Childhood Obesity In The US: Factors And Challenges Sample College Essay

Prewriting

What is your narrowed topic? Be detailed in your answer. You can use any of the versions you’ve developed for prior assignments.

The narrowed topic is the incidence of childhood obesity in the United States: factors determining it and measures for overcoming this challenge.

Who is your primary audience or reader? Why? Be detailed in your answer about your audience.

Healthcare specialists, nurses, teachers, and administrators are the targeted readers. The motivation for choosing them as an audience is the belief that they are interested in preventing childhood obesity and promoting child health. My professor and classmates, people with obese children in their families or communicating with such families make up the secondary audience because they can help to overcome the challenge of childhood obesity if provided with relevant knowledge and pointed to the criticality of the problem.

In a sentence or short paragraph, what is your thesis statement, including your angle? Write what will appear in your essay.

While genetic predisposition plays a large role in determining whether or not a child is going to be affected by obesity during preschool and early school years, it can be overcome with a proper exercising regimen, healthy diet, and timely medical and therapeutic preventive actions. My angle is that understanding critical factors increasing risks of obesity may be helpful for coping with this problem (the so-called environmentalist approach to explaining childhood obesity).

What topic sentences will you use as the foundation of your communication? (If necessary, add more points.)

  • The USA is among the most obese countries in the world.
  • There are numerous factors increasing the risks of childhood obesity, but genetic predisposition is the most critical one.
  • Knowledge about the causes of childhood obesity and ways to prevent it is imperative for promoting child health.
  • Taking a more proactive stance is essential for coping with the problem of childhood obesity in the United States.

What method of organization and development will you use to develop your paragraphs?

Introduction:

Childhood obesity is among the major health concerns in the United States – one of the most obese countries in the world.

Body:

  • The USA is among the most obese countries in the world, as around 30% of kids are obese or overweight (Kothandan, 2014).
  • There are numerous factors increasing the risks of childhood obesity, but genetic predisposition is the most critical one. Based on genetic specificities, children are more predisposed to getting involved in particular physical activities as a way to prevent obesity (Leonska-Duniec, Ahmetov, & Zmijewski, 2016).
  • Knowledge about the causes of childhood obesity and ways to prevent it is imperative for promoting child health. It is related to the opportunity to develop efficient preventative measures and implement them properly.
  • Taking a more proactive stance is essential for coping with the problem of childhood obesity in the United States. Therefore, the involvement of teachers, parents, and healthcare professional may be helpful for overcoming this challenge.

Conclusion:

Childhood obesity is a critical challenge, but it can be overcome if addressed properly.

Incidence of Childhood Obesity in the United States

In the United States – one of the most obese countries in the world – childhood obesity is a troubling trend, as the rate of obese and overweight children is continuously growing. More than that, childhood obesity rate has been increasing since the beginning of the century, and there are no positive forecasts related to the change of this figure (Karp & Gesell, 2015). Still, it is not the central matter of concern, as these are obesity-related health consequences that are even more critical. From this perspective, the problem is associated with varying physical and mental issues, such as metabolism and cardiovascular disorders, heart diseases, certain types of cancer, depression, and increased risks of morbidity (Halfon, Larson, & Slusser, 2013). In this way, childhood obesity is the cause of not only impaired condition of child health (poor health outcomes) but also decreased quality of life commonly connected to self-esteem issues and the perception of one’s self.

Due to the criticality of the problem and the related health outcomes, it is essential to pay special attention to factors that increase risks of childhood obesity and ways to prevent this problem. According to a recent research, childhood obesity can be perceived from the perspective of a child’s environment – actions taken by a child itself and its parents, such as dieting, eating habits, getting involved in physical activities, and proper education on these aspects of upbringing (Nabors, Burbage, Woodson, & Swoboda, 2015). Still, supporters of the so-called environmentalist approach do not recognize the significance of genetic predisposition to obesity. Leonska-Duniec et al. (2016) claim that specific genetic features are one of the most critical factors significantly increasing risks of obesity. Nevertheless, while genetic predisposition plays a large role in determining whether or not a child is going to be affected by obesity during preschool and early school years, it can be overcome with a proper exercising regimen, healthy diet, and timely medical and therapeutic preventive actions.

