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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

PLEASE ANSWER QUESTION 1 IN SECTION A AND ANY 4 QUESTIONS IN SECTION B SECTION A: ANSWER QUESTION 1 (40 MARKS) Describe your understanding of management research by explaining how you identify the problem situation, the approach and methods (positivist, interpretive or mixed theory) you used, the justification for the theoretical framework, data collection and analysis, and the value of your research outputs as perceived by the academics in the management discipline and managers or practitioners in the industry. Based on the quality of the individual student’s tentative research proposal.

SECTION B: Answer any FOUR questions. Each of the questions carries 15 marks. QUESTION 2 a. Describe, compare and contrast the four levels of scale measurement. Type of Scale Description Comparison/Comments Nominal scale Assigns a value to an object The most elementary level of for identification or measurement and data could classification purpose be analysed using nonparametric tests only. Ordinal scale It is a ranking scale but it It has nominal properties that does not indicate the value allow things to be arranged of the interval between based on how much of some rankings concept they possess. Data could be analysed using nonparametric tests only. Interval scale It captures relative quantities It has both nominal and ordinal properties and data could be in the form of distances analysed using both parametric between observations. and non-parametric tests Ratio scale It is the highest form of There is a absolute zero and measurement and data can be analysed using represents absolute both parametric and nonquantities. parametric tests

b. Why does a researcher often use more than one question to measure a concept, such as employee satisfaction? A concept such as employee satisfaction may have several dimensions and hence, several questions may be needed to provide a valid and reliable measurement of the concept.

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

c. What is reliability and validity in the context of conducting a research? How can the reliability and validity of a multi-item composite scale be assessed? Reliability is an indicator of a measure’s internal consistency. A measure is reliable when different attempts at measuring the item converge on the same result. Internal consistency represents a measure of homogeneity of multiple-item composite scale and Cronbah alpha is the most commonly applied estimate of reliability. Validity refers to the extent to which an empirical measure adequately reflects the real meaning of the concept under consideration. There are several criteria or types of validity for measuring the appropriateness of the agreed-on meanings of concepts. The types of validity are face validity, criterion-related validity, construct validity and content validity.

QUESTION 3 Job Placement Agency Sdn Bhd, which specialises in recruiting employees for the trading and services sector, had engaged Mr. Joe, a senior researcher associated with a research institute, to conduct a study to examine the following issues: i. How does employee appearance affect customer purchasing decision? ii. How does employee appearance affect customer ethics? Mr. Joe decided the issues can best be investigated by conducting a laboratory experiment. The experimental variables were: Independent variables: type of attire (professional vs. unprofessional); Selling approach (soft vs. aggressive) Dependent variables: Time spent by subject (customer) talking to employee Amount spent by subject on purchases Control variable: gender The experiment was conducted in a mock retail shop set up in a lecture room of an institution of higher learning and the subjects for the experiment were students. Each subject was told to play the role of a customer who had just bought some slacks and a shirt. A research assistant played the role of the retail employee who tried to persuade the subject (customer) to buy additional product items. At the end of the experiment, each subject was required to complete a simple questionnaire, consisting of several items rated on a 7-point semantic differential scale regarding his/her experience with the retail employee. Required: a. Develop TWO hypotheses that correspond to the research questions. H1: Customers will spend more (will spend more time talking) if the employee dresses professional. H2: Customer will spend more (will spend more time talking) if the employee uses an aggressive selling approach.

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

b. Assuming the researcher is interested to examine how the feelings or experiences of each subject affect his/her decision to buy and the amount spent, develop TWO questionnaire items to be used to measure the subject’s feelings or experiences. 1. I feel more comfortable talking to the retail employee who is professionally dressed. 2. I am likely to spend more if the retail employee adopts a persistent and aggressive approach in selling items to me. (Likert scale: strongly agreed ……………………..strongly disagreed) c. Comment the appropriateness of the use of experimental design in this study from the viewpoint of internal and external validity. The experimental approach allows researcher to have better control over the research setting and extraneous variables that may influence the decision variable. Thus, the experimental study has high internal validity which means that the variance in the dependent variable is explained by the experimental variable, and a causal relationship can be established. However, there is a tradeoff with respect to external validity, which is the accuracy with which the experimental results can be generalized beyond the experimental subjects. Nevertheless, the results of the lab experiments could be later validated by some field tests. The use of student surrogates may also diminish external validity, unless the students are representative of the type of clientele (young & educated) that the retail store caters for. QUESTION 4 A business consulting firm which specialises in start-up companies and those involved in technology innovation, conducted an online survey into the attitudes of financiers, investors and venture capitalists with regard to the importance of technology for start-up companies and the types of business ideas that investors are looking for when deciding on whether to finance these start-ups. The main question asked in the survey was: Do you believe that unique technology is crucial to the success of start-up companies? 1. Rarely 2. Occasionally 3. Frequently 4. Usually 5. Always The remainder of the survey asked for reasons why technology is important for start-ups and invited comments from the respondents. Required: a. Evaluate on the rating scale used for the question in this survey. The rating scale is a 5-point semantic differential scale with clear labels for categorisation. The scale has no neutral point and hence, is an unbalanced scale that does not allow respondent to be indifferent. The 5-point rating scale is a more sensitive measure than a binary scale that

