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A discussion on the nature and impact (actual and potential) of the complex problem on the overall performance of organisations

Programme: CertHE Skills for the Workplace

Module: Problem Solving and Decision Making

Module code: BMSW4004

Contribution to Overall Module Assessment (%): 100%

Assignment Title: Problem Solving and Decision Making

Word count (or equivalent): 2000 words + role play

Submission method: All written assessments, where practical and possible, must be submitted via Turnitin unless otherwise instructed by the Lecturer. (Please DO NOT put this assessment specification into Turnitin or it will match many similarities with other students’ submissions.) Alternative submission method (if applicable): Late submission of the assessment will result in a late penalty mark. Penalties for late submission: Up to one week late, maximum mark of 40%. Over one week late, 0%. Only the Extenuating Circumstances Panel may approve a change to submission dates.

Academic honesty / referencing: Academic honesty is required. In the main body of your submission, you must give credit to authors on whose research and ideas your work is based. Append to your submission a reference list that indicates the books, articles, etc. that you have used, cited or quoted in order to complete this assessment.

Module Learning Outcomes (from module syllabus)


1. To be able to solve problems and make decisions in the workplace

2. To be able to manage and implement change in the workplace.


Upon the successful completion of this module, the student will be able to:

1. Describe a problem, its nature, scope and impact.

2. Gather and interpret information to solve a problem.

3. Evaluate options to make a decision.

4. Plan, monitor and review the implementation and communication of decisions


Assessment – Component 1 (100%)

Mode of assessment: Practical exercise (e.g. based on a case study) supported by an individual written report or equivalent

Volume: 5 to 10 minutes per person supported by 2000 words individual paper or equivalent

Weighting: 100%


Role play supported by 2000 words individual report

Task 1 – Role-play (40% of the overall mark)

Read the case study that follows the task description to gain an understanding of the complex problem of ‘Job dissatisfaction’ faced by UK employees. Then prepare to participate in a 10-15 minute role play (face-to-face in the classroom) where you will play the role of a management consultant tasked to solve a complex problem. You will be paired with another student acting as an unsatisfied employee (who will not be assessed at that time).

During the role-play, expect the dialogue to cover:

  • A discussion on the nature and impact (actual and potential) of the complex problem on the overall performance of organisations.
  • A research-informed cause-and-effect analysis of the complex problem.
  • A PESTLE analysis of the macro-environmental factors contributing to the complexproblem. `
  • An evaluation of alternative solutions to the complex problem with an aim of choosing the most appropriate solution among these alternatives.
  • A demonstration of how organisations may plan implementation of chosen solution and evaluate outcome.
Note: If you are unable to find a partner for your role play, your lecturer can act as your role play partner.

CASE STUDY for Task 1 - Role Play

More Than One Third Of UK Employees Are Unhappy In Their Jobs

The UK’s largest study of work happiness found 36 per cent of people are unhappy in their jobs. Real estate is the industry which sored the lowest– followed by management, consulting and automotive. At the other end of the scale, education was deemed the happiest sector – with workers scoring high on having a clear sense of purpose. This was followed closely workers in aerospace and defence, and government and public administration which also scored high on work contentment.

The insights come from Indeed’s Work Happiness Score - which measures how people feel at work and why – and displays data for more than 1,800 organisations in the UK across 25 different sectors. It measures happiness by allowing current and former employees to rate companies on a scale of one to five based on a simple statement: ‘I feel happy at work most of the time.’ The survey also asks about belonging, appreciation, inclusion, support, purpose, energy, learning, achievement, trust, flexibility, compensation, stress level, satisfaction and manager support.

Indeed’s Work Happiness Score was developed with guidance from Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Professor of Economics at Saïd Business School and Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at University of California. In response to the findings, almost 100 British workers demonstrated in London’s Trafalgar Square on Tuesday 25 January. The crowd, comprising of workers from 11 different sectors including healthcare, construction and real estate, held balloons to communicate the nation’s feelings towards their jobs using the universal language of emojis.

Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve said: “Happiness at work is critical to people’s wellbeing for obvious reasons but it is also a driver of their productivity and success. So, employers are well advised to get the emotional pulse of their organisation and have a frequent measure of workplace happiness. That’s why I’m thrilled to have been involved in developing Indeed’s Work Happiness Score to offer employers and employees robust measures of work happiness, and its drivers, that can be readily compared across thousands of organisations. This is only the beginning and I’m so excited to witness the positive impact this score has on fostering happy and thriving workforces across the UK and globally.”

Supporting research of 2,000 employees, conducted via OnePoll, found the average worker spends a fifth of every year feeling unhappy in their role. Worryingly, one in 10 even start feeling unhappy less than six months into a new job. But it seems unhappiness in the workplace isn’t restricted to the working day - it has a knock-on effect on personal lives too. More than one quarter admit they struggle to find enjoyment in other aspects of their lives due to feeling unhappy at work, while 22 per cent have taken work frustrations out on their partners.

Almost three-quarters feel their workplace unhappiness has negatively impacted their physical and/or mental wellbeing, with 44 per cent losing sleep and 43 per cent lacking energy. One third of unhappy workers have consequently experienced physical symptoms, with headaches and migraines the most common

LaFawn Davis, Senior Vice President, Environmental, Social and Governance at Indeed said: “Happiness should not be a privilege but when it comes to work, it’s a fundamental right. Job postings in the UK have soared above their pre-pandemic level. As the labour market shakes off the ill-effects of the pandemic, the adjustments caused by Covid-19 have tipped the balance of power in favour of jobseekers. For employers, this means taking a holistic approach to employee wellbeing, and our Work Happiness Score will make it easier for them to measure drivers of happiness to see where improvements can be made. While many UK workers are unhappy, there are reasons for optimism. An overwhelming majority of people believe happiness at work is possible and while some sectors are more satisfied than others, we know happiness is possible in all workplaces.”

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/uk-adults-job-satisfaction-poll-b2000198.html (Accessed 21/06/2022)

Task 2 - Individual Report - 2000 words (60% of the overall mark)

Write a report of 2,000 words, in which you apply recognised problem-solving tools and techniques to identify and propose solutions to a work-based problem, to include an evaluation of possible solutions. Discuss and agree with your lecturer a suitable problem to be solved which may be drawn from your current or past work experiences or an agreed situation.

Consider the following aspects:

  • define a complex problem in the workplace including its scope andimpact;
  • analyse information on the identified problem, to help inform the decision-makingprocess;
  • propose a range of alternative solutions to theproblem;
  • use a decision-making technique to evaluate a range of solutions to identify the most appropriate option;
  • develop a plan for implementing the solution;
  • communicate the plan to stakeholders;
  • assess appropriate monitoring and review techniques to ensuresuccessful implementation of the solution.
Please note: at the end of the module, the marks from both tasks will be merged into one overall mark.


1. Your report must include a title page that clearly states your name, your student number, the module code and title, your lecturer’s name, and your assignment title.

2. Your report should be typed in Arial font, size 11.

3. Your report should be typed with 1.5 line spacing.

4. Your report should have an appropriate structure, include page numbers and have a reference list. You should also have in-text citations in all relevant places.


NOTE: The guidance offered below is linked to the five generic assessment criteria overleaf.

1. Engagement with Literature Skills

Your work must be informed and supported by scholarly material that is relevant to and focused on the task(s) set. You should provide evidence that you have accessed an appropriate range of sources, which may be academic, governmental and industrial; these sources may include academic journal articles, textbooks, current news articles, organisational documents, and websites. You should consider the credibility of your sources; academic journals are normally highly credible sources while websites require careful consideration/selection and should be used sparingly. Any sources you use should be current and up-todate, mostly published within the last five years or so, though seminal/important works in the field may be older. You must provide evidence of your research/own reading throughout your work, using a suitable referencing system, including in-text citations in the main body of your work and a reference list at the end of your work.

