Applying P-O-L-C case study

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Assignment 3:  Applying the P-O-L-C (Week 8)


The third assignment, a consultancy report, provides students with the ability to demonstrate that they have mastered the course content and can apply theories, concepts and ideas learned throughout the course to a situation that emulates a real world situation.  Students will read the case study that focuses on the four functions of management:  planning, organizing, leading and controlling (P-O-L-C) and respond to the required elements of the assignment.

Writing reports in business is commonplace so writing a consultancy report provides students the opportunity to demonstrate a skill that employers are looking for from an employee.

Outcome Met by Completing This Assignment:

  •          integrate management theories and principles into management practices
  •          employ effective planning processes to develop strategies, goals, and objectives in order to enhance performance and sustainability
  •          organize human, physical, and financial resources for the effective and efficient attainment of organizational goals
  •          demonstrate leadership skills by communicating a shared vision, motivating and empowering others, and creating a culture of ethical decision-making and innovation
  •          develop measures and assess outcomes against plans and standards to improve organizational effectiveness
  •          identify the essential characteristics of decision making and indicate the range and types of decisions a manager makes


You have been hired as a consultant to help Carl Thomas and his family to solve the problems with his business both day-to-day and over the long term (strategically).  You will create a consultancy report that covers the four functions of management.  In creating the consultancy report, you must also demonstrate how the four functions of management are interrelated showing how issues in one function impact other functions.

In speaking with Carl, John, and Joe, you already know the following about the business owners:

  1. failed to develop or share a mission statement;
  2. failed to determine the best way to organize resources, including personnel;
  3. underestimates the importance of recruitment, job design and descriptions, and training;
  4. assumed that motivation will occur naturally;
  5. fails to define standards and other measurable outcomes;
  6. ignored negative information;
  7. delayed actions to improve organizational outcomes.

Be succinct in your writing but persuasive so that the recommendations will have positive outcomes for the business.

Students are not using buzz-word and are not defining terms using a dictionary.  Students are expected to present the material in a professional manner describing and explaining to the owners.  As a consultant, you should be secure in your presentation to Carl, John, and Joe.  Avoid telling the owners that they should do this or must do that but write in an action-oriented manner.  Students are expected to make connections between the facts of the case study and concepts, theories, and ideas presented in the course material.

Step 1:  Review “How to Analyze a Case Study” under Week 3 Content.

Step 2:  Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document.  This consultancy plan should be presented in a professional manner using single space, double-spaced between paragraphs.  The final product will be between 5-7 pages in length excluding the title page, diagrams and reference page.

Step 3:  Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and the instructor’s name.

Step 4:  Since students are probably not familiar with writing a consultancy report, the following resources have been provided to assist in writing the report.

Outline for Consultancy Report

Step 5:  In writing a case study, the writing is in the third person.  What this means is that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing).  If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:

Step 6:  In writing this assignment, students are expected to support the reasoning using in-text citations and a reference list.  If any material is used from a source, it must be cited and referenced.  A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.  View the sample APA paper under Week 1 content.

Step 7:  In writing this assignment, students are expected to paraphrase and not use direct quotes.  Learn to paraphrase by reviewing this link:

Step 8:  In writing this assignment, students may use external resources but the majority of resources will come from the course readings with a wide array of readings used.  

Step 9:  Review the grading rubric for the assignment.

Step 10:  Read critically and analyze the case study provided under Week 5 content.   Notate the key points in the case study.

Step 11:  Create an executive summary.   Although a report must be complete when presenting to a client, the expectation is that there is an executive summary so that the client can read quickly the main features of the report.  The executive summary should be written in a way that makes the client want to read more so it must have enough information to see the potential behind the recommendations without having to read the entire report.

So you aren’t sure how to write the executive summary.  Check out this resource to help you write the summary:

How to Write an Executive Summary:

Step 12:  Respond to the required elements of the assignment.  Be clear and concise in the writing and make sure the questions are comprehensively answered.

  • In creating the consultancy report, students will first assess the business and identify specific areas of strengths and weaknesses of the business as it relates to the components of the P-O-L-C. In completing this section, do not create a heading for each element of the P-O-L-C but write from the perspective of the consultant discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the business;
  • Select a management model (class hierarchy, democratic hierarchy, collaborative management or collective management) and explain why the selected model is most appropriate for Outdoor Adventure Paintball Park;
  • Develop roles and responsibility of the owners and employees (Be creative in completing this task);  Discuss why these positions are necessary to the business;
  • Discuss communication and the flow of decision making in relation to the management model;
  • Make specific recommendations for improving the management of Outdoor Adventure Paintball Park. Cover all aspects of the P-O-L-C.  This area of the paper specifically addresses the areas of strengths and weaknesses identified above and puts in place a plan for the short and long –term success of the business;
  • Create a balanced scorecard that will help Outdoor Adventure Paintball Park align its business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improves communication and monitors performance against goals;
  • Students are expected to show what they have learned in the course by applying theories and concepts. Be sure to support your reasoning.

