Research Methods for Business by Uma Sekaran 6th edition full book PDF. 1. e eBookCollection; 2. RESEARCH METHODS FOR BUSINESS A. Uma Sekaran is Professor Emerita of Management, Southern Illinois University Revising Research Methods for Business for this fourth edition has been an enjoy- .. on the job, your sixth sense or hunch, or will you just hope for good luck?. Research Methods for Business by UMA SEKARAN 6th Edition Test Bank - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.
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Impression management, logos, and image building. Product positioning, product modification, and new product development. Cost of capital, valuation of firms, dividend policies, and investment decisions. Risk assessment, exchange rate fluctuations, and foreign investment. Tax implications of reorganization of firms or acquisition of companies. Collection of accounts receivable. Development of effective cost accounting procedures.
Qualified pension plans and cafeteria type of benefits for employees. Deferred compensation plans. Installation of effective management information systems. Advanced manufacturing technologies and information systems. Design of career paths for spouses in dual-career families. Creative management of a diverse workforce. Cultural differences and the dynamics of managing a multinational firm. Alternative work patterns: Participative management and performance effectiveness.
Differences in leadership positions, salaries, and leadership styles. Installation, adaptation, and updating of computer networks and software suitable for creating effective information systems for organizations. Installation of an effective Data Warehouse and Data Mining system for the organization.
Keeping ahead of the competition in the new millennium. Not only are the issues within any subarea related to many factors within that particular system, but they must also be investigated in the context of the exter- nal environment facing the business.
For example, economic, political, demo- graphic, technological, competitive, and other relevant global factors could impinge on some of the dynamics related to the firm. These have to be scruti- nized as well to assess their impact, if any, on the problem researched.
One is to solve a cur- rent problem faced by the manager in the work setting, demanding a timely solu- tion. For example, a particular product may not be selling well and the manager might want to find the reasons for this in order to take corrective action. Such research is called applied research. The other is to generate a body of knowl- edge by trying to comprehend how certain problems that occur in organizations can be solved. This is called basic research.
It is quite possible that some orga- nizations may later on apply the knowledge gained by the findings of such basic research to solve their own problems. For instance, a university professor may After gathering information on this topic from sev- eral institutions and analyzing the data, the professor may identify factors such as inflexible work hours, inadequate training of employees, and low morale as primarily influencing absenteeism.
Later on, a manager who encounters absen- teeism of employees in his organization may use this information to determine if these factors are relevant to that particular work setting. Thus, research done with the intention of applying the results of the find- ings to solve specific problems currently being experienced in the organiza- tion is called applied research. Research done chiefly to enhance the understanding of certain problems that commonly occur in organizational set- tings, and seek methods of solving them, is called basic or fundamental research.
It is also known as pure research. The findings of such research contribute to the building of knowledge in the various functional areas of business. Such knowledge generated is usually later applied in organizational settings for problem solving.
Applied Research Consider the following two situations cited in Business Week. Oxford Health Plans Inc. It was a company in dis- tress experiencing computer problems. It is obvious that Oxford has a multitude of problems and an outside con- sultant—researcher would perhaps be able to design a scientific study that would look into them.
Presumably, this would be a lengthy investigation that could result in several different recommended solutions. In the second situation, Xerox also needs to look into the efficacy of the ana- log technology used in copiers and examine what should be done to increase efficiency and promote its sales. The two preceding examples illustrate the need for applied research, whereby existing problems can be solved through investi- gation and good managerial decision making.
APPLIED AND BASIC 9 Basic or Fundamental Research Right from her days as a clerical employee in a bank, Sandra had observed that her colleagues, though extremely knowledgeable about the nuances and intricacies of banking, were exerting very little effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the bank in the area of cus- tomer relations and service.
They took on the minimum amount of work load, availed of long tea and lunch breaks, and seemed not motivated in their dealings with the customers or the management. That they were highly knowledgeable about banking policies and practices was clearly evident from their mutual discussions about these as they processed applications from customers.
Sandra herself was very hardworking and enjoyed her work with the customers. She always used to think what a huge waste it was for talented employees to goof off rather than con- tribute to the GNP. When she left the bank and did her dissertation for her Ph. The conclusion of her investigation was that the single most important contributory factor to job involvement is the fit or match between the nature of the job and the personality predispositions of the people engaged in performing it.
