Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft

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Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft

1.0 Overview

1.1 Introduction
This report looks at employee appraisal system, one of the most controversial issues in human
resource management. While it is necessary for organisation to get the best value from their
employees, arriving at the best appraisal system that is acceptable to both employees and the
employer is a challenge. The report looks at the challenges of the stacking system, a performance
appraisal system that was used by Microsoft. The report takes a retrospective view of the
effectiveness and failures of the stacking system, and gives recommendations on how the system
can be improved for Microsoft or any other organisation that would like to adopt the system.
This report is important because it shows that pitfalls of the stacking appraisal system and
provides important lessons for any organisation that could be thinking of adopting a similar
system.

Category:

Description

 Assessment 2: Report
Weight: 40%
Aim:
 The purpose of this assessment is to help students gain a deep and
critical understanding of HRM theory, processes and their practical
implications. Furthermore this assessment will extend skills in
independent research, critical thinking and academic/professional
writing; all skills which are important aspects of undertaking varying
roles as human resource management practitioners. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
Format:
 This individual assessment piece comprises a 2000 word (+/- 10%)
analytical report which will involve an in-depth analysis of one of
several human resource management functions (outlined below). The
analytical report will encourage students to assume the responsibility of
an HR specialist. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 Students will develop a thorough understanding of an important
contemporary issue by undertaking independent research of at least
eight items of scholarly literature published within the last 10 years
which relate to their chosen topic.
 This research will involve choosing an HRM function to focus on (from
the list below) and then finding a case study or news article which
relates to an organisation which is experiencing issues, challenges or
barriers relating to that function. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 Informed by the research, students will then produce a series of clear
recommendations that need to be implemented by HR to address the
issue, challenge or barrier
 Scholarly material is required to be cited in-text and a reference list
should also be provided. Referencing should be used in accordance to
either the APA or Harvard referencing system. The reference list is not
included in the word count. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 Full information about the written assignment task and marking criteria
are made available below.
 To assist students further a number of guidelines on academic writing
are made available below. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 NOTE: To be eligible to pass this course, students are required to
reasonably complete and submit all assessment items.
Submission:
 This assessment will be submitted via the Learning@GU course site.
Instructions on submission information will be provided during
workshops and on the course site.
Criteria & Marking:
 Full details will be discussed during lectures and workshops. A marking
rubric is also provided. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.

 This assessment items will be marked within three weeks of the end
submission date in accordance with University policy.
Tasks:
These are the essential elements of the process that you will follow to produce this
assessment. Given the content and weighting of this assessment, you may find it very
useful to develop a time frame for completion. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
1. Decide which HR function you would like to focus on
 In order to personalise this assessment to your area of interest and
development you are given the opportunity to choose from any one of
the following HR functions:
 Recruitment
 Selection
 Training
 Development
 Managing performance
 Please note that each of the above functions are very broad and it is
certainly possible to adopt a narrower focus on any of these functions.
2. Find an appropriate news article or case study
 Once you have chosen an HR function you should find a news article or case study
that you wish to focus on. This article should relate to the HR function you have
chosen. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 The case study or news article should provide you with sufficient detail
for you to be able to identify a range of issues, problems, challenges
being experienced by an organisation.It is unlikely that short news
articles will provide sufficient information for this task. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 While case studies/news articles written about small organisations can
be suitable for this project, it is often preferable (but not compulsory) to
select a case study or news article which has been written on
a medium to large organisation (around 50 employees or more) where
the selected HRM function will likely already be operating. The
organisation does not necessarily need to have an HR department or
staff as in the case of small orgnisations who may utilise supervisors or
managers to perform these HR functions (e.g. training; development;
recruitment; selection; performance management). Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 The organisation could be in the public (government) or private sector,
for profit or non-profit. You may choose to find a news article or case study
which is based on an organisation aligned to your future professional interests.
 If you are unsure, please confirm with your tutor the suitability of the
organisation or case study/news article you have in mind.
3. Research scholarly material and industry material
4. Draft analysis of scholarly material and industry material
5. Draft recommendations section based on your analysis
6. Draft overview section
7. Draft summary section
8. Compile reference list

9. Draft full report and revise
10. Finalise full report
11. Submit report to DRAFT submission point and review the text matching
information
 Allow time to receive this report. It usually doesn’t take very long for the
report to become available, but it depends on the number of
submissions at any one time. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 Make revisions to the report based on the text matching report. There is
no specific percentage (%) match that is acceptable. The only text that
should or can match includes the references in the reference list. You
must paraphrase your work or it is considered plagiarism. There should
be no blocks of text i.e., no paragraphs, no complete or nearly
complete sentences that show up as text matching.
 Proof read your report, revise and edit.
12. Complete and submit the electronic cover sheet before submitting the FINAL
version of your report
13. Submit report to FINAL submission point by due date/time

NOTE: THIS ASSESSMENT ITEM MUST BE REASONABLY
ATTEMPTED IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE TO PASS THIS COURSE