Guidance specific to this assessment

Your research can be based on different online resources available in the Online Resources List on Moodle and UWTSD Online Library. You can also use some of the relevant online resources with academic authenticity such as ft.com, bbc.com, business magazines and national newspapers, etc. If in doubt about the suitability/relevance of the source, please consult your lecturer and/or the Academic Support tutor. We are expecting you to use between 10-12 credible sources with at least 2 sources from books.

2. Knowledge and Understanding Skills

At level 4, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the underlying concepts and principles associated with your area(s) of study. Knowledge relates to the facts, information and skills you have acquired through your learning. You demonstrate your understanding by interpreting the meaning of the facts and information (knowledge). This means that you need to select and include in your work the concepts, techniques, models, theories, etc. appropriate to the task(s) set. You should be able to explain the theories, concepts, etc. to show your understanding. Your mark/grade will also depend upon the extent to which you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.

Guidance specific to this assessment:

You need to show that you understand how to solve complex problem/s at the workplace by applying recognised problem-solving tools and techniques. You also need to explain the usefulness of the topics discussed, with detailed examples.

3. Cognitive and Intellectual Skills

You should be able to present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, in order to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of your subject(s) of study. You should be able to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems related to your area(s) of study and/or work. Your work must contain evidence of logical, analytical thinking. For example, to examine and break information down into parts, make inferences, compile, compare and contrast information. This means not just describing what! But also justifying: Why? How? When? Who? Where? At what cost? You should provide justification for your arguments and judgements using evidence that you have reflected upon the ideas of others within the subject area and that you are able to make sound judgements and arguments using data and concepts. Where relevant, alternative solutions and recommendations may be proposed.

Guidance specific to this assessment:

You need to demonstrate the ability to reflect on your learning experience (both in and outside of the classroom) by making logical connections between the material presented by the lecturer, your feelings about it, your thoughts during the class activities and your predictions as to how useful they will be for you in future. You also need to be able to apply relevant tools and techniques discussed in class or discovered through reading.

4. Practical Skills

At level 4, you should be able to apply the basic underlying concepts and principles to evaluate and interpret these within the context of your area of study. You should be able to demonstrate how the subject-related concepts and ideas relate to real world situations and/or a particular context. How do they work in practice? You will deploy models, methods, techniques, and/or theories, in that context, to assess current situations, perhaps to formulate plans or solutions to solve problems, or to create artefacts. This is likely to involve, for instance, the use of real world artefacts, examples and cases, the application of a model within an organisation and/or benchmarking one theory or organisation against others based on stated criteria.

Guidance specific to this assessment:

This is where the role-play exercise will be assessed

You need to show that you understand relevant tools and techniques of problem-solving and decision making in context with the provided case study. You also need to be able to evaluate your own skills in light of industry expectations. Make use of the different tools and techniques discussed in class or discovered through reading. Explain why you think you possess the problem-solving and decision-making skills you discuss and draw appropriate conclusions, suggesting how you plan to improve them.

Moreover, you should be able to make a discussion on the nature and impact (actual and potential) of the complex problem on the overall performance of organisations. Your role play should demonstrate the indepth research on and around the given case study.

5. Transferable Skills for Life and Professional Practice

Your work must provide evidence of the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility. This includes demonstrating: that you can communicate the results of your study/work accurately and reliably, and with structured and coherent arguments; that you can initiate and complete tasks and procedures, whether individually and/or collaboratively; fluency of expression; clarity and effectiveness in presentation and organisation. Work should be coherent and well-structured in presentation and organisation.

Guidance specific to this assessment:

You need to be able to apply the recognised problem-solving tools and techniques discussed in class or discovered through reading. Your report should be appropriately structured; it should have a cover page, a table of contents and logical sections. It should be written using formal language, in clear paragraphs, in a way that conveys the meaning intended. You should ensure the grammar, spelling, punctuation and use of vocabulary are correct and reflect the way you normally write in English. The use of translation and/or paraphrasing software is discouraged but you are welcome to use a dictionary/thesaurus.

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