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

indicate only positive or negative response because it enable the researcher to have more indepth information on respondent’s opinion or perception. b. Suggest three ways that the survey could be improved without a major cost increase. The survey may be conducted through convenience sampling, telephone interview and field test. More and/or different types of structured questions, rather than the open-ended questions, could be included to provide better explanation of the respondent’s perception and explore the perceived feasibility/priority of different business proposals for financing. c. Based on the information given, what do you think are the research objectives for this survey? Do you think the survey objectives could be met? Explain. The research objectives of the study are to examine the attitudes of financiers, investors and venture capitalists with regard to the importance of technology for start-up companies and the types of business ideas that investors are looking for when deciding on whether to finance these start-ups. Responses to the question asked have only provided empirical evidence of the perceived importance of high or unique technology among investors and venture capitalists when making financing decisions. However, there were no explicit questions on the types of business proposals favoured by these venture capitalists. The use of open-ended questions to solicit comments may not achieve the research objectives. QUESTION 5 a. Explain the essential tenets of the scientific method and why this method is important for business research.

The scientific method is an approach to problem-solving that is based on 1) direct observation of phenomena, 2) clearly defined variables, 3) empirically tested hypotheses, 4) elimination of rival hypotheses, 5) statistical justification of conclusions, and 6) a self-correcting process. It is important as a basis for business research because it ensures that the conclusions we state from research results from empirical data and that other conclusions have been eliminated through the process. {This is the positivist approach, and the student can also explain from the interpretive approach }
b. Sometimes business research may be unnecessary. Explain when this could occur.

Business research may be unnecessary in several situations. If the value of addressing the problem is less than the cost of the research, research is unnecessary. If the organization suffers from constraints of time, money, or skill, the research may not be appropriate. If the necessary information cannot be collected in a manner that is applicable to the research, it may not be necessary. Finally, if the decision is of low-risk anyway, research is unnecessary.

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

QUESTION 6 a. Explain the various possible functions research serves in business and management The four possible function research serves in business are: (1)Foundational - answers basic questions (e,g., What business should we be in?) (2)Testing - addresses things like new product concepts or promotional ideas (e.g., How effective will they be?) (3)Issues - examines how specific issues impact the firm (e.g., How does organizational structure impact employee job satisfaction and turnover?) (4)Performance - monitors specific metrics including financial statistics like profitability and delivery times. They are critical in real-time management and in “what-if” types of analyses examining the potential impact of a change in policy. b. Explain why business research, like all business activity, continues to change. Changes in communication technologies and the trend toward an ever more global marketplace have played a large role in many of these changes. With respect to communication technologies, virtually everyone is “connected” today and the speed with which information can be exchanged has increased tremendously. Changes in computer technology have also made for easier data collection and data analysis. Markets today have few, if any, geographic boundaries. Companies that conduct business in foreign countries must understand the nature of those particular markets and judge whether they require customized business strategies. The internationalization of research places greater demands on business researchers and heightens the need for research tools that allow us to cross-validate research results, which means that the empirical findings from one culture also exist and behave similarly in another culture.

QUESTION 7 a. What is a theory, what are its goals, and why is it useful to business researchers? A theory is a formal, logical explanation of some events that includes predictions of how things relate to one another. The two purposes of theory are understanding and predicting. Accomplishing the first goal allows the theorist to gain an understanding of the relationship among various phenomena. Thus a theory enables us to predict the behavior or characteristics of one phenomenon from the knowledge of another phenomenon. b. Discuss how theories are developed. At the abstract, conceptual level, a theory may be developed with deductive reasoning by going from a general statement to a specific assertion. Deductive reasoning is the logical process of deriving a conclusion about a specific instance, based on a known general premise or something known to be true. At the empirical level, a theory may be developed with inductive reasoning, which is the logical process of establishing a general proposition on the basis of observation of particular facts.

