The assignment title is as follows:
“Critically analyse and review the leadership capabilities of an actual leader– either someone you know or an historical or current leader and clearly identify and
link those attributes and processes that identify this person as an effective leader.”
To enable critical analysis, the leader that you choose should be a business or political leader and not a religious figure.
You should provide a very brief overview of the leader, and examples of the type of leadership behaviour demonstrated. These examples should come from a variety of
sources including those who worked with the leader. You should examine a specific leadership theory that most closely represents the style of leadership demonstrated
by the leader you have chosen to write about. This exploration of theory should focus on one leadership theory and should explore it in detail and depth and not merely
describe it. It should explore the research literature conducted into this theory and therefore describe how the particular leadership style/behaviour under discussion
should ideally match the circumstances and needs of the group and how it ideally should be conducted. You should critically compare the leadership of the leader that
you have chosen with the ideal theory that you have explored in research.
A suggested structure would include:
Context and background of the leader under study
This section should be relatively brief. It is a common mistake for students to spend a lot of time writing a detailed biography. This is not the purpose of the
assignment. You are advised to write about a section of the leader’s career rather than attempt a whole life story. This is a relatively short assignment so you must
not waste words on a lengthy biography.
Key capabilities of the leader
You must provide evidence of the leader’s leadership style and behaviour and make a link between this and a specific theory of leadership. It is important to include
the negative as well as the positive aspects of the leader’s behaviour. You do not want to write a biography of a saint. You obtain evidence of the leader’s style from
newspapers and magazines, using the University’s digital library. Don’t forget to references your sources of data/evidence.
Analysis and discussion of a specific leadership theory
This must be related to academic theory. It is vital that you select one particular theory (this must be the same as the leadership theory that you have attributed to
your chosen leader). This must be explored in depth and detail and make use of appropriate academic sources and research.
Critical benchmark of your chosen leader against the theory
You should critically compare the leadership demonstrated by your chosen leader to that described in the theory section. As an example if you have decided that your
leader is a Transformational Leadership you must explain the theory in some depth and detail (in the previous section of your report) and then provide evidence of how
the leader exhibited the attributes of a Transformational leader and benchmark his or her leadership against the theory that you have described. Clearly you need to
bring a variety of evidence to this task and the leader’s own opinion is not adequate. You should bring in objective evidence (from newspapers and magazines in the
University’s digital library) from those who have studied this leader and where possible those who have been led by the leader.
Some conclusions that enable us to learn about wider approaches to leadership
This section explores the wider context of leadership. Here you should consider the lessons learned about leadership generally. As you should know by now there is no
single, universal view of leadership. In this section therefore, you could discuss when and why different leadership approaches (remember to use academic theory
again) may be appropriate in different circumstances and with different sets of followers.
Do not attempt to write a literature review of all leadership theory. This will lead to a very shallow and unfocused piece of work. You do not have a large enough word
limit to do this. Remember the emphasis is on integrating academic theory with an analysis on your chosen leader
• It seems that some leaders are very popular choices with students. Steve Jobs and Gandhi have attracted a number of admirers. This is OK, but take care not to
collaborate too closely with each other when writing your assignments. The University takes a very poor view of plagiarism (passing off someone else’s work as your
own). Ensure that you write your assignment in your own words, and put the words of other people in quotes. Read the guidelines on plagiarism very carefully.
Don’t forget to use the University’s digital library to access newspapers/magazines
for your leader and academic journals for your theory. You will find help on accessing the library in the Frequently Asked Questions file on this Breo site.
Please do not use books or the internet for this assignment.
Leading and Managing People Assignment
Aim:To develop a critical awareness of current factors affecting leading and managing people and to demonstrate how effective policies can add value to the business’
To be able to
? Make constructive contributions to the development or enhancement of Leading and Managing and People strategies
? Assess the nature and extent of the people related factors that inhibit the achievement of organisational success within their own organisations.
? Critically evaluate existing work practices and propose cost effective improvements
? Optimise the use of available tools and techniques in the field of research and IT
High performance working (HPW) is one response being made by organisations to meet the demands of change and the increasing needs faced by many of mass customisation
and fulfilment of individual customers’ needs. The OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) definition of HPW refers to flatter non-
hierarchical structures; moving away from reliance on management control towards team-working; autonomous working based on high levels of trust,communication and
involvement. Jeffrey Pfeffer in his bookThe Human Equation, claimednot only werepeople at the heart of business success, but that the management requirement could be
reduced to a set of key HR policies.Pfeffer argued that the closer organisations get to this list, the better performance is likely to be. This seems to characterise
most if not all of the systems producing profits through people.
