What to ask in Critical OB Exams?

Today, I want to introduce you to the questions that I use during the my OB examinations. Currently it is a four-hour written examination. In addition to that it is a so-called open book examination, meaning that the student were allowed to use all sorts of resources, incl. the textbook. Therefore, I had to ask questions that required my students to apply the knowledge from our classes and not simply ‘remember-by-heart’-questions. Here is the list of questions that I have developed so far:

  • What does Globalisation mean? What effects does it have?
  • What are the consequences of the aging working population?
  • What does work mean to workers? Why is it important to understand what work means to them?
  • What does alienation mean in the context of work? Why do workers feel alienated? What could be done about it?
  • Explain the concept of work orientation and critically discuss it (i.e. to what extent is it useful and where are its limits).
  • Describe the differences of the reality of men and women in management?
  • What do managers do?
  • Are workplace romances unethical? Discuss!
  • “We really move our tails to make your every wish come true” (Continental Airlines). How does this slogan represent the sex-typed stewardess?
  • Using knowledge to be found in the internet, take a particular job or profession and a) explain how and to what extent it could be regarded as sex-typed, and b) explain what consequences this sex-typing has for men and women working in this job/profession or aspire to work in this job/profession!
  • ‘The pathway to company profit is also the pathway to self-actualisation’ (Rose, 1996). Discuss!
  • Why isn’t it enough to know about leaders’ traits, behaviours, when talking about leadership?
  • What does it mean to say: ‘What exists is not as important as what is perceived to be!’
  • Given what you know about the shortcomings of personality testing, what best advice would you offer to someone recruiting a new employee? Answering this question you need to relate to a particular position (e.g. mayor, head nurse, manager, IT-specialist etc.).
  • Critically evaluate the concept of personality!
  • Why is an organisational culture, which is considered to be strong, not necessarily positive, good or successful?
  • Are workers powerless? Discuss!
  • Is the power of managers limitless?
  • Why do you think people engage in voluntary work? Is there any difference to engaging in paid work?

There are of course plenty of more questions conceivable. Therefore this list is one that I continuously update. Each time I ‘stumble over’ a good discussion question for my examinations, I add it to this list.

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