Research methods and thinking skills for business managers
Research methods and thinking skills for business managers
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Introduction to Research & it's process
Research is simply the process of investigation and enquiry in regards with a scrupulous subject matter. In other words, it involves examination of subject matter from diverse point of view. It is being conducted with a view to augment the knowledge about various topics and to search out solutions for many real life problems. Thus, it can be said that research is just the hunt for the truth. By carrying out a proper research, a scholar can extract out many new facts in regards with every field, which have not been triggered out till so far. Hence, a research is being regarded as the voyage of discovery (Underdown and Talluri, 2012). Further, it involves various steps i.e. defining the problem of the research, formulation of hypothesis, accumulating, organizing and evaluating the data, illustrating the conclusion, testing whether the hypothesis so formed were satisfied or not and finally, making necessary suggestions for future research work.
Attributing from the above fact, the subsequent research report will make comprehension in respect of how to plan a project and various ways of conducting a research project. Moreover, the present report would also going to identify approaches to evaluate the outcomes of the research.
1 UNDERSTAND HOW TO PLAN A PROJECT REPORT
1.1 Selecting a topic for the project report
Before initiating any project, it is quite essential to opt for a specific topic. In other word, it is necessary to decide on the subject area of the research. The ability to develop a strong research topic is considered as an important skill, which is required in each and every individual prior commencing the project report (Guthrie, 2001). There are various techniques that can be used in order to select a suitable topic of the research. One of the best among them is Brainstorming technique. It is being defined as the individual or a group creativity technique, wherein people make efforts to find out the conclusion of a specific problem by accumulating spontaneous idea contributed by the member of the group. By adopting this approach, one can choose a good research topic for the project report.
Now, after getting a range of ideas in regards with the topic, it is required to select the most appropriate and good research topic. Various ideas can be refined by making use of Delphi method. It is being defined as a structure and systematic communication technique that heavily relies on the panel of experts. This method is generally used to integrate the judgments of a faction of experts (Dalkey and Norman, 1969).
After getting judgments of various experts, the final stage is to select a topic of the research. The topic of the current research is high attrition rate. As in today competitive business environment, many firms are facing this problem. Thus, this project will take into consideration various factors that lead to high rate of attrition in the organization as well as differed ways through which this problem can be managed and controlled (Blaikie, 2009). The case organization taken understudy is Imperial Inn. Consequently, the title of the research will be “the impact of high attrition rate and various measures to manage it in Imperial Inn”.
1.2 Selecting and applying appropriate research approaches and strategies
There are mainly two types of research i.e. deductive and inductive. In the deductive approach, a hypothesis is being established by making use of theory. It basically works from general to more specific. Deductive approach is also sometimes known as the “top-down approach”. It searches for the theory and then hypothesis is being developed. Afterwards it observes the things and finally reaches at the conclusion (Blaikie, 2009). On the other hand, inductive approach is a flexible approach, as there is no need of theory to accumulate information. In this type of research, the researcher makes use of observed facts and figures to reach at the pre-determined hypothesis. Here, in this project report, inductive approach is more appropriate, as the researcher will gather observed facts and figures from the hotel and then form a hypothesis for the same.
When speaking in regards with different research strategies, it defines the way project report will precede. There are various research strategies like survey, ethnography, action research etc. Ethnography approach is commonly used for carrying out qualitative research. It emphasized on analyzing and studying the entire culture. Such type of approach has very wider scope and involves wide range of practitioners and methods (RESEARCH STRATEGY, n.d). However, participant observation is the most common and important ethnographic approach. On contrary, Survey method is the simplest method for accumulating the data. This research strategy is more reliable and can be used by the researcher for conducting an effective research. In this project report, action research strategy is more appropriate, as it is a participatory research and is initiated for the purpose of solving immediate problems. Action research can be performed by larger organization with a view to improve some strategies, knowledge of environment and practices.
