Business Research Methods Lecture 1 Introduction
Today’s topics General information Books, teaching method, exam, portfolio, JMP, etc Why study Business Research? What is Business Research? Research and management The topics in the course Research philosophy
Portfolio Market segmentation Three parts 1: Presentation of product, design, etc 2: Qualitative part 3: Quantitative part
What is Business Research? A systematic inquiry whose objective is to provide information to solve managerial problems.
The Research Process Problem Statement Research Objectives Research Questions Research Design Data Collecting Data Analysis Reporting
Why Study Research? Research provides you with the knowledge and skills needed for the fast-paced decision-making environment
The nature of managementand business research Qualitative versus Quantitative A long standing tension Pure research versus Applied research For and against and the practical implications for the choice made Political Senior management access and, where possible, support
What is management? The modern use of the term ‘management’ derives from the USA, with the requirement for business and entrepreneurial skills in the early twentieth century when American industries and railroads were developing very rapidly (Lawrence, 1986). Important subject to be taught in business schools.Early Views: Establishment of business schools meant greater systemization of techniques and knowledge. Taylor (1947): rational systems to simply the organization of work and link rewards to effort. Fayol ( 1950): classified functions – planning, organizing, co-ordinating and controlling.
Seven perspectives onmanagementViews of Period of Type of Key featuresmanagement dominance theoryClassical 1910-1950 Functional activities NormativeHuman Relations 1940-1970 Motivating people and managing change NormativeDecision Theory 1950-1970 Optimising decisions AnalyticWork Activity 1970s What managers do DescriptiveCompetencies 1980s Skills required for effective performance NormativeCritical 1990-present Social construction and politics Analytic Analytic andLearning 1990-present Managing knowledge and learning Normative
Skills and resources for managementand business research Evaluating the skills and qualities required to conduct research: Knowledge/awareness Skills and abilities Personal qualities The support required, including the importance of supervision The mind set and elements of creativity: (Austin, 1978) Favouring those in motion, Those with a prepared mind, and individualized action.
Levels and outcomes ofmanagement research Pure research: mainly Mode 1: production of addressed at an academic knowledge by scientists audience working from single disciplines and focusing on theoretical questions Applied research: solution and problems of a specific problem Mode 2: trans- Best practice research disciplinary – production Action research of knowledge through Engaged research direct engagement with social problems Mode 1 ½: compromise position where both theoretical and practical work is required
Types of research most likely to beassociated with different levels Undergraduate Postgraduate Doctoral Level Funded Projects Level LevelAppliedResearch ** ** * **Action/evaluation * ** * *ResearchPure Research * *** *** Research involves the collection of primary and/or secondary data
The implications formanagement researchersKey Features Implications for Management ResearchersManagement research Researchers need to be aware of different underlyingmethods are eclectic assumptions.Managers and employees Managers will have academic interest in researchare process/results and may want to contribute to the direction ofhighly educated work.Action is a frequent Research results may both derive from, and lead to, practicaloutcome of action.management research Both traditional analytic research and action research are legitimate activities.
The Value of AcquiringResearch Skills To gather more information before selecting a course of action To do a high-level research study To understand research design To evaluate and resolve a current management dilemma To establish a career as a research specialist
Types of Studies Used to doResearch Reporting Descriptive Explanatory Predictive
What is Good Research? Following the standards of the scientific method Purpose clearly defined Research process detailed Research design thoroughly planned Limitations frankly revealed High ethical standards applied
What is Good Research? (cont.) Following the standards of the scientific method (cont.) Adequate analysis for decision- maker’s needs Findings presented unambiguously Conclusions justified Researcher’s experience reflected
The Manager-ResearcherRelationship Manager’s obligations Specify problems Provide adequate background information Access to company information gatekeepers Researcher’s obligations Develop a creative research design Provide answers to important business questions
Manager-Researcher Conflicts Management’s limited exposure to research Manager sees researcher as threat to personal status Researcher has to consider corporate culture and political situations Researcher’s isolation from managers
When Research Should beAvoided When information cannot be applied to a critical managerial decision When managerial decision involves little risk When management has insufficient resources to conduct a study When the cost of the study outweighs the level of risk of the decision
The language of research Concepts A concept is a generally accepted collections of meanings or characteristics associated with certain events, objects, conditions, situations and behaviours. Constructs A construct is an image or abstract idea specifically invented for a given research and/or theory-building purpose.
