Section Assignment

The consulting project is executed by the entire discussion section, in competition with the other MB 022 discussion sections. Results will be presented to the whole class Sunday, November 18th, in the evening. Each of the four sections will have 15-20 minutes to present their findings, plus 10-15 minutes to answer questions put by the panel of judges and the class as a whole. The judges will include the MB 022 instructors, plus representatives from the client organizations, plus additional faculty from the Boston College Organization Studies department. Immediately after the presentations, the judges will meet to declare a winner.

Optionally, a section may elect to provide the judges with some written material to help them judge the quality of the project. This material can be anything from a 1-page handout to a 50-page paper. Since the projects are judged immediately after the presentations, all written materials must be provided by 5pm on Wednesday the week before the 18th so that they can be xeroxed and distributed to all judges in time for them to read them.

The project consists of working with a Boston College organizational unit, or an outside organization, to improve their operations. It must focus on an organizational behavior problem, rather than a financial or marketing or other problem.

As in all real endeavors, there are really two problems to be solved: (a) the client's problem (e.g., how to re-organize the library to fulfill its mission better), and (b) the organizational problem (i.e., how you go about coordinating 25 class members to get a complex job done). With regard to the latter problem, how you do it is up to you. I would suggest that you utilize the existing team structure to simplify coordination. Perhaps the team leaders should meet regularly to coordinate all the groups. Perhaps the class should elect a supreme leader to coordinate the leaders. Or maybe the class should create a separate task force to lead the effort. A radical idea is to create a small group that is willing to do all the work, and have everyone else in the class pay them a certain number of bonus points. In addition, the project team could collect all the bonus points obtained from outscoring the other classes (if that happens).

The TAs and I will be glad to answer questions about what options you have, but we won't make decisions for you: that's part of the learning process.

Example Project:

The client was BC Dining Services. The class visited the head of BC dining and talked to her about the kinds of organizational problems they had. One of the biggest problems was retaining student employees -- after hiring, they just wouldn't last. The turnover was costing the organization a lot of time in recruiting and training. So the problem that the class sought to solve was how to reduce turnover (in addition, they were having trouble recruiting, so they also worked on that).

They broke the problem down into the following steps:

  1. problem formulation -- what problem they wanted to solve
  2. diagnosis -- finding out what's causing the problem
  3. prescription -- figuring out what to do about it
  4. presentation -- explaining this to the client

Their approach to diagnosis was to interview several groups of people, including:

Once they had a pretty good ideas of what the issues were, solutions were not difficult to find.

Grading Criteria

Miscellaneous Suggestions