For example, challenging jobs allowed employees with high capabilities to get job- involved, and people-oriented employees got job-involved with service activities.
Sandra then understood why the highly intelligent bank employees could not get job-involved or find job satisfaction in the rou- tine jobs that rarely called for the use of their abilities.
Subsquently, when Sandra joined the Internal Research Team of a For- tune Company, she applied this knowledge to solve problems of moti- vation, job satisfaction, job involvement, and the like, in the organization. The above is an instance of basic research, where knowledge was generated to understand a phenomenon of interest to the researcher. Most research and development departments in various industries, as well as many professors in colleges and universities, do basic or fundamental research, so that more knowl- edge is generated in particular areas of interest to industries, organizations, and researchers.
Though the objective of engaging in basic research is primarily to equip oneself with additional knowledge of certain phenomena and problems that occur in several organizations and industries with a view to finding solu- tions, the knowledge generated from such research is often applied later for solv- ing organizational problems.
As stated, the primary purpose of conducting basic research is to generate more knowledge and understanding of the phenomena of interest and to build theories based on the research results. Such theories subsequently form the foun- dation of further studies of many aspects of the phenomena. This process of Several examples of basic research can be provided. For instance, research into the causes and consequences of global warming will offer many solutions to minimize the phenomenon, and lead to further research concerning if and how global warming can be averted.
Although research on global warming might primarily be for the purpose of understanding the nuances of the phenomenon, the findings will ultimately be applied and useful to, among others, the agricul- tural and building industries. Many large companies also engage in basic research.
This, ultimately, results in increased sales of computers for them. University professors engage in basic research in an effort to understand and generate more knowledge about various aspects of businesses, such as how to improve the effectiveness of information systems, integrate technology into the overall strategic objectives of an organization, assess the impact of logos, increase the productivity of employees in service industries, monitor sexual harassment incidents at the workplace, increase the effectiveness of small businesses, evalu- ate alternative inventory valuation methods, change the institutional structure of the financial and capital markets, and the like.
These findings later become use- ful for application in business situations. As illustrated, the main distinction between applied and basic business research is that the former is specifically aimed at solving a currently experienced problem, whereas the latter has the broader objective of generating knowledge and understanding of phenomena and problems that occur in various organiza- tional settings.
Despite this distinction, both types of research follow the same steps of systematic inquiry to arrive at solutions to problems. As current or prospective practicing managers in organizations, you would be directly or indi- rectly engaged in applied research. You would also be keeping abreast of new basic knowledge generated by being in regular touch with the published research in the business journals related to your sphere of work, some of which could very well be relevant and applicable to your own business organization.
In sum, both applied and basic business research are scientific in nature, the main difference being that the former is undertaken specifically to solve a cur- rent business problem whereas the latter is primarily resorted to because of the importance of the subject to the researcher.
A deeper understanding of the phe- nomenon would be useful for its own sake as well as for application later, as needed. Both basic and applied research have to be carried out in a scientific manner discussed in the next chapter so that the findings or results generated by them can be relied upon to effectively solve the problem investigated.
It is, however, possible that some applied research could have a shorter time frame than some basic research. Though you yourself may not be doing any major research as a manager, you will have to understand, predict, and control events that are dysfunctional to the orga- nization.
Such disturbing phenomena have to be understood and explained. Unless this is done, it will not be possible to predict the future of that product or the prospects of that investment, and how future catastrophic outcomes can be controlled. A grasp of research methods will enable managers to understand, predict, and control their environment.
A thought that may cross your mind is that, because you will probably be bringing in researchers to solve problems instead of doing the research yourself, there is no need to bother to study about research. The reasons become clear when one considers the consequences of failure to do so.
With the ever-increas- ing complexity of modern organizations, and the uncertainty of the environment they face, the management of organizational systems has become one of con- stant trouble shooting in the workplace. It would help if managers could sense, spot, and deal with problems before they get out of hand.
Knowledge of research and problem-solving processes helps managers to identify problem sit- uations before they get out of control. Although minor problems can be fixed by the manager, major problems would warrant the hiring of outside researchers or consultants. The manager who is knowledgeable about research can interact effectively with them.
