Changes in an Organization

You will prepare a research paper on a public organization that has undergone (or should
undergo) a fairly significant change. The paper should describe the organization’s change,
retrospectively or prospectively, in light of the concepts introduced in this course.
There are two parts to this paper. The first part (items 1–2 below) is a narrative about your
organization and the need for change. The second part (items 3–6) requires an application of
the theories and concepts from class to the organization you have selected.
The final paper will:

  1. Describe the organization, including history, purpose, size, age, geographic or other
    territorial mandate, target population, funding sources, and other such demographics
    as you think would be helpful to the reader. If any of these have changed
    significantly, you’ll want to mention it. (1 page)
  2. Explain what prompted the need for change. What happened the prompted or
    spurred change? What did they measure or observe to find out about the problem?
    What results did the organization expect and why? It’s helpful to think of this as the
    immediate and proximal issue that indicated that change was necessary. (1–2 pages)
  3. Diagnose the potential causes of the problem. Was it primarily structural,
    administrative, political, or something else? This section should describe the longerterm issues that led up to the indicator that change was necessary noted in item
    number 2 here. If you assert that it was a financial problem, you’ll need to have a
    good story ready; financial problems rarely come about in the absence of other
    problems. (2–3 pages)
  4. Prescribe what sort of change is called for, how it should be brought about, by
    whom, and on what timetable? If this is a retrospective case, you need not agree that
    what was done was correct, even if it turned out okay. (4–5 pages)
  5. Discuss the ethical implications of the case and apply an ethical framework. Class
    notes for week 8 include some tips on ethical frameworks. (1 page)
  6. Describe what you will measure or observe to see whether the change is doing what it was intended to do. (1 page)

Please use APA style (with in-text parenthetical citations) for all assignments.
A balance of peer-reviewed journal articles, websites from reputable organizations (e.g.,
government websites or think thanks), scholarly books, and popular news accounts is
recommended, with primary emphasis on journal articles and scholarly books. Use internet
sources and current news articles published in national or local newspapers (e.g. New York
Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, etc.) only to supplement
important points in your paper.
Think of your paper as a narrative with a consistent theme that will appeal to your specific
audience, almost as if you are telling a story.
Some other helpful writing hints:

  • Use relatively short sentences and paragraphs and use active voice verbs.
  • Ensure that paragraphs are of the proper length: A good rule of thumb is to aim for three
    sentence paragraphs. There should be at least one paragraph break per page to break up
    longer blocks of text.
  • Craft a logical outline (that touches on the points above), and use headers and subheaders to create structure (just like this syllabus)
  • Make sure each paragraph has specific purpose, and make sure you put your thoughts in
  • Be sure to highlight your voice in the paper rather than relying heavily on quotes or
    summarized or paraphrased material. This might include a few sentences that begin with
    “In other words…” – or an equivalent phrase that allows you to rephrase complex or
    critical thoughts or reflect on content.

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