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BSc Business Management


Work, Organizations and Society


Coursework assignment


Spring Term 2016



Write a 1,000 word essay on one of the following topic areas:


  1. Skills/wages/technology/inequality/bad jobs
  2. Manufacturing/industry/service/retail/finance
  3. Labor/union[1]
  4. Professions
  5. Gender/Race


The assignment involves the following steps.


  1. In order to figure out a specific topic to write about within the general topic areas, read about a topic area on Work in Progress, a blog of the American Sociological Association on work and organizations. The blog articles are op-ed style articles, very short, typically around 800-1,200 words.
    1. The majority of the blog articles are in the op-ed style: A succinct but polished argument about a particular topic, with an intro, body and conclusion. There are a small number of shorter blog posts, which are brief commentaries rather than op-ed style articles (here is an example). You should focus on the op-ed style articles and not the brief commentary posts.
  2. On the blog, search around a topic area using the above terms (e.g. “skill,” “wage,” “technology,” etc). Read through the resulting blog articles in order to find TWO blog articles that are on a common theme. It is up to you to find a theme; it could be something like “skill polarization,” “unions and inequality,” “professional autonomy,” “manufacturing versus services,” “gender discrimination,” etc.
  3. Write your essay on the theme you pick. The article must be based on a minimum of FOUR academic journal articles or book chapters, two of which must be from the authors of the two blog articles you picked (if a blog article has more than one author, you only need to cite a journal article by one of the authors). The other two journal articles or book chapters can be from the same authors or from different authors. Make an argument about the topic, using the journal articles or book chapters as the basis for your points. You may use more than four journal articles or chapters.
    1. In order to find the academic journal articles or book chapters, use one of the following methods: (i) Find the author’s home page and look at their list of publications (use their CV if they have one on their page); (ii) Search for the author’s name on Google Scholar. If you have any questions about finding academic sources, ask a librarian!
    2. You must state in an endnote (not counted as part of your word count), which two blog articles you used as the basis for your entry into a topic. Cite as follows: “The articles used for entry into this topic are: Maria Azocar and Myra Marx Ferree, “Gender, lawyers and professional expertise,” Work in Progress, 23 Dec 2015; and ….”
    3. You may email me questions regarding whether the blog articles and theme you have picked are good and coherent, or whether your four journal articles or book chapters are good and on a coherent theme. Please remember that I have 260 students, so I can only answer two emails regarding this particular issue – your blog articles, theme and journal articles – for each student.



General information – Read all of the following points closely. There are both substantive and stylistic issues below that may affect your mark.


  • One electronic copy of the assignment should be submitted via KEATS by 10 am on Thursday 24 March.


  • If you have never written an essay before, or if you want to brush up on your skills, I recommend that you read an introductory book on essay writing. There are many types of these books, which can be found on, for example. I recommend the following: Peter Redman, Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide, Sage (2005). But any book on essay writing will be helpful. There is also a four-week course on Academic Writing, and related topics, at the KCL English Language Centre, if you are interested:


  • This assignment requires independent library research. You will have to find social science journal articles and/or book chapters. An academic or scholarly journal is a peer-reviewed periodical in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as forums for the introduction and presentation for scrutiny of new research, and the critique of existing research. There are dozens of journals that publish research on the sociology of work. The major ones include: American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Work and Occupations; Work, Employment and Society, British Journal of Sociology.


  • Your minimum of four sources need to be journal articles or book chapters. You can cite reports from think tanks and the like, but you should not cite Wikipedia, blogs, or web pages (e.g., notes from a professor or on a particular topic do not count as a source). Encyclopaedia articles (excluding user-generated sources like Wikipedia), newspaper, magazine and blog articles are fine to cite, but they do not count as academic references for purposes of your coursework.


  • Your paper should be written as a coherent essay, with an introduction, a body of text and a conclusion. It must contain a thesis statement (for more on thesis statements, see my handout on “Research paper FAQs.”


  • Write your paper using black and white, 12 point font, Times New Roman, with double spacing. Do not use fancy formatting or colour. I will deduct 5 points if you don’t follow this rule.


  • You must use the Harvard referencing system. For essays in social science, proper referencing is crucial. In this course we will use the Harvard system of referencing. Please see the document entitled “Harvard referencing quick guide” on KEATS for more information. If you are not familiar with the Harvard system, please review this document carefully.


  • You need to cite every article or book that you have either quoted directly or have drawn an idea from. If you do not do this, you are plagiarizing, which is a serious problem. For serious plagiarism you can be expelled from the College. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of over-citing. Each year I have a serious cases of plagiarism in which the students receive a zero for the coursework, up to ten cases of minor plagiarism in which the students received up to 50% deducted from their mark, and a dozen other cases of sloppy referencing in which students received between 5 – 15 points deducted from their mark.


  • I will deduct up to a full letter grade (10 points) off your coursework for papers that do not use the Harvard style. If you are sloppy in referencing, I may deduct up to 25% off your mark. This does not mean that you must obsessively get every single aspect of the system correct – commas in the right place, periods in the right place, etc. I am flexible about that. What it does mean is that you must: (a) cite every reference in the text (Name date) and in the bibliography, and (b) the bibliography must include all the information for each reference as specified in the above document. Bibliographies also must be in alphabetical order, do not have bullet points, numbered references, or multiple citations of the same source. You do not include web links for journal articles or print books; just include the full information with them, as indicated in the Quick Guide.


  • Doing the research. For your coursework, King’s subscribes to nearly all of the journals you will need to use. This includes electronic access to pdf versions of the journal articles. When on campus, you can access these directly.


  • I think the best database to search is Google Scholar, but you can use other databases if you like. Google Scholar typically has direct links to electronic journal articles, but sometimes it does not. So you may need to go directly to a journal home page on the internet to get an e-copy, or in some cases you may need to track down a physical copy of the journal article it the library.


  • When off campus, you can log into most e-resources using your King’s username and password, the same details you use to log into student computers. We use a system of authentication called Shibboleth but there are various links to look out for when logging into an e-resource. The most common ones are:
  • Log in via your institution
    • Institutional Login
    • Log in with Shibboleth
    • Shibboleth users go here
    • Log in via UK Access Management Federation
    • Login via UK Federation
    • Login via UK HE Federation

The final login screen will say ‘King’s Shibboleth Login’ in the top right hand corner. Please note that your username should be entered without any after it.

Please note that King’s no longer uses Athens authentication for staff and students.

For more info, see

If you have trouble finding materials in the King’s Library, talk to the library staff about accessing materials at other libraries.


  • Any assignments handed in after this deadline will be awarded a mark of zero. However, if you feel that you have legitimate reasons for submitting your coursework late, you may make an appeal in accordance with the procedures set out in the Programme Handbook.


  • The word limit for the assignment is 1,000 words. Reasonable use of appendices is not normally included in the word count. An electronic word count must be noted on the front of all pieces of assessed work. Word limits apply to the main body of the text (title, text, in-text citations, footnotes and diagrams) only and not to endnotes or your bibliography. The penalties for exceeding the stated word limit will be as follows: 5% penalty for exceeding the word limit up to 10%, and a further 0.5% deduction for every 1% exceeding the word limit.

[1] It’s an American website, so search for “labor” rather than “labour.”

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