Midterm Paper Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is for you to explore a specific element of management, and to research the impact that the concept has on organizational outcomes.   Perhaps this is the first true midterm you have ever written, in which case I will give you a guideline for essay writing that you can use throughout the rest of your management education.  The essay must meet the following requirements:


Word limit

The paper must meet at least 3,000 words.  The word count does not include the title page, abstract, or references page.  There is no word maximum.


APA format

The entire paper should be written in APA formatting.  If you have never used APA format, this is your time to learn.   A template is provided so that you can see what it looks like.   Review this website for more clarifications on APA format.



Peer Reviewed Articles

The paper must contain at least five peer reviewed articles.  A peer reviewed article is one that is published by a journal that sends papers out to scholars to give feedback to authors prior to publishing.  It is a process that helps ensure research is done well, and right.  When you look for articles in the library database, there is a box you can check that will populate “peer review only”.  Peer reviewed articles come from journals that have a volume and issue number.


Academic language

There is a difference in the way we speak and in the way we write academic papers.  You should use professional language and avoid colloquial speech.  If you are new to academic writing, I would encourage you read articles, or textbooks and see how they use language, or how the authors make transitions between paragraphs and ideas.  For example, when you are citing an article, you should use the last name and year.   “Lloyd (2020) found that . . . .”  You should avoid use of language like “The article talked about. . . .” etc.  Finally, this is an academic paper, and should focus ONLY on what the research has to say.  There should be no personal stories or personal opinions.  Avoid completely the use of the pronouns I or me.


Adequate Description of the Organizational Outcomes

Now comes the heart of the assignment.   Your task is to research a specific element or tool of management by seeing what the research shows as the organizational outcomes.   You will choose a concept from the list below and then see what the academic research has found.  The outcomes might be positive or negative.   When you research the concepts you should be asking the question, what happens when this concept or tool is done well in organizations?  What happens when this concept is done poorly?  Your findings can be a mix of both positive and negative if you find research to support it.   For example, one of the concepts is conflict management.   As you research this concept, you should find research that sees what happens when an organization manages conflict well.  What happens when they do it poorly?  You might find outcomes such as the impact on turnover, loyalty, customer service quality, profitability, employee retention, etc.   The list provided is a blend of management characteristics, tools, or general concepts within management.  Whichever you choose, your task is to figure out what the impact is on the organization.  The outcomes will vary and probably come from different contexts, and you might find one article that discusses the outcomes in one industry, and outcomes from a different industry for the other two.  This is fine.





Here is a step by step guide.  I am using “emotional intelligence” as my concept.  This concept is not on the list, and therefore not available for you to use.  I chose it to illustrate how to write the mid-term.


Where to Begin:

Choose a concept from the list.

Management Tools, Skills, or Concepts
micromanagement empathy internationalization
laissez faire management style vision expatriotism
empowerment courage cultural sensitivity
whistelblowing intelligence ethnocentrism
integrity experience equity theory
sustainability practice delegation use of incentives
benchmarking reliability internal recruiting
contingency planning confidence job interviews
physical attractiveness arrogance story-telling
humor in the workplace humility generational differences
criminal background respect punishment
diversity delphi technique negative reinforcement
creativity brainstorming offshoring
flexible work schedules performance evaluations downsizing
change management compassion layoffs
clan control employee benefits orientation programs
bureaucratic control corporate social responsibility exit interviews
market control socially responsible investing power distance
porter’s five forces analysis government subsidies tolerance for ambiguity
coaching criticism total quality management
mindfulness praise pygmalion effect
charismatic leadership sexual harrassment hawthorne effect
transformational leadership entrepreneurial thinking occam’s razor
servant leadership compliance logic and reason
conflict management grit data science
activity based accounting factory conditions machine learning
employee safety self actualization talent management
stress management symbols tax avoidance
reciprocity spirituality in the workplace activity based costing
technical skills training triple bottom line
trust honesty decisiveness
focus optimism crisis management
bilingualism self-management energy
ambition initiative adaptability
neuroticism agreeableness problem solving skills
total quality management need for achievement workplace violence
Write the introduction:
  • RelevanceThe introduction should be around two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, tell me why the topic is important or relevant.   Give general background.
  • TransitionYou have described the subject at a high level and given me the overarching theme. You need a transition sentence to lead your reader to the thesis statement.    For example, if you are writing about emotional intelligence’s impact on managerial outcomes you would start your essay by describing emotional intelligence – what we know about it, why its important, all at a high level.   Then to start your second paragraph you need to transition.   “Emotional intelligence is relevant to a wide scope of fields, and research shows that it can have a profound impact on managerial practice.”
  • Thesis – Then you can begin your thesis. I recommend the following formula for the thesis:

The purpose of this paper is to describe how X leads to outcome 1, outcome 2, and outcome 3. 

For example, a thesis might look like this:

The purpose of this paper is to describe how emotional intelligence in management can lead to lower levels of turnover, increased teamwork, and higher levels of job satisfaction in direct reports.


Support your argument:

To support the argument that emotional intelligence leads to these positive outcomes, you need to find research to support it.   Go to the library database and type in various keywords to find peer-reviewed articles that support each of the three outcomes.  I typed “emotional intelligence + organizational outcomes.”  If this yields no results, try to guess as to what the outcomes might be, and type that in as a keyword.  To build your thesis, you need to have already done this step to ensure that there is adequate support for the argument.   Let’s go back to the case we are building.   I found the following articles to support each pillar:

Lower turnover:

Glodstein, D. (2014). Recruitment and retention: Could emotional intelligence be the answer. Journal of New Business Ideas and Trends, 12(2), 14-21.

Increased teamwork:

Farh, C., Seo, M., Tesluk, P., & Kozlowski, Steve W. J. (2012). Emotional Intelligence, Teamwork Effectiveness, and Job Performance: The Moderating Role of Job Context. Journal of Applied Psychology,97(4), 890-900.

Job Satisfaction:

Shi, M., Yan, X., You, X., & Li, J. (2015). Core Self-evaluations, Emotional Intelligence and Job Satisfaction in Chinese Soldiers. Social Indicators Research, 124(1), 221-229.


These articles are peer-reviewed and support the ideas in each outcome.   To make an easy roadmap, make your headings the same as each pillar from your thesis.


Write your conclusion:

Make a recommendation, give advice, recount main points, and express what research can be taken next in the field.  Make it interesting and give me closure.  One of the most common errors students make in the conclusion is to use second person “you” to make general statements. While second person should always be avoided in academic writing, the most important reason not to use it in the conclusion is that it almost always changes the entire focus of the paper.


Good tips to follow for academic writing

  • Do not use statements like “The article talks about”
  • Do not use statements like “The book talked about”
  • Do not use statements like “I will use peer-reviewed articles to cover…”
  • Make your argument, cite your sources in APA format instead of using the previous statements (or those similar to them). Use academic language like
    •  Lloyd (2018) found that . . . .
    • A study conducted by Lloyd (2018) found that . . . .
    • Shermerhorn (2016) offers that management. . . .
    • “Emotional intelligence leads to higher levels of autonomy and improved communication” (Lloyd, 2018, p. 4)






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The Four Functions of Management Copyright © 2020 by Dr. Robert Lloyd and Dr. Wayne Aho is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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