1.3 Review critically the literature
After finalizing the approach and research strategy to be adopted in the project report, the next important step is to critically review the literature related to the topic of the research. This process involves exploring different articles, books and journals in regards with the particular subject area. Reviewing literatures is a very tedious and complex process, as it involves exploring the work done by various authors and renowned scholars. Thus, in order to makes this process simple, researcher can make use of mind maps (Hackley, 2003). It is a diagram, which is used to visualize the outline information. They are often created around a single word or a text.
Turnover of employees is much studied phenomenon. A vast literature is available in regards with the causes of high attrition rate within the organization. According to Boxall in the year 2003, “motivation for changing the job is multi-dimensional and there are no factors present, which will explain this” (Boxall, Macky and Rasmussen, 2003). Attrition is defined as the rate of gradual shrinkage in the size of personnel in the organization, either because of retirement, death or resignation. As attrition rate is increasing day by day, many organizations are facing numerous challenges and problems. High rate of attrition results from a variety of factors (Angelino, Williams and Natvig, 2007). One such factor is workplace and environmental influences. There are more likely chances that employees will remain in the company for extended period of time, if the working environment is conductive. Thus, there exists positive relationship between attrition rate and workplace influences. Another factor is job satisfaction. According to Mobley, the overall job satisfaction of the employees is generally negatively linked with the turnover; however it explains little of the variability in turnover. It is very rightly said that organizations suffers a lot in regards with costs, when a potential employee leaves their firm. Attributing from the fact, it is articulated that human resource department plays a significant role in managing and controlling the high attrition rate (Mobley and et.al., 1979).
The current identified literatures are not enough to conclude the present project report. Lot more literatures and work done by authors in regards with strategies that can help in combating the higher attrition rate in the organization are required to be explored. By analyzing all related previous works of many scholars, a more proper can be concluded (Literature review on labor turnover and retention strategies, n.d).
When talking about the plagiarism, it is referred as a wrongful appropriation or purloining and publication of work done by others authors in different language, thoughts and ideas. This concept is highly immoral and it is considered as academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is not a crime however it is a moral offence. It can be avoided by taking into consideration few points:
By doing proper paraphrasing
Quoting the source properly
Proper planning ahead (How to Avoid Plagiarism, 2013)
Keeping a track of all sources
Placing sources in right context
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1.4 Formulating research questions, objectives and hypothesis
A good research problem is being regarded as the one, which helps in generating further new research objectives and questions. Research objective basically summarizes about the things to be achieved in the study. All these objectives need to be closely related with the main problem of the research (Sivakumar and et.al., 2009). On the other hand, research question refers to those questions, which the researcher would like to be answered in the proposed project report. Both research objectives and question play a significant role in the whole research. The importance of both of these lies in the fact that they help in determining the type of question to be asked, kind of data collection method to be used and the overall design of the proposed project report (White, 2009). They also help in organizing the in different parts and phrases.
The research questions appropriate for the proposed study are as follows:
What are the factors responsible for high attrition rate in Imperial Inn?
What is the impact of attrition on the performance level of the organization?
What measures could be adopted by the company to retain the best employees?
On the basis of these research questions, various research objectives can be formulated. However, there is only one difference that exists between the research questions and objective that research questions are stated in the form of questions, while objectives are stated in the narrative or statement form.
To evaluate the factors responsible for high attrition rate in Imperial Inn hotel
To assess the impact of high attrition rate on the performance level of the organization
To critical review various measures that can be adopted by Imperial Inn in order to retain the best and potential employees.
