A core skill of successful business people is the ability to write relevant, concise, and impactful documents. The purpose of this individual assignment is to write a short essay for you to demonstrate your writing ability and critical thinking skills. As part of the assignment, you need to analyze and integrate selected reference sources, “connect the dots” across them, and summarize your conclusions in an executive format (1000 words or less).
Format: The essay cannot exceed 1000 words (not counting references). Please include the word count at the end of the paper. The essay must be typed in Word, using 1.5 space, 1-inch margins (top, bottom, sides) and a 11-size font. Cite in a bibliography all information that is not your opinion. Remember to write your name on page 1 and add a relevant title that captures the essence of the content.
Evaluation criteria: The essay will be graded on content and style, based on the criteria below. Each item will receive 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the individual weight (total: 10 points).
|Criteria||Unsatisfactory: 25%||<->||Excellent: 100%|
|Organization & flow (2)||Writing lacks logical organization. Ideas show little coherence and a lack of unity. Essay flow is not smooth or has serious errors.||Writing shows high degree of attention to logic and reasoning of points. Essay flows clearly and leads reader to the conclusion.|
|Grammar & spelling (1)||The essay has spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors that make it difficult to read.||The essay is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.|
|Style & format (1)||Difficult to read, with little or no variety in sentence structure and style. Fails to follow format and assignment requirements.||Clear yet sophisticated; creative use of sentences and ideas makes it stimulating to read. Meets all formal and assignment requirements.|
|Thesis & argument (2)||Argument is vague or confusing; only implied or not stated early on; not argued throughout. Parts are not integrated.||Interesting, arguable, incisive; stated early on and presented throughout. Parts are integrated into a holistic argument.|
|Critical thinking (2)||Main points lack detailed development and do not support the thesis. Ideas are vague and lack connection across assigned sources, included those discussed in class.||Main points well developed and insightful with high quality and quantity support. Essay connects ideas from assigned sources, included those discussed in class.|
|Sources & evidence (2)||No evidence of or reference to assigned sources. Used as a filler, if used at all. Incorrectly quoted and/or cited.||Well-chosen and deployed; quoted and/or cited correctly. Shows how evidence supports thesis.|
During the first week of the course, we discussed the importance of critical thinking for decision makers who have to operate in a VUCA world. We also discussed the detrimental impact of groupthink and cognitive biases, which we referred to as the “enemies” of critical thinking (see slides 24 to 28 in Module 1).
As defined in one of the module pre-read articles, “groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Cohesiveness, or the desire for cohesiveness, in a group may produce a tendency among its members to agree at all costs. This causes the group to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation.”
As dicscussed, the risks of groupthink are exponentially aggravated by the widespread use of social media, in particular for your generation (“How social media encourages groupthink”.)
Below you will find a few recent articles that discuss real-life examples of potential groupthink in current affairs that you need to read and analyze for purposes of completing this assignment.
After reading these articles, reflect critically on what you have read and write a short essay that address the following critical thinking questions, while “connecting the dots” across the different reference sources:
Make sure that you understand the goal of the assignment. You are not being asked to provide an “opinion” but to reflect on what you have read and address the assignment questions accordingly.
Remember your essay cannot exceed 1,000 words. This would be your way of attempting to emulate William Shakespeare, who in Hamlet wrote that “brevity is the soul of the wit
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