MGMT 310 Organizational Behavior
Example Essays and Evaluation Criteria


"In Mgmt 310, why might a student's high effort not result in performance, i.e., a good grade in the class?" (10 points)


10 point response:

"One reason why this high effort is not causing high performance is that the student may just not have the ability to perform at a high level. Also, they may lack skills such as writing skills and good note-taking skills which would give them a better chance to succeed if they had them. There are also environmental reasons as to why this is occurring. First, the professor may not be giving enough feedback, or clear feedback, and the student may not know how to succeed. Second, people who are doing well may not be sharing their answers, so the student has no opportunity to learn vicariously. Finally, the student may not feel comfortable learning in this way, which can cause them to not pay as much attention or to just not be able to comprehend what is being taught. A final cause would be that the student did not pay attention in their sociology and psychology classes and, hence, came to Mgmt 310 with a limited knowledge of the subject matter. Therefore, they have nothing to compare and contrast this information with and its seems harder for them to learn. They have nothing to relate the knowledge to."

"A+" work: (1) Responds fully to the question; (2) Expresses its intent clearly and persuasively; (3) Begins and ends effectively; (4) Is of appropriate depth and breadth; (5) Is well organized with a balanced thorough analysis; (6) Uses appropriate/relevant concepts/theory; (7) Provides adequate supporting arguments, evidence, examples, and details; (8) Uses appropriate direct language; (9) Is free of errors in grammar, punctuation, word choice, and spelling; (10) Maintains a level of excellence throughout, and shows originality and creativity in realizing (1) through (7). Originality and creativity are represented in essays that, depending on the nature of the question, reflect one or more of the following types of thinking: "creative thinking" via creative assimilation of ideas from different theories or different topic areas into unique patterns of meaning; "systems thinking" via the consideration of a critical mass of interconnected elements of the system in question; "critical thinking" via (a) the raising to awareness of one’s own perspectives and the assumptions on which they are based, and (b) the viewing of problems/issues from multiple perspectives; "dialectical thinking" via (a) the bridging/synthesis of personal experiences with theory, and (b) the bridging/synthesis of particular situations/contexts with general/universal theory.


9 point response:

"High effort in Mgmt 310 would not always result in a high performance because first of all, he might not have the ability, knowledge & skills* in this particular area of study to do well. Another possibility would be that his efforts (studying notes, reading chapter) are misguided** & he is not learning the material needed that would fulfill the instructor's requirements for a good grade. His environment might also be a factor for getting a low grade. He could be studying very hard, but he might be in a situation where his roommates are noisy, or he is interrupted frequently thus affecting his absorption of the information. He may also have a problem with the context of the information & basically is unable to understand the material***. One last thing could be that the method of learning that he has chosen is completely wrong for him****."

Instructor's comments:

* Provide examples.

** Is this a function of the person or the situation? Note that, as stated, it could be
interpreted in either way.

*** What is meant by this statement?

**** Is this a knowledge, skills, abilities issue? Is it the same issue as noted in **?

"A-" work: Realizes (1) through (9) almost fully and completely with very minor shortcomings in only a few of the areas; demonstrates overall excellence while showing some originality and creativity.


8 point response:

"Effort is only one component of motivation*. In order to have motivation** instrumentality & valence have to be met also. The student must perceive that doing a certain task (studying harder) will lead to a certain outcome (getting an A in the class) and that getting an A is the desired outcome of putting effort into the class. But motivation alone does not guarantee performance. The student's KSA's may also be a factor. In Mgmt 310 one has to know how to write well and compose answers in a coherent format. The student may lack those skills necessary for the class prior to signing up for it. Also, personality differences may play a role. For instance, Mgmt 310 requires class participation and student may not have the outgoing personality to initiate a response in class.***"

Instructors comments:

* Effort is a direct function of motivation

** The question asks you to focus on performance

*** You have not considered environmental influences

"B-" work: Substantially realizes (1) through (9) with minor shortcomings across a number of the areas or a major shortcoming in one of the areas; demonstrates overall excellence -- but shows little or no originality and creativity.


7 point response:

"As stated in the text and by the instructor, high effort does not always result in high performance. Although many people believe the opposite, studies have proven this to be true. The elements of work motivation are important for this issue. Level of effort & level of persistence are forces that determine direction of behavior. Expectancy is another important issue here. This is the perception about the extent to which effort will result in a certain level of performance. But*, one must also have the knowledge, skills & ability to do well. I may study for days for my OB exam and read all of the text 2 times, but then end up getting a C on the exam. While, for example, my teammate may study only 1 hour and get an A**. Unfortunately, it takes more than just effort to result in high performance. As a manager*** I would try to keep teaching my subordinates & praise them when they do well. Also have rewards -- this may trigger a stronger desire to achieve more knowledge on the subject."

Instructor's comments:

* You finally begin to address the question at this point.

** Yes, and why? Are you inferring here that the reason may be that your teammate
has the KSA's and you may not? If so, can you provide examples?

*** Note that at this point you return to the issue of effort. If effort is not a problem, if
it is high, why might high effort not result in performance as the question asks?

"C-" work:  Realizes (1) through (9) adequately and demonstrates overall competence but contains a substantial flaw or a few relatively minor errors or flaws. A "C-" response may show great creativity and originality, but those qualities don't make up for poor or careless conceptualization, analysis, and writing.


6 point response:

"It isn't only effort that goes into getting a good grade. Other factors are involved. Valence, expectancy & instrumentality must all be present (above zero)*. We also discussed such concepts as attitude as a factor. Knowledge, skill and ability are only part of effort. The student must also contribute valence or (the desirability of an outcome) to the class**. They must want a good grade. Performance is the second stage, even if effort is made -- how good are those efforts (quantity/quality)***. The student has to understand how their performance will lead to a good grade (instumentality) to reach the outcome -- a good grade****."

Instructor's comments:

* These factors determine effort. The question asks you to assume effort is high.

** How might the KSA's influence "performance."

*** Again, this is an effort issue.

**** You are simply describing two linkages in expectancy theory here and not
addressing the question.

"D-" work: Fails to realize some elements of (1) through (8) adequately -- and contains several, relatively serious errors or flaws, or many minor ones.


"F" work: Fails to realize several elements of (1) through (8) adequately -- and contains many serious errors of flaws, and usually many minor ones, as well.

(Note: No examples of "F" work were generated for the above question)