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AC411 Essay comments:

This document contains feedback regarding each of the essay topics. It will be updated after the
relevant essay topic has been graded.

Feedback on Essay 1 – 2 is currently included.

Submitting and reviewing your essay:

 Please submit .pdf files to Moodle. This will allow the document to be annotated, and will
allow you to receive more relevant feedback on your essay.
 Please remember the submission is meant to only include your student number, and not your
 When viewing your essay: Green highlights indicate good points, Red highlights indicate either
unclear, confusing, or incorrect points. Comment boxes may also appear in text to further
discuss any reason for the red highlight.

Hints and tips

 Try to ensure you answer the essay question. Don’t simple re-write things you learned in the
lecture or from the textbook about the topic. Ensure you use that knowledge to answer the
 Try to ensure your essay has a structure. Your introduction can be used to answer the essay
question briefly, and explain which arguments you will make in the following paragraphs to
arrive at that answer.
 Excellent (A+) answers will often group their ideas into broad categories, and each paragraph
will flow logically. Good (A) answers often make technically good points addressing the
accounting issues, but the points may be disjointed, and not grouped into similar ideas.
 While not necessary for an A+ answer, researching the topic, and using other references can
help with your ideas and provide extra depth to your answers.

Possible Essay Question 1 (for written work):

Despite their outstanding success domestically, Lincoln’s internationalization thrust of the late 1980s
and early 1990s failed. Is Lincoln’s approach to the organization and motivation of employees ‘export-
able’ outside the US? What are potential barriers to adopting the Lincoln approach abroad?

Many students spent too much time and space reiterating what was in the case, describing the
Lincoln MCS, or describing what a MCS is based on the textbook definitions. They then ran out of
space to actually answer the essay question. That is, they didn’t discuss othe barriers to adopting the
Lincoln approach abroad.

Many students only addressed the pay-for-performance issue. While some students did an excellent
job outlining the cultural issues with piecework, or bonuses, they then ignored the rest of the
MCS. Other issues that could have been discussed include the following: Is a flat organisational
structure culturally acceptable in other areas of the world? Do all cultures like bonuses/stock-
options, or do some prefer predictable pay rather than volatility? Do all cultures have the same
individual competitiveness in the workplace that Lincoln fosters? Is piecework pay legal, or culturally
acceptable in other countries? Do labour laws allow for the long working hours expected of Lincoln

Some students were very vague in their answers, and would simply state things like 'cultural issues
would cause a problem with accepting pay-for-performance'. While this is correct, we need more
depth in the answer, and specific explanations are always preferred over more generic statements.

Possible Essay Question 2 (for written work):

The vast majority of corporations are decentralized to a considerable degree. What kinds of
organizations are best run in a largely centralized manner, and why?

The most common and damaging problem in responding to this essay topic, is that many students
discussed decentralized organisations in more detail than centralized organisations. They then did not
answer the question, and did not discuss what kinds of organisations are best run in a largely
centralized manner. Therefore, numerous essays did not provide a clear answer or conclusion as to
which organisations would work best in a centralized manner.

Students who showed knowledge of organizational structure and management control systems who
covered broadly the advantages and disadvantages of the two organisational structures but did not
directly answer the question would score a ‘B’ (60-69%) at best.

Similarly, some essays focused on answering the opposite of the question. That is they discussed
decentralized organisations, and the benefits and disadvantages in a lot of detail. Instead of directly
addressing the essay topic and answering ‘centralization may be beneficial when firms produce a
single product, for sale in a single geographical market…’ they would answer ‘decentralization is
required when firms are producing various products for sale in many different regional markets’. It
shows an understanding of the concept, but is not a clear answer to the essay topic.

Essays that only introduced 1-3 points, and didn’t go into a lot of depth on those points often got a B
(60 – 69%). Common feedback in this case would look like this: “There were a few other issues you
could have touched on in the essay, including the type of organization - e.g. company, NGO or military,
how heavily regulated the organisation is, the cultural norms for the country of operation and the
diversity of products or industries the firm operates in.”

To get an A (70 – 79%), I expected either numerous 3+ points, or fewer points to be thoroughly
explained in depth, often with examples helping to illustrate the point. Additionally, strong conclusions
and a generalizable takeaway that could be applied to other non-case businesses was helpful.
Students who received an A+ (80% +) had numerous points explained in depth. Additionally, they
grouped their points together under similar categories, allowing for an easy to read easy-flowing essay.
The conclusion would provide a clear answer summarising their points, and explain how a business
could sum up their characteristics to decide if they would benefit from centralization.
Possible Essay Question 3 (for written work):
Some managers are known for “never having missed a budget target.” Do you believe that is
possible? Does such a record suggest that the managers are extremely effective managers; very
lucky managers, or devious, manipulative managers? Are such managers to be congratulated (and,
possibly or likely, promoted in their organizations) for their budget-achievement record?

Possible Essay Question 4 (for written work):

Do you believe that incentive pay is truly effort‐inducing; that is, drive employees to
perform at their best? Discuss?

Possible Essay Question 5 (for written work):

Fast-forward 10 years. Assume that CSI has been successful. It is now a much larger, public
company. It has three operating divisions (investment centers) that focus on different markets.
What would you expect the CSI measurement and compensation systems to look like at that time?