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General Assignment

Guidance
The purpose of the assignments
The assignments are intended to test the students capabilities in the following key areas that are essential for
effective performance as a manager or executive:

1. The design, implementation and review of strategy in an applied context.


2. Integrative thinking and action developing alignment (bundling) between connected functional strategies.
3. Situational analysis identifying the core issues, the opportunities and the threats.
4. Investigative skills generating evidencebased proposals.
5. Information management separating facts from assumptions, beliefs from evidence.
6. Problemsolving and decisionmaking both analytical and creative.
7. Influence and persuasion techniques when defending or promoting recommendations.
8. Presentation methods for readerfriendly, businessfocused reports.

It is important to emphasise that the above capabilities are critical parts of the managers toolkit and have been
included here not just because of their convenience for assessment purposes.

The selection of an assignment topic


It follows that an acceptable assignment topic must fulfil a number of expectations, not least that it should permit or
enable the student to demonstrate the above capabilities. Therefore, it must:
1. Be concerned with a live, authentic problem or opportunity.
2. Be linked directly with a specific organisation, business sector or economic environment.
3. Exhibit a comparative thrust, i.e. a comparison between organisations, between sectors or between nations.
4. Represent a theme for which there already exists available, preferably researchbased, literature.
5. Incorporate opportunities for integration between theory and practice.
6. Have a strategic rather than a solely operational orientation.
7. Reflect the values of integration that underpin the whole assessment process, i.e. have resonance with all the
principal dimensions of the relevant unit syllabus.

An assignment topic will not be acceptable if:


1. It is entirely theoretical or academic in nature and scope.
2. It is historical, i.e. simply recounts past events without drawing lessons for future business practice.
3. It has no grounding in the reality of organisations.
4. It presents no opportunity for learning, i.e. conclusions to be drawn, lessons to be learned, and solutions to be
devised and advocated.
5. It only addresses one aspect of the syllabus for the relevant unit.

Note: Assignments that display any of the above five features are unlikely to receive a pass grade.
Producing the assignments
The format of the assignment (usually a report) will depend on the instructions for the individual unit and students
should consult the individual unit guidance documents available on the Members Area of the ABE website.
Very important: Assignments to be submitted must comply with the following permitted file types and sizes:

Acceptable file types: The file size must not exceed:


MS Word (.doc or .docx)* 20MB
Portable Document Format (.pdf)
WordPerfect (.wpd) Files of larger size can be reduced in size by removal of
PostScript (.eps) non-text content.
HTML (.htm)
Rich Text (.rtf) Text only files must not exceed 2MB.
Plain Text (.txt)

*recommended file type

Files must not be password protected, encrypted, hidden, system files or read-only files.
Assignments must not be submitted as a scanned document.

The assignment should include the following sections:

All assignments should include:


Cover sheet use the template on the Members Area of the ABE website
Contents page each section should be itemised with numbers
Document footer with the learners name, ABE membership number, unit title and page number
Signed declaration by the author that the assignment is an original piece of work
Introduction briefly outlining the assignment theme, reasons for selecting it, and the general background
Main body It should include:
- Facts, findings, discussion and analysis with suitable sections and headings
- Methods of investigation used for research
- References to literature cited in the body of the assignment
- Conclusions, inferences and deductions from the facts and findings, and recommendations (no new facts or
findings should appear at this stage
Bibliography - listing all texts consulted, even if not directly cited
Appendices at the end of the assignment for any supporting material

1. Assignment cover sheet. A template can be found on the Members Area of the ABE website.
2. Contents page each section itemised with page numbers.
3. Declaration by the author that the assignment is an original work (with signature).
4. Introduction brief outline of the assignment theme, reasons for selecting it, and the general background.
5. The main body of the assignment, which should include:
facts, findings, discussion and analysis with suitable sections and headings;
methods of investigation used for research;
references to literature cited in the body of the assignment;
conclusions inferences and deductions from the facts and findings, and the recommendations (no new facts
or findings should appear at this stage).
6. Bibliography texts/sources consulted but not cited.
7. Appendices where required.
8. A selfevaluation section about the learning acquired by the student during the production of the assignment, i.e.
the selection of a suitably manageable topic, the literature search, the other methodologies employed, etc. What
has the student learned from this exercise that can be applied to their future education and career?
Word Count
The word count for this assignment is 3,500 words. A tolerance of +/ 10% is allowed where no penalty is incurred.
Where an assignment falls outside this tolerance the total mark awarded will be reduced. Assignments which are
up to 10% under or above the word count tolerance will be subject to a deduction of 5 marks, with subsequent
penalties of an extra 5 marks deducted for every further 10% as shown below:

Percentage over or under the tolerance Marks deducted


Up to 10% 5 marks
Every further 10% A further 5 marks

For clarification, the word count applies to the entire body of the text (i.e. including headings, citations, content of
tables and diagrams) but does not include the reference list or the appendices.
Materials included in appendices should add to the readers understanding of the assignment. All appendices must be
cited within the body of the assignment and must be clearly numbered.
An accurate electronic word count must be noted on the front of all assignments. The penalty for not providing a
word count, or for providing an inaccurate word count, will be a deduction of 3 marks.

Assignment Resubmission
Candidates who submit a further assignment if they have failed the plagiarism test, or who submit a further
assignment if they have not obtained a pass grade must write the assignment on a different organisation or a different
topic.

In the case of Management of Financial Resources and Performance, this means that the new assignment needs to be
on another decision in the same organisation (NOT recommended unless the student works for the organisation) OR
on another organisation.