Reader requirements: professional experience dealing with regulatory issues; business management in particular, also consulting, policy or legal work related to business-government relations.
Instructor: Prof. Ed Balleisen
Interdisciplinary inquiry into the origins/evolution of modern regulatory institutions in Western Europe and North America, along with the more recent rise of global regulatory bodies. Examines conceptual frameworks from across the social sciences, and considers the ethical dimensions of current debates over regulatory purposes, strategies, and policies in areas such as finance and the environment.
Student Writing Assignment
What are students writing? Case Study; specifically, a narrative historical case study for open-source archive available to teachers of business history worldwide.
For whom? MBAs, readers with an interest in Business History or Business-Government Relations; undergraduate students like themselves in future classes, though potentially from, say, Japan or Nigeria, as well as in another U.S. institution of higher learning, or an advanced high school.
Where would such writing typically be found? Harvard Business School Publishing Case Studies, Oxford Online Business Case Studies.
Why would someone usually read it? In most instances, readers would encounter the case study as part of a course on business strategy, business-government relations, or business history. This type of writing puts a premium on drawing readers into a particular historical puzzle, furnishing sufficient context to situate them as they consider it, and presenting a compelling historical narrative that gives readers the capacity to analyze and discuss the best answers for it.
Student – Reader Interactions
Sign-up deadline: March 6. Match letters will be sent on or about March 15. You should contact your reader within 48 hours to schedule your introductory meeting.
By March 23: Confirm time/day for intro meeting with your reader.
By 3/28-4/1: Intro meeting (in person, phone or webcam). Plan for 20-30 minutes. During this meeting you and your reader will get to know each other and your interests in the topic, and clarify expectations for the assignment. You can also discuss your prospectus; if so, send your reader a draft of your prospectus in advance of the meeting.
By 4/17: draft sent to reader (and CC’d to instructor).
By 4/25: Meet with reader (in person, phone or webcam) to discuss draft 1. Plan for 60 minutes. Reader will provide oral feedback on the second draft according to guidelines provided by the instructor. (Readers may also provide written feedback in advance of the meeting if they choose to, and if they receive the draft far enough in advance of the meeting. If so, you should discuss their feedback and how you might address their concerns during this meeting.)
By 4/30: submit the final version to your professor as instructed and send a copy to your reader. (Be sure to CC your instructor. A thank you note would be appropriate.)
By 5/1: Complete the brief RP student survey
OPTIONAL: Early feedback
Because of the timing of this assignment, if you would like to get additional feedback from your reader, you will need to send a draft no later than April 12. We encourage you to do so, but that is up to you. If you choose to get this extra feedback, you will need to arrange a time to discuss the draft with your reader that will give you time to revise the paper in time to get them a second draft.
The draft need not be complete or polished; just let your reader know where you are with the project. Depending on how far along you are, you may want to ask your reader to focus on one or more of the questions listed below under “For Readers.” If you have questions, contact the project coordinator.
Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.
The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:
- Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More
Instructor’s response questions
Please focus your feedback on the following questions:
- Does the paper provide you with sufficient context so that you can understand the issue being addressed and its relevance?
- Is the historical research through and engaging? Do you find the choice of source material to be appropriate and compelling?
- Are the policy implications presented in clearly? If you were the decision maker, would you find the policy discussion useful?
- The ideal report should provide a good balance between engagement with historical research and its application to the specific policy dilemma. How well does the report maintain this balance? Is there too much history but not a thin policy analysis, or vice versa?