Report for Business Society and Policy


Overview: The aim of the research report is to develop skills required to investigate different sources of information about one specific issue, and to critically select and analyse primary and secondary data to support your arguments in response to a research question. The research report uses primary data/information (what the person/business says about themselves), secondary research data/information (interpretations from others on the case or the issue) and refereed papers to answer one of the assigned research questions, drawn from the issues covered in Module 3. In the course of your investigation, you will source and create one specific case example (i.e. one corporation and issue) to illustrate the interaction between the B, S and G sectors, in relation to the issue selected. Details: The process of research is the central activity in Module 3, and therefore the readings, tutorial activities and audiovisuals are included to guide you through the research process. The research assignment is the outcome that will be evaluated and marked, and it is expected that it will represent an extensive piece of work developed through Weeks 8 to 14. This includes: 1. Review of literature for the theoretical perspectives of the topic to be researched. 2. Collection of information and textual data on the case you choose to study (drawing on primary and secondary sources). 3. Analysis and interpretation of this information and textual data. 4. Reflection on the relationships between the different perspectives discovered in the case. 5. Communication of your results of this research, in the written form of a research assignment. The research should be based on library and web-based resources (such as the websites of corporations and NGOs). It is important to regard the texts collected as crucial data/information that must be critically analysed. The research process for writing the assignment does not simply require you to cobble together fragments of information collected from different sources. Instead, the text should form the foundation for developing your own arguments in your assignment. Drawing on the concepts and theories studied in Modules II and III, write a research assignment addressing the impacts of business activities on stakeholders and the actions taken by business, governments and social groups. The research assignment should be 2,000 words in length excluding references and should use the following headings to identify each section: – Introduction (introduce your focused topic, state the research you plan to carry out and your thesis statement) (approximately 100 words). – Literature Review on the research topic/problem (including at least two refereed journal articles published in the last five years) (approximately 600 words). – Presentation of the original case you create using primary and secondary data sources (including a description and analysis of the incident which the company was involved in in the last three years and an evaluation of the responses from business, government and society (approximately 500 words). – Discussion and analysis of the case using theoretical perspectives and BSP concepts from modules 2 &3 to analyse the impact of the business activities on stakeholders (approximately 500 words). – Conclusion comprising a synthesis of the main issues discussed and a proposal for better managing the issues in the case (approximately 300 words). – List of references (10-13 references). Note: Base your assignment on your research into any one of the following research questions. Develop your own example of a case (a real business or corporation NOT an industry) to illustrate the outcomes you identify. – Why do companies use sweatshops, and what are the impacts of that for business and for society? – Why is discrimination in the workplace (e.g. due to race, ethnicity, gender, disability or age) considered a problem for society, and what role should business play to avoid its impacts? – Why should consumers be protected from business activities (e.g. products and advertisements) and what are the risks of ignoring consumer rights? – Why is the environment considered a business stakeholder, and what are the consequences for business and for society of ignoring it? – Why are some businesses moving into “alternative ethical practices”(e.g. fair trade) and what are the impacts on society and on business? The preparation of the research report assignment involves: 1. Identify the problem (this will assist in your selection of the appropriate research question – see above). 2. From the research question which you select, identify some key words that might be relevant for your web searches (e.g. discrimination, gender, “equal opportunity”, “glass ceiling”, ethical trade, consumerism). The readings in the BSP book of readings can be used as a departure point to assist you in coming up with some key words. 3. Use these key words to search in“advance search”mode the library catalogue and e-resources (e.g. ABI/Inform Global; Business Source Premier; Proquest ANZ Newsstand, Factiva). You could even use Google Scholar, but remember that for these purposes such Internet searches should be used with caution. You should consult the online search tutorial accessed through the Library web pages (see the link in the vUWS site) for information about using the library resources. 4. To limit the findings of your searches, and as a matter of quality control, you should focus only on peer review journals that were published recently (say, for example, in the last 3- 5 years). Use combinations of words using the Boolean searches (e.g. sweatshop and outsourcing; child labour without the word sex). 5. Use newspaper web pages accessed from the e-resources of the library (e.g. The Sydney Morning Herald; an international news agency such as Reuters, Proquest ANZ Newsstand or Factiva). These can help you to identify cases that have reached the news in the last three years, and such news articles might provide a useful source of comparison with the data which you can easily obtain from a corporation’s website. 6. To select literature for your literature review, read the abstracts of journal articles etc. Select two recent relevant referred journal articles that analyse the research problem from the approach you are taking. For example, if you are researching discrimination in the workplace, you might focus on literature that refers to workplace issues from a stakholder or ethical perspective. It can be acceptable to take a broad approach to your literature searches, but remember that you may save time by being more focused on a well-defined topic or research question. 7. From the literature, identify the different views taken by the various authors in the academic debate. You should address different perspectives and the arguments used in the literature to interpret the problem and include your reflective analysis of the literature about the problem. 8. Based on the information collected, identify a case (a business or corporation) whose activities are associated with the problem in the last three years. 9. Identify NGOs or other organisations that work for a ’solution’ to the problem under investigation (for example, the ILO for labour standards, human rights to prevent child labour exploitation, consumer watch organisations) 10. Collect data about the case, focusing on the problem under investigation (drawing on data from the corporation’s web pages/reports, from NGOs or from critics of the corporation’s practices). 11. Analysis of the data collected from the various web pages and reports (from the corporation, NGOs and critics). It is important to critically evaluate the statements – you should not simply take for granted what is said as the ’truth’. Be critical and analytical. For example, look for contradictions in the texts, compare different texts about the same events and look for different points of view inside the web source and use both primary and secondary data sources to support your arguments. 12. Be careful to check which countries are at stake since the business environment might be relevant to evaluate the implications of company actions. 13. The presentation of the case is not a description of the company; neither is it simply a reproduction of the way the company represents itself. It is the presentation of your analysis of the incident the company was involved in and your evaluation of the responses to the incident from business, governemnt and society in relation to the specific research question/the problem under investigation. 14. The conclusion is not a repetition of what you have already said; it is a synthesis of the main ideas from your findings and your proposals out of your reflection on the case. 15. When writing the assignment, remember that, although you are the author, if you refer to the ideas of other scholars or commentators, these should be adequately acknowledged. The most important ideas are those that you develop from your interpretation of the literature and your analysis of the data. Do not forget to substantiate your views. It is compulsory to use third person in this research assignment. 16. The research assignment is the outcome of a complex and extensive research process and, because it is only 2000 words, it is expected that you will synthesise the main ideas, arguments and data from the case.

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