Assessment 2: Format and Structure of Report
Title page:
 Your name
 Student number
 Tutor's name
 Workshop time and location
 Word count (excluding: table of contents, copy of case study/article,
reference list)
Table of contents:
 Include a list of headings and associated page numbers
 Please note that the table of contents does not contribute towards the required word
count
1.0 Overview (approx 300 words):
1.1 Introduction (approx 150 words):
This is where you will provide an overview of the report. At minimum
this should comprise:
 What is being done (brief overview of focus of report)
 What is the importance/significance of this report?
1.2 Details of the case (approx 150 words):
This is where you will provide an overview of the case including:

 Brief descriptive overview of the organisation and its core activity (e.g.
what is it known for? what is the product/service? how long has it been
operating?)
 Brief overview of the HR activities in the organisation, including the HR philosophy
and principles behind these activities where possible (i.e. do they adopt a soft/hard
HRM approach)
 Describe the issues/challenges/barriers being experienced
1.3 Copy of the case study or news article (not included in word count)
2.0 Analysis of scholarly and industry material (approx 1200 words):
 Based on the HR function you have selected and the context of the case study,
conduct some research of the relevant scholarly ideas, theories, concepts as well as
some research of relevant industry material. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 Scholarly material: Scholarly material includes but is not limited to peer reviewed
journal articles and books. The articles provided at the end of each relevant chapter
may be a useful starting point but please ensure you are using sources which are
current (i.e. published within the last 10 years). Your final report should include
research of at least eight items of scholarly literature published. Given that this
requirement is quite low, it is highly recommended that you review the scholarly
material more comprehensively and read more than eight articles. It is
recommended that you use the Griffith library catalogue to access
scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles. You may also find Google
Scholar useful. Please review the support resource link below for more information
on what constitutes scholarly material and how to find it.
 Industry material: This material may include analysing industry trends, knowledge or
practice. This might be found via industry/trade associations or organsations, through
industry publications/articles and also on web pages of the organisation or its
competitors. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 You want to make note of suggestions/information that the scholarly and industry
material provides that could assist in addressing the issues/challenges/barriers being
experienced. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
 When you begin to draft the assessment you will need to define and explain the key
concepts raised and then analyse what the organisation has done well in accordance
to the scholarly and industry material and also what they have not done well. An
analytical report is a report that goes beyond simple summary and
description. It requires an in-depth analysis of a focused topic. What is
important is the demonstration of your ability to critically analyse the context being
investigated.  This section requires an analytical approach to the problem/s or
issue/s, indicating that the student has understood the problem/s or issue/s and can
make useful links between theory and industry trends/practice. 
In performing this
part of the assessment adequately, it will be necessary to find a case study or article
which allows you sufficient scope to discuss this. Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft.
3.0 Recommendations (approx 400 words):
 Based on your findings of the organisational context and your analysis
of the literature (scholarly and industry) you will make
recommendations to the organisation which are theoretically relevant
and practically sound

 The recommendations should taken into account the HR philosophy and principles
behind the organisation (do they adopt a soft/hard HRM approach and do your
recommendations align well with this)
 Each recommendation should also be accompanied with a justification
of its importance/significance
 Recommendations are the only part of this assessment that can be in
dot-point format
4.0 Summary (approx 100 words):
 Effectively summarise the key points of the report
 Please note that no new ideas or literature should be added at this
point
References:
 The report should be supported using in-text citations and a reference list
containing a minimum of eight contemporary academic peer-refereed journal
articles (published within 10 years)
 Students should use consistently apply either the APA or Harvard
referencing system
 Please note that the reference list does not contribute towards the
word count

NOTES ON STRUCTURE AND PRESENTATION STYLE AND FORMATTING
 The report should be approximately 2000 words in length (excluding
references) +/- 10%. The following are excluded from the word count:
table of contents, news article/case study, in-text references, reference
list.
 The structure of the report should be clear and logical
 The report should be written in third person
 The report should be free of grammatical and typographical errors
 The document should be setup with 12 point font, 1.5 line spacing, A4 paper size,
with 2.5cm margins
 The file should be named in the following format
‘Surname_FirstName_2002EHR’

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Managing Performance – The Challenges of Stacking System at Microsoft

1.0 Overview

1.1 Introduction
This report looks at employee appraisal system, one of the most controversial issues in human
resource management. While it is necessary for organisation to get the best value from their
employees, arriving at the best appraisal system that is acceptable to both employees and the
employer is a challenge. The report looks at the challenges of the stacking system, a performance
appraisal system that was used by Microsoft. The report takes a retrospective view of the
effectiveness and failures of the stacking system, and gives recommendations on how the system
can be improved for Microsoft or any other organisation that would like to adopt the system.
This report is important because it shows that pitfalls of the stacking appraisal system and
provides important lessons for any organisation that could be thinking of adopting a similar
system….

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