Knowledge about research processes, design, and inter- pretation of data also helps managers to become discriminating recipients of the research findings presented, and to determine whether or not the recommended solutions are appropriate for implementation. Another reason why professional managers today need to know about research methods is that they will become more discriminating while sifting through the information disseminated in business journals.
Some journal articles are more sci- entific and objective than others. Even among the scientific articles, some are more appropriate for application or adaptation to particular organizations and sit- uations than others. This is a function of the sampling design, the types of orga- nizations studied, and other factors reported in the journal articles.
Unless the manager is able to grasp fully what the published empirical research really con- veys, she or he is likely to err in incorporating some of the suggestions such pub- lications offer. There are several other reasons why professional managers should be knowl- edgeable about research and research methods in business. Second, when managers understand the research reports about their organizations handed to them by professionals, they will be equipped Research then becomes a useful deci- sion-making tool rather than a mass of incomprehensible statistical information.
Third, because managers become knowledgeable about scientific investigations, vested interests inside or outside the organization will not prevail. For instance, an internal research group within the organization will not be able to distort information or manipulate the findings to their advantage if managers are aware of the biases that could creep into research and know how data are analyzed and interpreted.
As an example, an internal research team might state that a particu- lar unit to which it is partial for whatever reason has shown increased profits and hence should be allocated more resources to download sophisticated equipment to further enhance its effectiveness.
Thus, awareness of the different ways in which data could be cam- ouflaged will help the manager to make the right decision. Fourth, knowledge about research helps the manager to relate to and share pertinent information with the researcher or consultant hired for problem solving.
In sum, being knowledgeable about research and research methods helps pro- fessional managers to: Identify and effectively solve minor problems in the work setting. Know how to discriminate good from bad research.
Appreciate and be constantly aware of the multiple influences and multiple effects of factors impinging on a situation. Take calculated risks in decision making, knowing full well the probabilities associated with the different possible outcomes.
Prevent possible vested interests from exercising their influence in a situation. Relate to hired researchers and consultants more effectively.
Combine experience with scientific knowledge while making decisions. It is thus important to be knowledgeable about how to locate and select a researcher, how to effectively interact with the consultant the terms researcher and consultant are used interchangeably , what the manager—researcher relationship should be, and the advantages and disadvantages of internal versus external consultants.
If a broad indication about what areas or issues need to be researched is stated, the consulting firm will provide lists of individuals that have expertise in those particular areas.
The credentials of these individuals are also usually presented by the consulting firm or can be requested. Other organizations that have used their services can also be contacted to ascer- tain the merits and effectiveness of the individuals and the reputation of the firm. Many colleges of business also have professors who do organizational consulting work.
Some of them have vast experience working with several types of organiza- tions. These individuals can also be contacted and their services utilized, if they have the time and would agree to do the study.
In all cases, however, it is advis- able to check their credentials and the institutions they hail from before hiring them. The Manager—Researcher Relationship During their careers, it often becomes necessary for managers to deal with con- sultants. Many academicians also have their students do research projects for the class and several organizations allow access to them, asking only that a copy of the research project be made available to them.
Some professors interested in pub- lishing the results of basic research also approach organizations and are afforded the facilities to conduct research. If the research has been done scientifically, then the results of the study would be beneficial to the manager, who would have obtained useful information without paying for it.
By being able to point out the relevant variables integral to what is of concern to the researchers doing basic research, and by helping them with useful insights, the manager stands to benefit a great deal. When the manager is knowledgeable about research, then the inter- actions between the manager and the researcher become more meaningful, pur- poseful, and beneficial both to the organization and the researcher alike.
Quite frequently, organizations also hire outside research agencies to identify and solve problems for them. In such a case, the manager must not only inter- act effectively with the research team, but must also explicitly delineate the roles for the researchers and the management. The manager has to inform the researchers what types of information could be provided to them, and more important, which of their records would not be made available to them.
