Next steps for paper

This post is due Friday by 4 p.m. instead of the usual Wednesday.

By now, you have a topic. If you do not, you can still switch or even write a new post testing out an idea. I think it is a good idea to start with some aspect of the Great Recession you want to learn more about.

Once you have a general idea of a topic, you have explored it through last week’s post. Now you can ask next questions. For example, why did this happen? Who was involved? What are the causes and what are the outcomes? At what level of analysis do I need to focus? What concepts or theories that we have learned seem relevant?

This brings us to the next post. With your next questions, you are going to need more info on X, where X is your topic and questions you have. Recall what I said in class, you are making yourself more of a relative expert on your topic and using your research skills and the analytical tools of organization theory to analyze or explain some aspect of the Great Recession.

Hence, we have this general flow:
Topic→ Your preliminary exploration→ Next Questions→ Need for more data or information.

Where will you get more information or data?

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The Smartest People in the Room: Is using sex appeal smart or unfair?

“Mark unapologetically viewed being a woman – a smart, charismatic woman – as a way to ‘get privileges that other people don’t get, and…audiences that others could never hope to achieve’…Her gender was not an obstacle to be overcome but an advantage” (The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, 72).

Rebecca Mark’s admittance of her willingness to flaunt her femininity intrigued me.  There are many factors that can give an individual power.  Most of these – money, knowledge, skills – are accepted and understood, but one – sex appeal – is more controversial.  Should individuals use their looks to gain influence and control?

What makes using your sex appeal to control others any different from using your money?  Would you feel comfortable gaining power as a result of your appearance?  After all, why do career centers offer seminars on how to dress for interviews?  Yes, respect and professionalism are important, but I contend that it goes beyond that.  The seminars teach individuals to conform to the looks desired of organizations in a particular industry

It seems to me that Rebecca Mark was able to use her gender to her advantage to the large extent that she did because she worked in a male-dominated business.  She unabashedly took advantage of this, working her way up the ranks by “play[ing] up her physical attributes,” wearing “high heels and short skirts,” and sleeping with her boss.  My initial thought was that she didn’t deserve what she got and was unfairly rewarded.  However, further thought made me recognize that perhaps she was just smart.  Maybe the book title should be The Smartest People in the Room.  Why leave Rebecca Mark out?  She understood just as well as the guys how to play the system and take advantage of what she had.

Like Skilling, Lay, and many others, Mark was certainly smart.  The men were unethical, however, and their actions are generally looked down upon.  By gaining power through her femininity, did Rebecca Mark put herself in this category?  I think so…but I don’t blame her.  Society has created a world in which such things are rewarded.  Mark had the intelligence and the charisma, but unfortunately they may not have gotten her anywhere.  Those are the characteristics that should have propelled Mark to the top, but in reality it was only her sex appeal that could do so.

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Dot and her insights on research

I had the opportunity to meet with the librarian Dot Thompson. I have never thought of asking for help when it comes to research and write my papers by utilizing the sources my teachers have provided. It was extremely useful for me to go and talk to her since she introduce me to the world of data bases. She pointed out the ABI Inform, Web of Knowledge, and Academic onefile, all under the management tab. To start the research she said that it would be better to search by subject to have a broader sense of the subject. Also, the data base later gives you more specific subjects that you can research. The ABI Inform had more that 1,300 articles and all of them where linked to the library. On the other hand, the Web of knowledge can show you how many times a work has been cited. This could be useful since it shows the importance of the article. Later we researched Academic onefile, she find this one to be very helpful because it gives you different components of the subject that you did not think of before: graphs, data, etc. The data base brought me to find an article that has been very useful to write my paper.

It was great to meet Dot Thompson, not only because she provided me with the data bases but she also gives you further insight on how to find exactly what you are looking for. I can take this learning experience as an advantage for my future reaserch papers.

