B) WRITTEN REPORTS
You should write a report of 3,000 words (maximum) which provides a critical analysis of the corporate communications function of a (for-profit) organisation of your choice, drawing on appropriate communications theory. IT SHOULD NOT BE THE SAME ORGANISATION AS YOUR PRESENTATION. Please make sure that all sources are referenced.
The report should consist of four parts:
(a) a one-page executive summary of the findings: this is included in the word count;
(b) a brief overview of the organisation and its communications functions, drawing attention to the major features that you will develop later;
(c) an analysis and evaluation of the communications of your chosen organisation, drawing on communications and/or marketing theory where appropriate;
(d) recommendations on how the organisation could improve its communications in the light of your research.
While it is for you to decide upon the content and structure of the report, you might feel it appropriate to include aspects such as:
– A brief overview of the organisation: its mission statement, goals, strategic objectives, etc.
– a communications audit or SWOT analysis of communications
– consistency of messages – or brand – conveyed across different media and extent to which communications are integrated
– communication and appropriateness of any sponsorship (if appropriate)
– communication of Corporate Social Responsibility programmes (if appropriate)
– barriers to successful communication and use of language; evidence of intercultural sensitivities (if appropriate)
– an evaluation of publications used for internal communications, marketing/PR (advertisements, leaflets, web site, social media, etc.)
– an analysis of crisis communications (plan or case study) if appropriate
– recommendations for improvement (including costings) and/or Communications Plan
Please note that these are only suggestions. A good report does not necessarily need to cover all these aspects. You will not be able to cover all aspects of corporate communications in depth. You need to decide which areas to focus on and explain why you have chosen them to be most relevant to your chosen organisation. You must include both internal and external communications, though you can choose to comment more in depth on one aspect as long as you explain why.
Word count: Please see your Student Handbook for guidance. The word count includes the whole report with the exception of the list of references which should appear at the end of the report and any appendices that you choose to include (optional, but anything that is important to the main argument must be included in the main body of the report).
It is a skill to be able to write a report concisely, so do not go over the word limit. Please do not ask if you can have an extra 10%! The limit is 3,000 words and you will be penalised for going over that limit.
We are happy to look at a draft structure of your report but will not comment in detail on drafts. If you wish us to review a draft structure you must submit it via VITAL (under Assessment – Draft Structure) no later than Monday 30th November 2015. Feedback will be provided electronically. We will not review any drafts submitted after that date and will not comment on full reports, only on the structure.
Dual submission of the report is required. The report must be submitted both in hard copy and electronically, via VITAL.
a) Electronic submission must be via VITAL (no emailed submissions will be accepted) no later than 16:00pm on Wednesday 16th December 2015. Submitting the report electronically is very simple. Just select the “Assignment” page within the VITAL module, click on ‘Reports’ and then upload your report as directed. The date and time of this electronic submission constitutes your official date and time of submission, providing you have also submitted our hard copy.
b) Hard copies should be submitted to the Student Support Office by 2pm on the deadline, with a completed cover sheet. This copy should be identical to the electronic version or you will incur with a penalty (see your student handbook).
Please also note that:
• You will receive a receipt via email when you submit the assignment. Please keep this as the official receipt of submission.
• If you fail to submit two copies your submission is incomplete and will not be marked.
• You only have one chance to submit your report electronically. If it is the wrong/an earlier version then please contact the module leader as soon as possible.
• Please do not put your name on the report – we only require your Student ID. Your name should only appear on the cover sheet of the hard copy.
• Late submission will be penalised according to standard University policy (as outlined in the Undergraduate Student Handbook). You are warned that VITAL can become slow when busy and you are advised not to leave submission until the last hour. Late submissions must be submitted via the ‘Late Submissions’ item on VITAL, still in the ‘Assignment’ section.
Further instructions and advice about report writing can be found in the ULMS Undergraduate Handbook, on VITAL and the University’s iLearn web site. Please note that marks will be deducted for reports that are over the maximum length or poorly presented and referenced.
If you have any queries regarding your report, you can post them on the FAQ forum on VITAL under (Assessment) or contact the module leader during office hours. An FAQ document will be posted on VITAL (under Assessment). Please read carefully.
Marking Criteria for Reports
The marking rubric for the individual report is set out below and so please review it carefully as it will help you organise your work.
MKIB372 CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS – REPORT: INDIVIDUAL FEEDBACK RUBRIC *
FAILS TO MEET EXPECTATIONS MEETS EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS Mark and Further comments (where appropriate)
Identifies key points from main body of report accurately Fails to identify key points from main body of report accurately. Perhaps reads more like an introduction or abstract Identifies key points from main body of report but might not be in the format of an Exec Sum or includes some other less relevant information Identifies key points from main body of report accurately
Summarises key points concisely Fails to summarise key points concisely and/or longer than one side.
Summarises key points but might be a little ‘waffly’ (over-elaborate and/or include elements of an introduction.) Summarises key points from main body of report concisely and clear recommendations evident.
