Management Challenge


As a requirement for the professional administrator licensing programme, you are required to:

  1. Select an operational, departmental, or individual employee performance-related issue of concern in your Department. Define the problem, and support it with the relevant facts and figures, as evidence or indication that it is an issue of concern to the organization. Conduct a problem/situation analysis and conduct a systematic investigation to identify the cause(s) of the performance gap. Based on the cause(s) identified, that is, (findings) of the investigation you are to recommend measures or steps to remove or reduce the performance gap. This is action research, a scientific work, and a scholarly exercise and therefore must be systematic, logical, objective, and devoid of bias. You are therefore advised to read widely around the subject area and review relevant materials (internal reports, journal articles, best practices, etc.)


  1. The problem identified should be within your own unit of operation or section to enable you to have a direct supervisory or change agent role in the implementation of recommendations that will come out of the exercise.





  1. Issue of Concern
    • Lateness to work


  1. Extent/Issue assessment
    • You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure (Peter Drucker). Unless you measure something, you don’t know if it is getting better or worse. You cannot see positive progress unless you measure to see what is improving and what is not.
    • Think about the unit of measure applicable. Lateness may be measured by time.
    • Gather enough information (factual and accurate) from within the organization to determine the extent of lateness. and it is important to include concrete numbers that support your claims. For example, the amount of time lost due to lateness.


  1. Defining the problem (The problem statement)
    • A problem statement is a concise description of the problem or issues a project seeks to address. The problem statement identifies the current state, the desired future state, and any gaps between the two. A problem statement is an important communication tool that can help ensure everyone working on a project knows what the problem they need to address is and why the project is important.
    • Focusing on the facts, the problem statement should be designed to address the Five ‘W’s. ( – what, when, who, where, & WHY)
    • “Whereas the scheme of service of Mawusi PLC requires all staff to report for work at 8:00am, for the past eleven months, two of the Registry staff report to work at about 9:30am each day” The researcher, an Internal Consultant seeks to resolve this issue by employing action research techniques to find the causes of the Gap and recommend measures to remove the gap.
    • Performance gap identified after defining the problem (9:30 – 8:00 = 1hr 30mins gap in reporting). 1 hour 30 minutes each day, @ 5 working days for 4 working weeks on average which is equivalent to 30 hours lost in a month.


  1. The evidence or indicators/negative effects/consequences
    • This section describes the effects of the problem by describing how the organization (individual, unit, section, department, and corporate levels. if any.) affected by the problem is or is being impacted and quantifying how much the problem is impacting them. Common consequences can include the loss of time, money, resources, competitive advantage, productivity, and more – delay in completing work, work not done or task not performed, the inability of other staff to work because they depend on late colleagues, queries/complains from superiors and other departments, unit, and department not achieving targets, Etc.
    • This section is used to quantify and support the claim of what the problem is.
    • The effect or impact outlined here should be real facts and not hypothetic.
    • Indicators are important because they help define how interventions will be measured and provide evidence about whether a program’s activities are making a difference.


  1. Problem/Situation Analysis
    • Review Materials/Literature, that is, do a thorough search and brainstorming to look out for generic or possible causes associated with the issue of concern. This gives a clue as to some of the factors/causes that research and experience have revealed to normally account for the performance gap. For instance, particular research identified time urgency, organizational commitment, proximity, competence, nature of work, policy, and age of the employee’s youngest child as causes of lateness.
    • Furthermore, the review of materials should also assist in identifying possible solutions and strategies adopted in managing or eliminating the performance gap under similar or different situations.
    • Review relevant theories, principles, and models, associated with the issue of concern
    • Employ or use any preferred analytic tool, for example, the fishbone to comprehensively brainstorm all relevant and major factors related to the performance gap.


  1. State objectives
    • Main Objective: It is the primary goal of the project and describes what the research is trying to achieve. It explains why you are pursuing it.  (refer to the investigative phase)
    • Specific objectives (actions/activities to be taken to achieve the main objective)
    • You may organize or classify the factors/causes gathered from the literature review.
    • and examine them to determine whether any of the factors/causes identified from the literature search is an actual cause or not regarding your situation.
    • Each class of causes can be used in setting specific objectives. Your ability to research wider in the identification and classification of the factors to cover all critical/major factors (factors a business considers to achieve its goals) that can lead to the performance gap will determine the number of specific objectives to set. The critical factors common to performance include The Person factor, adequacy and clarity of rules, policies, Structure factors; Resources; Management; and external environmental factors.
    • An excellent work must eliminate bias and consider all critical factors when setting specific objectives, that is; selecting variables for examination.
    • For each specific objective, the analysis of the responses will confirm whether a factor or variable, etc. examined is a cause of the performance gap identified in the problem statement or not.


  1. Methodology (Action Research, implying situation-specific and not generic approach)
    • Recall the specific objectives
    • The research approach will depend on each specific objective. If you did excellent work in the specific objective setting, the critical/major factors to be examined in each specific objective will be unique. Therefore, you may not be able to use the same instruments for all the specific objectives. Critical factors for managing lateness or any performance-related concern may include:
    1. Individual personfinance, attitude, knowledge; etc.
    2. Policylegal, punitive, and rewarding aspects; etc.
    3. Nature of Workclarity, goals set, and work balance; etc.
    4. Resources – adequate, quality, and task-fit; etc.
    5. Supervision – Effective Communication, Leadership, Empathy and Compassion, Conflict Resolution, Ability to Delegate, Problem-Solving, Time and Priority Management, and Confidence; etc.
    6. 6. External Environment – Proximity, family-related challenges, etc.
    • From the specific objective, you can tell the type of information you will need to address each of them. For example,
    • From the information you need for each specific objective, you can tell whom to talk to (your respondents)
    • Knowing whom to talk to, you can tell the data-gathering instruments to use
    • According to Singh (2012:6), population means the whole populace that a researcher is interested in. Cottrell and McKenzie (2010:1) define a population as an entire set of objects or people with the characteristics one wishes to observe and understand.
    • This is a simple office or department-related study so avoid sampling. Results should be specific to the population and situation (which under this situation may be from two or five to ten) at the unit experiencing the issue of concern. The idea is not to generalize results back to the population after using a sample for the study. The theory of sample suggests that the size of the sample greatly influences the ability to generalize results back to the population under the investigations. (Jakobsen and Gluud, 2013:6)
    • Based on each specific objective, you will employ a particular and relevant theory, principle, or model as a standard for gathering data and analyzing the responses. A model is a symbol of the effort to find out known contributing and moderating factors that can be applied to an interpretable framework. (Farrell, 2005.7). Jacobs and Kretsonis (2007:4) argue that a person’s behavior is dependent upon needs and motives. Egan 2011:48) thinks workers will be more dedicated to their work if they understand and respond to the specific needs of employees, but would not do so unless this is done. Karanja (2008:8) For the purpose of explaining employee satisfaction, presents some theories, namely: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene theory, fulfillment theory, Locke’s range affect theory, discrepancy theory, and disposition theory.
    • Standards include a checklist and benchmarking with best practices. For example, in examining whether the is a resource or office equipment gap that could be affecting worker tardiness, instead of using a Likert scale questionnaire, the researcher should compare the present situation with a standard office equipment checklist. (E.g., availability of Desks, tables, and bookcases; Comfortable chairs; Work lighting; Wall whiteboard and markers; Stationery, file folders, notepads, paper, staplers, and scissors; Fireproof safe for storing documents, corporate stamps, etc.; Alarm system, fire extinguisher, and first-aid kit; Recycling bin)
    • Each critical factor must be examined critically to identify the element(s) that need to be addressed. For instance, some variables of a Person as a critical factor include – qualification, training specific to the task, skills, attitude, self-concept, motive, and risk tolerance.
    • For each specific objective, the analysis of the responses will confirm whether a factor or variable, etc. examined is a cause or contributed to the performance gap identified in the problem statement or not.


  1. Findings
    • Each specific objective must have a corresponding finding
    • Identify and review possible strategies or approaches to each finding to help make specific recommendations for each finding


  1. Recommendations (Each finding must have its recommendation)
    • Specific objective 1, leads to finding 1, which must lead to recommendation 1 in that order
    • The recommendations together shall constitute the intervention to remove the PERFORMANCE GAP identified in the problem statement)
    • Make recommendations that can be applied in the short term (immediately within a week to a month), medium term (within the next quarter or two), or long term (a year).


  1. Conclusion – The research acknowledges that the performance gap of 1 hour, and 30 minutes a day, has had significant negative consequences on the organization. The investigation revealed ………………… The recommendations suggested when implemented should be to remove the gap entirely or reduce it by 60%, 70%, etc.


  1. Presentation of investigation report (End of Part I)




  • Management Challenge Implementation and concept paper writing Lectures – dd/mm/yyyy
  • You are required to:

You are to develop a concept paper to convince Management (your superiors) of the issue of concern and the performance gap. The paper must demonstrate the severity of the effects on the organization (individual, unit, section, department, and corporate levels), present the outcome/findings of the investigative exercise, and a proposal to implement the recommendations to remove the gap. Be reminded that this is a change management project. You may be guided by Kurt Lewin’s change management model and the logical framework for executing an intervention.



  1. Develop a concept paper or proposal to engage management.
  2. Identify stakeholders necessary for the implementation of the recommendations. This is for joint sharing and acceptance of the problem (the performance GAP), Findings, and Recommendations. The stakeholders are those whom these problems actually impact most, and what the roles and interests of different stakeholders might be in addressing the problems and reaching solutions.
    • Stakeholder analysis and engagement aim at capturing the degree of influence and level of interest of each stakeholder over the relevant issues or possible objectives of the Project.
    • It generates insights into the importance and influence of each stakeholder.


  1. Draw a work plan and a Gantt chart to be used as the basis to monitor the progress and control the project. The plan must have timelines for all activities and all role players, together with a budget estimate with the required resources for implementation (target the R&D fund).
    • Your recommendations constitute an intervention designed to achieve:
      • specific objectives, within
      • specified resources, and
      • implementation schedules, within
      • the framework of the management challenge project.
    • A Gannt chart helps you assess how long a project should take, determine the resources needed, and plan the order in which you’ll complete tasks. They’re also helpful for managing the dependencies between tasks.


  1. Set Objectives:
    • The main objective is to implement the recommendations to remove the performance GAP
    • The specific objectives are to undertake ALL relevant actions that will enable the recommendations to be implemented to remove the performance GAP.
  1. Develop baseline data for all the indicators relevant to the project before commencing the intervention. This will enable you to determine the output and measure the impact of the project.
    • The indicators at the investigative phase serve as the baseline data. Check to be sure they have not changed. Use the measures of each indicator at the start of implementation as the baseline data.
    • Remember that Indicators are important because they help define how interventions will be measured and provide evidence about whether a program’s activities are making a difference.
  1. Implement, monitor, gather feedback, evaluate, and write implementation and performance reports.
    • The organization may use Deming’s Four-stage Approach for Continuous Improvement to review the end results
  1. Presentation of intervention report (Part II report).
  2. Submission of Final Report (Parts I & II): dd/mm/yyyy
  3. Consideration for publication
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