HRM Policy (input) Company Performance (output)
1. Employment security and internal labour markets
2. Selective hiring and sophisticated selection
3. Extensive training, learning and development
4. Employee involvement and participation, worker voice
5. Self-managed teams/team-working
6. High compensation contingent on performance
7. Performance review, appraisal and career development
8. Reduction of status differences/harmonisation
9. Work-life balance
Source: Compiled from a number of sources but initially adapted significantly from Pfeffer, J.‘The Human Equation’. Boston Press 1998
Produce a professional report of no more than 3000 words, addressed to your organisation’s MD/CEO, on the tasks stated below. Include cost-effective recommendations
and an action plan to improve effectiveness, add value to the business.
Ensure your report has sufficient academic rigour to support your arguments and conclusions and to guarantee its credibility in the eyes of the organisation.
NB: Appendices should not be included unless they add substantial benefits; Recommendations should pass the ‘immediate implementation test’.
1. Critically discuss what is meant by High Performance Working (HPW).
2. Given the nine key areas identified above, critically discuss the extent to which any three of these high performance working areas is evident in your own
3. Make recommendations leading to an action plan based upon your findings, to improve performance in your organisation, clearly stating how it can add value to
the business performance. Recommendations must be timely and fully justified stating clearly costs and benefits and any further implications to the organisation.
Section / Title Details / Guidance
University coversheet Include name, student ID number, unit title and code, assessment title, date of submission.
Title page Title of your report. Address (to/from) and date the report.
Executive Summary 250 word maximum summary of your whole report, including key recommendations. (not included in word count)
Contents Page Include page numbers.
Introduction Short introduction to the report setting out what the aims and objectives of the report are, what the report will cover and why. You may want to
provide a brief overview of your organisation at this stage(approximately 300 words).
(Task 1) Using third party sources (e.g. academic literature or practitioner-orientated material) for support, analyse the theoretical concept underpinning high
performance working, explaining why HPW is such a ‘hot topic’ in HR circles.
What it is, to what extent is it thought to work or not and why it benefits (or not) an organisation. You should make reference to any relevant models, frameworks etc
of HPW and include critical viewpoints. You are also expected to include relevant examples of organisations using this way of working (around 1000 words).
(Task 2) Consider the existence and impact of HPW (if any) on your organisation by evaluating how any three of the nine areas mentioned above are manifested in
the organisation and so can contribute (or not) to the organisation achieving its goals (around 900 words).
Conclusions This section should initially answer your report objectives and draw together the main points from your analysis of literature and other discussion
about your organisation. It summarises what has been learned from undertaking this research. It should also begin to weigh up the options available to the
organisation and what would impede implementation of further action. It should reach an overall conclusion as to the extent and effectiveness of the issues identified
on your organisation and based upon option evaluation begin to identify the way forward. No new information should be presented in the conclusions(around 300 words).
(Task 3) Make a considered list of recommendations for improvement based upon your conclusions, clearly stating how they can add value to the organisation.
Include an action plan which addresses these recommendations as an appendix. The action plan should be fully feasible and justified stating clearly costs, priority
level, time-scale, resources, who is responsible, benefits and any further implications to the organisation. Your proposals should be actionable (‘immediately
implementable’)not just a list of ideas. You can use a table to help structure your action plan (see p.4 below). The recommendations for action should be linked to
creating an acceptable level of HPW to enhancing the existing level, or to introducing some new practices and processes to make the current degree of HPW more
sustainable in the longer term or if any future threats to the company appear likely to jeopardise an HPW culture. In other words, your recommendations should cover
every conceivable contingency, but should also be linked to identified individuals who could be held accountable for their implementation(around 300 words).
Reference List A list of the third-party sources you have consulted and which are cited directly in the text. All these sources should be properly identified.
Harvard style (see the Learning Resources website: lrweb.beds.ac.uk/help/guide-to-ref).
Appendices Lengthy appendices are not necessary and must be discouraged. You may includeextra relevant background information (no more than a page) regarding your
organisation if not already in the introduction. Also include the action plan.
Word Limit 3000 words +/- 10% (not including executive summary, contents page, reference list and appendices)
You should submit your report electronically via Turnitin on Breo.
Assessment Criteria As illustrated on pages 5-6.
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