BUSM1100: a real-world scenario where you are a consultant, working collaboratively with your client to solve a complex organisational problem: Organizational Analysis Report, RMIT

This assignment simulates a real-world scenario where you are a consultant, working collaboratively with your client to solve a complex organisational problem. It is based on a real-world situation observed in universities across the world. Your client is the Academic Director of a university campus in Southeast Asia.

You will deliver a report to your client that is grounded in theory and proposes a solution to the problem described below. You will demonstrate an understanding of the real-world challenges associated with implementing solutions that impact on organisations and their stakeholders.

This assignment supports you to: Develop a sophisticated understanding of organisational functionality. Gain experience in using some of the most common functionalist tools used in business across the world today (process modelling and the “five whys” tool – see Lecture 2, Bain Management, Tools and Trends Survey).

Understand the value of the functionalist perspective, but also its limitations. Understand the value of the interpretivist perspective, but also its limitations. Apply the theory you have learned in Organisations to a real world problem. You will be drawing on the two regulation / order paradigms to analyse the problem and develop your solution: the functionalist paradigm and the interpretivist paradigm.


Your client is the Academic Director of a large university campus located in South East Asia. Amongst her many responsibilities, the Academic Director is responsible for:

1) ensuring that students acquire the skills and knowledge to transform the world around them;

2) promoting student engagement;

3) inspiring students to continue their educational journey with post-graduate studies and research; and

4) maintaining academic integrity. These four pillars of education are inextricably connected. The Academic Director has engaged your consultancy firm to attend to one educational pillar, in particular: she has hired you to review the university’s academic integrity processes.

A number of matters have led to the need to review the university’s academic integrity processes: A small but significant number of students appear to be disengaged from their studies; they do not attend class and they do not engage with course materials. Yet, they submit completed assessments.

A small but significant number of students engage in academic misconduct, involving matters such as: Student participation in a misconduct marketplace, whereby students knowingly facilitate misconduct by posting their completed assignments online (for a fee, or to access other students’ completed assignments) or sharing their assignments with other students.

Students who download these assignments then copy and make minor alterations to this work to beat the Turn It In plagiarism checker, and misleadingly submit this work as their own. Paying a third party to produce an assignment on their behalf.

This misconduct is concerning because: Students who engage in misconduct place themselves in a potentially compromising situation, especially if they engage a third party to produce their assignment. Stories have been emerging of students being blackmailed by these third parties, down the track. It means that some students are not achieving the learning outcomes of their courses and degrees.

Some of these students are graduating, yet do not possess the skills and knowledge implied by their degree. Ultimately, employer confidence in the business degrees issued by the university is being eroded, and the value of the degree diminished. This unfairly impacts the vast majority of students who graduate on their own merits.

There are also associated opportunity costs: Students who do not embrace the educational opportunities available through the university system do not achieve their full potential; they shortchange themselves, and society.

Academic staff spend too much time pursuing misconduct cases, when they might be investing their time in enriching their courses to optimise students’ experience and learning, conducting research that transforms business practices, and nurturing students so that they achieve their potential. In briefing you about this problem, the Academic Director emphasises the following:

Most students understand the importance of academic integrity and are keen to see this upheld. They wish to work in partnership with the University to address this issue. The Academic Director is keen to understand the root cause of this problem, and believes this to be multifaceted.

She believes both the university and the student body have responsibilities in improving and maintaining academic integrity, and protecting students from unscrupulous “tutoring” providers.

The Academic Director believes the university must develop and deploy strategies that make education and academic integrity meaningful to students. Students also have responsibilities to uphold academic integrity.

The Academic Director flags a potential gap between the university’s and students’ perceptions of education. Some students approach their studies in a transactional manner; they wish to obtain a qualification. Academics within the university system believe that education can provide students with transformative possibilities.

The Academic Director believes that awakening students to the possibilities of education is crucial to solving academic integrity issues. The Academic Director believes in the singular potential of every student enrolled in the university.

She believes her university can play a vital role in awakening students to their capacity to learn, and their agency – that is, their ability to take what they learn at the university and use it to make their mark on the world. The Academic Director does not see students as “consumers” or “customers”. She sees them as students, and the role of academics as true educators.


The Academic Director asks that you: Using the “5 whys” tool, conduct an initial analysis of the situation. (This will be workshopped in class). Then, independently, draw on the literature to supplement your “5 whys” analysis, to identify the “root causes” of misconduct.

The Academic Director asks that you provide a 400 word precis of your analysis, in your report. Reflecting on what the literature revealed, and drawing explicitly on the functionalist and interpretivist paradigm, identify the limitations of your “five whys” analysis. 300 words.

Using your above analysis as a foundation, critique the university’s existing academic integrity processes. The Academic Director provides you with a process model that depicts the university’s existing processes Download process model that depicts the university’s existing processes. Your critique must draw explicitly on both the functionalist and interpretivist paradigms.

Drawing explicitly on the functionalist and interpretivist paradigms, suggest and explain proposed amendments to this model. You should also draw on the literature you have reviewed on academic integrity.

You are to provide your amended process model as an attachment to your report. That is, you will submit two documents; your report, and your process model. Acknowledging that your thinking is informed by only the two order / regulation paradigms (not all four paradigms), explain the limitations of your report.


You must explicitly draw on both the Burrell and Morgan text and the Hirschheim and Klein paper to help you analyse the problem and respond to the assessment brief. Both texts are located in the Reading List. For the Hirschheim and Klein paper, focus on the “two stories” told by the authors: Story 1 (a depiction of functionalism in action) and Story 2 (a depiction of social relativism in action).

You must also draw on at least five other scholarly sources (excluding the texts above, this means you will be drawing on seven scholarly sources at a minimum) to help construct your assessment. See the Reading List for a range of possible resources, and we encourage you to source your own. Videos, newspaper clippings, and industry publications (e.g. by McKinsey) are NOT considered scholarly sources.

We expect your in text citations to be perfect. This is a second year course and you must now demonstrate a solid understanding of how to acknowledge other people’s ideas. This means citing the surnames of the authors whose work you are drawing on, the year of the publication, and, if you are using direct quotations, you must also wrap the words that are not yours in “quotation marks” and provide the page number from where you have drawn the quotation. Do not cite the lectures.  You may cite the “Consolidation and springboard” readings, but note that these are not peer reviewed and therefore do not count as scholarly texts.


Course learning outcomes This assessment is relevant to the following course learning outcomes:

CLO1 Identify different analytical perspectives employed to understand organisations at the individual, organisational, and societal levels.

CLO2 Interpret and apply these multiple perspectives to empirically analyse organisations and the contexts in which they operate.

CLO3 Draw on different analytical perspectives as the basis for a socially responsible, ideologically aware approach towards organisational problem-solving.

CLO4 Evaluate knowledge assumptions, including one’s own, and come to recognise their practical implications for management.

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