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First-year standards

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Although the assignments had deadlines, they're still a lot broader than for Year 12 and so you need to make the effort to clarify things with the tutor, lecturer, or past students. There are a lot more resources and materials to get lost in - that's why research needs to be started a lot earlier.

You will find the better models for the kind of writing you need to produce as a student in the academic journals such as the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Consumer Research. In first year, you read text books (such as Kotler) and a range of other information sources. Only a few of these are likely to be research journals, so you need to read these carefully. Pay attention to the style of academic journals so that your own academic writing style can develop.

When you are in the workforce, your writing styles will need to change again. By that stage, the kind of writing that is appropriate in that context may be much more like that of the industry reports and trade magazines you use frequently now! So all your academic and professional writing is interlinked throughout your life. But it is important to be very aware of which kind of writing is appropriate when.

Consider the following excerpts from three satisfactory Year 12 Business Management reports. Because the subject is Business Management and thus is similar in that it is also a business report, you might think at first that the same kind of writing is acceptable in first-year Marketing, but it is not.

In what ways do you think these Year 12 reports might not be satisfactory for first-year Marketing?

Excerpt 1

My personal objectives were to understand how an organisation responds to pressures for policy change and see how the company's Training and Development policy could succeed in addressing those areas in need of improvement.

The information required will involve an examination of the previous Training and Development policy, including the pressures faced by management in regard to change, and a detailed account of the policy response to the pressures. An assessment of the comprehensiveness of the company's policy response, and its effect on structures and activities must be addressed. I will also need to establish appropriate criteria for evaluating the policy response, as well as provide an assessment of the policy with regard to these criteria. Finally, an explanation of the organisation's likely management response to Training and Development in the future will be provided.

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Excerpt 2

Arnott's Ltd. is the organisation from which a policy response was gained. Arnott's is the largest biscuit manufacturer in Australia, as well as the 7th largest in the world. Every year, Arnott's turns over 26,000 tonnes of biscuit and makes $900 million in sales revenue. A continued emphasis on International Competitiveness (IC) is essential in keeping Arnott's at the forefront of biscuit manufacturing.

Central to Arnott's policy response was the introduction of the Quality Enterprise Philosophy (QEP), which was a bridge to make Arnott's more IC. The theoretical basis of the QEP was for Arnott's to become customer driven in cost, quality, and service 1 Other characteristics of the QEP are:

  • Responsibility for managing the worksite allocated to those doing the work
  • Flexible production systems based on short cycle times and zero defects
  • Team approach with flexible, skilled resources
  • Strong reciprocal obligations defining relationships
  • Decisions and actions based on facts (data).

1. Arnott's information pamphlet.

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Excerpt 3

Blockbuster Music's main competitors are Brash's and Homeshow, both of which are also situated on Chapel Street. Blockbuster Music has a competitive edge over their competitors mainly due to the size of their store and the amount of stock and variety.

Blockbuster Music also has the well publicised policy of guaranteeing that if they don't have the CD you are looking for, they will take five dollars off the price for you when they get it in.

Blockbuster Music is one of the few stores that actually allows the consumer to try a product before they purchase it. This is the case with both CDs and video games. This policy is especially important at the moment due to the recent release of the Nintendo 64. With many people looking to buy the latest in electronic multimedia, retailers of this ilk are focussing heavily on the sale of the new unit and are after any competitive advantage they can get.

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Excerpt 1

My personal objectives were to understand how an organisation responds to pressures for policy change and see how the company's Training and Development policy could succeed in addressing those areas in need of improvement. Personal objectives, outlined to fulfil criteria for Year 12 writing tasks, are usually not expected in a university assignment.
The information required will involve an examination of the previous Training and Development policy, including the pressures faced by management in regard to change, and a detailed account of the policy response to the pressures. An assessment of the comprehensiveness of the company's policy response, and its effect on structures and activities must be addressed. These sentences could be taken from a university-level report.
I will also need to establish appropriate criteria for evaluating the policy response, as well as provide an assessment of the policy with regard to these criteria. Finally, an explanation of the organisation's likely management response to Training and Development in the future will be provided. This sentence reverts to the personal involvement of Paragraph 1. Because the approach in university writing, while responding to task requirements, is largely self-directed, you would say something like: "Criteria will be established and policy assessed..."

Excerpt 2

Arnott's Ltd. is the organisation from which a policy response was gained.
Arnott's is the largest biscuit manufacturer in Australia, as well as the 7th largest in the world. At university, this statement would require a reference.
Every year, Arnott's turns over 26,000 tonnes of biscuit and makes $900 million in sales revenue. This one would, too.
A continued emphasis on International Competitiveness (IC) is essential in keeping Arnott's at the forefront of biscuit manufacturing. This observation sounds like general knowledge, but perhaps there are some companies for whom this would not be the case. That means it would be someone's opinion; hence at university a reference would be needed.
Central to Arnott's policy response was the introduction of the Quality Enterprise Philosophy (QEP), which was a bridge to make Arnott's more IC. The theoretical basis of the QEP was for Arnott's to become customer driven in cost, quality, and service 1. This statement could be regarded as introducing the next statement which is referenced, but there are two problems with this: The "bridge" sounds as if it's taken from somewhere so it should be paraphrased; and "Arnott's information pamphlet" may not be enough (maybe Arnott's has a lot of information pamphlets).

Note that the reference is presented as a footnote and so is not done according to the Harvard (in-text) style required for Marketing assignments.
Other characteristics of the QEP are:
  • Responsibility for managing the worksite allocated to those doing the work
  • Flexible production systems based on short cycle times and zero defects
  • Team approach with flexible, skilled resources
  • Strong reciprocal obligations defining relationships
  • Decisions and actions based on facts (data).
This is obviously coming from somewhere; even if it's from the same pamphlet, another citation should be given.

1. Arnott's information pamphlet.

Excerpt 3

Blockbuster Music's main competitors are Brash's and Homeshow, both of which are also situated on Chapel Street. Blockbuster Music has a competitive edge over their competitors mainly due to the size of their store and the amount of stock and variety. At university, you would need a reference for this - or evidence and also a reference.
Blockbuster Music also has the well publicised policy of guaranteeing that if they don't have the CD you are looking for, they will take five dollars off the price for you when they get it in. This does not require a reference as this is something that can be observed (in the real world). Note, though, that for your first-year Marketing report, you will often not be relying on real world observation. Where you are not, a reference is required.
Blockbuster Music is one of the few stores that actually allows the consumer to try a product before they purchase it. This is the case with both CDs and video games. This policy is especially important at the moment due to the recent release of the Nintendo 64. With many people looking to buy the latest in electronic multimedia, retailers of this ilk are focussing heavily on the sale of the new unit and are after any competitive advantage they can get. As above.
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