The United States is among the most obese countries in the world. According to Kothandan (2014), the obesity rate is 30%. That means that around 12 million children are either obese or overweight and suffer from obesity-related health issues. More than that, the number of those exposed to this problem has almost doubled since the beginning of the century, and no positive trends are forecasted (Karp & Gesell, 2015). Due to such a figure, it is evident that the challenge is becoming even more severe, and overcoming it may be more complicated than before (Nabors et al., 2015). However, in order to cope with the problem or, at least, prevent the further growth of the obesity rate, it is essential to be aware of the causes of obesity.

There are numerous factors increasing the risks of childhood obesity, but genetic predisposition is the most critical one. The specificities of genetic features are in a direct correspondence with the risks of obesity. It can be explained by either metabolic peculiarities or physical development of a child (Leonska-Duniec et al., 2016). From this perspective, these are genetic specificities that determine an individual’s appetite. It means that this aspect varies across different children so that the risks of obesity caused by abnormal appetite or increased intake of food.

What is more essential, genetic variants are associated with metabolic patterns. In some cases, metabolism is fast – more calories are burnt to perform common activities. However, in other cases, it is slow that means that organism burns fewer calories to cope with the same activities or support its operation. These differences in metabolism are associated with the predisposition to obesity under otherwise equal conditions (Leonska-Duniec et al., 2016). In addition, genetic specificities determine the level of physical development, especially the growth of muscles and physical strength. These peculiarities have a significant impact on the ability to get involved in physical activities – one of the primary ways to prevent obesity (Leonska-Duniec et al., 2016; Kiess, Wabitsch, Maffeis, & Sharma, 2015). Here, it is imperative to note that it stands for the ability to perform common exercises frequently and regularly, not becoming a professional sportsman.

Still, regardless of its crucial role, genetic predisposition to obesity is not the only factor predetermining it, as there are other major concerns. This approach to explaining the roots of childhood obesity is referred to as the environmentalist approach due to the connections its supporters draw between obesity and a child’s environment. In this way, obesity is a consequence of dieting, eating habits, and physical exercises (Nabors et al., 2015). Differences in these aspects are commonly associated with one’s socioeconomic background that can be viewed from two perspectives – educational and purely economic. In the first case, a focus is made on understanding the principles of healthy lifestyle and avoiding junk food or semi-processed products. At the same time, increased risks of obesity are related to ignoring the criticality of physical exercises due to the lack of relevant knowledge. On the other hand, there is a purely economic perspective for explaining the causes of obesity. It is connected to the access to healthy food. Here, it is paramount to note that the obesity rate among wealthier children is significantly lower compared to poorer families. It can be explained by the adequate access to quality food products and decreased intake of semi-processed food that is preferred by low-income families due to being cheaper (Cunningham, Kramer, & Narayan, 2014).

Solution

The major controversy concerning treatment strategies of childhood obesity is whether the condition is predetermined by genetics, individual behavior, or the social or physical environment in which children are raised. Some of the most commonly identified risk factors include sex, race, economic status, and birth weight (Cunningham, Kramer, & Narayan, 2014). It is crucial to detect those risk factors and select the suitable treatment approaches. However, there is still no agreement on how the problem should be managed so that all these aspects are taken into account.

Despite an unquestionable role of genetic predisposition in determining whether or not a child is going to be affected by obesity, the importance of individual behavior should not be underestimated. Obviously, the behavioral impact on childhood obesity is substantial. It may include lack of physical activity, regular overeating, and some environmental mechanisms that influence health. The factors mentioned above are partly responsible for gaining weight. There are some particular food behaviors that may lead to obesity. They include constant consumption of fast food, frequent eating away, big portions, drinking many sugary beverages, and excluding breakfast which is an important meal of the day. What is more, the energy spending and food consumption are affected by multi-structural variables. They comprise the physical surroundings and socioeconomic status. The impact of the surroundings includes the closeness of shopping facilities such as supermarkets, the presence of fast food restaurants or other locations, and the access to areas for physical activity. After all, socioeconomic status also has positive or negative impact on activity and food behavior. For example, the availability of healthy and not expensive foods provided, as a rule, by larger supermarkets, contributes to improving of food habits. Finally, the significant role of school should not be left aside. Since children spend a greater part of their day at school, it should be a place with healthy eating environment. The problem can be overcome with a proper exercising regimen, healthy diet, and timely medical and therapeutic preventive actions. Thus, my solution is a comprehensive one: I propose to deal with the condition taking into consideration the fact that obesity is simultaneously influenced by genetic, behavioral, social, psychological, metabolic, and other factors, the combination of which is unique for each individual child.