Step 13:  Using the grading rubric as a comparison, read through the paper to ensure all required elements are presented.

Step 14: Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.

  • Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a first measure;
  • Have someone who has excellent English skills to proof the paper;
  • Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC).  The EWC will provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement. 

Step 15:  Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder.

Final Project case study – Applying the P-O-L-C

Carl Thomas worked for one of the big outdoor sporting goods stores for more than seven years.  Although he never completed his degree, Carl took some management courses at the local community college.  The knowledge he gained from his coursework along with his own tenacity enabled him to rise into entry-level management. Although Carl enjoyed his job, he couldn’t help wondering if there was more to life.  Carl always wanted to open his own business because he wanted to be his own boss and thought he might be able to earn a decent living.

Recently, retired from a career with the school system as a PE teacher and sports coach, Carl’s Uncle John was looking to fulfill his dream of having an outdoor adventure business.  He had inherited some property years back but had not done anything with the land to this point. When Uncle John learned that Carl was thinking along the same lines, he determined it was time to start a business.  The two decided to go into business together and brought in Carl’s younger brother, Joe, who was working part-time as an athletic trainer. The trio combined their savings and started hashing out a plan to use the five acres of land that Uncle John had inherited.

The concept was simple…to open a business where teenagers, young adults, and work teams from local businesses could enjoy hours of outdoor fun and entertainment.  There was limited sports and entertainment for the target audience so the family decided to open a themed outdoor paint ball park, which they called Outdoor Adventure Paintball Park.  Outdoor Adventure offers customers a choice of five battlefields, each offering a different level of play.

Each field provides a unique experience for hours of enjoyment.  There is the civil war field with a simulated headquarters and trenches; an old castle, which is made of multiple levels and a tower; the woods, which offers a true woodsy battle with placement of several man-made buildings for additional cover; the village, which is a large field with a wooded section running down one side, a two story building and bunkers in the middle, with a creek running down the other side; and the hill, which contains a wooded section and a number of bunkers on a steep incline. A small store is strategically placed in a location central to the fields to eliminate the need for guests to leave the playing area.

The costs to customers vary, with rental packages starting at $25 per person. Customers may also purchase a la carte based on their individual needs. Additionally, season passes are available for a cost of $150 and birthday party packages are available for $300.  The minimum age to participate in a paint ball event is 10 years.

In addition to the five battle fields, there are six air ball fields that are formatted for 3, 5 and 7-man tournament play.  Air ball fields offer a variety of layouts that are constantly changed to keep up with the latest craze in tournament play.  Many of the fields have dedicated fill stations to eliminate the need for players to leave the field to reload.

The facility also includes a shooting gallery designed to allow individuals to sharpen their shooting skills.  The gallery contains high velocity paint guns and a variety of still and moving targets.  Players may practice aiming, have shootouts or just blast away at targets for sheer enjoyment.

Carl manages the business and spends most of his time in his office with the door closed, Joe trains new employees and supervises paint ball events, and Uncle John has oversight of the shooting gallery. The business started with three employees but has grown quickly to a staff of 20.

The venture seemed like a good idea.  The family’s passion for sports and working with youth appeared to be paying off.  There are loyal repeat customers who purchase expensive equipment and supplies from Joe. These customers also enjoy attending extra training and information sessions. The tournaments have become popular and the local news has been covering the events.  Moreover, the business has a reputation for being a safe family friendly environment.

However, recently, Outdoor Adventure has been experiencing growing pains.  Scheduling is becoming more challenging as the activities on the field increase.  Staff is pulled from one area of the park to provide coverage in another.  Employees are starting to complain that they do not understand their job duties outside of the paint ball fields and feel they need additional training and procedures.  Additionally, a major event was missed due to double-booking.  A number of customers have expressed their displeasure with the service and, as a result, spending less time on the field.  Local businesses are not responding to special discounts for employee events.  There has been an increase in workplace mistakes but fortunately these have not resulted in serious accidents.  Customers and employees are starting to question the leadership and often ask, “How long can a business like this one last?” or “Who’s running the show?”

Carl has noticed a dip in sales and is now starting to feel they are losing control of the business.  While the two closest competitors are 30 – 45 miles away and do not offer nearly the same amenities, Carl understands that if they do not do something quickly, their customer base may decide travel to the competition.  Moreover, his passion for owning a sports-oriented business is waning.  He is concerned about the continued success of the business but the work no longer seems fun or interesting.

Uncle John, on the other hand, is not interested in discussing the books and does not see any need to worry.  He is not concerned about what he calls “a few random incidents” and sees the dip in sales as an indication that it would be a good idea to expand the offering.  In fact, he has been presented with the possibility of forming a paint ball competing team.  He feels this opportunity is too big to pass up and wants to convince the others that it’s a good time to pursue.

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