A2: Report

Description of Assignment: Students will select one of the scenarios laid out during the course found here and write a report on their own decision or recommendation. Students should analyse the scenario in relation to psychological theory and make a recommendation for the company or body that has posed the scenario. Students should also describe the psychological and neuroscientific theory behind their analysis and recommendations. This report must not be done on the scenario presented in class, this is an opportunity for students to display their own critical thinking skills and creativity.

Word Count: 2500 (+/- 10%)

Grading Criteria (What constitutes a good assignment?):

A full rubric is found below, and assessments will be judged on:

Description of relevant psychological/neuroscientific theories
Critical analysis of scenario
Justification of decision/recommendations made
Spelling, grammar and presentation of report

Report Rubric

Essay Rubric

Criteria

Ratings

Pts

The report critically analyses the scenario presented.

Full Marks

20.0 pts

A

17.5 pts

B

15.0 pts

C

12 pts

D

8.0 pts

No Marks

0.0 pts

20.0 pts

The report is neatly organized, presented and of the correct length.

Demonstrates a solid understanding of conventions of academic writing

The essay should be split as follows: Introduction, analysis of scenario, description of theory, recommendation and justification, conclusion.

Full Marks

20.0 pts

A

17 pts

B

14.0 pts

C

11 pts

D

8.0 pts

  No Marks

  0.0 pts

20.0 pts

The report concisely, critically and accurately describes relevant psychological theories with clear links made to elements of the scenario.

Full Marks

30.0 pts

A

25.0 pts

B

20.0 pts

C

15.0 pts

D

10.0 pts

F

5.0 pts

No Marks

0.0 pts

30.0 pts

The report makes a clear recommendation linked to the theories outlined, critically justifying why the recommendation was made.

Full Marks

30.0 pts

A

25.0 pts

B

20.0 pts

C

15.0 pts

D

10.0 pts

F

5.0 pts

No Marks

0.0 pts

30.0 pts

Total Points: 100.0

Component

Very High Quality

Good

Adequate (Pass)

Inadequate

Fail

A

B

C

D

F

CRITERIA

90% +

80-89%

70-79%

60-69%

0-59%

Ave Score

95

85

75

65

30

Organization, clarity, presentation and referencing.

20pts

Paper demonstrates concise and consistent writing. Transitions between ideas are handled well.

Formatting is appropriate and writing is free of grammar and spelling errors. Paper is well structured.

References are clear and correctly created.

Paper is organized and clear. Errors do not detract from overall ideas. Could have used better transitions between ideas. Some grammar or spelling errors.

Paper is well structured. References are passable but could be more complete.

Paper is organized and clear. Errors do not detract from overall ideas. Could have used better transitions between ideas. Some grammar or spelling errors.

Report conforms to structure set out in the syllabus. Basic references.

Writing needs outside support. The main ideas are getting lost as a result of the grammar and spelling errors.

Report is poorly presented with no structure.

Referencing is poor, incomplete and/or not done correctly

Insufficient or no work.

Analysis of scenario

20pts

The scenario is described comprehensively, with an excellent level of detail and critically analyses key points within the scenario. The description clearly identifies key areas to address and critically justifies why they are important.

The scenario is described comprehensively, with a good level of detail and analyses key points within the scenario. The description identifies key areas to address and justifies why they are important.

The scenario is described accurately, with some level of  detail. The description attempts to identify key areas to address and begins to justify why they are important.

The scenario is poorly described with little to no relevant detail. Key details are missing and no attempt to justify why elements of the scenario are important.

Insufficient or no work.

Description of theories

30 pts

Appropriate psychological and neuroscientific theories selected and described in excellent detail focusing on the relevant areas of theory. Links are clearly made to specific features of the scenario with critical evaluation of relevance shown. Evidence of wider reading shown.

Appropriate psychological and neuroscientific theories selected and described in good detail. Links are clearly made to specific features of the scenario and relevance of theory is described. Evidence of wider reading shown.

Appropriate psychological and neuroscientific theories selected and described but not in great detail. Links are made to the scenario and. No evidence of wider reading shown.

The theories selected are inappropriate for the scenario or poorly described. No links are made between the theory and the scenario. No evidence of wider reading shown.

Insufficient or no work.

Justification of recommendation

30pts

Recommendation made is excellently articulated. Links between theories, specific elements of the scenario and the subsequent recommendation are critically and excellently described. Positives and negatives are excellently  balanced with justification of the recommendation also articulated.

Recommendation made is clearly articulated. Links between theories, specific elements of the scenario and the subsequent recommendation are excellently described. Positives and negatives are balanced with justification of the recommendation also articulated.

Recommendation made is articulated. Links between theories, specific elements of the scenario and the subsequent recommendation are made. Justification of the recommendation is also articulated.

Recommendation is poorly articulated. Links between scenario, recommendation and specific elements are tenous or incomplete. Little to no justification of the the recommendation.

Insufficient or no work.

Report Scenarios
Judgement and Decision Making

1

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by a FTSE 100 company who has recently been rocked by a raft of discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying scandals that has resulted in half of the board of directors stepping down. The shareholders of the company have expressed concern that the previous board contained very little cultural, cognitive or gender diversity. The board have previously been over 90% male, and over 95% white upper middle class. It had been described as a boys club where appointments were made based on who was friends with who, as opposed to who was best suited for the job. They are now looking to appoint a new board, but ensuring that they make decisions based on good judgement to try and boost the cultural, cognitive and gender diversity on the board.

They have asked you to consider:

What could have been causing some of the issues in board appointments with the previous board?

How can they use better judgement to make hiring decisions?

