Each student is to write a research essay (10-12 typewritten pages in length) that focuses on the life and principal business innovations of a leading American or Canadian entrepreneur. The entrepreneur you write about will have been active in business any time between 1800 and the present. However, if selecting a very recent entrepreneur, you must demonstrate that a sufficient body of scholarly research material exists to support your essay. In addition, enough time needs to have passed between the introduction of the entrepreneur’s principal innovations and the present to permit an objective assessment of the full significance of those innovations to the industry in question. In focusing on the most significant innovations your subject made within his or her particular company or industry, do not attempt to tell the entire story of their life and business career. Rather, your task is to examine in detail only the most noteworthy contributions (the desirable number will be determined by the specific individual’s career) which the entrepreneur made to the evolution of business practices. For example, if writing an essay about Henry Ford, you obviously will need to refer, as a minimum, to the specific marketing strategies, production techniques, and managerial practices that Ford applied to his firm, the Ford Motor Company. Remember, in this assignment you are to write an entrepreneurial biography, not a corporate history. Some attention must therefore be given to the individual entrepreneur’s character, background, upbringing, education, and early work experience, and anything else that helps explain their approach to business innovation. The first step in writing accurate history is to develop a clear understanding of the broader environment or context within which the particular story being told took place.
Therefore your essay must begin with a general overview of the most relevant social, economic, and political events occurring at the time your selected entrepreneur was active in business. As well, this introductory section must provide an overview of the particular industry in which your selected entrepreneur was involved. For example, anyone who intends to write a research essay on the career of the pioneering industrialist and steel producer Andrew Carnegie would need to provide an historical overview of the most relevant social, economic and political events which marked American society between the 1870s and the 1890s, the decades when Carnegie made his most significant entrepreneurial innovations. In addition, the introductory section would need to explain conditions in the steel industry at the time Carnegie was involved in it. Essentially the question to be answered by the contextual component of the essay is “what were the relevant social, economic, and political conditions locally, nationally or globally at the time my chosen entrepreneur arrived on the scene?” It is expected that approximately two pages at the beginning of your essay will be devoted to a consideration of these contextual issues. A formal research essay proposal (maximum one page in length) explaining the topic, thesis, and main sources to be utilized, must be submitted in class no later than Tuesday February 12th. Remember, your essay must demonstrate a clearly identifiable thesis around which the entire work is structured. Individual essay topics must be approved by the instructor. Essays will not be accepted or assigned a grade if they are submitted on a topic other than what was approved by the instructor. A paper copy of the completed research essay must be submitted in class on Tuesday March 26th. In addition, an identical electronic copy of the essay must be submitted by the due date and time to turnitin.com. A late penalty of 5% for the first day and 2% per day thereafter (weekends included) will be assessed against all written work submitted after the due date. Students must keep a duplicate of all written work until the final grade is received. Pressure of work is not an acceptable excuse for lateness. The essay must be double-spaced, and printed in a #12 font with 1″ margins. Be certain to include a title page, bibliography, and footnotes or endnotes (following The Chicago Manual of Style format).
For instructions on proper essay citations see “Citing Sources According to Chicago Style, 16th ed.” at this link: http://www.lib.uwo.ca/files/styleguides/Chicago.pdf. Each essay must be based on at least seven scholarly sources. Please note that articles found on Wikipedia are not acceptable research sources for this essay. Any of the required readings in this course may be used as essay sources as applicable, but cannot be counted among the minimum seven scholarly sources. It is anticipated that the best essays will draw upon substantially more than the minimum seven required sources. Students are encouraged to read again the penalties associated with plagiarism as they are explained in the departmental document appended to the course outline. Be aware that the essay’s format, grammar, and spelling are as important as its content. Essays containing a surfeit of spelling and grammatical errors will receive a failing grade, regardless of the content of the essay.