Structuring an Academic Writing

Many people need to write an academic paper or an academic report. Although there are huge numbers of suggestions for academic writing, I want to introduce structures of academic writing in my field (social science, education, and business).  

Introduction / Problem Statement





Department / Institution

Tel:,    E-mail:



(Principal Proposition):

True Statement - Where we are?; Find contradiction:

e.g.) Studies have shown that managers in the multi-national enterprises (MNEs) confront issues of national culture in their daily activities. For instance, policies set by senior managers in one country may in fact represent the cultural assumptions of that country only and, as a result, may differ from the assumptions held by managers who reside in another country and who are expected to carry out the policies. Such differences in national culture may affect the behaviors of the managers and by extension the effectiveness of the policies.


Problem Statement (Interaction Proposition):

Core argument – Challenge to the principal proposition

e.g.) While a range of management behaviors have been studies related to national culture, there have been few if any studies focusing on how human resource development might differ based on national culture. Human resource development has been shown to be a critical factor in determining organizational success.


Need for the Study (Speculative proposition):

Need for the this study …

e.g.) If national culture may affect the way in which managers carry out organizational policies and by extension the effectiveness of those policies, and if no studies have been conducted on how human resource development might differ based on national culture, which is a critical aspect in determining organizational success, then more should be known about how managers in a multinational enterprise differ in their perceptions of human resource development.


Purpose of the study (Explicative statement)

The purpose of this study…

e.g.) The purpose of this study was to determine whether managers in a multinational enterprise differed in their perceptions of selected human resource development practices in their organization. In addition, if such differences were found, the study sought to determine whether managers’ perceptions could be clustered by the countries in which they resided.


Significance of the study


Show the significance of the study

e.g.) Theoretical significance / Practical significance

Research Questions (with conceptual framework):


Specific research questions or conceptual / theoretical framework

Research Method:

Population, steps, Instrument, and strategy


Originality / Value:

Show your originality, value, and beneficiary for readers.




source: Jacobs (2011). Chapter 10. Developing a Research Problem and Purpose Statement. Rocco, T.S., Hatcher, T. Creswell, J.W. (2011). The Handbook of Scholarly Writing and Publishing. 


Each sections of proposed structure of introduction/problem statement can be written with a general structure of academic writing.  

General Structure of Academic Writing


·       General Statement

·       Narrow

·       Points

·       Theses: Thesis1, Thesis2, Thesis3.



·       Thesis 1

·       Support 2

·       Example


·       Thesis 2

·       Support 2

·       Example 2


·       Thesis 3

·       Support 3

·       Example 3



·       Restatement of Problem

·       Opinions

·       General conclusion


Dec. 2012

J. Choi

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JOURNALS in North American Business Press (editor:

Journal of Business Diversity

Contact: Sandra Williams, Ph.D., Editor; 

Journal of Business Diversity

North American Business Press


Phone: 1-866-624-2458

Fax: 1-800-307-1004

Miami, Florida; 

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Seattle, Washington

Los Angeles, California

Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice

American Journal of Business


Journal of Applied Business and Economics

Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability

Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics

Journal of Management Policy and Practice

Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness

International Journal of Business Anthropology

International Journal of China Marketing

Journal of Accounting and Finance

Journal of Organizational Psychology

USASBE Journal 

USASBE members have complimentary online access to the Emerald Enterprise Journal collection through March 12th which includes:


European Journal of Innovation Management

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

Journal of Family Business Management

Journal of Knowledge-based Innovation in China

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

Social Enterprise Journal


To log in please go to and enter the following login id:

Username: EmeraldFreeAccess

Password: USASBE2012

You can then go to the journal table of content you wish to read about and click any issues or use our search/advanced search tool to find relevant content for you. The online access ends on 12th March 2012.


USASBE 2012 was the first opportunity for Emerald to showcase the new Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (JEPP), edited by Prof Noel Campbell, University of Central Arkansas, USA. Please read the first issue available as a draft version: it includes an interesting paper from USASBE members Jeff Cornwall and William Dennis on the integration of public policy into the classroom and into more traditional streams of entrepreneurship research.


The launch of JEPP ties in with the formation of the new USASBE Entrepreneurship and Public Policy SIG at USASBE. This group was recognized by the USASBE Board of Directors as the 12th official USASBE Special Interest Group during the postconference Board meeting in New Orleans.  If you would like to get involved with the SIG or wish further information, please email Jeff Cornwall at or the 2012 Chair of the SIG, Julian Lange, at


If you wish to receive relevant news on entrepreneurship, please follow us on Twitter at


Best wishes,


Valerie Robillard

Senior Publisher - New Launches and Partnerships

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Tel:+44 (0) 1274 785044

Fax:+44 (0) 1274 785201


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Katz (2003)

·       A complete educational infrastructure, consisting of more than 300 endowed positions, more than 100 centers, more than 40 refereed academic journals and more than a dozen professional organizations in the United States alone (Katz, 1994);

·       An emerging segmentation of the discipline marked by the growth of specialized professional groups and publishing venues in economics, economic development, finance and high-technology; and

·       Legitimization by various external sources, including

o   National rankings of entrepreneurship programs in the mainstream media (US News and World Report, Business Week) and

o   Inclusion of four top-tier entrepreneurship journals in the Social Science Citation Index (Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Small Business Management, Small Business Economics).