Most of the strategies currently applied to address the problem are ineffective (Perez-Morales, Barcadi-Gascon, & Jimenez-Cruz, 2012). This happens mostly because representatives of different approaches cannot reach a compromise. Those researches who believe that this disease can be classified as environmental (since modern children are raised in conditions that are drastically different from those of the previous generations) make an emphasis on dietary and lifestyle interventions, whereas those who claim the essential role of genetics, argue that, owing to inborn predisposition to obesity, even significant lifestyle changes have a minimal impact on body mass. As a result, the first group ignores genetic factors imposing the same solutions in each case, while the second does not attach significance to most of existing interventions. Children have to suffer from the lack of a comprehensive change delivery.

The solution I propose can be called “multi-agency coordination – target obesity from all perspectives”. It will include not only genetic and environmental but also psychological and social aspects. The latter should be applied to both children and parents since 95 percent of them “inappropriately perceived their children to have the right weights” (Duncan, Hansen, Wang, Yan, & Zhang, 2015). The following steps should be taken:

  1. Research (in charge: hospital research teams; timeline: 1 month):

    1. clarifying definitions;
    2. elaborating a framework to process data;
    3. formulating key goals of prevention and intervention;
    4. identifying the major criteria that have to be assessed in each case;
    5. transferring theoretical data into particular recommendations.

  2. Medical intervention (in charge: dieticians, physicians, nurses; timeline: from 3 months):

    1. developing and implementing a plan of balanced calorie intake and expenditure in each individual case;
    2. deciding on the amount and type of physical activities;
    3. tracking the condition of the patient in reaction to changes.

  3. Psychological intervention (in charge: psychologists; timeline: 2-3 months):

    1. providing support to victims of bullying;
    2. dealing with negative perception of body image and lack of self-confidence;
    3. educating parents to accept the problem and deal with it.

  4. Social intervention (in charge: social workers, nurse administrators; timeline: from 6 months):

    1. performing general health screening of kindergarten and school children;
    2. addressing mass media to launch public service advertising;
    3. contacting policy making bodies to introduce legislation regulating the negative impact of fast food industry;
    4. disseminating information in schools to promote healthy habits.

The plan is going to be successful for the following reasons. First of all, it is based on the existing reliable data which contain the statistics on childhood obesity in the United States (Cunningham, Kramer, & Narayan, 2014). It will allow further comparison of data after the plan implementation to assess its effectiveness. Secondly, it addresses the problem from all perspectives and takes an individual approach. A comprehensive procedure is crucial for the plan since the scholars are not unanimous about the primary factors that condition childhood obesity. Thus, a complex problem can be solved with the use of the complex approach. Besides, the plan attracts policy makers thereby raising the importance of the issue. It will also increase the awareness of the problem in the society which is a step toward its solution. Finally, it does not require much funding. As a result of plan application, some deliverables will be obtained. They will include a comprehensive database on the topic, guidelines for developing an individual intervention plan, developed psychological intervention strategies, and increase of social awareness.

Benefits

It is crucial for any program to assess cost effectiveness of the solutions proposed, which means that expenses should be balanced against benefits and the latter must outnumber the former, which is not often the case (Gortmaker et al., 2015). Based on the approach that has been chosen and the evidence analyzed previously, it can be concluded that the intervention is cost-effective. The following table sums up the key resources needed and the benefits obtained:

Table 1. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Criteria of assessment Research Medical intervention Psychological intervention Social intervention
Level of financial resources Low High (including costs of dietary and exercise programs) High (cost of regular consultations) Middle (high cost of screening + free public service advertising)
Level of human resources Low (several researchers) Middle (several specialists per 1 child) Middle High (social workers, nurses, physicians)
Timeline

(specified in Section IV)

Short Middle Middle Long
Outcomes Detailed database Developed nutrition and exercise plans Guidelines for comprehensive interventions New policies, increase awareness

Conclusion

Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing problems affecting a large number of representatives of the XL generation. Despite the fact that the number of overweight or obese children is still slightly lower than that of adults, analysts have indicated that the problem might get out of hand in the future (Tzou & Chu, 2012). This means that children suffering from it call for our effective intervention right now. The society where the problem of obesity is a burden is in danger. The overweight children will grow up to become obese adults. With all the accompanying health problems like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, this generation cannot produce a healthy succession. Thus, the solution of obesity problem is a key to break this circle.