Such records might include the personnel files of the employees, or the ones with cer- tain trade secrets. Making these facts explicit at the very beginning can save a lot of frustration for both parties. Managers who are very knowledgeable about research can more easily foresee what information the researchers might require, and if certain documents containing such information cannot be made available, they can inform the research team about this at the outset. It is vexing for researchers to discover at a late stage that the company will not let them have certain information.
If they know the constraints right from the beginning, the researchers might be able to identify alternate ways of tackling the problems and to design the research in such a way as to provide the needed answers. For example, the research team might very strongly believe and recom- mend that reduction of the workforce and streamlining would be the ideal way to significantly cut down operating costs.
Thus, there might be a clash of ideologies between management and the research team. Research knowledge will help managers to identify and explicitly state, even at the outset, the values that the organization holds dear, so that there are no surprises down the road.
Clarification of the issue offers the research team the opportunity to either accept the assignment, and find alternative ways of dealing with the problem, or regret its inability to undertake the project. In either case, both the organization and the research team would be better off having dis- cussed their value orientations, thus avoiding potential frustration on both sides. Exchange of information in a straightforward and forthright manner also helps to increase the rapport and trust levels between the two parties, which in turn motivates the two sides to interact effectively.
Under this setup, researchers feel free to approach the management to seek assistance in making the research more purposeful. For instance, the research team is likely to request that management inform the employees of the ensuing research and its broad purpose to allay any fears they might entertain.
To summarize, the manager should make sure while hiring researchers or con- sultants that: The roles and expectations of both parties are made explicit. Relevant philosophies and value systems of the organization are clearly stated, and constraints, if any, communicated.
A good rapport is established with the researchers, and between the researchers and the employees in the organization, enabling the full cooper- ation of the latter. This department serves as the internal consultant to subunits of the organization that face certain problems and seek help. Such a unit within the organization, if it exists, would be useful in several ways, and enlisting its help might be advantageous under some circumstances, but not in others. The To reach a decision, the manager should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both, and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using either, based on the needs of the situation.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of both the internal and external teams are now discussed. The internal team would stand a better chance of being readily accepted by the employees in the subunit of the organization where research needs to be done.
The team would require much less time to understand the structure, the phi- losophy and climate, and the functioning and work systems of the organization. They would be available for implementing their recommendations after the research findings are accepted.
They would also be available for evaluating the effectiveness of the changes, and considering further changes if and when necessary. The internal team might cost considerably less than an external team for the department enlisting help in problem solving, because they will need less time to understand the system due to their continuous involvement with var- ious units of the organization.
For problems that are of low complexity, the internal team would be ideal. The four most critical ones are: In view of their long tenure as internal consultants, the internal team may quite possibly fall into a stereotyped way of looking at the organization and its problems.
This would inhibit any fresh ideas and perspectives that might be needed to correct the problem. This would definitely be a handicap for sit- uations in which weighty issues and complex problems are to be investigated. There is scope for certain powerful coalitions in the organization to influence the internal team to conceal, distort, or misrepresent certain facts. In other words, certain vested interests could dominate, especially in securing a sizable portion of the available scant resources.
Certain organizational biases of the internal research team might in some instances make the findings less objective and consequently less scientific.
However, the specific advantages and disadvantages of the external teams may be highlighted. Advantages of External Consultants The advantages of the external team are: The external team can draw on a wealth of experience from having worked with different types of organizations that have had the same or similar types of problems.
This wide range of experience would enable them to think both divergently and convergently rather than hurry to an instant solution on the basis of the apparent facts in the situation.
They would be able to ponder over several alternative ways of looking at the problem because of their extensive problem-solving experiences in various other organizational setups. Having viewed the situation from several possible angles and perspectives diver- gently , they could critically assess each of these, discard the less viable options and alternatives, and focus on specific feasible solutions think convergently.
The external teams, especially those from established research and consulting firms, might have more knowledge of current sophisticated problem-solving models through their periodic training programs, which the teams within the organization may not have access to. Because knowledge obsolescence is a real threat in the consulting area, external research institutions ensure that their members are current on the latest innovations through periodic orga- nized training programs.
The extent to which internal team members are kept abreast of the latest problem-solving techniques may vary considerably from one organization to another. Disadvantages of External Consultants The major disavantages in hiring an external research team are as follows: The cost of hiring an external research team is usually high and is the main deterrent, unless the problems are very critical. In addition to the considerable time the external team takes to understand the organization to be researched, they seldom get a warm welcome, nor are readily accepted by employees.