The language of research Definitions Operational definitions Variables Independent and dependent variables Moderating variables Extraneous variables
The language of research Hypothesis Theory Model
Thinking like a researcher Deduction Induction Combining the two
The Philosophical debates NOMINALISM REALISMOntologyEpistemologyMethodology Methods and Techniques VARIOUS 3rd WAYS
Ontology A researcher’s Ontology refers to: Their philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality.Ontology Realism Internal Realism Relativism Nominalism Truth exists, but is There are manyTruth Single Truth. There is no truth. obscure. ‘truths’. Facts are Facts depend on Facts exist and can concrete, but Facts are allFacts viewpoint of be revealed. cannot be access human creations. observer. directly.
Epistemology A Researcher’s Epistemology is a result of their Ontological position and refers to: their assumptions about the best ways of inquiring into the nature of the world and establishing ‘truth’. Positivism Social constructionism
Philosophical assumptions ofpositivism Independence: the observer must be independent from what is being observed. Value-freedom: the choice of what to study, and how to study it, can be determined by objective criteria rather than by human beliefs and interests. Causality: the aim of the social sciences should be to identify causal explanations and fundamental laws that explain regularities in human social behaviour. Hypothesis and deduction: science proceeds through a process of hypothesizing fundamental laws and then deducing what kinds of observations will demonstrate the truth or falsity of these hypotheses. Operationalization: concepts need to be defined in ways that enable facts to be measured quantitatively. Reductionism: problems as a whole are better understood if they are reduced into the simplest possible elements. Generalization: in order to move from the specific to the general it is necessary to select random samples of sufficient size, from which inferences may be drawn about the wider population. Cross-sectional analysis: such regularities can most easily be identified by making comparisons of variations across samples.
Contrasting implications of positivismand social constructionism Positivism Social ConstructionismThe observer must be independent is part of what is being observedHuman interests Should be irrelevant Are the main drivers of science Aim to increase general understandingExplanations Must demonstrate causality of the situationResearch progresses Gathering rich data from which ideas Hypotheses and deductionsthrough are induced Need to be defined so that Should incorporate stakeholderConcepts they can be measured perspectives Should be reduced to simplest May include the complexity of ‘whole’Units of analysis terms situationsGeneralization Statistical probability Theoretical abstractionthrough Large numbers selected Small numbers of cases chosen forSampling requires randomly specific reasons
Methodological implications ofdifferent epistemologies A combination of techniques used to inquire into a specific situation.Ontology Realism Internal Realism Relativism Nominalism Epistemology Strong Strong Positivism Positivism Constructionism ConstructionismMethodologyAims Discovery Exposure Convergence InventionStarting points Hypotheses Propositions Questions Critique Large surveys; Cases and Engagement andDesigns Experiment multi-casts surveys reflexivity Numbers and Numbers and Words and Discourse andData types facts words numbers experiencesAnalysis/ Verification/ Correlation and Triangulation and Sense-making;interpretation falsification regression comparison understanding Confirmation of Theory testing Theory New insights andOutcomes theories and generation generation actions
Strengths and weaknesses ofdifferent epistemologies Strengths WeaknessesStrong Positivism If it works it can provide highly Hard to implement social experiments compelling conclusions. and to control for alternative explanations of results. Focus may be very narrow.Positivism Can provide wide coverage. Inflexible and artificial. Potentially fast and economical. Not good for process, meanings or Easier to provide justification of policies. theory generation. Implications for action not obvious.Constructionism Accepts value of multiple data sources. Access can be difficult Enables generalizations beyond Cannot accommodate institutional and present sample. cultural differences. Greater efficiency including outsourcing Problems reconciling discrepant potential. information.Strong Good for processes, and meanings. Can be very time consuming.Constructionism Flexible and good for theory generation. Analysis and interpretations are difficult. Data collection less artificial. May not have credibility with policy- makers.
Mapping of other philosophiesagainst ontologies Realism Internal Realism Relativism Constructionism Critical realism Critical realism Hermeneutics Hermeneutics Feminism Feminism Pragmatism Feminism Postmodernism Postmodernism Critical theory Critical theory
A small group work In a municipality close to Oslo they are considering closing down a couple of small schools. You are assigned to determine which is the better, small schools or large schools. Consider and discuss your philosophical approach to the research problem