Although it is possible to develop policies that promote healthy eating behavior, physical activity, and other positive habits, all aspects must still be addressed simultaneously to eliminate the root cause of the problem and safeguard future generations. To get detailed information on the program and apply for participation, please contact me via email: .

References

Cunningham, S. A., Kramer, M. R., & Narayan, K. V. (2014). Incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(5), 403-411. Web.

Halfon, N., Larson, K., & Slusser, W. (2013). Associations between obesity and comorbid mental health, developmental, and physical health conditions in a nationally representative sample of US children aged 10 to 17. Academic pediatrics, 13(1), 6-13.

Karp, S. M., & Gesell, S. B. (2015). Obesity prevention and treatment in school-aged children, adolescents, and young adults. Primary Prevention Insights, 5(1), 1-4. Web.

Kiess, W., Wabitsch, M., Maffeis, C., & Sharma, A.M. (2015). Metabolic syndrome and obesity in childhood and adolescence. Basel, Switzerland: Karger AG.

Kothandan, S. K. (2014). School-based interventions versus family-based interventions in the treatment of childhood obesity – a systematic review. Archives of Public Health, 72(1), 3-19. Web.

Leonska-Duniec, A., Ahmetov, I.I., & Zmijewski, P. (2016). Genetic variants influencing effectiveness of exercise training programmes. Biology of Sport, 33(3), 207-214. Web.

Nabors, L., Burbage, M., Woodson, K. D., & Swoboda, C. (2015). Implementation of an after-school obesity prevention program: Helping young children toward improved health. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 38(1), 22-38. Web.

Blues Music In “Blue Chicago” By David Grazian

The heightened commercialization and global popularity of the Chicago blues seem all the more fascinating since it represents some sort of cultural expression that is strongly attached to local settings as well as regional locations (Grazian 8). The blues triggers a deep adoration among its fans, unlike the modern adult pop and the multi-ethnic global beat of underground raving. In both America and abroad, the Blues acts as a symbol of authenticity in a universe of mixed cultures coupled with plastic intelligence, virtual realities, as well as a form of belongingness.

The local blues clubs have their symbols of authenticity being represented by overblown caricatures, the joints are mainly ramshackle with broken front doors, lit dimly, extremely smoky, with rattling sound, and funky smell (Grazian 13). They offer hard liquor, low-cost beer and are situated in seemingly dangerous-looking predominantly black neighborhoods. The joints also hire black, authentic-looking blues musicians either blind or walking on a wooden leg. The audiences are majorly black, with white customers appearing occasionally and are majorly poor, drunk, old, or blind.

The originality of this form of blues music has become so scarce due to the fact that there has been a change in the music audience. Originally the genre appealed to the Black Americans and was played at neighborhood taverns for purposes of socializing. Nowadays it is classified as hearty party music with its fan base from youthful whites who despite supporting the music with their money, are not aware of the genre’s tradition. Despite this fact, because of the issue of authenticity, the white clientele visiting the blues clubs still has expectations of being entertained by black musicians and singers, and the majority of the club owners have no alternative but to exclusively hire black bands as opposed to all-white or interracial groups.

According to recent research by Becker (6), rap music is believed to have originated from the desire of poor, ghetto, black men to write their life stories and criticize the social order and system which does not offer a platform for the growth and progress of minority groups in the U.S. Rap music is also said to be a political narrative that serves to unmask and justify violence, sex, and portray the lifestyle of rap artists. Documenting and internalizing the qualities of the music genre, there is proof that music communities arise during different developmental phases. Therefore, different researches have concluded that music communities generally operate to tackle the common obstacles and grab opportunities available to artists.

Symbolic classification in sociology has been present since days immemorial for it becomes the focal point of developing affiliations, identities, knowledge, hierarchies, and conflicts (Lena 3). The categorization of rap as a misogynist, with political undertones, and profit-oriented, has numerous consequences for artists, die-hard fans, as well as promoters. Sociologists have come up with a system of social cultural profiling for a varied set of phenomena such as religious belief, organization, gender, art, fashion, race and societies.

