Problem solving

The following MUST be included at the start of your report,

Cover Page (including:name, student number, hand in date, word count, title of the module, title of the report, tutor name and the time/date of your seminar group)

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Contents Page – including the headings and sub headings from your text, with page numbers, also a list of figures/tables, with figure/table number, title and page number, and a list of appendices with number, title and page number.

You MAY include an executive summary, if you do this, then it should be after the cover page and before the contents page. This is an overview of all that is in the report, including your key decisions and recommendations. Write it last but put it in at the beginning of the report.

The following MUST be included at the end of your report,

Immediately after the end of your report, include your bibliography. This should include references from books, journals and from current affairs. As a guide, aim for approximately 25-30 references in your list.

You should also have a number of Appendices (you are likely to have at least 10 – 12). These will relate to each of the models that you have used in your analysis of the problem/issue. Appendices should always be referred to in the main text of your report.

None of the above count in your word count.

All of what follows counts in your word count (5000 words +/- 10%):

In structuring the report, consider the following

Please note that what follows is a suggestion, you may choose to structure your report differently. If you do, please make sure that your work is logical and that you include all the required content and meet the assessment criteria:

Introduction – in this section you need to be brief (but write in full, concise sentences)

Introduce the company, briefly and State the objectives of the report.

Main body of the report:

Introduction and context analysis of the issues:

  • Use the given template (seminar 1) to analyse the internal and external context of the key issues/problems for the business that require management level decisions to be made. You are expected to use all the technique STEEPLE, Balanced Score Card, Schein culture, Stakeholder analysis, SWOT.(will be counted in word count)
  • Use the SWOT to make a summary of the discussion(will be counted in word count)
  • Based on the evaluation and analysis of the internal and external context Identify the issues/problems for the business and justify why you think they are issues/problems.





select and prioritise one issue:

  • Introduce and define your chosenTameproblem/issue you will cover in this part, justify your choice and state why this is a problem/issue for the business and why it is TAME;
  • Analyse the approaches that can be taken in problem solving, for example: rational or bounded rationality approach; BRIDGE; 6 step decision making etc.
  • Select and justify which approach you will use in your report. Remember to consider the steps in the process and also the underlying assumptions.

Use the step by step approach you have selected above as the framework for the rest of your report. Consider using the steps as headings/sub-headings for the report.

The key stages you will work through are as follows, (the models/techniques you might consider arelisted at each stage, you do not need to apply all of these, but you MUST use a good range of tools and techniques and show that you understand and can apply them):

  • Understanding the problem:mindmapping/brainstorming/6 hats/specifically the white hat/ imaginary mentor/politics/ethics; are there any cost vs ethics challenges etc
  • Identifying the Root Cause of the problem:Fishbone and 5 why/mindmap/imaginary mentor/
  • Generating solution options: brainstorm/mindmap/imaginary mentor/Green Hat
  • Selecting your solution – this final stage follows the John Adair Lobster Pot framework
    • Reduce your options from many to feasible: decision grid/pairedcomparison;
    • Reduce from feasible to a shortlist of possible:decision grid;
    • Analyse your shortlisted options:pros and cons/ cost benefit analysis (yellow hat)/risk analysis (black hat)/legal ethical financially viable etc;
    • Select your final option(s). Future focus. Check with intuition (red hat)



Justify your final solution option, and show that it meets the solution criteria, ie:

  • It is legal, ethical, practical, financially viable etc;
  • Does it add value to People Profit Planet;
  • Does it resolve any cost vs ethics challenges identified at the start
  • Will it work in the context of external issues/stakeholder interest/organisational culture/Balanced Score Card etc and
  • Check that it will solve the problem without creating more.

Recommendations – Is there anything that needs to be taken into account when you implement the solution in order to ensure that risks are mitigated, budgets are met, stakeholders are satisfied etc.

We need to be persuaded by the end that your solution option is the right one for the business, and we need to understand why it is the right option.


Please write in 3rd person throughout.

Please use 1.5 line spacing and font size 11 or 12.

You may use single line spacing and font size 9, 10, 11 or 12 in tables and figures.

Please also remember that you MUST use Harvard Referencing throughout, in your text and in your appendices and bibliography. Reference all sources of information and models/figures/theory/ current affairs/news articles etc.


Any questions – please ask

Kind regards

Tanbeen Mahtab and the teaching team

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