Dot Thompson’s My Hero

Through my 4 years at Bucknell many of my classes have had class tutorials on how to use the cast amount of resources offered by the Bucknell Library.  So I was able to do a little research on my own before meeting with Dot Thompson in order to get myself reacquainted with the databases the school has access to.  I was able to find a few sources, but nothing that stood out. Continue reading

But Seriously, Dot Thompson Loves Org Theory!

My research strategy was to conduct research myself initially and then make use of the Bucknell librarians to help me out where my own researching efforts failed.  My attempt at researching resulted in a multitude of great sources.  However, I was unable to locate a scholarly journal article that specifically analyzed Rebecca Mark, something which I figured was bound to exist and would be very helpful for my essay.

So, Molly and I went to Dot Thompson prepared with specific research questions.  By giving her exactly what I was searching for, she showed me how to best utilize Bucknell’s databases to find what I was looking for.  I was familiar with the databases that she used, but was unaware of the extent of their features and search capabilities.  For example, Dot pointed out how search keywords differ by discipline.  Using a Management database to find an article related to the topic that I was looking for and then examining the tags was a useful way of learning how certain things are described in Management databases (as opposed to, for example, in a Psychology database).  Who knew that ‘women’ is more common terminology in Management and ‘female’ is more common terminology in Psychology?!

With Dot’s helpful advice and extensive research database expertise, I was able to locate a great article on Rebecca Mark.  If only she could write my paper for me too!

Dot Thompson Loves Org Theory!

Today Brooke and I entered Dot Thompson’s office to have a chat about research techniques for our paper. Our class has evidently been bombarding her office today because she knew exactly who we were and what we were coming to see her for.

Both Brooke and I consider ourselves quite experienced and familiar with the online databases so instead of requesting the usual “how-to” of online database research, we skipped to some very specific questions regarding our own individual research. In my paper I am utilizing an argument made by Milton Friedman in 1970 regarding the social responsibility of businesses. I was inspired by this piece after stumbling across a reference to it in our Organizations and Organizing textbook. It happened to be an article I had studied in my Business, Government and Society class so I was quite familiar with it. In my paper I want to cite an opposing viewpoint to Friedman’s argument. Dot helped me figure out how I could use our online databases to find critiques and opposing viewpoints to articles. She directed me to EconLit, an economics database, and we searched for articles that were not written by Friedman but that cited this specific article. It was very helpful to walk through this process with Dot because I was able to find both modern and past critiques from a number of different authors. I was luck to be  able to find success in my search and I walked away from Dot’s office very happy! This was a very useful experience for me and it will certainly serve to strengthen the counter-arguments raised in my paper. Thanks dot!

Meeting with Dot Thompson

Today I met with Dot Thompson in the library.  This was not the first time I had met Dot, seeing as she has been incredibly helpful in other management classes, providing information on the resources available in the library.  I was wondering whether this meeting would provide me with any new information on library resources since she had come to my classes before, but I was not disappointed.  There was plenty of new information that will be very helpful in writing the upcoming paper.  In previous classes she had given us information on databases that was specific to certain classes and their research needs, and today she showed us databases that would provide information that would be helpful specifically for Organizational Theory.

She showed us three different databases and the best way to use them in order to get results relevant to organizational theory and the paper we are currently writing.  The first database she showed us was ABI Form, which is the largest management database.  When Organization Theory is used as the subject in the search, over 10,000 results are returned.  Those results can then be narrowed down based on what specifically you are looking for.  She also showed us web of knowledge, which Jordi had already shown us in class but it was nice to have a refresher on how to use it.  The third database that Dot showed us was Academic OneFile.  I think this will be the most beneficial in finding additional articles.  Under browse subject you can look up Organization Theory and then it will return subdivisions and related subjects.  One of the first related subjects under Organization theory was corporate culture, which is exactly what I am looking into in my paper.

Even though I had been helped by Dot before and I thought I already knew all the ways to use the research by subject page, particularly for management; this meeting was very helpful in finding new databases as well as ways I can better research.  I definitely will be using these databases for my paper as well as for other papers in the future.