Conventions that develop behavioral conditioning of audience are progressively being developed. Conventions dealing with performance evaluation evolve and become the core of controversy around the genre (Becker 11). Members of a particular genre or musical community identify each other using ornamentation, unique dressing such as buggy clothing and hair styles such as cone rows for rappers, slang, dancing prowess, body workout, and drug use.

Works Cited

Becker, Howard S. Art Worlds. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 2012. Print.

Grazian, David. Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Print.

Lena, Jennifer C. Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2012. Print.

Royal Caribbean Limited Company’s Research Process

Research Methods & Processes

Justification of the selection of the research methods and processes

The systematic processes applied in the planning of actions and the subsequent analysis of data play an important role in any research process. They form the basis for understanding how the project was carried and the objectivity in the process of collecting data. In the development of my research project which was a case study of the Royal Caribbean Limited (RCL), I applied research methods and processes that ensured in-depth understanding of the operational challenges that the company faced and the general perspective of the cruise ship industry in general. Therefore, the selection of descriptive analysis and application of the secondary data collection method resulted in a comprehensive knowledge of the industry and hence solutions that could be devised based on both the internal and external issues affecting the company.

I believe that the selection of inductive approach gave me the room to review different perspectives related to the company. Also, the approach ensured that different strategies could be applied to understand the core problems that affected the industry. This was concerning the international business environment, strategy management, marketing management, human resource management and the organisational behaviour problems. Despite the broader perspective provided by the inductive approach I employed, I also noticed that it sometimes served as a limiting factor because most of the solutions were generalised.

Explanation for readers

Even though the application of the research process provided a comprehensive view of the industry, it revealed pertinent issues and trends in the industry. For example, the secondary data I used in the study was able to identify the various competitors in the industry, how they have been able to overcome the challenges of health, safety and environment and the general view of the cruise ship customers.

Therefore, reflecting on these issues you will be able to understand the analytical basis for the study. As noted, this may leave you eager to know the actual dynamics within the industry in terms of the statistics and actual incidents and you may regard it as a major source of discrepancy in the research process. You will also notice that the secondary data does not provide the current trends. This is a shortcoming I realised. To overcome this, the most recent available secondary data were used.

Explanation for a future employer

From the case study, I have realised comprehensive analysis plays a critical role in management. It entails examining all dimensions of an organisation to devise a strategic management process that relates to overall organisational goals. As a result, the research processes gave me a critical insight which aligns me to better management which is based on many factors. In the current competitive environment, strategic management relies mainly on timely data to understand the dynamics in the industry and hence device the right solution to problems at hand. Also, the research has prepared me on how to apply methods that address systematic issues within an organisation and hence devise long-lasting solutions

Literature & Sources

The most important literature sources to justify the research

To devise solutions for my study, I used various management models. They included operational models, strategic models and tactical models. Various academic sources were used to explain the models and their applicability in the research project. Some of the crucial models used included SWOT analysis, root cause analysis, EFQM Excellence Model, the 7-S Framework, Belbin’s Complementary Roles and others.

Justification of the sources

Models present a systematic way of understanding happenings in an organisation. It is through the models that a business can be comprehended. However, it is worth noting that there is an aspect of generality and broad application when dealing with models. The basis of my research project was to solve a business issue by devising strategies that will ensure that the customers get value for their money. For instance, the cruise ship industry has been growing steadily.

However, there are operational challenges that limit the industry from achieving its full potential. Hence, there is a need to analyse the challenges and ensure that customers get excellent services. It is worth noting that the cruise ship industry is service intensive. Therefore, perceptions play a great role in determining success or failure. As such, there was the need to use sources that reflected on the happenings in the industry. Specifically, the sources were fundamental in ensuring that challenges in the industry were examined and a clear framework drawn to solve the issues.

The focus of the study was on a specific cruise ship company which needed to improve its service delivery in the fields of health safety and environmental sustainability. The application of the various models was imperative in determining a sustainable way to deliver the value to the guests and the society at large. For example, the use of the 7-S framework was important in understanding the internal management issues that affected the performance of RCL. The 7-S factors served as the basis for an excellent start point in the identification of what the company required to succeed. This was mainly concerning the internal business environment.

