Mba–managerial accounting combined research paper and case



Research Paper Guidelines


MBA–Managerial Accounting


Southeastern University




Combined Research Paper and Case Study




The next section presents a balanced scorecard case study. The assignment is to prepare an analysis of the case, which includes a research component.  Use the following headings within the body of your paper as a basis for presenting your material:




  1. Balanced Scorecard Theory (BST).  Identify and explain what BST entails and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.  This discussion should include references to a minimum of five published sources.  One of these should be Kaplan and Norton, who first advanced this concept as a management tool in 1992.  Only one reference can be from a web site.  All others must be from published practitioner magazines or academic journals.  You may reference the text book, but it does not count as one of the five reference sources.  Remember:  a research effort is only as good as the quality of the reference sources.  Poor quality references are indicative of an uninspired research effort. 




  1. Balanced Scorecard Case Study.  Analyze the following case study (taken from the Horngren et al. text) for a Law Firm.  Support your answer by references to material in the case and to the material you presented in the Balanced Scorecard Theory section of this paper.  Include a discussion of balanced scorecard management techniques that are being used and how effective the law firm is employing this concept. 




Young, Martinez, and Cheung (YMC) is a law firm in Chicago.  The firm has had a very loose and relaxed management style that has served it well in the past.  However, more aggressive law firms have been winning new clients faster than YMC has.  Thus, the managing partner, Jerry Martinez, recently attended and ABA seminar on the performance measurement in law firms, where he learned about the balanced scorecard.  He thought it might be a good tool for YMC, one that would allow the firm to keep its culture yet still more aggressively seek new clients.




Martinez identified the following strategic objectives that fit with the firm’s core values and provide a framework for assessing progress toward the firm’s goals. 




Financial:  To steadily increase the firm’s revenues and profits.


Customer:  (1) To understand the firm’s customers and  (2) to value customer service over self-interest.


Internal Business Process: (1) Encourage knowledge sharing among the legal staff, (2) Communicate with each other openly, honestly, and often, and (3) Empowere staff to make decisions that benefit their clients.


Organizational Learning:  (1) To maintain an open and collaborative environment that attracts and retains the best legal staff, and (2) to seek staff diversity.


For this case study, identify at least one measure (it should be very specific) for each of the objectives set forth above.  Then, explain how YMC can use these measures to evaluate staff performance.  Finally, present the pros and cons of using the balanced scorecard measures as an aspect of the determination of compensation.




3.   Application.  If your firm uses the balanced scorecard as a management tool,


      discuss in detail how it is doing this.  If not, as an alternative, discuss how you might employ       the balanced scorecard idea to improve performance in your organization.




  1. References.  Set forth all sources used to develop this case study.  All references must be from published sources.  If you use an Internet source, make sure it is of academic quality.  For example, the Academy of Management or the American Accounting Association websites are examples of an acceptable www citation.  Conversely, websites like are not of academic quality and, therefore, are unacceptable reference sources. Only one citation can come from an Internet website source.




Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable reference, nor is the textbook or any other textbook. These sources are not considered research quality in academia.




 Databases such as AIB/Inform, ProQuest, Science Direct, and Wilson Business resources  


 SHOULD be used to collect meaningful research materials from academic and practitioner






This is a combination research paper and case study.  Papers in this area normally are 8-10 pages in length.  Your paper should not exceed 12 pages. 




The paper MUST be presented APA style, which is SEU’s specified style format. 








Research papers are only as good as the reference sources used to construct the paper’s narrative.  The idea is that you do not know much, if anything, about the topic, and you need to find out what others say about it.  Then you use their thinking in order to set forth your narrative.  Do not use the author’s words and phrasing, but DO put the author’s ideas into your own words. 




When doing this, you must put a reference citation every time you use the idea of another author.  In most research papers, every paragraph will have at least one reference citation.  Not doing so is plagiarism and could be graded as a zero.  I found this is several papers and encourage those who did so to review the referencing material to insure that future papers are properly cited.




For in-text references, the current APA guidance indicates the following style for a journal article:




Adams, G.B. & White, J.D.  (1994). Dissertation research in public administration and cognate fields:  An assessment of methods and quality. Public Administration Review, 54(6), 565-576.


Books and other sources are similar, but vary in certain aspects.  If you are to successfully write in the MBA program, you need to spend time with the APA style manual, sixth edition.




Grading of the Research Paper/Case Study will be accomplished using the grading rubric set forth in Appendix B.  Following are some general guidelines I employ in my evaluation of research papers:




1.  Referencing  completeness and APA Style   -1 to -10 points


2.  No Kaplan & Norton reference source   -5 points


3.  Section headings set forth in assignment not used to develop paper  -5


4.  Pros and Cons of BST, discussion not complete enough   -5 to -10


5.  Theory development, including what BST is, how it works, and why it is an


      important management tool not complete enough.  -5 to -20


6.  Case Analysis.  Correct conclusion regarding the case and completeness of discussion


     -5 to -15


7.  Application discussion completeness.  -5 to -10


8.  Other issues with the paper or its presentation. -1 to -50


This paper represents a significant portion of the course grade. It is intended to demonstrate that you have mastered literature research techniques and have developed an understanding of the balanced scorecard concept and are able to relate balanced scorecard ideas to a case study.


General appearance of the paper. It is expected that papers will be neatly typed and free from spelling and grammar errors.  A further assumption is that papers will be done on a word processor. Finally, all papers should be professionally formatted.  This paper must be at least 6 pages (1” margins, Times New Roman 12 font, double spaced) and have a minimum of five references.