Departments and individuals likely to be affected by the research study may perceive the study team as a threat and resist them.
The external team also charges additional fees for their assistance in the implementation and evaluation phases. If the problem is a complex one, or if there are likely to be vested interests, or if the very existence of the organization is at stake because of one or more serious problems, it would be advisable to engage external researchers despite the increased costs involved. However, if the problems that arise are fairly simple, if time is of the essence in solving moderately complex problems, or if there is a systemwide need to estab- lish procedures and policies of a fairly routine nature, the internal team would probably be the better option.
Knowledge of research methods and appreciation of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the external and internal teams help managers to make deci- sions on how to approach problems and determine whether internal or external researchers will be the appropriate choice to investigate and solve the problem. This is greatly facilitated by research knowledge.
Knowl- edge of research heightens the sensitivity of managers to the innumerable inter- nal and external factors of a varied nature operating in their work and organizational environment. It also helps to facilitate effective interactions with consultants and comprehension of the nuances of the research process.
Sophisticated technology such as simulation and model building is now available and may lend itself to profitable application in certain business areas. The recom- mendations of the external consultant who is proficient in this technology and urges its application in a particular situation may make no sense to, and might create some misgivings, in the manager not acquainted with research. As the manager, you will be the one to make the final decision on the implementation of the recommendations made by the research team.
Remaining objective, focusing on problem solutions, fully understanding the recommendations made, and why and how they are arrived at, make for good managerial decision making.
Thus, knowledge of research greatly enhances the decision-making skills of the manager. Ethical conduct applies to the organiza- The observance of ethics begins with the person instituting the research, who should do so in good faith, pay attention to what the results indicate, and sur- rendering the ego, pursue organizational rather than self-interests.
Ethical con- duct should also be reflected in the behavior of the researchers who conduct the investigation, the participants who provide the data, the analysts who provide the results, and the entire research team that presents the interpretation of the results and suggests alternative solutions.
Thus, ethical behavior pervades each step of the research process—data col- lection, data analysis, reporting, and dissemination of information on the Inter- net, if such an activity is undertaken. How the subjects are treated and how confidential information is safeguarded are all guided by business ethics.
We will highlight these as they relate to different aspects of research in the relevant chap- ters of this book. There are business journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics and the Business Ethics Quarterly that are mainly devoted to the issue of ethics in busi- ness.
The American Psychological Association has established certain guidelines for conducting research, to ensure that organizational research is conducted in an ethical manner and the interests of all concerned are safeguarded.
As stated, we will discuss the role of ethics in the chapters that follow, insofar as it is rel- evant to the various steps in the research process. In this chapter we examined what research is, the two types of research applied and basic , some commonly researched topical areas in business, why managers should know about research for good decision making, effective relationship between the manager and the consultant—researcher, and the advantages and disadvantages of external and internal consultants.
We also saw how man- agerial effectiveness is enhanced by knowledge of research and highlighted some of the areas where ethical issues deserve attention in the conduct of business research. Why should a manager know about research when the job entails managing people, products, events, environments, and the like? For what specific purposes is basic research important? When is applied research, as distinct from basic research, useful? Why is it important to be adept in handling the manager—researcher relationship?
Explain, giving reasons, which is more important, applied or basic research. Give two specific instances where an external research team would be useful and two other scenarios when an internal research team will be deployed, with adequate expla- nations as to why each scenario is justified for an external or internal team. Describe a situation where research will help you as a manager to make a good decision. Given the situations below, a discuss with reasons whether they fall into the category of applied or basic research, and b for Scenario 1, explain with reasons, who will conduct the research.
Scenario 1 To Acquire or Not to Acquire: That is the Question Companies are very interested in acquiring other firms even when the latter oper- ate in totally unrelated realms of business. For example, Gencore Industries manu- facturing asphalt plants for road construction acquired Ingersoll-Rand in , and later acquired yet another company engaged in the business of food processing.