Belbin’s Complementary Roles model was also crucial in determining the strengths of the employees and their capabilities in the organisation. It is through the model that an organisation can build mutual trust, understanding and help in the creation of productive human resource capital. The model describes roles based on six factors which include mental abilities, values, motivation, role learning, experiences and restrictions. Thus, its use in the study was critical in solving human resource issues that could derail the performance of the company. Another model used was the SWOT analysis that was critical in the analysis of the company and formed the basis for designing strategies to help the company gain a competitive edge.

Knowledge from Research

Areas of knowledge gained from undertaking the research

In my education career, I have held a strong view that I should acquire knowledge in major areas of my specialisation to better my professional future practice. This is based on the belief that knowledge is very important in the execution of management mandates. Therefore the study I undertook about the safety, health and environment helped me gain knowledge in various domains. The key areas of knowledge were analysis skills, general business knowledge, technical domain knowledge and interpersonal knowledge.

Justification of importance of the knowledge

These four areas of knowledge are important in management practice and my academic journey. In my current education, they will keep playing a critical role in analysing different situations and a basis for building my skills. Also, the domains will serve an important role in my career as a manager. Managers are tasked with reviewing various issues to devise amicable solutions. Thus, for managers to be effective, these key areas of knowledge are critical.

In my context, the business domain knowledge helped me understand the broader industry of the cruise ship industry, the competitiveness and the factors that influence ships line. Even though the study centred on the cruise ship business, knowledge helped me understand the dynamics that influence business operations. For example, the knowledge about regulations and other external factors that directly affect the competitiveness of any business. I dream that in my practice, I will be creating value for the organisation I will be working for. The knowledge places me in a better position to identify both internal and external issues affecting business and hence become more efficient.

In the contemporary world, technology is used in different spheres of managing businesses. For instance, in the project, I realised the significance of technology in ensuring safety, health and adoption of environmentally sustainable practices. In this area, I acquired a general understanding of how technology can be used to address business problems. Even though my practice is not aligned with technological development, the knowledge of how technology is used to solve diverse issues in contemporary society makes me more relevant in the business world. Concerning the knowledge area of business analysis skills, I have acquired a clear understanding of principles, management, requirement elicitation and how I can apply them to solve business issues to realise value for the stakeholders.

Aspects of Learning from Research

Aspects of learning during the MBA programme

The undertaking of the MBA programme has helped me to become the professional I have always desired to be. As I learned the various units, one key skill I achieved was that of leadership and management. The programme trained me to be able to understand complex problems, analyse them and think strategically. After my undergraduate programme, I realised that I had soft skills such as those of teamwork, cross-cultural understanding and leadership.

These traits are very important for business management. Undertaking the MBA programme helped me enhance my soft skills. For example, concerning leadership, I have acquired critical thinking skills that are needed by leaders to address various issues in an organisation. In the course of the programme, most of the tasks needed group work. This was critical in helping me understand group dynamics and how to transition to teamwork where every member has a critical role to play. Besides, working in teams made me encounter people from different cultures. In the cross-cultural interactions, I understood the importance of tolerance, cultural inclusivity and thus achieving the capability to work with people from different places.

Aspects of learning during the research

Through the research, I learned and acquired skills of summarising, organising and synthesising information. During my project, I came across a lot of data. The voluminous data contained different information some of which was not applicable in my research. Thus, through my analytical skills which I had learned in class, I was in a position to synthesise the data, organise and summarise it to have a clear understanding of the phenomenon under study. Also, the research process enhanced my comparison skills.

Knowledge application

In the MBA programme, one of the major achievements has been the transformation I have experienced. The transformation has equipped me with diverse knowledge not only in the area of specialisation but in many diverse fields. For example, I have acquired practical experience. This has been through the integration of the theory I have learned in class with my research and practice in different business situations. For example, it was through the application of knowledge of strategic management models that I was in a position to undertake my research project successfully. Thus, I can transform the class knowledge to a real business situation.

Critical Thinking

In carrying out my research, I discovered that it is a systematic process that requires the application of critical thinking. This is against my earlier perspective that considered research project as a simple endeavour where data is collected and analysed for presentation. Therefore, the most important discovery was that the critical thought process plays an important role in devising solutions to everyday problems even those that seem simple.