Dos Santos (2010) List

Model Scores for Entrepreneurship Articles Only (Dos Santos, 2010) – by Ranking


SSCI Listed?

Focus on Entrepreneurship?

Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ)



Strategic Management Journal (SMJ)



Journal of Business Venturing (JBV)



Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (ETP)



Organization Science (OSc)



Academy of Management Journal (AMJ)



Academy of Management Review (AMR)



Journal of Management (JOM)



Management Science (MSc)



Family Business Review (FBR)


Yes / No (?)

Journal of Small Business Management (SBM)



Entrepreneurship and Regional Development (ERD)



Journal of Evolutionary Economics (JEE)



Journal of Management Studies (JMS)



Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE)

Not found


Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (QAE)

Not found


Journal of Business and Enterprise Development (SBD)

Not found


Creativity and Innovation Management (CIM)

Not found


International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research (EBR)

Not found


Journal of Small Business Strategy (SBS)

Not found


Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC)

Not found


Journal of Organizational Change Management (OCM)

Not found


New England Journal of Entrepreneurship (NEE)




·                     Small business economics (at Katz list) was not included in this List. 


Katz, J. A. (2003). The chronology and intellectual trajectory of American entrepreneurship education: 1876–1999. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(2), 283-300. doi:10.1016/S0883-9026(02)00098-8 

Pena, V. (2010). A survey of entrepreneurship education initiatives. No. NS D-4091). Institute for Defense Analyses, Washington, DC: Science and Technology Policy Institute. Retrieved from

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Participative decision making

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Participative Decision-Making (PDM) is the way an organization decides to make decisions. The leader must think of the best possible style that will allow the organization to come up with the best results. When the leader involves participants, it is shown to improve job satisfaction. Synergy is important in decisions because it is the ability for people to work together and produce results that can exceed decision making made by an individual(Papa).According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, workers need to feel a sense of belongingness to an organization. (See Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) When everyone in an organization participates in the decision-making process, organizational communication is much more effective and everyone produces efficient results(Walker 2007).



[edit]Disadvantages of Particpative Decision-Making

When participative decision-making takes place in a team setting, it can cause many disadvantages. These can be anything from social pressures to conform and also group domination, where one person takes control of the group and urges everyone to follow their standpoints. With ideas coming from many people, time can be an issue. The meeting might end and good ideas go unheard. Negative outcomes of PDM are: high costs, inefficiency, and incompetence (Debruin 2007).

[edit]Decision-making through computer-mediated technology

A new kind of participative decision-making is communication through the computer. Although a relatively new approach, this way can involve endless possibilities in order to reach a major organizational decision. There is a huge increase in more active and equal member participation. Individuals can talk to many other individuals at any time, regardless of geographic location and time zone. An organization can come together on a virtual site developed to make it easier to share emails, share presentations and even have a chat room where anyone can add their input. Through a chat room, members of the organizations are able to see what everyone says and no one is blocked from saying their ideas. There is also now a record of past archives of what was said (Berry 2002).

Some disadvantages of a computer-mediated meeting is that sometimes feedback can be slow. Also, there can be many conversations under way at the same time and it might cause confusion. Flaming is also known as a computer-mediated problem and is when a person uses inappropriate behavior or language. Members also feel less personal and relational to their team members (Berry 2002).

[edit]Vigilant Interaction Theory

According to Papa et al., the vigilant interaction theory is a theory that states the quality of the group in a decision-making team, is dependent on the group's attentiveness during interaction. Critical thinking is important for all group members in order to come up with the best possible solution to the decision. Four questions that should be asked:

1. Analyze the problem- What needs to be fixed?

2. Think of objectives- What are we trying to accomplish with this decision.

3. Discuss choices- Think of possible choices that can be used.

4. Evaluate- After coming up with choices, think of all the positive and negative aspects of each.

[edit]Kinds of Participative Decision-Making

In organizations, when coming together to make decisions there are many different types. They are: Collective PDM, Democratic PDM, Autocratic PDM, andConsensus PDM. A PDM style includes any type of decision transfer from a superior to their subordinates (Sager 1999).


In a collective participative decision-making style, the members of the organization have some say of the decision process. This is the most common type used by organizations and is proven to be very effective. Although employees are asked for their opinions, the leader alone makes the final decision and has all control of how the decision will pan out, and takes full responsibility of all the consequences (Connor 2003).


