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•Select a company you’re interested in (any industry) that is either currently or planning to invest heavily in AI and automation.•Assume you work for the company and have been tasked by the CEO to recommend a strategy for integrating AI and automation into the workforce. •Write a memo to your CEO, outlining: oYour thoughts on this issue, including whether you believe the company should invest in current employees (through re-skilling) OR invest in new people already trained with the new skills needed. o The ethical case in support of your position, as well as the expected benefit to the company and/or impact on employees for taking this path.



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CTE #4 Background

A recent Forbes article tells us that a top fear–some say the biggest
fear—among workers today centers around AI and automation, namely
the fear over skill replacement and becoming irrelevant.1

At the same time, most firms turn a blind eye towards this issue,
ignoring or failing to address this fear with employees.

Professor and author Thomas Davenport noted that “more than half of
U.S. executives in large companies don’t feel they have an ethical
responsibility to reskill their workers. They don’t plan to reskill—they
plan to hire new people.”
Team, Insights. “AI Anxiety: An Ethical Challenge For Business.” Forbes, Forbes
Magazine, 27 Mar. 2019,
CTE #4 Background

Automation has already revolutionized manufacturing, in what is now
referred to as ‘Industry 4.0’, or the 4th industrial revolution.2

Moving to the service industry, automation is now making in-roads into
the retail and fast food industries as well.3

Companies like WalMart, Panera, and McDonalds expect investment in
automation to translate into improvements to the customer experience.
Taken to the extreme, Amazon has even been testing a new cashierfree store concept, called ‘Amazon Go.’ 4
Daniel. “The Industry 4.0 Advantage.” Business 2 Community, 8 Mar. 2019,
3 Taylor, Kate. “Walmart, Lowe’s, and Whole Foods Are Banking on This to Compete with Amazon.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 18
Sept. 2016,
4 Cbs/ap. “Amazon Debuts ‘Go’ Store with No Cashiers or Checkout Lines.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 22 Jan. 2018,
CTE #4 Prompt—Due Week #13

Select a company you’re interested in (any industry) that is either
currently or planning to invest heavily in AI and automation.

Assume you work for the company and have been tasked by the CEO
to recommend a strategy for integrating AI and automation into the
Write a memo to your CEO, outlining:

Your thoughts on this issue, including whether you believe the company
should invest in current employees (through re-skilling) OR invest in new
people already trained with the new skills needed.
The ethical case in support of your position, as well as the expected benefit
to the company and/or impact on employees for taking this path.

For more background on the prompt issue (particularly the relationship between ‘re-skilling’ with ‘AI and
automation’), be sure to read the articles referenced on slides 2-3. What is meant by re-skilling will come out
there and, if still unclear, Google it to see what people are talking about when they write about “re-skilling”.

You don’t need to write about AI and automation separately–the point of the prompt is to reflect on
the impact technology is having on the workforce, which today often takes the form of AI and/or
automation (e.g., robots, software, etc). Which one you focus on (or, if both are applicable) will depend on the
company you select to focus on and how they are using new technologies like AI and automation.

When you weigh the impact on “employees”, I’m asking you to focus on the workers whose current job could
or will be changed/impacted (eliminated?) by these new technologies.

As for ethics, I want you to weigh the ethics of your recommended “strategy for integrating AI and automation
into the workforce”. (While it says “and”, your company may/may not be pursuing both. Also, while AI may
equate/lead to automation, automation itself does not always involve the use of AI (sometimes it may simply
be robots doing tasks formerly done by workers).
Fordham University
Gabelli School of Business
CBBU1001 – The Ground Floor Spring 2019
Critical Thinking Essay Memos – Grading Rubric and Guidance
CTE #1: Topic assigned Jan. 22/23 – due Jan. 29/30
CTE #2: Topic assigned Feb. 26/27 – due March 5/6
CTE #3: Topic assigned March 12/13 – due March 26/27
CTE #4: Topic assigned April 2/3 – due April 9/10
The Basics

CTE memos are worth 60 points total (20% of class grade), or 15 points per CTE.