For example, in the analysis, evaluation of evidence and providing solutions to the various problems I had identified in the case study, I realised the value of reasoning. Also, I recognized the aspect of “thinking out of the box” which gives a new perspective to solve problems. Besides, I realised that the critical thought process is not “instant”; it is a process that integrates different situations to solve issues. It requires the integration of experience and thinking of what will happen next. For instance, putting into consideration the business environment is also not static and strategies need to resonate with time.

For example, during the analysis of the issues that were affecting my case study brief, I realised that there was a tendency by RCL’s management to rely on current happenings in the industry or planning based on past events. The critical analysis made me realise that such approaches gave a blind eye to the unforeseen future. The management was based on what is happening and thus the issue of “next step” never arose.

Similarly in my analysis, I used strategic models such as SWOT analysis to examine the company. In the process, I identified the internal and external issues that affected the ability of the company to compete well. However, the analysis never went to the next step. Thus, as I tried to look for solutions I discovered that after the analysis there was the need for critical thought to formulate the next step, i.e. answering “what if” questions. Besides, the critical though informed the application of scenario planning.

Concerning the importance of critical thought, I also realised the perils that relate to the process. For instance, the tendency to be limited by the belief of solving issues based on experience. The critical thought requires a manager to move beyond the obvious. It entails the use of stimuli from multiple sources. In the study, reliance on secondary data appeared to hinder the critical thought because I was tempted not to question beyond the content in the documents I was using as the primary sources of my data.

Difficulties and Barriers

Difficulties and Barriers within the research

Research does not take place in a vacuum; it requires finding answers to pertinent questions. To get the answers, rigorous processes are undertaken. As I was undertaking the research, there are various challenges related to the process. One of the challenged was to come up with a clear methodology that will help me to collect the information I required. For example, I had a preference for a specific research design. I thought that basing my research on the design, it will be easy. I thus failed to understand that a workable methodology for any research originates from research questions and it is not the personal preference. At first, this was a major difficulty and derailed my research process.

For any research to be complete, the collection of relevant data is very important. In my case, one barrier was the frustration with accessing the content that I required. This is related to restriction in accessing data that is protected. The other difficulty was the ability to stay motivated and working within my plan. During the research process, some challenges like the inability to access the required data lowered my motivation to keep working. Also, other personal commitments seemed to derail the process and hence most of the time I had to work extra time to regain my timeline plan.

Difficulties and Barriers while completing the major project

After I completed my study and had the data, I realised that making sense of the collected data was another challenge. This is related to how I was to synthesise the data and break it down to answer my research questions. The data needed to be analysed, draw comparisons and generalisation concerning the outlined research objectives. There was a challenge of bias in which I relied on personal perspective to draw solutions.

In essence, this negated drawing answers from the data and hence some answers were not evidence-based. It is worth noting that information gives a greater sense of the situation and thus actual data is critical in devising workable solutions. However, through consultation, I was able to overcome the difficulties. The other difficulty is related to a presentation of the data in a format that is easy to comprehend. I realised that though I had the right data which was synthesised and analysed, the target audience required an easily comprehensible presentation. I solved the difficulty by arranging the data based on the research questions.

Professional Development as a Manager

Managers are tasked with planning, delegation and execution of projects that are to propel their organisations to the desired levels. Like any other profession, there are fundamental skills that are required for an individual to be an effective manager. The skills are not innate; instead, they are learned and developed. In the course of the research, I learned key management skills related to the project.

One critical skill was that of problem-solving and decision making. In any research, the main goal is to understand and devise solutions to a problem. I learned this skill because I was tasked with planning for my research, generating the required resources and hence I managed to complete the task. Today’s managers work in an environment where different codes of ethics inform their daily practices. Similarly, as I was working on my project, there were codes I had to observe to ensure professionalism. For example, during the process, there were ethical dilemmas that I had to overcome. This ensured that the problem-solving process was not negatively influenced or did not infringe on the rights of other people.

Teamwork is an essential trait for managers. Managers need to collaborate with other managers and the workforce to work towards achieving the goals of the company. In the past managers were accused of being lone workers who specialised in giving orders. In the contemporary business world, this is not the case. Professionalism is measured by how well the manager works with other people. Thus, teamwork was a key skill I learned as I carried my research. For example, I realised decisions in the RCL were made based on intensive consultation. Also, I noted that in cases where teamwork was not embraced, there was the likelihood not to achieve the desired results. Therefore, for my professional development, I now understand the value of teamwork.