Hypothesis of the proposed project
H0: High attrition rate impact the performance of the organization H1: high attrition rate does not impact the performance of the organization
1.5 Writing the project specifications
In the present competitive and dynamic business environment, high rate of attrition is now becoming the most prevalent and distressing factor in almost each and every organizations. Now, the managers that are subject to manage the human resource in the company are facing numerous challenges and complexities in organizing the workforce. Some of the challenges may relate with the high rate of employee turnover, managing workplace diversity, developing work ethics, retrenchment and downsizing (Dalkey and Norman, 1969). Attributed from the above fact the main purpose of current project report is to evaluate the impact of high attrition rate on the working and performance of the Imperial Inn hotel. There are many factors, which leads or motivates employees for a job change. Thus, the propose project report will also going to evaluate various factors that are responsible for high employee turnover within the organization. As this alarming problem is posing great threat for many of the organizations, it is required to combat this situation by employing various measures and strategies. Keeping thin in intellect, the research will also going to review various strategies through which turnover can be manages and controlled.
A draft plan for the content of the project report:
2. BE ABLE TO CONDUCT RESEARCH FOR A PROJECT REPORT
2.1 Conducting a research in accordance with the project specification, taking into consideration the relevant ethical issues
2.1.1 Considering how to access data in an ethical way; respect confidentiality and data protection legislation
While collecting data that are useful for the purpose of the research, various ethical considerations need to be kept in intellect. There are various social and ethical issues that will be going to arise while accumulating data. The current project report being undertaken will have an impact on stakeholders, legal, ethics and many other perspectives (Maxwell, 2005). When speaking in volume about the ethics, it is defined as the moral philosophy that encompasses systemizing and recommending the concepts of right or wrong. Each and every research cannot be concluded effectively without involving any human participants. And, if human respondents are being involved than there are more likely chances of exploitation of some of the laws and regulations. They always make an effort to get involve in some or the other wrongful activities, which should be kept in view by the researcher (Research Ethics, 2010).
On the other hand, the researcher is also required to ensure confidentiality of data and information being received from the respondents. They need to make sure that all the information received from the participants will kept secret and in no chances it will be disclosed. Thus, while accumulating the data, ethics, data protection legislation and confidentiality need to be kept in intellect.
2.1.2 Collecting data by using suitable methods
There are mainly two types of data i.e. primary and secondary. Primary data is defined as that data, which is collected for the first time by the researcher. On the other hand, secondary data refers to those which are already available and lacks originality (White, 2009). Thus, primary data are in the shape of raw-materials and secondary data are in the shape of readymade products. When talking about the methods of collecting data than there are broadly two methods. The first one is quantitative and the other one is qualitative method. Interview and questionnaires comes under the category of quantitative data collection method, while observation, documents review and in-depth interview falls under the qualitative method of data collection (Qualitative Research, n.d).
Here, in this project report both qualitative and quantitative method of data collection will be used by the researcher. Primary data will be acquired by sending questionnaires to various managers of human resource department as well as internal staff members of Imperial Inn hotel. The questionnaire will comprise of both open and close ended questions. On contrary, the secondary data will be accumulated by exploring various articles, books, journal and works done by renowned authors.
Angelino, L.M., Williams, F.K. and Natvig, D., 2007. Strategies to Engage Online Students and Reduce Attrition Rates. The Journal of Educators Online. 4(2).
Boxall, P., Macky, K. and Rasmussen, E., 2003. Labor turnover and retention in New Zealand; the causes and consequences of leaving and staying with employers. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. 41(2). pp.196-214.
Dalkey and Norman, C., 1969. Analyses From a Group Opinion Study, in: Futures. Journal of the Institute of Management Sciences. 2(12). pp.541-551.
Guthrie, J.P., 2001. High-involvement work practices, turnover and productivity: Evidence from New Zealand. Academy of Management Journal. 44(1). pp.180-190.
Mobley, W.H. and et. al., 1979. Review and conceptual analysis of the employee turnover process. Psychological Bulletinvol. 86(3). pp.493-522.
Underdown, R. and Talluri, S., 2012. Cycle of success: a strategy for becoming agile through benchmarking. Benchmarking: An International Journal. 9(3), pp.278 -292.
Blaikie, N., 2009. Designing Social Research. 2nd ed. Polity.
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