Your memo will be graded for logic, flow of transitions, proper memo format,
answering the prompt and content. Writing quality is critically important, so
grammar, spelling, and punctuation have a major impact on your CTE grade.

If at any time you are unable to complete an assignment, or have a viable reason
for turning in a late memo, do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail. Always keep
your professor and English TA in the loop—some points are better than no points,
and extensions are possible in some circumstances.

You have the opportunity to resubmit one (1) CTE memo with the lowest grade for
re-grading (note: memos submitted late are not eligible for revision). Only one of
the first three memos (CTE #1, #2 or #3) may be resubmitted, and you may do so
at any time up to and including the due date for CTE #4. There is no cap to possible
points you can earn back – an 8/15 can become a 15/15, but remember—a
revision is a RE-vision. It is not simply changing the spelling errors marked
or adding a sentence to a lacking paragraph. You never have to scrap an entire
memo, but you do have to consider switching ordering, expanding ideas, and/or
including research where it’s necessary. Revisions do not mean free points. A new
grade will be assigned only to a memo that has been truly revised. Again,
remember that memos originally submitted late will not be eligible for revision.

All CTE memos are due by posting to Blackboard or via email to TA before the start
of class, that is, with a time stamp on your upload/e-mail prior to the start of your
individual class assigned day/time. Late memos will face penalties of 2 points per
day, up to 5 days: a 15/15 becomes a 13/15, etc. After 5 days, essays will no longer
be accepted.
The CTE Memo
Your Focus for the Assignment
For each CTE topic assigned, assume you are working for the affected company. As you
think about the way the world is evolving—technologically, environmentally, socially,
politically, etc.—and about the nature of the business issue raised this week, you have
realized that these changes have implications for your company, and may have led directly
or indirectly to the issue presented. You have decided to write a memo to your company’s
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the hope of (gently) persuading the CEO to pay attention
to and respond to your concerns.
Your memo should identify the relevant force(s) for change involved in the CTE topic with
citations, discuss how this force (these forces) have already, are currently or may soon
affect the company with respect to the business subject of the week with citations, and
make recommendations for what your company might/should do in response.
Some Helpful Tips
Remember, you will be targeting a specific company, and a specific CEO. Do your
research! Even a quick visit to the company’s website can be very valuable. Essays
without any evidence of research will not get a 15.
Though the assignment is in memo format, think of it as an essay rather than a letter.
You don’t want your writing to be personal or informal. You are addressing your
CEO, but remember that your goal is to professionally present your view of the future,
defend it with evidence, be persuasive and, again, be professional…in other words,
don’t craft a poorly thought out, unprofessional memo that could damage your career.
To be effective, then, be specific, and always remember to respond to the provided
prompt: implications for the company. Essays that do not consider the future—only
the present—will fare poorly in comparison to those that do. We’re looking for evidence
of critical thinking here. How is the company’s response (or lack of response) related to
CTE topic (e.g., innovation, ethics, finance, etc.). Research the company’s recent actions
and suggest a change(s) that could be made or an evolution that may inevitably arise in
the future.
Proofread your memo. Re-reading your memo (both silently and aloud to yourself) is very
important. Reading aloud allows you to listen for both grammatical errors you may have
skimmed over and awkward wording. Just as helpful, take the time to have the Writing
Center review your essay—that way, they can help catch any issues BEFORE you hand it
in (“the points you save will be your own”).
This rubric will be used throughout all sections of The Ground Floor to
ensure every GSB student is held to the same standards each week. Memos
will be graded by English TAs in two areas, mechanics and argument, while
your Professor will grade the content. Thus, you will receive up to 10 points
based on the writing quality and up to 5 more points based on the content
and quality of your ideas, for a total of 15 points. If you have questions, do
not hesitate to ask.
1) Argument is clearly stated/logical