How can they increase diversity whilst maintaining fair processes?

Why might it improve the overall judgement within the company to have greater diversity?

Any other suggestions you may have to improve the hiring decisions made around a new board.

2

The UK government has reached out to your consultancy for help managing important decisions during a severe pandemic. The disease is highly infectious, but supression measures including social distancing and lockdowns have worked to slow the spread of the virus in other parts of the world. However, the UK public are not heeding the advice being given by the government, and still engage in large social gatherings, panic-buying and stockpiling resources and making non-essential travel regularly. Decisions on matters of life and death are being made on a nearly hourly basis, with large amounts of information being presented to decision makers with no clear and obvious solutions. The economy is rapidly going into recession and decisions have to be made in order to protect either health or wealth.

They have asked you to consider:

What psychological factors could be clouding the public’s judgment, causing them to be stockpiling and panic buying, but also ignoring advice?

How can the government change behaviours to avoid the above behaviours and follow advice more closely?

Who should be involved in the decision making process, and what psychological factors influence this?

How should decisions be presented to ultimate decision makers (i.e. the Prime Minister) given that ultimate decision makers are under large amounts of pressure and have to make multiple crucial decisions every day?

Any other factors you deem important to handling this crisis from a psychological perspective.

Wellbeing and Mental Health

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by a large organisation. They have recently cut back staff numbers in one of their divisions and have noticed that since they have done so, there has been a huge drop in productivity, client satisfaction, morale and engagement whilst absenteeism, employee turnover and negative workplace behaviours are on the rise. Employees are expected to work harder and longer hours for the same amount of pay under greater pressure than before due to the cutbacks and subsequent drop in performance. There is a  budget for wellbeing, but it is currently being used on performative measures that the executives themselves enjoy, such as free yoga and bicycle to work schemes.

They have asked you to consider:

Why might the cutbacks in staffing numbers have affected the above factors?

Why might the wellbeing budget be being spent incorrectly?

How can the company improve performance?

How could the wellbeing budget be spent more effectively?

Any other suggestions you may have to improve the performance of the company?

2

The World Health Organisation has approached your psychological consultancy as their current Mental Health Action Plan expires in 2020. They have decided to completely redesign their approach to mental health in 0-30 year olds, and they are looking for guidance on what their priorites should be in their new action plan. Their previous action plan is provided under the Wellbeing and Mental Health section on myCourses, but the four main objectives of the plan were: to strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health, to provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings, to implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health, and to strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.

They have asked you to consider:

Which of the objectives from the previous mental health plan should be maintained, improved or removed? (Provide four objectives for the plan)

How do the new objectives translate into practical policies, changes and decisions to be implemented and made to be most successful for the 0-30 age bracket (i.e. what do the objectives look like for individuals age 0-30)?

What could be some of the challenges in implementing the new objectives in their new plan?

Any other suggestions you have for improving mental health services, promotion and treatment in the 0-30 age range.

Social Cognition and Persusaion

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by a trade union representative for public sector rail workers. Their members are unhappy with the pay package being offered to them as well as a lack of perceived improvements to working conditions. They are fully committed to engaging in industrial strike action if they do not feel like their demands for an improved pay offer are met and commitments to improving working standards are made. The trade union representatives have asked your consultancy to advise them on how they can make as persuasive an argument as possible to avoid industrial strike action.

They have asked you to consider:

What should be their core central message when entering negotiations?

What peripheral cues could be used?

How can they tailor the message to create attitude or behaviour change?

Any other suggestions you may have to improve how persuasive they are.

Previous Scenarios

Learning and Memory

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by a manager who has just taken over a sales team as her first management role. A lot of the members of the team that she has inherited are much older than her and very stuck in their ways. They constantly complain about the managers new approach to sales, new processes and new systems. They also talk about the last manager in a very positive manner and describe positive memories of him despite him having a terrible record in both treatment of staff and in sales performance. The team do not pick up the new systems being put in place at all and are very resistant to change

She has asked you to consider:

Why might the team mis-remember their previous manager?

How can she create more effective systems of learning?

What can she do to incentivise learning or punish non-compliance?

Any other suggestions you may have to improve learning and memory amongst her team.

Perception

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by an organisation who has just acquired a smaller business. The company you have acquired has come with a relatively disengaged and apathetic workforce. This disengagement and apathy stems from a perception of the workforce that your organisation cares more about profit than people and that their employees are disposable. The lack of engagement and apathy of the workforce is severely affecting the acquired business performance. This organisation needs your consultancys help to change this perception, as the truth is that this organisation invests in their staff and believes that people make the organisation. This perception may have come from how the previous management treated their staff.

They have asked you to consider:

How they should word corporate communication concerning the merger of these organisations and other communications

What might have caused this perception

What initiatives they can put in place to change this perception

Any other suggestions you may have to alter the perception and improve the performance of the workforce

Attention

Your psychological consultancy has been approached by a small insurance company specialising in life insurance. Recently, they have decided that they would like to target potential customers in the 20-35 age range and have launched a specific, customised product for customers in this age range. Unfortunately, their marketing campaign has had very little success. The sales team report that when they actual manage to speak to potential customers, they have very positive results due to the excellent product but the current marketing campaign (including traditional insurance-style TV and radio adverts) is struggling to capture the attention of their desired market. They need to capture the attention of their market better and have come to your consultancy to help them to do just that.

They have asked you to consider:

Where should they be placing their adverts and how should they be designing and wording them?

Why might the approach they are taking currently (with similar adverts to the ones they use for their marketing to older customers) not be working?

Creating an example ad

Any other suggestions you may have to improve the attention paid by their potential customers to their marketing.

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