At the same time, they also won- der if they are missing out on a great business opportunity if they fail to take such risk. Some research is needed here! Scenario 2 Reasons for Absenteeism A university professor wanted to analyze in depth the reasons for absenteeism of employees in organizations.
Fortunately, a company within 20 miles of the campus employed her as a consultant to study that very issue. Scenario 3 Effects of Nasal Spray on Flu A research scientist surveys 1, employees in different organizational settings to study the efficacy of several types of nasal sprays in controlling the flu virus.
He subsequently publishes his findings in a highly respected medical journal.
Explain what is meant by scientific investigation, giving examples of both scientific and nonscientific investigations. Explain the eight hallmarks of science. Briefly explain why research in the organizational behavior and management areas cannot be completely scientific.
Describe the building blocks of science. Discuss the seven steps of the hypothetico-deductive method, using an example of your own. Appreciate the advantages of knowledge about scientific investigation. Managers frequently face issues that call for critical decision making. Recall the various issues that confronted Chuck Orlando in Chapter 1. Managerial deci- sions based on the results of scientific research tend to be effective.
In Chap- ter 1, we defined research as an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry into a specific problem that needs a solution. Deci- sions based on the results of a well-done scientific study tend to yield the desired results. It is necessary to understand what the term scientific means. Scientific research focuses on solving problems and pursues a step-by-step log- ical, organized, and rigorous method to identify the problems, gather data, analyze them, and draw valid conclusions therefrom.
Thus, scientific research is not based on hunches, experience, and intuition though these may play a part in final decision making , but is purposive and rigorous.
Because of the rigorous way in which it is done, scientific research enables all those who are interested in researching and knowing about the same or similar issues to come up with comparable findings when the data are analyzed. Scientific research also helps researchers to state their findings with accuracy and confi- dence. This helps various other organizations to apply those solutions when they encounter similar problems.
Furthermore, scientific investigation tends to be more objective than subjective, and helps managers to highlight the most critical factors at the workplace that need specific attention so as to avoid, min- imize, or solve problems. Scientific investigation and managerial decision mak- ing are integral aspects of effective problem solving.
The term scientific research applies to both basic and applied research. Applied research may or may not be generalizable to other organizations, depending on the extent to which differences exist in such factors as size, nature of work, characteristics of the employees, and structure of the organi- zation. Nevertheless, applied research also has to be an organized and system- atic process where problems are carefully identified, data scientifically gathered and analyzed, and conclusions drawn in an objective manner for effective problem solving.
Do organizations always follow the rigorous step-by-step process? Some- times the problem may be so simple that it does not call for elaborate research, and past experiences might offer the necessary solution. At other times, exigen- cies of time where quick decisions are called for , unwillingness to expend the However, the probability of making wrong decisions in such cases is high. Many implemented plans fail because not enough research has preceded their formulation. Purposiveness 2.
Rigor 3. Testability 4. Replicability 5. Precision and Confidence 6. Objectivity 7. Generalizability 8. Parsimony Each of these characteristics can be explained in the context of a concrete example.
The focus is on increasing the commitment of employees to the organization, as this will be beneficial in many ways. An increase in employee commitment will translate into less turnover, less absenteeism, and probably increased performance levels, all of which would definitely benefit the organization.
The research thus has a purposive focus. Rigor A good theoretical base and a sound methodological design would add rigor to a purposive study. Rigor connotes carefulness, scrupulousness, and the degree In the case of our example, let us say the manager of an organization asks 10 to 12 of its employees to indicate what would increase their level of commitment to it.
If, solely on the basis of their responses, the manager reaches several conclusions on how employee commit- ment can be increased, the whole approach to the investigation would be unsci- entific. It would lack rigor for the following reasons: Different researchers have different ideas about the nature of knowledge or on how we come to know.
The research methods of constructionist researchers are often qualitative in nature. Constructionists are often more concerned with understanding a specific case than with the generalization of their findings.
The critical realist is critical of our ability to understand the world with certainty. Pragmatism is a combination of the belief in an external reality with the rejection of the claim that this external reality can be objectively measured. The focus of pragmatism is on basic. Critical realistm does not take on a particular position on what makes good research. Knowledge of epistemology may help you to relate to and understand the research of others and the choices that were made in this research.
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