Content/Main Body of Report
Identification and justification of key issues in corp comms for this organisation Fails to explain to the reader why the report focuses on some aspects of CC and not others. Might fail to cover both internal and external communications. Explains which areas report will focus on but perhaps it is not clear why, or what other choices might have been; internal and external covered Clear justification presented of which aspects of CC focus is on and why. Internal and external covered
Balance between description and analysis Too descriptive and not enough analysis Some evidence of analysis but over-descriptive in places Very good balance achieved
Evidence of critical thinking Little/no evidence of ability to think critically Some/good evidence of critical thinking, but needs further development at times Excellent ability to think critically demonstrated with clear examples. Own ideas are original at times
Accuracy and understanding of CC within the organisation Several inaccuracies or naive comments; little or no understanding Only one or two inaccuracies; some understanding Accurate and clear understanding throughout
Application of theory to the case study Little or no application of theory Some application of theory, good in places, but might need more at times Excellent application of theory throughout over and above that covered in lecturers.
Evidence of own research Little original research, beyond organisation website Some original/good research (perhaps with primary but also secondary data sources) Excellent individual research and finding from new sources
Evidence of engagement with academic (and other) literature beyond basic texts Limited range of appropriate sources consulted, perhaps over-reliant on websites or informal sources.
Reasonable range of appropriate sources consulted and integrated well, including academic journals. Good range of appropriate sources consulted and integrated well, including academic journals.
Consistent and accurate referencing of sources Poor or inconsistent referencing of sources. Largely consistent and accurate referencing of sources, perhaps a couple of minor errors Excellent, consistent and accurate referencing of sources throughout
Understanding of broader context in which the organisation is situated Little understanding of broader context demonstrated Draws on examples beyond the chosen organisation for comparison or benchmark Excellent awareness of broader context, and uses benchmark beyond UK context (i.e. global awareness)
Recommendations are sensibly drawn from the main body of the report Recommendations do not appear as logical progression or are unexpected Most recommendations emerge as logical progression from report All recommendations are sensible and coherently drawn from the main body of the report
Recommendations are explained clearly Not explained clearly and/or come as a surprise Most recommendations are justified and explained clearly All clearly explained in appropriate detail
Recommendations are realistic in terms of cost-benefit Unrealistic or little/no analysis of costs Some thought gone into costs of recommendations, but lacks appropriate detail or feasibility All recommendations are realistic in terms of cost-benefit
Structure and signposting Little coherent structure/not outlined at start Basic structure evident but lacks signposting Clearly structured and signposted
Aims of report
presented and achieved Not presented at all Mentioned perhaps at the start but not clearly signposted otherwise or only partially achieved Clearly outlined, signposted and fully achieved
Progression of argument Little progression of argument Some progression but listener needs to find connections Good, clearly signposted progression of argument
Use of examples to illustrate points Limited or poor Some Good throughout and effectively referenced.
FAILS TO MEET EXPECTATIONS MEETS EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS Mark and Further comments
Use and clarity of language (spelling, grammar, register, etc.) Poor use of language/register and/or frequent errors in spelling/grammar Good use of English. Occasional use of inappropriate/unclear language/register;
Appropriate use of spelling (UK) and grammar, perhaps occasional error Excellent use of clear language, appropriate register; correct use of spelling (UK) and grammar throughout
Presentation Poor presentation Adequate presentation, but perhaps could have been enhance by use of graphics/tables/clear headings/page breaks, etc. Professional presentation throughout
*Subject to Board of Undergraduate Study approval.
All students should note that every year we have some students who are awarded a mark of 0 because they have submitted plagiarised work. You should read the University’s new Academic Integrity Policy carefully.
The University’s Code of Practice on Assessment provides the following definition of plagiarism:
“Plagiarism occurs when a student misrepresents, as his/her own work, the work, written or otherwise, of any other person (including another student) or of any institution. Examples of forms of plagiarism include:
• the verbatim (word for word) copying of another’s work without appropriate and correctly presented acknowledgement;
• the close paraphrasing of another’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation, without appropriate and correctly presented acknowledgement;
• unacknowledged quotation of phrases from another’s work;
• the deliberate and detailed presentation of another’s concept as one’s own.”
“Another’s work” covers all material, including, for example, written work, diagrams, designs, charts, musical compositions and pictures, from all sources, including, for example, the internet, journals, textbooks and essays.
The University’s Code of Practice on Assessment provides the following definition of collusion:
“Collusion occurs when, unless with official approval (e.g. in the case of group projects), two or more students consciously collaborate in the preparation and production of work which is ultimately submitted by each in an identical, or substantially similar, form and/or is represented by each to be the product of his or her individual efforts. Collusion also occurs where there is unauthorised co-operation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own.”
Further information on plagiarism and collusion can be found in departmental/programme handbooks. Students found to have committed plagiarism or to have colluded in the production of work for assessment are liable to receive a mark of zero for the assessment concerned. Subsequent offences will attract more severe penalties, including possible termination of studies.
If you do not understand what plagiarism is, please consult the University guidelines. If you are in any doubt, please see your module leader.
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