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5 Report Writing: Content & Structure


orderly and objective communication of factual information that serves some business purpose

Typical Business Reports

Periodic Operating Reports: To monitor and control production, sales, shipping, service etc. Situational Reports: To describe one time events such as trips, conferences and seminars Investigative/ Informational Reports: To examine problems and supply facts with little analysis Compliance Reports: To respond to government agencies and laws, such as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission

Typical Business Reports

Justification / Recommendation Reports: To make recommendations to management and become tools to solve problems and make decisions Yardstick Reports: To establish and evaluate alternatives by measuring against the yardstick criteria Feasibility Reports: To analyze problems and predict whether alternatives will be practical or advisable Proposals: To offer to solve problems, investigate ideas, or sell products and services


1. 2. 3. 4. Preliminaries Main Body Conclusions & Recommendations Appendix


Title Page
Balance the following lines: y Name of the report y Receivers name, title, and organization y Authors name, title, and organization y Date submitted

On January 10, 2005, Sipra Sahdev, Professor, OB, IIM Lucknow , submitted a report entitled Analysis of motivation in todays workforce, to the Head, HR Department, Tata Automobile, Lucknow, Dr. Anuj Khandelwal


Submitted to Dr. Anuj Khandelwal Head of HR Department Tata Automobile Lucknow

Prepared by Sipra Sahdev Professor Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow January 10, 2005


Letter or Memo of Transmittal

Cover Letter Announce the topic and explain who authorized it. Briefly describe the project and preview the conclusions - if the reader is supportive. Close by expressing appreciation for the assignment, suggesting follow-up actions, acknowledging the help of others, and offering to answer questions.


Dr. Anuj Khandelwal, Head of HR Department, Tata Automobile, Lucknow Sipra Sahdev, Professor, IIML January 10, 2005

SUBJECT: MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES AT TATA AUTOMOBILE, LUCKNOW Here is the report that you requested about motivation in todays workplace, along with recommendations on how to implement strategies in our bank to motivate employees. The report included both secondary research using professional and scholarly journals and primary research using personal interviews with Arpit Parnerkar, Rajiv Vidyarthi, and Meenakshi Muhania. Based on the findings in this report, I have concluded that money alone is not enough to motivate employees in todays workforce. Having unmotivated employees is detrimental to an organization. Managers or supervisors can motivate their employees by effectively communicating with them, recognizing and praising effective performances, and implementing effective incentive programs. Having motivated employees increases productivity, sales rates, and morale. Recommendations for motivating employees at Tata Autmobile, Lucknow include meeting with employees frequently, letting them know how they are doing, and offering rewards that are valuable to employees. I am grateful to Arpit Parnerkar, Rajiv Vidyarthi, and Meenakshi Muhania for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with me about motivation in todays workforce. Their opinions contributed greatly to my success in completing this report. Kindly contact me if you need additional information or if you have questions. I would be happy to assist you in any way when implementing some of the recommendations presented in this report. 9


Table of Contents
Show the beginning page number where each report heading appears in the report. Connect page numbers and headings with dots.




Techniques or Strategies to Motivate Employees .3 Benefits of Motivating Employees PRIMARY RESEARCH USING INTERVIEWS Conducting the Interviews 5 6


Reporting the Results of the Personal Interviews 6 CONCLUSIONS 7



List of Illustrations
Include a list of tables, abbreviations, illustrations, glossary, or figures. Place the list on the same page as the table of contents if possible.



Not to be overdone, thank the tea man only if he was really instrumental in writing the report. Typically thank the one or two people who facilitated your work



Executive Summary, Summary or Abstract

Background, the methodology, problems, & recommendations

Summarize the report purpose, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Gauge the length of the summary by the length of the report and by the organizations practices. One or two pages generally Self contained (non-technical) making sense of its own. Use 4-5 keywords

Organizational plan for an executive summary

Begin with the purpose and the scope of the report Relate your purpose to a key problem Identify in non-technical language the criteria used to solve the problem Condense the findings of your report Stress conclusions and possible solutions Provide recommendations

Summaries & Abstracts

Summaries and abstracts are simply shorter versions of longer documents. These longer documents can be letters, memos, reports, journal articles, manuals, even books.


A summary (sometimes called an informative abstract) is a specific, detailed overview of a longer document. A summary includes information about the contents of the longer document and specifics about any conclusions or recommendations the longer document contains. An abstract (sometimes called a descriptive abstract) is a general, short overview of a longer document. An abstract simply describes what a longer document discusses. It is concerned with content, not with conclusions or recommendations contained in the original document. An abstract simply expands briefly upon the table of contents of the longer document.

In writing a summary, you can leave out:

background discussions personal comments digressions introductions explanations examples, especially lengthy ones visuals definitions, especially long or complicated ones data supported by assertions rather than evidence.

But you can not leave out

purpose essential specifics conclusions or results recommendations or implications

With some practice, summaries are easy to write. Here is an easy-to follow procedure for writing summaries. Read the entire document to develop a sense of both what it says and how it says it. (As the writer of the longer document, you may have become so involved with the writing that you can no longer remain objective. Read the document a second time, underlining the main points or eliminating the secondary and supporting points. (In a well-written document, these main points may simply be topic or thesis sentences.)  Concentrate on basic ideas only.  Eliminate supporting facts, examples, or data.  Eliminate illustrations and bibliographic references.  Combine similar ideas into more direct single statements.  Avoid technical terminology.  Condense information as concisely as possible. Rewrite what s left from the original, whether or not you authored the original document. Begin with a clear statement of the longer document s main idea. Supply any necessary transition between the points in your abstract. when necessary, break your abstract up into logical paragraphs that parallel the organizational pattern of the longer documents. Don t hesitate to use any of the formatting tricks we introduced earlier in this textbook.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Purpose of the Report The purposes of this report are to (1) explain why employees become unmotivated, (2) identify the consequences a company endures with unmotivated employees, (3) discuss strategies or techniques organizations can use to motivate their employees, and (4) show the positive consequences a company enjoys with motivated employees. Secondary research was conducted using the American Business Index. Nine professional and scholarly journals were used for the report. Primary research consisted of personal interviews with Lonny Cooper, Jon Wenzel, and Reza Rich. Secondary and primary research contributed equally to the success of this report.

Motivation in Todays Workforce Findings from professional and scholarly journals and personal interviews revealed that employees become unmotivated when communication breaks down between management and subordinates. Lack of motivation in employees tends to increase carelessness, absenteeism, resource waste, and turnover rates in an organization. Because employees possess different values, they are motivated by different things. Communicating information, praising employees, and recognizing effective performance are key strategies a manager or supervisor can use to motivate employees. Production, sales rates, and morale all increase when employees become motivated. The results of this research revealed a surprising concept: money alone is not enough to motivate employees today. Recommendations for Motivating Employees Recommendations for motivating employees at TATA AUTOMOBILE, LUCKNOW include (1) offering bank tellers valued rewards for balancing their cash drawers perfectly every day for one month and for each consecutive month, (2) meeting with each branch monthly to recognize, praise, and congratulate employees for successful performance, (3) sending memos to each employee showing how much profit each branch has made on a monthly basis and showing how that branch earned the profit, and (4) giving employees a choice as to whether they want extra pay or time off from work when extra hours are put in each 20 week.

Introduction: TOR Founding text of the Report


Explain the problem motivating the report. Describe the problems background and significance. Clarify the scope and limitations of the report. Consider reviewing relevant literature. Consider describing data sources, methods, and key terms. Close by previewing the reports organization.

Discuss, analyze, and interpret the research findings or proposed solution to the problem. Arrange the findings in logical segments that follow your outline. Use clear, descriptive headings.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Reminder of general framework of the assignment. Summary of findings. Explain what the findings mean in relation to the problem. Make enumerated recommendations, if requested. Suggest actions for solving the problem.

Conclusion Our investments are losing value because the stock market has declined. The bond market shows strength.

Recommendation Withdraw at least half of our investment in stocks, and invest it in bonds. Conclusion The cost of constructing multilevel parking structures for student on-campus parking is prohibitive. Recommendation Explore the possibility of satellite parking lots with frequent shuttle buses to campus.

Include items of interest to some, but not all, readers, such as data-gathering tools like questionnaires. Organizational chart Documents written for client


References and Bibliography

If footnotes are not provided, list all references in a section called Notes, Works Cited, or References. Optionally, include a bibliography showing all the works cited (and perhaps consulted) arranged alphabetically.

Components in Formal and Informal Reports

Bibliography Notes
Generally appear in both formal and informal proposals:

Appendix Recommendations Conclusions Body Introduction

Optional in informal Proposals:

Executive summary or abstract

List of Figures Table of Contents Letter of transmittal Title Page Cover


Overall considerations
Not to cram too much information in one sentence, too many words on one page Wasting some space on margin does not waste your point Do not forget to leave some space on left for binding

Overall considerations
Style, Unity, Coherence, Power, Precision, Clarity, Courtesy, Appearance

Go for simplicity Quote liberally, if you will but use All pages to be numbered PLEASE : use correction, reread, submit to outside criticism.

Author (last name, forename initials)

Journal Article
Year Title of the Article

Taylor, W. A. (1996). Sectoral investigation of management mind-sets and management behaviour. Total Quality Management 7(4), 385-400.
Pages Title of the Journal Volume Issue


Web(last Download Author

name, forename initials) Year

Joshi, V.T. and Chawla, A. (1999). Title of the Selection of candidates and democracy. Article Retrieved January 24, 2003 from < Retrieval date.htm>. Date
Website Address

Illustration: APA Style (Bibliography)

References Barrons, E. (1998). A comparison of domestic and international consumption of legumes. Journal of Economic Agriculture 23 (3), 45-49. Meadows, M. (1997 September 30). Peanut crop is anything but peanuts at home and overseas. Business Monthly, 14, 31-34.

Peanut Advisory Board( No date). History of Peanut Butter. Retrieved January 17, 1999 from < History/ index.html>.

Dedicated Programs like

Biblioscape ( Citation ( Endnote ( Nota Bene ( Can format citations in various styles like: MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, APA