In a democratic participative decision-making style, the leader gives up complete ownership of the decision and lets employees vote. The majority of the votes will win. This causes a fast and effective decision to be made. Although the team might reach a fast decision, no one takes responsibility for the decision and if something goes wrong, an employee can simply state that they did not vote for it.


In an autocratic participative decision-making style, like the collective style, the leader takes control and responsibility of the final decision. The difference is that in an autocratic style, members of the organizations are not included and the final outcome is all on the leader. This is the best style to use in an emergency when an immediate decision is needed.


In a consensus participative decision-making style, the leader gives up complete control and responsibility of the decision and leaves it to the members of the organization. Everyone must agree and come to the same decision. This might take a while, but the decisions made are usually the best since it involves the ideas and skills of many other people. Team work is important in this style and brings members closer together while trust and communication increase.

[edit]Making Decisions Based on Information

To make a good decision, there needs to be a good amount of information that you are basing the outcome from. Information can include anything from charts, surveys, past sales reports, to prior research. When making a decision primarily based from the information you are given from your organization, you can come to a conclusion in four different ways.

Decisive - Little amount of information and one course of action. Decisions are made fast, direct, and firmly.

Flexible - Little information available, but time is not an issue and they come up with many different courses of action.

Hierarchic - Much information available, but one course of action is made.

Integrative - Much information is available, and many decisions are made out of it.

[edit]Decision-Making Stages

Developed by B. Aubrey Fisher, there are four stages that should be involved in all group decision making. These stages, or sometimes called phases, is important for the decision-making process to begin(Papa).

Orientation stage- This phase is where members meet for the first time and start to get to know each other.

Conflict stage- Once group members become familiar with each other, disputes, little fights and arguments occur. Group members eventually work it out.

Emergence stage- The group begins to clear up ambigiuity in opinions is talked about.

Reinforcement stage- Members finally make a decision, while justifying themselves that it was the right decision.

[edit]Decision-Making Steps

When in an organization and faced with a difficult decision, there are several steps one can take to ensure the best possible solutions will be decided. These steps are put into seven effective ways to go about this decision making process (McMahon 2007).

The first step- Outline your goal and outcome. This will able decision makers to see exactly what they are trying to accomplish and keep them on a specific path.

The second step- Gather data. This will help decision makers have actual evidence to help them come up with a solution.

The third step-Brainstorm to develop alternatives. Coming up with more than one solution ables you to see which one can actually work.

The fourth step-List pros and cons of each alternative. With the list of pros and cons, you can eliminate the solutions that have more cons then pros, making your decision easier.

The fifth step - Make the decision. Once you analyze each solution, you should pick the one that has many pros, and the one that everyone agrees with.

The sixth step-Immediately take action. Once the decision is picked, you should implement it right away.

The seventh step - Learn from, and reflect on the decision making. This step allows you to see what you did right and wrong when coming up, and putting the decision to use.


Allen, J.F., & Judd, B.B.,(2007). Participation in decision-making and job satisfaction: Ideal and reality for male and female university faculty in the United States. Human Communication 10(3), 157-179.

Asmub,B., & Svennevig, J., (2009). Meeting talk. Journal of Business Communication. 46(1), 3-22

Berry, G.R.,(2006). Can computer-mediated, asynchronous communication improve, team processes and decision-making?. Journal of Business Communication. 43(4),344-366.

Brousseau, K.R., Driver, M.J., Hourihan, G., & Larsson, R.(2006). The seasoned executive's decision-making style. Harvard Business Review. 84(2), 110-121.

Connor, P.E., & Becker, B.W.(2003). Personal value systems and decision-making styles of public managers. Public Personnal Management. 32(1), 155-181.

DeBruin, W.B., Parker, A.M., & Fischhoff, B. (2007). Individual differences in adult decision-making competence.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology92(5),938-956.

McMahon, M.(2007).Career Coach: Decision Making. Pulse. United Kingdom

Papa, M.J., Daniels, T.D., & Spiker, B.K.(2008). "Organizational Communication: Perspective and Trends" Sage.

Sagie, A., & Aycan, Z.,(2003). A cross-cultural analysis of participative decision-making on organizations. Human Relations 56(4), 453-473.

Sager, K.L., & Gastil, J.,(1999). Reaching consensus on consensus: A study of the relationships between individual decision-making styles and the use of the consensus decision rule. Communication Quarterly. 47(1), 67-79.

Walker, G.B.,(2007). Public participation as participatory communication in environmental policy decision-making: From concepts to structured conversations.Environmental Communication. 1(1), 99-110.

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"Public Engagement" 


Public engagement is the application for the public good of the knowledge and expertise of a faculty or staff member to issues of societal importance. Typically, this activity is done in collaboration with others both within and outside of the university. 

The activity may enrich research and teaching as well as lead to new directions within the university. Public engagement falls under the service mission of the university."


Office of the Provost, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009). 
Communication No. 9. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. p. 30.

Available at

Remark: This definition is gotten from Dr. George Reese's E-mail on June 10 2009. 

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