+1 (208) 254-6996 essayswallet@gmail.com

1 Skill development guide formal report


Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Skill development guide formal report
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Skill development guide: writing a formal report

No skill is as important to managers as report writing. As a manager of the future, you need to be prepared to write progress reports, proposals, accident reports and evaluation reports – to name but a few! You would be likely to use a formal report format if:  Your subject matter is important to your organization  Your findings are extensive  The analysis is complex  The report is to be used over a long period of time.

Remember that a formal report should reflect and maintain the organization’s professional image – especially if it is to be seen by people outside the organization.

Because of the importance of formal report writing for managers, lecturers in business schools often set assignments that require you to write a report of this nature. In this skill module we shall be concerned only with suggestions for the writers of formal management reports. We shall not try to present a comprehensive treatment of informal reports, including information reports, recommendation reports, justification reports, and proposals – for more information on these, please refer to the suggested further reading at the end of this section.

The guidelines given in this document are general. In all ‘formal report’ assignments it is important that you apply OB knowledge to the question or case/problem in hand in order to produce critically informed analysis, and that you seek guidance from your lecturer on each of the following criteria:  Length of report  Use of headings  Documentation format.


What exactly is a formal report?

The main differences between formal and informal reports are in tone, structure, and length. The planning of every report begins with a statement of purpose explaining the goal, significance, and limitations of the project. Reports include primary information from your own observation and experience and secondary information gained through library research. Formal reports require careful citation of information

Work and Organisational Behaviour: Skill Development Guide © Carolyn Forshaw, 2010




2 Skill development guide formal report

taken from secondary sources in the form of footnotes, endnotes, and a list of references in a bibliography. The overall presentation of the report may be deductive or inductive and its individual parts may be arranged chronologically, geographically, spatially, or topically. In their discussion of strategies or plans for the organization of formal reports, Guffey and Nagle (2007) define the deductive plan as one that ‘present big ideas first’. This means beginning with findings, proposals, or recommendations. For example, if you were studying four possible reward systems to improve employee motivation, you would begin by recommending the system you judge to be most appropriate to the organization’s human resource strategy and follow with discussion of the alternatives. It is suggested that the deductive strategy is used when the reader is knowledgeable and supportive.

In contrast, the inductive strategy or plan presents data and discussion first, followed by conclusion and recommendations. Guffey and Nagle (2007) believe that this sequence is often most effective because ‘formal reports generally seek to educate the reader’ (p. 279). Using the study of four possible reward systems to improve employee motivation mentioned above as an example, an inductive plan would begin with information regarding all proposed programmes, followed by analysis of the information and conclusions, and finally a recommendation drawn from that analysis. The format of the report Final presentation of the formal report includes three major sections:  Prefatory parts – such as the letter of transmittal, the title page, table of

contents, and an executive summary  The body – includes an introduction, background information, discussion of

findings, summary, conclusions, and recommendations  Supplementary parts – such as the works cited, a bibliography, and the

appendix. Prefatory parts Letter of transmittal First impressions are important; the letter or memo authorizing the report should therefore be given serious consideration. The letter should:  Deliver the report (‘Here is the report requested by …’)  Present an overview of the report  Offer to meet to discuss the contents

Work and Organisational Behaviour: Skill Development Guide © Carolyn Forshaw, 2010




3 Skill development guide formal report

Title page The title page is the first page of report. It should include:  Title of report  Author’s name and company  Name of addressee or recipient  Date  Report number (if necessary).

Table of contents Rather predictably, this shows the contents and arrangement of the report. It should always include a list of appendices, and sometimes also a list of illustrations.

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHELP