Ten years ago, you started working as a clerk for DMD Medical Supplies. Six months ago, Liz Jakowski, the human resources director, promoted you to office manager. You manage two employees: Jack Snyder and Ruth Disselkoen. Your office provides secretarial support for the four members of the executive team. Two years ago, Liz had assigned Jack to support Ralph Alane and Jessica Hilo. Ruth was assigned to Samuel Daley and Frank Daley. The work flow was equally balanced.
You’ve noticed that in the last three months Ruth has cut her breaks short to complete her work, complains of being tired, and at least twice a month requires overtime hours costing the company an additional $200 a month. In the last three weeks, Frank Daley has complained to you a few times about the poor quality of Ruth’s work.
On the other hand, over the last three months, Jack frequently seems to have little to do. He has begun coming in late a couple times a week and taking more than the allotted break times. What work he does have, however, is always professionally completed.
Clearly, you must investigate to determine what is causing this change and how to improve the situation. Since nothing has changed in the personal lives of either Jack or Ruth, you conclude you must focus on the in-office work situation. You learn the following facts:
• Samuel and Frank Daley share a part-time administrative assistant who works only 15 hours a week.
• Ralph Alane and Jessica Hilo share a full-time administrative assistant.
• Jessica Hilo has been on medical leave for the last four months, and Liz Jakowski isn’t sure whether Jessica will be able to return to work.
• Jessica’s duties have been temporarily reassigned to Ralph and Frank.
Although you don’t have the authority to change who Jack and Ruth are assigned to work for, you clearly need to change the work the two do so that both Jack and Ruth work regularly without requiring overtime.
Adhere to the following outlined process when writing your exam.
1. The background explains the primary cause of the workflow problem and the negative effects resulting from it. Your task is to make up a realistic plan which solves the uneven productivity between Jack and Ruth. Use prewriting tools like brainstorming, cluster or webbing diagrams, and freewriting to outline the cause-effect situation and to develop a specific solution that best solves the problem. Also ask yourself the following questions to expand your prewriting.
• How long has this situation been going on?
• Why did the problems begin when they did?
• Am I able to solve the problem at its root cause or am I only able to manage the impact of the problem?
• Is this a temporary or permanent problem?
• How has the company been affected?
• How have the employees been affected?
• What’s in my power to change? What must stay the same?
• What are two or three ways to improve the efficiency of my office?
• How much work, time, and money would be required to implement each solution?
• Does each solution stop all the negative effects?
• Are there any benefits to the change beyond stopping what is occurring?
• How exactly would each change affect Jack, Ruth, and the executive team?
• What would I have to do to make sure each change goes through as planned and to monitor the situation once the solution is in place?
2. From your prewriting, develop the single best solution to the situation described in the background. Obviously, you won’t be able to use everything you’ve prewritten, so your first step is to choose what’s most important for the purpose and audience. As you outline a solution, you may need to make up more specific details that define the steps of the plan and describe particular benefits of the plan.
3. Next, sort your details and information about the problem and the plan into one of the two sections given below. Don’t worry about complete sentences for this sorting stage; merely list the information under the appropriate section. Use information from both the background and your prewriting.
• Facts and figures that define the problem (the cause)
• Details that show the impact of the problem (effects) on Jack, Ruth, and the company
• The steps needed to change the situation
• Reason to implement each step, including the benefits to your employees, your supervisor, and the company
• Information about your role in the change
4. After sorting the information, draft a first-try, rough paragraph for Section 1 and another paragraph for Section 2. Your goal is to place the listed information in the most logical order using sentence and paragraph format. Leave all spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other mistakes exactly as they are. Don’t do any editing as you write this first draft. The worse it looks at this stage, the better your final product will appear in contrast.
5. Set your rough draft aside and don’t work any further on this assignment for at least 24 hours.
6. After your break, reread the background information and the questions guiding your prewriting in Step 1. Then reread the rough paragraphs you drafted for Section 1 and 2 to refresh your memory. If you came up with new ideas since you wrote the draft, add your thoughts before you go further.
7. Focus on the rough draft of Section 2, which you wrote in Step 4. Divide the paragraph into two main ideas and reorganize your information accordingly to develop two separate paragraphs based on Section 2. The paragraphs must first describe your solution and then persuade your supervisor to implement that solution. Each paragraph must have one main idea related to this purpose and audience.
Note: Don’t revise Section 1. Revise only the rough draft you wrote for Section 2, expanding the single paragraph into two paragraphs.
8. Prewrite further if needed to develop more details and explanation to flesh out the two paragraphs based on Section 2. Next, apply the drafting and revising strategies taught in this and previous study units to produce two properly developed paragraphs. Together these two paragraphs must total between 200 to 300 words.
9. Once again, set your work aside for at least 24 hours.
10. Read the evaluation criteria given on the next page, which will be used to score your work. Continue to revise, edit, and proofread the two paragraphs from Section 2 to meet each of the criteria.
11. Once you have a final, polished version of the two paragraphs based on Section 2, open a new document on your computer’s word-processing program and type your work. Format the document to double space, using a standard font, size 12, left justification (also called align left and ragged right). Set 1-inch or 1.25-inch margins for both left and right sides of the page. Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5-inch tab. Hit Enter only once after the first paragraph to begin the second paragraph. Don’t use any other type of format, such as a letter or memo. Merely type the two paragraphs.
12. After typing your work, make sure you edit and proofread at least one more time. Use the computer’s grammar and spell checks cautiously. Not everything the computer suggests is correct, particularly for the purpose and audience.