions on the topic you discuss, based on a rich understanding of the subject, in whatever context it is encountered.

There is a five-page (max) summary paper that is due on Oct. 7th.  This summary paper may be submitted by e-mail.  In this summary paper you should briefly describe what you see as included in the subject matter of the chosen topic.  This would include the range of the topic covered, the variations that are anticipated to be discovered, and the range of countries or cultures that will be compared.  It is important that there be a meaningful range of counrty coverage without being too broad.  That is, you will want to construct a paper that captures the important factors and contrasts that surround the topic and allows some depth in exploration as well.  Covering too many variations leaves a paper to shallow in its analysis.  Conversely, covering too few, while providing opportunity for significant depth and richness, may slight the analysis of variations in the world.  In this five-page paper you should set out the scope of analysis that you think is best and explain your choice.  Also, you should indicate the resources that have been identified that will be used in the development of the paper.  While it is not expected that the full range of bibliography will be developed, some foundation pieces of research should be identified.

The final paper is limited to twenty pages of text.  There may be additional pages of exhibits, charts, references, etc.  In addition, there will be a few introductory pages that will not count against the total.  As a general rule students prefer to write longer papers, as they find a large quantity of information and good stories to tell.  Thus, one of the things that the page limit does is force you to decide what is important.  In preparing the text use a 12-point font and one inch margins all around.  Other than the Executive summary, all pages should be double-spaced.  You do not need to provide a fancy folder or cover, save your money for a post-semester beverage.

In grading the papers I will generally follow this outline.  I do, however, expect variation within each paper based on the topic and the good judgment of the student.  A paper turned in on time that contains factual errors or significant omissions and does not provide insight beyond the "travel-guide" level will fall in the “C” range.  A paper that is an accurate representation of the topic and its variations and presents adequate depth in its insight and analysis, will likely fall in the “B” range.  To get into the “A” range the paper must be comprehensive in terms of both capturing the concept or issue that is discussed and presenting its varying cultural interpretation around the world.  Such papers are distinctly rich in their analysis and more insightful in their analysis and conclusions than the majority of papers.  That includes explaining the underlying cultural basis for those interpretations, explaining what the implications are for business, and why the implications are so.  In past classes about 20% of student papers fall into the “A” range based on my evaluations—so this is a very doable task.
 

INTRODUCTORY PAGES

Title Page

The title, your name and the course number are all that is needed here.

Executive Summary

Prepare a one-page, single-spaced summary of the paper’s key points and your conclusions.  You do not have to provide your explanations here, just the conclusions.
 

TEXT PAGES

Introduction to the Topic (1-2 pages)

Here you want to provide a good conceptualization of the issue that you are discussing.  What aspects of life does it include and what is not part of the concept?  Set out on a general level why this subject is important.  Don’t go into full detail here, there will be space for that later, but you will want to let the reader know a few things early on.  Why do we need to understand the concept, how does it fit into the overall pattern of daily life and business practice, and what are some of the difficulties that a person can run into in cross-cultural setting if they are not aware of the variations?  Finally, briefly set out the range of ways in which we will see this concept expressed in different lands.  Again this should be an overview; there will be time for fuller development later on.
 

Linking the Concept to other aspects of Society and Business. (6-7 pages)

This will be the first area in which you can enrich the explanation of your concept or issue.  Show how it is inter-linked with other concepts that we have been discussing.  In this class we have already seen how the list of concepts developed in the first few weeks all weave into one another.  We have also seen that it is not possible to talk about one aspect of society or business without encountering the whole social or business system into which it fits.  Also, one would expect that as your concept or issue varies across different cultures, so will the other concepts because of the interlocking nature of our values and beliefs. This later point will be discussed in detail in the next section.  For this section you should focus on the inter-linkage with other concepts.  You can talk about these patterns on two levels.  First, discuss the larger social system.  How is the topic that you have selected woven in with other concepts?  Here you can show me how well you have understood the various concepts that we developed in class.  Second, look at how this concept or issue manifests itself in business practice.  Here you will want to generally present ways in which the values and beliefs of a society are manifest in business activities, for example, attitudes in negotiation practices, or in government and economic policies such as taxation, regulation, etc.  By being able both to talk about the concept or issue broadly and on a more focused level, you show me the kind of issue command that is a good indication of the richness of your understanding.
 

Variations across Different Cultures (7-8 pages)

After you have developed the richer context in which your subject rests, you can then set out to illustrate the variations that exist across cultures. If you have done a good job in setting out the items with which your topic relates in the prior section, then this discussion should follow nicely.  Once again you should discuss this on two levels, but in this case how you actually weave your discussion together is up to you.  Just make sure that the reader sees how things change on both a social-concept and a business-practice level as you move to different cultures.  After reading this section the reader should have an understanding for the breadth of your topic’s interpretation and impact across both cultures and business systems.  Moreover, the reader should understand why these variations take place, due to the understanding that has been developed of how the larger system works.
 

Analysis of Importance, Relevance, and Future Trends (3-4 pages)

In this section you will want to assess and analyze the different cultural situations that you have just described.  First, place some weight on the importance or relevance of your concept or issue in business practice for international managers.  Be objective here and accurately state the importance.  Then look at future trends.  We have mentioned in class how some concepts are seen as changing as the world globalizes and modernizes.  For example, we discussed the suggestion that as the world modernizes and moves toward global a business environment, universalism will increasingly replace particularism in more and more social and business systems.  Is this happening with the concept or issue that you are discussing?  Are other trends occurring?  This is not a section for “shoot-from-the-hip” interpretations.  Try to look at the patterns of business practice and see the extent to which there are changes occurring and the reasons for those changes.  Again, anyone on the street could give an opinion; your comments should be thought out and supported with some analysis.
 

Conclusion (1 page)

Only about one page will be needed for a conclusion, if that.  You may want to simply include a concluding paragraph at the end of the prior section, if that completes your analysis and the paper.
 

REFERENCES, EXHIBITS

References

Make sure you have cited supporting references for your statements and facts whenever necessary.  All external sources are to be cited.  Claiming others’ work as your own is plagiarism and is subject to university disciplinary measures, as well as an “F” on the project.  Anything significant that is offered for insight that is not attributed to others will be considered to be your conclusion.  Any form of referencing is fine; just use a consistent and complete referencing system throughout the paper.

Exhibits

You may include as many exhibits as you would like.  Make sure that you only include exhibits that help make your point.  I know that you can make good charts and graphs.  If a picture is worth a thousand words make sure they are a thousand words that lever-up your points, not one thousand boring words.