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As per rules and regulations of Oxford Brookes University, project work must be carried out under the supervision of mentor and we are bound to have three meetings with him in order to carry out this task more smoothly and efficiently. The details of these three meetings with my mentor are as follows:
Meetings with my Mentor
Before the date of the first meeting with my project mentor I decided to went through all the relevant guidelines regarding RAP on the ACCA website and personally carried out a little research work so that I can give my mentor the idea of what topic I wish to undertake and what sort of information I have got regarding this topic.
First meeting was totally against my expectation, actually it went quite well than I thought. Though my mentor thought it is a bit hard topic to be worked on, he gave me the green signal after seeing my passion and what I call my "tiny research work". He gave me the suggestions, advices on how to select a company and it was his supervision which eventually helped me out to choose a suitable company. He also made me aware of how to make proper referencing and how to plan my work from now onwards in order to finish and submit my RAP on time. I have to confess here that confidence is the only thing which I always get hard to find, but my mentor understood this deficiency and gave me a lot of confidence and hope and honestly speaking all of my hard work on my research project actually started after this point of time.
Before the second meeting, I completed about half of my project work and was really curious to meet my mentor as I wanted to know that whether this research work is going in the right direction or not, I took all my research work in hard copy (printouts) and a separate sheet of paper with full of questions which I needed to be discuss with my mentor, and to be very honest my every single query had been answered. He also provided me guidance about the Primary and Secondary data which was essential for my project. We discussed about the motivating theories I should put in my research as well as its applications. PowerPoint slide presentation was the last topic we discussed that day. The second meeting was crucial and before the meeting I was bit unsatisfied but then I was confident because with the correct guidance this dissatisfaction turned into contentment.
In the third and the final meeting, it was required to give my mentor a brief presentation on my RAP. Majority of the students feel hesitation to provide presentation in front of the number of people or in class and I was one of those student who felt nervous about giving presentation to mentor. I practiced for this day so hard and prepared questions and answers from every aspect of the RAP with relevant facts and figures in order to give a good presentation. So when the presentation started I was confused but with a passage of time I become confident and gave a fair presentation and when my mentor started asking me some questions, I effectively communicated with my mentor and answered all the questions apart from one or two questions I gave all the answers with some facts.
I believe that this presentation has given me a lot confidence and also it has enhanced my interpersonal skills because I worked really hard for it and started practicing for a week before presentation day and my mentor was satisfied especially when I completed my presentation successfully.
How well do I think that I have answered my research questions?
Every research topic is around some questions to be answered. My research work was around the factors which motivates the employees in an organization. Relevancy and sticking to the subject matter is the key idea. Shell Pakistan is a globally operated company and it is operating in number of countries and I believe that it's an appropriate research topic which I chose. But as my research topic is subjective in nature I just couldn't rely on sole theories but had to apply these theories on the employees at Shell Pakistan to present my research work in a more meaningful way and this is exactly what I did. Shell is a second largest oil company in Pakistan and I discussed briefly about the motivation and benefits of shell Pakistan employees and also the factors which contributed to the motivation of employees which are essential for any employee that helps to retain the employees in the longer term & also is in the interest of the Shell Pakistan. I also discussed the importance of employees in the shell Pakistan to run the organization efficiently and effectively and ultimate benefits for the organization as a whole.
I have also mentioned the number of theories which contribute in the factors of motivation of employees in shell Pakistan and discussed the policy and motivational factors of employees and also present graphs that can easily evaluate the company policy towards its employees and also highlighted the key problems facing by the employees of shell Pakistan and how the shell Pakistan upper level of management cope with these problems; also the retirement polices, health and insurance benefits have been discussed.
My research analysis project is based on both positive and negative aspects not just on favor or against and also discussed the limitations and try to reflect the true picture of the Shell Pakistan for its employees.
I applied various motivational theories at shell Pakistan employees such as Alderfer's ERG theory, Equity Theory and Expectancy Theory, had word constraints not been present more theories could have been included and more information could have been given as how these theories can be applied on Shell Pakistan's employees. I have also used performance appraisal of employees at Shell Pakistan in my RAP. So by using all these theories and other factors & indicators of motivation of employees, I tried my best to give more meaningful analysis given the resources available to me.
How have I demonstrated my interpersonal and communication skills during project work?
Interpersonal skills are used by the person to interact with others effectively. And the communication can be defined as the transmission of thoughts or information by behavior, signal or by speech. Literally speaking, Communication is much more than just words going from one person's mouth to another's ears. During the research project I prepare questionnaire for the collection of primary data and also used secondary data for the completion of research project and to present all these in an understandable form I required interpersonal and communication skills which came into play when I had meetings with my project mentor. I believe that the listening skills, active replies, planning ahead are the key steps to get as much information as I required for my research data in timely fashion.
Demonstration of Interpersonal and communication skills
To make the meeting time with my mentor productive it was really important to ask appropriate questions and listening to the answers with thorough intention, make notes where I think the words & information are important to highlight. The concentration level of mine has been deeply judged by my mentor by asking me questions about what he has been saying. So for that stage I really have to fully concentrate and participative during our conversation. When you reflect what you have listened back to the other person, you are demonstrating that you have heard what they have said. Reflecting back what you hear not by parroting back the same words but by paraphrasing, using your own words to rephrase what they have said. A good way of doing this is to summarize what they have said in fewer words. (Ref.2, Carl Rogers and Richard Farson, 1979).
In meetings and research
During my meetings, we were time constraint so instead of panicking I kept myself relax and tried to discuss areas of concern and positivity of my project. It was at the back of my mind that my meeting with my mentor would be two way communications. When I was doing research on Shell Pakistan, I also shared my ideas and theories with my colleagues and friends to find out what they think of about them. During the meetings, I tried to keep myself alert and attentive because I realized that every minute is very important.
I constructed the slides with the help of Ms Power Point, so the audience can understand what the slides represent and do not confuse about the company performance and focus on some important indicators and factors.
How has undertaking the RAP helped you in your accountancy studies and / or current employee role?
Overall the RAP was a different self learning experience for me. Firstly, as I was also preparing to attempt P1 (Professional Accountant), this research project provided me the opportunity to revise certain topics which were related to my ACCA paper. Secondly, this project helped me a lot in my overall accountancy study as I took real company and real world situation and analyzing the current situation of the employees in an organization.
During my short visit to Pakistan, I also did survey at shell Pakistan for my project and also meet employees and communicate with them about the problems and benefits they faced at Shell Pakistan, which has really boosted my self confidence and also my communication skills; on the other hand in my ACCA studies I use only FTC Kaplan and BPP books but for this project analysis I used so many other books and it has enhanced my overall research skills.
I gained the knowledge of various employee motivational theories, and I learnt how an organisation performs different tasks in order to motivate its employees, how de-motivated employees can be turn into motivated individuals (as employees play vital part to attain the strategic goal of any organization), how often multinational companies carry out the performance appraisal of their employees, how companies deals with their employees in certain circumstances etc and obviously it can help me a lot in my future employment role.
Also if I plan my carrier as an auditor, in this regard I admit that undertaking the RAP project is very beneficial for me because an audit and assurance services is not only restricted for the applicable of laws and standards, but also requires the own judgment which is very essential for the auditors to give an appropriate audit opinion, and this RAP has helped me a lot to make my vision broaden and understanding the reasons rather than just apply the knowledge of the company.