2) Organization/flow of essay
3) Persuasiveness/professional tone
4) Supporting evidence
5) Creativity
Critical thinking
Legal/ethical sensitivity
Prescriptive solutions
Beneficial to company
13.5 to 15—A – An “A” paper contains no or very few grammatical errors, as well as few or
no logical flaws in argument. The essay shows evidence of research, paired with a clearly
stated thesis. The evidence presented within the argument must link to the thesis and
adequately support all points presented. The thesis statement follows the prompt and the
essay itself remains on topic at all times. An “A” paper has good organization and logic.
An “A” paper is PROOFREAD and contains clear and flowing transitions from one idea to
the next.
10.5 to 13.5 – B/C—A “B/C” paper contains grammatical errors and does not appear to be
closely proofread. The essay contains logical flaws, but still attempts to answer the
prompt. The thesis is somewhat unclear, and is less developed with evidence or research.
Grammar and spelling may hinder comprehension in a “C” paper, and transitions are
9 to 11 –D/F—A “D/F” paper does not follow the prompt and has an underdeveloped or
missing thesis statement. The essay contains many grammatical errors, and does not
appear to be proofread at all. There is no evidence of research and the essay lacks flow of
transitions and logic.
5 & under –Strongly consider heavy revisions.
A full credit (15 point) CTE essay will fulfill the following:
-A full 3 pages long
-Summarization of CTE prompt and related article’s main points
-Explanation of how the chosen article relates to a specific business issue
-Exploration of the implications of the issue’s relationship with the article’s topic;
how does the issue affect the topic in terms of a company response.
-Paper is free of grammatical, structural, and spelling errors
-Paper avoids for the most part adverbs, contractions, vague or general statements,
casual language (such as “a lot” or “huge”) and is not in the first person
-A work cited page
-EX: Tabarrok, Alex. “A Case for Getting Rid of Boarders–Completely.” The
Atlantic. Web. 10 October 2015
-Properly structured in-text citations
-EX: “Even relatively small increases in immigration flows can have
enormous benefits,” (Tabarrok 2).
-Author’s name and page number
-Footer contains page number
-Proper memo heading format:
Reductions in grade to 8/15 or even 5/15 may be a result of:
-Not meeting the length requirement
-No works cited
-Improper use of in-text citations
-Implications/recommendations lack specificity or concrete examples
-Paper is illegible or distracting in its grammatical or structural errors
A 0/15 paper will only be received if:
-Paper is not turned in on time
-Paper is plagiarized
Grades can be (but are not always) raised upon revision if:
-The issue was a lack of specificity and the revision is more specific in areas it was
previously not
-The issue was an accidental absence of a work cited and the revision includes said
work cited
Plagiarism is against college policy and completely unacceptable in every class.
Students found plagiarizing will be referred to their Dean for appropriate action. The
following is an excerpt from the Fordham University Policy on Academic Integrity,
available online as well as in your student handbook. If you have any questions or
concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.
Plagiarism occurs when individuals attempt to present as their own what
has come from another source. Plagiarism takes place whether such theft
is accidental or deliberate. It is no defense to claim that one has “forgotten”
to document ideas or material taken from another source.
Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
i. Using the ideas of another person, whether or not such ideas are
paraphrased, from whatever source including oral, print,
broadcast, or computer-mediated communication;
ii. Rewriting borrowed material by simply dropping a word here and
there, substituting a few words for others, or moving around words
or sentence;
iii. Presenting borrowed material, whether a phrase, sentence, or
whole paragraphs without placing quotation marks around the
borrowed material in the approved style;
iv. Presenting, as one’s own an assignment, paper, or computer
program partially or wholly prepared by another person, whether
by another student, friend, or by a business or on-line service that
sells or distributes such papers and programs;
v. Failing to use proper citation for information obtained from print
sources or the internet, according to citation criteria specified by
the instructor or in cases where instructor guidance is not given, by
standard manuals of style (e.g. The Chicago Manual of Style).

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