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

QUESTION 8 Compare and contrast qualitative research and quantitative research and discuss situations in which qualitative research is useful. Qualitative business research is research that addresses business objectives through techniques that allow the researcher to provide elaborate interpretations of business phenomena without depending on numerical measurement. Its focus is on discovering true inner meanings and new insights. It is less structured than most quantitative approaches and does not rely on selfresponse questionnaires containing structured response formats. Instead, it is more researcherdependent in that the researcher must extract meaning from unstructured responses such as text from a recorded interview or a collage representing the meaning of some experience. The researcher interprets the data to extract its meaning and converts it to information. Qualitative research is useful when: (1) it is difficult to develop specific and actionable decision statements or research objectives; (2) the research objective is to develop an understanding of some phenomena in greater detail and in much depth; (3) the research objective is to learn how phenomena occur natural settings or to learn how to express some concept in colloquial terms; or (4) some behavior the researcher is studying is particularly context dependent. Quantitative business research can be defined as research that addresses research objectives through empirical assessments that involve numerical measurement and analysis approaches. It is more apt to stand on its own in the sense that it requires less interpretation. QUESTION 9 a. Define surveys and describe the type of information that may be gathered in a survey. A survey is defined as a method of collecting primary data based on communication with a representative sample of individuals. The type of information gathered in a survey varies considerably depending on its objectives. Typically, surveys attempt to describe what is happening, what people believe, what they are like or to learn the reasons for a particular activity. More specifically, surveys gather information to assess consumer knowledge and awareness of products, brands, or issues and to measure consumer attitudes and feelings. Surveys can describe consumer characteristics including purchasing patterns, brand usage, and descriptive characteristics including demographics and lifestyle. Not all survey research is conducted with the ultimate consumer - some focus on wholesalers, retailers, or industrial buyers. Although most surveys are conducted to quantify certain factual information, some aspects of surveys may also be qualitative. b. Explain reasons for taking a sample rather than a complete census. There are several reasons for taking a sample rather than a complete census. One is for pragmatic reasons - applied research projects usually have budget and time constraints. In most situations, sampling cuts costs, reduces labor requirements, and gathers vital information quickly. Another major reason for sampling is that most properly selected samples give results that are reasonably accurate. Larger samples allow conclusions to be drawn with more confidence that they truly represent the population. Sometimes, a sample may even be more accurate than a census due to fewer interviewer mistakes, tabulation errors, and other

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GSM 5114 ~ FINAL EXAMINATION

nonsampling errors. A third reason to take a sample rather than a census is the fact that many research projects require the destruction of the items being tested. c. List the stages in the selection of a sample. Before taking a sample, researchers must make several decisions. While these decisions are presented as a series of sequential stages, the order of the decisions does not always follow this sequence. These stages are: (1) Define the target population (2) Select a sampling frame (3) Determine if a probability or nonprobability sampling method will be chosen (4) Plan procedure for selecting sampling units (5) Determine sample size (6) Select actual sampling units (7) Conduct fieldwork

QUESTION 10 a. Good models are complex. What’s more, a good model should include both moderating and mediating variables. Discuss this statement.

There is no relationship between the quality of a model and the complexity of a model. Recall that parsimony is one of the hallmarks of scientific research: Simplicity in explaining the phenomena or problems that occur, and in generating solutions for the problems, is always preferred to complex research frameworks that consider an unmanageable number of factors. A good theoretical framework identifies and defines the important variables in the situation that are relevant to the problem. Moderating and mediating variables may or may not be important to the problem. A good model does not necessarily include moderating and mediating variables.
b. If research in the management area cannot be 100 percent scientific, why bother to do it at all? State your view on this statement.

Research in the management area dealing with human behavior cannot be 100 percent scientific. However, such research is necessary and useful for detecting problems and coming up with solutions to ensure that problems do not get out of control. Management research makes a valuable contribution inasmuch that it can help organizations function smoothly and effectively and help managers and individuals at all levels in organizations experience and enjoy a better quality of life.

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