The other critical skill was time management. The ability to prioritise various tasks and strive to meet the strict timelines enabled me to complete the project. In the process, I was in a position to recognise and respond to changing priorities. This related to the design of the project, the selection of the research materials, data collection and analysis. This skill was anchored on the enthusiasm which enabled me to motivate myself. Managers are required to have the skills to motivate their staffs to increase productivity. Therefore, the ability to undertake the research made me understand the inherent values I had.

Achieved Objectives

Generations of solutions that enhance the management of any organisation are the basis for research projects. Objectives are easily formulated. However, devising processes to ensure that the objectives are achieved is a great challenge for many researchers. In the context of my MBA project, five objectives guided the research. The overall goal was to tailor-make strategic management processes that will create value for RCL’s customers. The objective included:

  1. To find out the international challenges that hinder the ability of the RCL to implement the strategic management goals of enhancing security, environment and health concerns.
  2. To establish management problems that the company has faced in the endeavour to enhance the satisfaction of its guests in areas of health and safety.
  3. To investigate the marketing strategies based on the business environment that can be adopted by RCL to increase its market share.
  4. To explore human resource management practices and policies that can be used to align the individual performance of employees with the strategic goals of RCL.
  5. To examine the overall organizational culture and its role in overcoming the challenges being faced by the company.

To achieve, the objectives, pertinent data was supposed to be used to form the basis for the solution. To a larger extent, all five objectives were achieved. However, it is worth noting that the outlined objectives could have been conclusively addressed if the research combined both the primary and the secondary data. For example, the first objective could have been fully addressed if a manager could have been interviewed to outline the challenges RCL was facing at the international level. Instead, the objective was met by reliance on secondary data that may not contain the actual experiences on the ground.

This implies that the solutions that were based on the secondary data may not address all the issues that I sought to find out and address. Nevertheless, the reliance on the secondary data for the case does not imply shortcoming in the study. The study procedures and methodology informed the research process. Therefore, I believe that I have achieved what was I had outlined in the objectives. There is a clear knowledge of the issues that RCL faces in the effort to ensure the safety, health and environmental sustainability and hence the ability to devise solutions that will lead to competitive advantage.

Findings & Outcomes

Applicability of study findings in solving real business challenges denotes the importance of the research. As such, findings and consequent recommendations should be integrated into the overall business plan. The feasibility of the recommendations is mainly based on the environment of operation. Concerning the RCL, recommendations were twofold. First was to improve the management processes in the organisation and hence improve productivity. The second was to ensure that the safety and health of the guests are not compromised. The finding and the subsequent recommendations are very useful because they provide long term solutions to the company. They are not only based on the profitability of the company but also on enhancing the society through environmentally sustainable practices.

Having conducted the research and got the relevant findings, it is an achievement that is very important for my academic progress and in my future professional life. It pointed to the ability to systematically solve problems that arise in the businesses by being able to carefully diagnose the issues. In the current job market, employers are looking for problem solvers. Thus, it shows my future employers my capability to execute tasks assigned.

It is worth noting that the recommendations were followed by an action plan. This is a depiction of a clear roadmap to solving issues which is a critical requirement for most employers. The action plan contains the practical steps that should be taken by the management. They are based on systematic solutions rather than concentrating on solving individual mistakes. Even though the action plans are anchored on practicability, they lack a clear timeline for implementation. This may affect the feasibility of my recommendations.

After carrying out the study, I proposed solutions based on the five problems I had identified. One key aspect of the solutions is that they were cantered on practical management practices that touched on the business environment, strategy management, marketing, organisational behaviour and human resource management. Concerning marketing, I recommended a corporate social responsibility program that will enhance the image of the company and at the same ensure that the environmental issues are solved. These four aspects touched on the core issues that have a direct influence on the performance of any business.

Thus, I believe that they made me understand the dynamics of the businesses. For example, the major issue being addressed was safety, environment and health. However, solutions were devised based on a business perspective that promoted the competitiveness of the company in the industry.

Therefore, the findings, recommendations, and action plans provided depict my professional development. They also show my ability to work in a competitive environment.

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