Presenting An Example Of A Proposal For A Paper

Gloria Hamilton 27/12/10 11:26 AM

Today I have decided to show some real life example of proposal and students can use them for making their sample proposal of term papers at college or university level. Below is the example of one proposal and I am sure it will be a guiding factor for you.

PROPOSED DISSERTATION TITLE:

“Can Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance Assistance (RBSIA) utilize the ‘tipping point’ concept to embed their Mission, Vision and Values (MVV) effectively within the workforce?”
1. Aims of the Dissertation.

“Can Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance Assistance (RBSIA) utilize the ‘tipping point’ concept to embed their Mission, Vision and Values (MVV) effectively within the workforce?”

As a part of a continuous improvement program, RBSIA have a need to better understand the relationship between strategy and leadership and how new strategies can best be implemented into the organizations so as to change behaviors within the workforce.

In order to answer my investigation my work will be split into 3 key areas of action. This includes:

1. Investigating the theory of the tipping point and its applications to organizational change, if any. Investigate other theories of behavioral and cultural change. Through this analysis I hope to highlight a series of levers of change, “which are actions that leaders can take” (Shapiro, 2004: 6).
2. Undertaking original research at RBSIA so as to identify how far workers behavior is consistent with the desired MVV. A part of this questionnaire will be to measure the current utilization of the levers by leaders.
3. Identifying gaps in key behaviors and highlight opportunities to change the “mix” of the levers in order to initiate rapid change (a tipping point) in organizational behaviour.

2. Methods.

Whilst some organizations are the very embodiment of the values and characteristics desired by company directors, others are not. We would propose that this is a result of several levers, or actions, which leaders can utilize in order to better embed Mission, Vision and Values within employees. “These levers must be addressed to influence people’s commitment to change” (Shapiro, 2004: 6). Whilst the tipping point theory was originally hypothesized as something appropriate for social trends it may have similar applications within an organizational setting. The tipping point “shows how, with commitment from advocates who are supported by leadership, we can make the changes that organizations need to leverage business opportunities” (Shapiro, 2004: 22).

RBSIA’s MVV are underpinned by a series of 15 behavioral statements. It would be my intention to conduct a piece of research (taking the form of an online survey) to establish the level to which these behaviors are embedded within the different business units that comprise RBSI Assistance. The questionnaire would also comprise questions which seek to find the current “mix” of levers used by leaders within the organization.

The total workforce of RBSI A is around 1000 people; I would be hope to sample around 10% of this population.

Based on this research I will be able to highlight the gaps that exist in the current integration of MVV within the organization. It should then be possible to propose a different “mix” of the levers in order to propagate change in those behaviors which RBSIA deem key to success.

If these levers could be set appropriately by RBSIA it might be possible to initiate a process of change in the culture of the company which occurs endemically, much like a social “tipping point” might.

If it is thought that the tipping point could be enacted by changes in leader’s actions at RBSIA, it is possible that the theory could hold sway for other organizations too. However it is not within the scope of this dissertation to follow through the recommendations and report back on their implementation.

3. Feasibility
This focus on the “tipping point” is envisaged as a small part of an overall process of improvement at RBSIA. This project allows me exclusive levels of access to all appropriate levels of the organization, from ‘shop floor’ workers to the Director.

The scope of the project has been restricted to encompass just a single piece of primary research and will focus on the four business units of RBSIA. Sample sizes will be determined so as to be stochastically significant but within the scope of the dissertations timeline and depth; it is thought that around 100 people will be sampled.

