Exam Feedback 2013

 

 Overall performance

Total number of students

Mean

mark

Highest mark

Lowest

mark

30

63.63

74

49

 

 

Q1. Europe has had an auditable system for the traceability of meat from field to table since 1989, introduced after the BSE crisis. 

Recently the presence of horsemeat has been found in products described as “beef”.  Critically consider the lessons which can be drawn from this scandal for the design and operation of quality management systems.

 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

2

62

62

62

Outline Answer:A pass answer will identify that horse has got in to burgers due to failures in regulatory systems of meat traceability. 

A good answer will discuss how this can happen : weak procedures, weak auditing and misrepresentation.

 

A strong answer will relate this to the literature critical of management systems and use this to develop policy responses.

 

 Feedback on student exam performance: Very, very consistent answers: standard deviation of zilch. 

 

Q2. It is argued that companies are moving away from using mystery shopper exercises to monitor service quality.  Briefly describe the basis of monitoring service quality using “mystery shoppers” and consider the reasons why their use may be decreasing. 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

14

63.14

76

48

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe mystery shopper exercises. 

A good answer will identify weaknesses : Type I and Type II errors, servers guessing the mystery shopper’s identity, and cost.

 

A strong answer will identify that service monitoring built on actual customers (especially with identifiable demographics) is increasingly being used.

 

Feedback on student exam performance: Everyone was able to describe the basis of mystery shopping. Main area of weakness was in explaining about why its use is in decline: most obvious expected ctiticisms are the risk of smapling errors due to small samples (which was covered in the lecture)  and the emergence of techniques based on  monitoring individual customers through loyalty programmes etc (which we discussed in relation to the restaurant case).

 

 

Q3. It is argued that one advantage of the Business Excellence Model over IS09001 is that it places greater  emphasis on forcing managers to reflect critically on current practices.  Explain why this emphasis on managers’ reflexivity is increasing and consider whether self-assessment models are the only ways of making managers mindful of potential quality problems. 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

22

65.14

74

55

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe the excellence model and IS09001. 

A good answer will compare and contrast two approaches.

 

An excellent answer will relate this to the growth of reflexivity in management, for example by reference to HRO.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:This was answered pretty well, with good use of references to literature in the top-end answers. I think most students were expecting a reflexivity question to come up (unlike the beef/horse). 

 

 

 

Q4. Six Sigma has become a widely applied quality improvement technique.  Outline the elements of Six Sigma and explain why the techniques have become so widely adopted. 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

16

64.44

76

52

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe Six Sigma Techniques. 

A good answer will identify the benefits of each element of this SS Toolbox.

 

An excellent answer will consider whether SS is a mimetic isomorphism and, role of GE.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:Pretty much the same as Q 3. Better answers were able to describe SS in more detail and relate to the literature.

 

Q5. The management of waiting times in Lothian NHS caused a management crisis last year.  Provide an overview of the case and identify the lessons that can be drawn for the setting of performance targets in the public sector. 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

6

57.67

76

38

Outline Answer:A pass answer will summarise the details of last year’s waiting list management scandal. 

A good answer will relate this to the literature on unforeseen consequences of performance objects.

 

An excellent answer will use the theory to identify policy responses.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:Dissappointing. At the lower end students didn’t seem too aware of the case itself; maybe should have gone for the beef starter. Excellent though at the top end: case detail and critical discussion of unintended consequences of service performance measures. 

 

Q6. Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) has been criticized for lacking statistical rigour.  Describe this technique and discuss the claim that the statistical modeling of reliability will give organisations a better understanding of the risks of product failure than using FMECA. 

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

0

0

0

0

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe FMECA. 

A good answer will contrast FMECA with more statistical rigorous reliability / risk modeling.

 

An excellent answer will contrast social and quantitative approaches to the management of this risk of failure.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:Nobody did poorly on this question, and as with question 1, the standard deviation of marks was zilch.