Lab / Research Project
The semester long project focuses on the application of knowledge gained and is a requirement of the 32 hour lab portion of this course. Several hours per week will be needed to complete the semester long project successfully for this course.
Effective learning is not simply memorizing and re-packaging course material. Effective learning involves the integration and application of subject matter in critiquing and solving organizational problems. As such, all of the questions on this assignment entail analyzing personnel practices, identifying strengths and weaknesses and making suggestions for improving departmental or organizational personnel management. To support the analysis, the student will provide critical incidents that provide illustrative examples of organizational success or failure on the personnel management function in question.
Your semester long project must follow the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style which is widely used for identifying research sources. Your research paper shall be 5 to 10 typewritten pages, double spaced in ARIAL 12 pt type with no more than one inch margins on each side. You will cite at least two sources on a separate sheet of paper.
Students are required to use a Modern Language Association (MLA) handbook to properly complete your writing assignments. Here is an interactive website called Citation Machine (Links to an external site.) which is a tool designed to assist teachers and students in producing reference citations for crediting information from other people. Another informative website is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab – The OWL Family of Sites (Links to an external site.). Also, don’t forget to visit Weatherford College library for more details on checking out an MLA handbook.
Choose one of the following eight to use for your semester long project:
1. Think about the overall level of employee motivation in the fire department. Let us assume that the Chief has asked you to complete a report on identifying barriers to the fire fighter work motivation. Based upon the readings and your personal experience, answer the following questions.
a. Using equity and expectancy theory as a base, identify five specific barriers to higher firefighter motivation levels. For each barrier, clearly describe the cause(s) and consequences.
b. For each problem, propose a set of recommendations to overcome the motivational barriers. Be sure to include sufficient detail on how the solution is implemented.
2. Obtain a copy of your job description and review. Answer the following questions.
a. Is your job description an accurate representation of your job? Why or why not? What additional kinds of information should be added and why?
b. If you were placed in charge of updating the job descriptions for the fire department, which sources would you use and why?
3. Let us assume that you have been selected to serve on a task force studying your departments firefighter recruitment program. Use the recruiting framework described in Edwards as a base.
a. Describe your current recruitment program.
b. What are the specific strengths and weaknesses? Include clear examples that describe the consequences of organizational recruitment practices.
4. Performance appraisal is an essential, but complex, management process. Obtain a copy of your organizational performance appraisal form and any associated policies and procedures and review. Based upon your review, answer the following questions:
a. Describe the steps in your appraisal process, the main performance areas (parts of the job) reviewed and the type of rating system used.
b. What are the specific strengths and weaknesses of your system? Provide clear examples and rationale to support your critiques.
c. Provide at least four specific recommendations to improve the organization’s performance appraisal process.
5. Obtain and review a copy of your department’s internal disciplinary procedures and answer the following questions.
a. Describe the steps of your department’s disciplinary system.
b. What are the most common (or most serious) disciplinary problems? What are the underlying factors that contribute to these disciplinary violations? How effective is the disciplinary system in terms of its timeliness, fairness and effectiveness in addressing these problems?
c. Propose specific solutions to improve the effectiveness of the disciplinary system in your department.
6. Your task is to critique your department’s compensation and benefits package by answering the following questions.
a. What type of compensation system is used by your department (merit pay, seniority or longevity pay, gain sharing, etc)? Describe the type of compensation tools used and how the system works.
b. Analyze the compensation system’s strengths and weaknesses relative to internal, external and individual equity. Is the present pay system effective in attracting, retaining and motivating employees (why or why not)?
c. Propose a series of specific recommendations to improve the compensation system.
7. Your task is to describe and critique the labor and management relations in your present fire department and answer the following questions.
a. Describe the present state of labor-management relations in your fire department. Is the relationship cooperative, conflictual or mixed? Provide specific details on the quality of the relationship and the ability to solve organizational problems.
b. Present a set of specific recommendations to improve labor-management relations in your department.
8. Let us assume that you have been appointed to a department wide task force to address departmental diversity issues. Think about your organization’s present level of diversity and answer the following questions.
a. How diverse is your fire department? Obtain the relevant
statistics from the personnel office or your chief and discuss how representative the department is in terms of gender and race.
b. Describe your department’s present level of effort in enhancing departmental diversity. What are the specific strengths and weaknesses of present efforts?
c. Provide a set of specific recommendations for improving departmental efforts to enhance diversity.
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