4. How Your Work Fits Existing Published Work

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has”

– Margaret Mead

Highlighting advocates and opinion leaders in practice is going to be a difficult task, especially in an organization of any scale. Thus replicating this theory in practice becomes somewhat more contentious. Building on Glad well’s work, Creating Contagious Commitment: Applying the Tipping Point to Organizational Change (Shapiro, 2004) seeks to apply the theory to the organizational setting. The aim of the book is to highlight ways in which change can be sustainable and contagious. Shapiro goes on to highlight that there are levers to enact change; actions which an organization can organize into an appropriate “mix” to help facilitate change. This is a slightly less linear method for implementing change than many of the more traditional models for change might cite. For example, Kotter provides a clear 8 step process to implement change that is perhaps one of the more favored models for change amongst practitioners (Palmer et al, 2006). This model includes forming a “Powerful Guiding Coalition”; in essence a team of people with sufficient legitimate power to drive change. Kotter’s model goes on to say that the behaviors of the Guiding Coalition will be central to communicating the vision that the organization has. All of these points are driving towards a common theory however; a small group of advocates is where change processes should begin from.

Advocates who are truly opinion leaders know to focus on behaviors instead of outcomes (Patterson et al, 2008: 27). It is no good saying to workers: ‘Give us competitive advantage’; they might know what the result of competitive advantage looks like (bigger profits, growth, etc) but they won’t know how to achieve this. As such advocates realize that the real question is “In order to improve our existing situation, what must people actually do?” (Patterson et al, 2008: 27). These opinion leaders can then start the process by becoming the embodiment of new behaviors. From here they seek to influence changes in others, whilst they ‘walk the talk’. It is vital that employees buy into this change as otherwise the “change effort is powerful only so long as it is pushed” (Senge, 1999). Kotter would tell us that 85% of change programs fail to make needed transformations because this change of behaviour is not present (Kotter, 2002). “Although organizational change might include new technology, new processes, and new organizational charts, it is more than any of these in isolation or all of them in combination. It is fundamentally a change in people.” (Shapiro, 2004: 11).

People and their behaviors are central to the theme of Nonaka and Takeuchi’s 1995 book, The Knowledge-Creating Company. Historically, the post war years saw Japanese companies accelerate away from western companies in broad terms of performance. Nonaka and Takeuchi tell of the importance of ‘organizational learning’ as the source of competitive advantage that fed this advancement. The authors hypothesizes that the source of this competitive advantage has always been held in knowledge and the ability to change in accordance to new knowledge. “Organizational knowledge creation is the key to the distinctive ways that Japanese companies innovate” (Nonaka et al, 1995: 3). But in order for a company to embrace the concept of the “Knowledge Worker” (Drucker, 1993: 5), the workers themselves must first be open to change. “The organisation has to be prepared to abandon knowledge that has become obsolete” (Nonaka et al, 1995: 43).

Alongside the concept of the “Knowledge Worker” is the “Learning Organization”, as defined by Senge (2006). Senge told of 5 key disciplines which were needed in order to increase the organizations capacity to learn, which in turn could lead to a competitive advantage (as the organization is more adaptive to change and more open to problem solving). Of the 5 disciplines it is “systems thinking” which unites the theory according to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995: 45). And it is the ability to utilize systems thinking that is “used in the Tipping Point [to] emphasize the interdependence of all the actions that we can take to create change” (Shapiro, 2003: 6). Systems thinking, broadly speaking is an ability to take a wider view of the company (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 45). By utilizing this method it is possible to see all of the “levers” which enable a change process within the organization. “These levers must be addressed to influence people’s commitment to change” (Shapiro, 2004: 6). By adjusting these levers of change a company could seek to influence the behaviour of its employees.
5. Why You Are Doing This Topic

There are three key reasons for choosing this topic:

Personal Interest: The Tipping Point has been of interest to me for some years now. I am also looking to go on from this MBA to complete a piece of work worthy of a Doctorate award in this area.

Business Interest: My company is working heavily in this area already and my work here will have the opportunity to add value to this program of research. There is a very real chance it will be integrated into the operational and strategic thinking of one of the UK’s largest insurance companies.

Opportunity: The level of access I am currently able to gain to RBSI is unprecedented in my work experience and to take advantage of it will allow for the collection of primary data of better quality than most dissertations could hope to achieve. As such there is a chance that this work could be of significant enough content to warrant publication.

You can always achieve good grades if you have been following above mentioned tips and try to make most out of them.

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