Essay Cove

Essay Cove

This is a challenging assignment, mainly because Alderfer’s theory is thick and quite detailed. In order to write a strong paper, you must understand Alderfer’s theory well enough to apply it. You may write an intergroup paper related to some intergroup situation in the world, or in an organization that you know well. For those students who are doing the SSP option, you will need to have a different subject for this paper and for that one.
No matter what you choose as a subject, you will need to draw a clear picture for me, literally and figuratively, of the particular organization that you are using as your focus. That means that you need to create some kind of drawing or diagram and make it the last page of your paper (not a separate attachment). (Failure to include this will result in a .5 point reduction). Remember that, as always, you need to offer a thesis. It is not sufficient to write that you are ‘applying the 5 laws to an organization’. You must raise your level of analysis to describe what point you are making about the organization that Alderfer’s laws helped you to understand and subsequently to explain in the paper. When I read the papers, I will begin by looking at your diagram. The expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” fits particularly well here. I encourage you to make the clearest possible diagram you can to help convey the type/level of organization you have chosen and the intergroup relations within it. I will need to see a drawing that clearly delineates the suprasystem, focal group and subgroups under study. If I have a solid sense of that before I even begin to read your paper, you have put yourself in the best possible position to take your reader on a productive journey to understand your organization and what argument you are making about it.
For example, let’s consider the Supreme Court. In that example one might say that the court is actually split between its more conservative and more liberal subgroups with particular Justices moving back and forth between them. So you would analyze that system and include how the Supreme Court interacts with other groups as well. As described above, do include an appendix where you ‘draw’ or pictorially outline the focal organization and the sub-groups for clarity.
Assignment: Please choose a group (the focal group). Using intergroup theory, and in particular, Alderfer’s Five Laws of Embedded Intergroup Relations, analyze the suprasystem, focal group, and the subgroups within it, the groups it interacts with, and the relationship between them. It may be helpful to think about laws 1 and 4 as linked, and laws 2 and 3 as linked, but you must address each of the 5 laws directly.
The paper is Due Thursday, April 21st at noon. The paper itself (not including the appendix) should be no more than 7 pages in length, with the usual parameters also applying to this one.
I will evaluate the paper based on the clarity and merit of your
underlined thesis
clear elucidation of how each law can be separately seen to be operating in the organization (I cannot emphasize this enough. The primary task is to show that you fully understand and can use the laws to make sense of the organization’s dynamics. Your passion about the subject is next in importance.)
a proper conclusion
the clarity and quality of the writing
particular strengths you bring to bear in the paper.
Thesis reminders:
If you are planning to write something like, “I am going to apply Alderfer’s laws to XYZ,” or one step up from that, ” The intergroup dynamics at XYZ were (fill in the blank- hard, confusing hostile, etc.) and I’m going to use Alderfer’s laws to explain that, stop, back up and rethink until you can identify clearly the actual point or argument you are trying to make.
A full blown thesis could sound like this made up one: “Using the US Government as the focal group, Alderfer’s laws show that the current vitality of the US Government is at an all time low due to its underboundedness in the face of the overboundedness of both divisions of government (judiciary and legislature) as well as the overboundedness of the two major political parties in the country, and all of this can be seen in the context of a malevolent moment in world history.”
Hopefully you can see that the hypothesis, whether the reader buys it or not, is rich and complex and requires the writer to back up what they are claiming. In the earlier examples, there is no point of view or conclusion offered, just a description. The earlier examples state, I’m going to apply the laws and whatever I come up with is whatever I come up with. When we read a good thesis, we are often left with the sense, “Oh, that’s interesting; I’d like to know if that’s true.” Finally, a real thesis is something that starts as a germ when you begin to write, and then you return to it frequently during the writing process to modify as you see what you are learning and find out what you can prove and what you can’t. It cannot be finalized until you finish the paper, at which point you can proudly state how you showed the reader that (reiterate thesis here) is true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *