formal report

A. Assignment

For your final assignment this term, write a formal report on the communication issues

raised by case study number seven,

“Cross-Cultural Negotiation: Americans Negotiating

a Contract in China.”


You work as a business-student intern for the Major Vehicle Component Company

(MVC), based in Graball, Alabama. Chief negotiator Mr. Jones, still frustrated by his

inability to set up a joint venture in China, has asked his assistant, Artimus Pyle, to

compose a detailed post-mortem report about the trip. Pyle is pressed for time, so he has

asked you to review the available documentation (the comments of Jones and Wang), to

report on the issues and problems surrounding MVC’s trip to China, and to recommend a

course of action that focuses on an improved understanding of cross-cultural

communication. Pyle will rely on your analyses and recommendations, possibly by

incorporating them into his final report to Jones.

Consequently, you must review the course of the preliminary negotiations, as evidenced

by the comments of Jones and Wang; you will also have to determine what went wrong,

causing the several misunderstandings that seem to have occurred. Shape your findings

into a formal report to Pyle and make any recommendations you see fit. He has invited

you to think this matter through and to express your views freely on what happened and

what should be done. He has also indicated to you that he will take full responsibility for

the decision whether or not to adopt your views and to incorporate them into his report to



Your purpose is informative, analytic, and persuasive: you are reporting on and analyzing

information, but you are also suggesting and recommending courses of action to be

pursued by your organization. Consequently, your analysis demonstrably has to yield

good reasons as to why something should or should not be done. As with any persuasive

document—positive or negative—you need to think carefully about appropriate tone,

effective organization, and overall coherence.


Your primary audience is, of course, imagined: Artimus Pyle of MVC. However,

remember that in this case that you also have a strong secondary audience in place (Mr.

Jones), and of course your instructor in this course forms another audience level to


B. Formal Requirements

Assignment Format: ‘Formal Report’

The format for this final assignment in the course will be a ‘formal report.’

Follow the format, conventions, and suggestions set out in Locker/Findlay, chapters 10

and 11, and especially pages 273 ff. (‘Writing Formal Reports’). Your reference is to the

‘model’ (“Slam Dunk”) included in that text section.

As Locker notes, while formats vary more or less widely according to

corporate/institutional conventions, there are nevertheless some fairly widespread general

conventions. Follow these, and in particular ensure that your final document has at least

the following (a document ‘cover’ is not required for online submission):

 Title Page

 Memorandum of Transmittal

 Table of Contents (*see below)

 [List of Illustrations if applicable]

 Executive Summary: write this as an ‘informative executive summary’ (see

Locker/Findlay, pp. 279 – 282)

 Body

 [Notes, References, Works Cited if applicable]

 [Appendices, if applicable]

The body (main text, excluding transmittal and summary) of your report should

be around 1250 words. This is relatively short as formal reports go, but is more than

sufficient for the purposes of this exercise. A couple of things follow from this relative

brevity. First – perhaps most importantly – it follows that ‘completeness’ will not be

possible; rather, what you will almost certainly have to do is choose two, or perhaps three

at most, major points/issues, and write your report as if that were all you need to do. Far

better (for coherence) to narrow down on two/three key points, and thoroughly

explore/report on those, rather than trying to do too much. You should note (see your

text) that the conventions of formal reports allow you to formalize this, by specifying

‘limitations’ on the scope of your report. Second, your *‘Table of Contents’ will

necessarily need to be adjusted to reflect whether, and to what extent, you include ‘if

applicable’ sections noted above, and to reflect headings, sub-headings, and so on. You

should let your inclusion of visuals, or use of headings, be determined by the nature of

what you are writing: will visuals, headings/sub-headings help make your case, or not?

If yes, use them; if no, then there is no need.

Research Component: For this final assignment, you must find, use, and include

reference to at least three sources outside the actual case report, at least two of which

must be from print-based sources.

Resources: Locker/Findlay Chapters 5, 10 and 11; Lecture notes Units 9, 10, and 12;

Assignment Format: Formal Report (Internal)

Word Count: the main body of your report, excluding front and back matter, should be

approximately 1250 words.

Purpose: For either option, your purpose is informative, analytic, and persuasive; you

are reporting and analyzing information, but you are also suggesting/recommending

courses of action to be pursued by your organization. Consequently, your analysis

demonstrably has to yield good reasons why something(s) should or should not be done.

As with any persuasive document – positive or negative – you need to think carefully

about organization and overall coherence.

Evaluation Criteria: Your final report assignment will be evaluated as to:

 form/design

 sentence grammar/structure/clarity/cohesion

 coherence: paragraph-level and global

 completeness

 persuasiveness

 awareness of audience

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