Quality of References. Only primary reference sources should be used. (NO TEXTBOOKS).  The material should reflect a review of important balanced scorecard literature.  A research paper is only as good as the quality of the references used to develop it.  Use of inferior references, or simply meeting the minimum number of references, is an indicator of average to below average research effort and quality.


No more than one of the references can be from Internet sites.  Care must be taken to select quality internet sites.  Most are not of research quality.  However, sites, such as the SEC, IRS, FRB, AICPA, FASB, and other governmental or professional organizations, are of higher quality than most sites available on the Internet.


Good use of the reference. In addition to identifying a good set of resources and listing them in the reference, it is, of course, important that these sources be used. Students sometimes develop a good list of references but then develop almost the entire paper using one or two sources. This is not acceptable.


Case Analysis. This is the key element of a research paper. Without the other elements mentioned above, you will not have a research paper which is scholarly in appearance and content. What you must do to satisfy the analysis requirement is take the materials you have gathered, review them in light of the research you have conducted.  Then present appropriate evidence from your reference sources to support your analysis.


Because of the importance of clarity in the presentation of information, points will be based on what you write as well as how you write it. For the how component of your grade, consideration will be given (among other things) to: spelling, punctuation, grammar; as well as to the overall readability of your paper.




As for what you write, consideration will be given to whether you used your research to develop your case study analysis.  In this regard, you should use terms and concepts learned in the research to inform your analysis.  Specifically: First, you will be evaluated on whether you have understood balanced scorecard concepts and have expressed yourself appropriately on the strengths and weaknesses of this management technique.  Second, your ability to critique the case study is assessed along with your ability to present how your topic is applicable to the workplace.




As a potential manager and leader, it is important that you be able to express yourself in written form.  That is why a research paper is a significant part of your course grade and why it is in your best interest to budget your time wisely in order to complete it.




You must also carefully document what you have to say following the rules for attribution. Reference all quotes, paraphrasing, and ideas taken from others.  While it is very easy to purchase term papers online, it is also easy for your instructor to trace them.  Plagiarism will result in a zero for the paper. Please read the Nova plagiarism policy prior to finalizing and submitting your paper.


The following is a list of journals and periodicals with which might be useful in the development of your paper.


Journals and Periodicals:


  1. Academy of Management Journal
  2. Academy of Management Review
  3. Academy of Management Executive
  4. Accounting Review
  5. Administrative Science Quarterly
  6. Advanced Management Journal
  7. American Behavioral Scientist
  8. American Journal of Sociology
  9. Applied Economics 
  10. Business Horizons
  11. Business and Society Review/Innovation
  12. Business Week
  13. California Management Review
  14. Conference Board Review
  15. Decision Sciences
  16. Forbes
  17. Fortune
  18. Governing
  19. Harvard Business Review
  20. Human Factors
  21. Human Relations
  22. Industrial Labor Relations Review
  23. Industrial Management
  24. Journal of Accountancy
  25. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
  26. Journal of Applied Management & Entrepreneurship
  27. Journal of Applied Psychology
  28. Journal of Business
  29. Journal of Management
  30. Journal of Occupational Psychology
  31. Journal of Vocational Behavior
  32. Labor Law Journal
  33. Long Range Planning
  34. Journal of Strategic Planning
  35. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance
  36. Organizational Dynamics
  37. Personnel
  38. Personnel Administrator
  39. Personnel Journal
  40. Personnel Management
  41. Personnel Psychology
  42. Psychological Bulletin
  43. Psychology Today
  44. Sloan Management Review
  45. Social Research
  46. Strategic Management
  47. Small Group Behavior
  48. Training and Development Journal
  49. Wall Street Journal


Many of these publications are available in either hard copy or electronic form using the search feature of ABI/INFORM Global, Science Direct, or some similar periodical database.


There is a lot of garbage on the Internet.  Therefore, care must be used when determining if material found on the Internet is useful to your research purpose.  In general, governmental web sites (e.g. SEC, IRS, Treasury Department) and professional organization web sites (e.g. AICPA, FASB, Academy of Management, American Marketing Association, etc.) contain higher level data than other sites.




Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable reference.  Textbooks for this class or other classes you have taken are also unacceptable in academic research.




Format of the Term Paper:




I.          Introduction


II.        Balanced Scorecard Concepts and Process


          Concepts.  This should fully describe the balanced scorecard.




III.       Case Study Discussion: Use what you learned in Part II for this purpose.


          Performance Measures


          Evaluation of Staff Performance


          Compensation Tied to Performance


IV.       Workplace Application:  Related this concept to our place of employment.


V.        References




Your paper should have a cover sheet. 




The first section should introduce your topic and briefly identify key issues you are going to discuss.  The literature review should be a polished version of what you have learned from your sources set forth in the reference. The case study discussion section is where use what you have learned about the balanced scorecard approach to analyze the case study under consideration.  Almost every paragraph in the literature review should contain reference citations.  Also, these sections should have subheadings to separate distinct areas of discussion such as the balanced scorecard process and strength and weaknesses.




The workplace application section provides you with an opportunity to explore how the balanced scorecard idea is used in your organization. If your organization does not use the balanced scorecard, this section provides an opportunity to investigate how it might be useful if you were to have an opportunity to install it in your organization. Here is where you place any opinions you wish to express about the workability of the balanced scorecard approach in an applied setting.




Next will be your reference and lastly any appendices that are necessary for a complete presentation. 


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