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Problem Definition Task

Purpose: To make well-informed decisions, it is important to be able to carefully identify problems and opportunities. A critical part of this process is asking the right questions – well-defined practical questions. It is really important for a manager and leader to know what the problem is they are trying to solve. 

Unambiguous definition of a selected problem is the key first step in managing it; this task is the first in a 4-step refinement of a business problem and will assist the student to develop their skills in Asking questions and defining problems and their parameters.


Assessment Type: Individual compulsory

Problem Definition Report

For this report, please select a topic that is of interest to you and an organisation of your choice. Ideally the report will provide some useful insights and recommendations to the organization.

This topic will form the basis of the CAT Application Report that contributes to the summative assessment for this course. Remember you can change the topic for the final CAT Application Report, though this is not recommended since you will be duplicating work if you change your topic–so choose your topic wisely.

Instructions: Identify a complex organisational issue or problem. Write a report of no more than 500 words describing the problem in the following terms:

1. Define the problem including brief background and context

2. Justify the problem. Why is it relevant/important to the organisation?

3. Formulate questions about the causes of the problem that are best answered using scientific evidence

4. Formulate questions about potential solutions to the problem that are best answered using scientific evidence

This will be discussed in class in Week 2. Marking criteria are below.

MARKING CRITERIA: The criteria used to determine whether or not you satisfactorily complete this task include:


 Clear problem statement


 Clear justification for the report including brief background.


 Includes appropriate questions to identify causes of the problem from scientific evidence


 Includes appropriate questions to identify solutions from scientific evidence.


 Sources used are adequately and accurately referenced throughout the report.


•Articulate a problem definition or statement in 1-3 sentences. It outlines the problem or opportunity being addressed in a clear and concise way.•Frame the problem using a PICOC•Should define a situation where a gap exists between an actual and desired state.•It should focus on one problem and its importance.•It should not suggest a solution or assumed causes.•Should be easy to convert into an answerable question.

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