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