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4.1 PROMPT

There is so much information available on the internet on every topic imaginable. But how do you know if it is any good? And if you find a lot more information than you really need, how do you decide what to keep and who to discard?

In this section we are going to introduce a simple checklist to help you to judge the quality of the information you find. Before we do this, spend a few minutes thinking about what is meant by information quality.

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3.6 Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias can be useful reference texts to use to start your research. There are some available online, such as:

Wikipedia A freely available collaborative encyclopedia.

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2.1 Planning your search

Your approach to searching will depend to a great extent on what kind of person you are. In an ideal world, when searching for information for a specific purpose, we would all find what exactly we were looking for at the first attempt, especially if we are in a hurry. However, it’s always a good idea to have some kind of plan when you are searching for information, if only to help you plan your time and make sure you find the information you need. If I was starting to search for material on
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5.4 The pursuit of legitimacy

Social institutions affect which actions are seen as legitimate. As we make decisions in organisations it is common to be concerned not just with economic outcomes but also with ‘legitimacy ’: ‘How will this decision be seen by X ’?; ‘Does this fit the way things are done around here?’; ‘What would happen if the press got hold of this?’; and so on.

Some of this can be quite unconscious; the conceptual frameworks and notions of cause and effect that are available to decis
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Managing Human Resources (B824) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

Strategy is based on the unique relationship between an organisation's distinctive resources and capabilitie
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3.2 CSR reporting

We mentioned earlier three reasons for environmentally friendly behaviour, effectively deriving from personally held values, niche marketing or regulatory pressure. To a large extent the same holds true for ethical behaviour.

Some organisations have a long tradition of good citizenship, ranging from the UK social housing of Bourneville or Port Sunlight, through to community involvement schemes from such as Xerox and IBM. Financial sponsorship of good causes, whether that be artistic end
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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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2 Why projects fail – the dimensions of failure

Unfortunately, projects are not always completely successful and the consequences of an unsuccessful project can be significant politically, financially and socially for organisations and for the people who carry out the project. Considering the key dimensions of a project (budget, time and quality) there are three obvious ways in which one might fail:

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Introduction

Many managers find that they are required to manage projects. In this unit we aim to help you to take an overview of the features of a project and the issues that arise in managing a project. Once you have identified a piece of work as a project, you are able to use a number of management approaches that have proven effective in managing projects. A project is a one-off, non-repeated activity or set of tasks that achieves clearly stated objectives within a time limit. Most projects are goal-o
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Chris Stalker, He
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3 Conclusion

This unit has introduced a series of ideas that relate to campaigning and how organisations can adapt their outlook in order to achieve their campaigning goals.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should:

  • understand why and how innovation is important;

  • recognise the benefits which innovation can confer on an innovating organisation.


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2.1 Introduction

'All experiences count and are valuable and no one should push those aside. It really doesn't matter where that experience was gained. It's about what you learnt from it… don't devalue yourself. Recognise the importance of what you've done.'

Ruth Stokes, KPMG on the vol
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1.3.1 Europe and the EU

Is there a Europe beyond the EU? This is a question that becomes more and more difficult to answer. It is quite common for example to hear of such or such a country wishing to ‘join Europe’, when what is meant is that they wish to apply to join the EU.

The criteria for joining the EU were laid down in the summit of Copenhagen, 21 and 22 June 1993. Candidates must have reached an institutional stability that guarantees democracy, legality, human rights, and the respect and protection
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1.4.1 Discourse involves work

If discourse is doing something rather than doing nothing, what kinds of things are being done? We can see that Diana's account in Extract 1, like all accounts, constructs a version of social reality. When we talk we have open to us multiple possibilities for characterizing ourselves and events. Indeed, there are many ways Diana could have answered Bashir's first question in the extract above. Any one description competes with a range of alternatives and indeed some of these alternativ
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1.7 Conclusion

Several concluding points are worth drawing attention to. First, it is clear that the general thrust of EU policy making, whether this be pushed by the Commission or the Council of Ministers, is one that embodies a neo-liberal, market-based liberalisation and de-regulatory agenda, though as with any programme of this kind, there are anomalies and reversals to this overall trajectory. Nevertheless, it is not one that has foregrounded the idea of a ‘social Europe’, even though this does fig
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1.6.3 Fiscal retrenchment?

If we turn to fiscal issues, at the time of entry to the EU in 2004, six of the ten entry countries had government deficits in excess of the SGP/ Maastricht Treaty 3 per cent of GDP rule: the Czech Republic (−5.9 per cent), Cyprus (−4.6 per cent), Hungary (−4.9 per cent), Malta (−5.9 per cent), Poland (−6.0 per cent) and Slovakia (−4.1 per cent). Thus these countries would be required to cut back on their public expenditures or increase taxes so as to move into a more or less bala
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1.5.4 Summary

  • The Euro has become an important currency of denomination for government and corporate bonds.

  • There is now emerging a two-currency world, made up of the US dollar and the EU Euro.

  • The advantages to countries of being able to borrow internationally in their own currencies have not been lost to them, so there will be an incentive for the east-Asian countries to develop their own ‘regional’ financial markets.


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1.4.3 Summary

  • EMU has been accompanied by fiscal rules embodied in the SGP.

  • An issue raised by this is the compatibility of a common single monetary policy target designed to defeat inflation with different fiscal policies ostensibly at the discretion of the individual govern ments.

  • When France and Germany contravened the SGP fiscal rule, it was effectively suspended and broke down. This was a case of the Council of Ministers asserting c
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4.3 Summary

If social researchers are to be effective in understanding people, they need to be detached from common sense (the perspective of the person on the street). However, they should not be so detached that they fall into the trap of imposing their own categories upon the object without regard for the experience of those involved (the perspective of the expert).

The standpoint of the ‘stranger’ provides a way of mediating between the detached position of the scientist and the personal ex
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