25/01/2017 1 Client Report Writing Dr Walter Skok Business School Academic vs Business Report Academic Report Literature Review Build on existing theory Research methods Critical analysis Audience: academic journals, research community Business Report Recommendations Cost/Benefit Analysis Concise writing Easy to understand Audience: management, coworkers 25/01/2017 2 Client Report WHAT is the problem? WHAT are possible options/routes to solve the problem? WHY should company follow any option? (include justification, benefits, costs) HOW can the company implement options? (include implementation strategy or roadmap) Client Report: Structure Examples Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Findings of study 2.1 Need for PA 2.1 Acceptance of PA 2.3. Design of system 3. Recommendations Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Overview of the group 3. Division One 4. Division Two 5. Division Three 6. Recommendations Management Training in Multi-division Company Feasibility for new Performance Appraisal (PA) System No one right answer! Depends on project Markham (1997) 25/01/2017 3 Kingston MRP Requirements Not a FULL Client Report! but, Elements of a Client Report Focus on Recommendations Practical recommendations for decision making Costs/benefits of key recommendations Key aspects of the study/business issues addressed Appropriateness of language for target audience Appropriate Language for Target Audience Words, Words, Words! 25/01/2017 4 Donald Rumsfeld: Quotes On Osama bin Laden: We do know of certain knowledge that he is either in Afghanistan or in some other country . or dead On war: Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war On his beliefs: I believe what I said yesterday. I dont know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume that is what I said More words Look at the following sentence (taken from a report): Although solitary under normal prevailing circumstances, racoons may congregate simultaneously in certain situations of artificially enhanced nutrient resource availability. Did you struggle to make sense of the sentence? Yes? What the writer was trying to say (in a very complicated way) is that racoons are solitary animals but will group together if food is left for them! 25/01/2017 5 Jack and Jill Jack and Jill (legal language) The party of the first party hereinafter known as Jack and the party of the second party hereinafter known as Jill ascended or caused to be ascended an elevation of undetermined height and degree of slope, hereinafter referred to as the hill. Whose purpose it was to obtain, attain, procure, secure or otherwise, gain acquisition to, by any and/or all means available to them, a receptacle or container, hereinafter known as pail, suitable for the transport of a liquid whose chemical properties shall be limited to hydrogen and oxygen, the proportions of which shall not be less than or exceed two parts for the first mentioned element and one part for the latter. Such combination will hereinafter be called water. Sandburg (1979) 25/01/2017 6 Will there be a Recession? YES says the eminent Professor Richard Panic from the Institute of Fiscal Studies here is his reason why: Once you strip out the seasonally adjusted inflation figures from the current macro-economic model, over both a short and medium term, factoring into account the recent surge in oil prices balanced against a basket of other commodities as traded on the futures markets, one has to come to the conclusion that yes, there certainly will be a recession. Private Eye, 27 June 2008 Will there be a Recession? NO says the eminent Professor Richard Calm from the Institute of Studying Fiscals, here is his reason why: Once you strip out the seasonally adjusted inflation figures from the current macro-economic model, over both a short and medium term, factoring into account the recent surge in oil prices balanced against a basket of other commodities as traded on the futures markets, one has to come to the conclusion that no, there certainly will not be a recession. Private Eye, 27 June 2008 25/01/2017 7 Verbal Inflation The Lords Prayer The Ten Commandments The American Declaration of Independence A typical academic journal article An EU directive on the import of caramel and caramel products No. of words Kingston MBA MRP Client Report Albert Einstein If you cant explain it simply, you dont understand it well enough. 25/01/2017 8 George Orwells Rules of Effective Writing Never use a long word where a short one will do If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out Never use the passive tense where you can use the active (see below) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday one Active Verb: Louisa signed the document Passive verb: The document was signed by Louisa Winston Churchill Memo 9 August 1940 To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points. I ask my colleagues and their staff to see to it that their reports are shorter. The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs. Let us have an end of such phrases as these: It is also of importance to bear in mind the following considerations, or consideration should be given to the possibility of carrying into effect. Most of these woolly phrases are mere padding, which can be left out altogether, or replaced by a single word. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it is conversational. Univ of Bradford, Academic Skills Advice 25/01/2017 9 Shorten we should be glad if you would kindly in the normal course of our procedure we are of the opinion that ? ? ? Remove Unnecessary Words Circular in outline CIRCULAR Large in size LARGE Red in colour RED Complex in character COMPLEX Five in number FIVE Square in shape SQUARE Donald Trump: Quotes Money is a little bit of a scorecard, but I dont do it for the money. I do it because I really enjoy it. I love the creative process. (2004) If I ever ran for office, Id do better as a Democrat than as a Republican and thats not because Id be more liberal, because Im conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me. (1990) The line of Make America great again, the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago, and I kept using it, and everybodys using it, they are all loving it. I dont know I guess I should copyright it, maybe I have copyrighted it. (2015) Ronald Reagan used the slogan over 35 years ago in his campaign! 25/01/2017 10 A picture is worth a 1000 words How can diagrams help the client to understand your analysis? – 50,000.00 100,000.00 150,000.00 200,000.00 250,000.00 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 sales seasonally adjusted built-in moving averages Restaurant: Wine List 25/01/2017 11 Importance-Performance Map Performance 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 26 25 24 2319 22 20 16 14 11 10 9 4 3 Concentrate Here 21 18 17 15 13 12 8 7 6 5 1 2 Keep Up the Good Work Low Priority Possible Overkill Importance Skok et al (2001) -4 -2 8 6 4 2 0 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 . Attribute Number Score Expectation Performance Difference Snake Map of Expectation, Performance and Gap Scores 25/01/2017 12 Kiviat Diagram Skok and Dhanjal (1996) Knowledge Evaluation Maps for Surrey: The Directorate Intranets Strategic Role Intranets Operational Role Knowledge Classification Epistemological Orientation Intranet Development High (IT orientation) Low (People orientation) Information Tool Communication Tool Facilitation of Explicit K Facilitation of Tacit K Management of knowledge Creation of knowledge Information Tool Communication Tool 0% Cognitivistic Connectionistic Autopoietic 100% Current Intranet Role Identified Intranet Role Skok and Kalmanovitch (2005) 25/01/2017 13 Knowledge Evaluation Maps for Surrey: Adult Services Intranets Strategic Role Intranets Operational Role Knowledge Classification Epistemological Orientation Intranet Development High (IT orientation) Low (People orientation) Information Tool Communication Tool Facilitation of Explicit K Facilitation of Tacit K Management of knowledge Creation of knowledge Information Tool Communication Tool 0% Cognitivistic Connectionistic Autopoietic 100% Current Intranet Role Identified Intranet Role Skok and Kalmanovitch (2005) Client Report: Roadmap (shows implementation strategy) Visual display to show the client the way forward: where is the company now? where does it need to go? how can it get there? 25/01/2017 14 Skok et al (2013) 25/01/2017 15 Client Report: Common Errors Lack of planning: message unclear, too long Poor structure: no logical progression of ideas Cutting and pasting from Research Report Words used inappropriate to the reader Poor English Boring: does not engage the reader Leaving client report to last minute Too much information Lacks structure Difficult to interpret Poorly written Easy to read Clearly written Use of diagrams Based on evidence Conclusions Need to establish Balance 25/01/2017 16 Sufficient information Good structure Easy to interpret Well written Easy to read Clearly written Use of diagrams Based on evidence Conclusions Need to establish Balance Conclusions Write to be clear not to sound impressive Use illustrations Think about the Client Report during the whole project Roadmap may be used to show way forward Client Report writing is an art not a science Allow time for revisions Make it special! 25/01/2017 17 References Markham, C (1997) Practical Management Consultancy. Institute of Chartered Accountants. Croner CCH Group. McKeen, J.D., and Smith, H.A. (2003) Making IT Happen. Wiley, Chichester. Skok, W., Clarke, K., and Krishnappa, S. (2013) Knowledge Management for Competitive Advantage: A Case Study of a Global Energy Consulting Group. Knowledge and Process Management, 20(3). 123-130. Skok, W., and Kalmanovitch, C. (2005) Evaluating the Role and Effectiveness of an Intranet in facilitating Knowledge Management. Information & Management. 42. 5. 731-744. Skok, W., Kophamel, A., and Richardson, I (2001) Diagnosing Information Systems Success: Importance-Performance Maps in the Health Club Industry. Information and Management. 38. 7. 409-419. Skok, W., and Dhanjal D (1996) Executive Support Systems Evaluation. Journal of Applied Management Studies. 5. 2. 159-177. Reading Business vs academic writing: http://www.cgu.edu/PDFFiles/Writing%20Center/Writing%20Center% 20Resources/Business%20vs%20Academic%20Writing.pdf Differences between academic and business writing: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ddusseau/101/199/199differences.htm 25/01/2017 18 Any Questions?
are possible options/routes to solve the
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