MRIDUL KUMAR SINGH Table of Contents

Given essay has been focussed on critically reviewing the research methods and methodologies used by Sylvie Chevrier in her research paper on her research and study of ‘Cross Cultural Management in Multinational Project Groups’ as a subject of inquiry. According to the paper of Sylvie Chevrier, her paper aims at establishing ‘at better understanding the dynamics of international project groups by grasping the strategies project leaders setup to cope with cultural diversity’. By using various appropriate data collection methods and methodologies, researcher reaches at valuable outcomes with three suggestions from her comparative study of three different case study samples of transnational project groups and outlines certain most accepted practices in the business world to manage cultural diversity. Cross cultural management as a subject of inquiry, brings to the fore a number of methodological facts that are normally not available in single cultural research or in mono cultural research. These facts are well illustrated in many of the papers published in International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. The discussion of such facts and issues as equivalence, data collection and sampling makes a major contribution to improve international management practice. But can her outcomes be accepted widely on a larger scale? How her outcomes or findings are effective and exhaustive? Or the methodologies used by her justify her claims? Does she uses methods well or not? Or there could be some other alternative methods used to get a better insight into her topic. Now following few given paragraphs of this essay are consecrated to justifying, criticizing and finding some satisfying answers to the questions asked above. I have purposely added my review of research in the text of this essay using paraphrasing and quoting directly with due referencing to be with continue connectivity, and also tried my best to avoid the repetition theory time to time. In this essay I have also involved some examples of some similar researches done by some other researchers using different methods which probably might have been researched further. 1

In the research paper researcher designs her research with specific data collection and interpretation methods. Data is effectively another word used for information, which can be found through Primary or secondary Data collection, but before using any method of collecting data researcher must read various ways of collecting information so that researcher can decide to use in his/her own research. For the collection of information for qualitative analysis of research topic, data can be collected using different methods, depending on the different sources utilized, getting data from actual experiments or from the records, so as per the sources of data, the collection method is classified in two categories primary and secondary. Primary Data Collection: In this type of data collection, researcher collects the data him/herself using methods such as interviews and questionnaires. The key point here is that the data you collect is unique to you and your research and, until you publish, no one else has access to it. There are many methods of collecting primary data and the main methods include:
• • • • • • •

Questionnaires Interviews (Structured, semi structured, telephonic etc) Focus group interviews Observation Case-studies Critical incidents Portfolios.

Secondary Data Collection: All methods of data collection can supply quantitative data (numbers, statistics or financial) or qualitative data (usually words or text). Quantitative data may often be presented in tabu2

lar or graphical form. Secondary data is data that has already been collected by someone else for a different purpose to yours. For example, this could mean using:
• • • •

Data collected by a hotel on its customers through its guest history system Annual company reports Data supplied by a marketing organisation Government statistics.

*Sampling and its Techniques *Data Collection *Observation *Interviews with its types *Case Studies
(* details in Research Methodology section due to prevent the repetition)

(Description and Review)

Research is to search or to investigate exhaustively, it is diligent and careful search, experimentation, especially investigation targeted at the interpretation and discovery of facts. Research revises the accepted theories and laws in the focus of new facts and practical examinations of such revised theories or laws; it can also be a form of collecting information about a particular topic or subject. (Webster, 1985)

Here I would like to initiate the analysis of methodologies used in the research paper of Sylvie Chevrier highlighting my monitoring on the sampling and data collection techniques adopted by her, following method with a little variations is common for all data collection and sampling method.


Sampling and it’s Techniques: Some times when it needed that we have to conduct a research on the certain group of consumers, then this is the problem that we cannot reach to each consumer due to restriction of time, money and other often access so we select at random from a population and use to test hypotheses about the population. This is where sampling is most required. These techniques give a wide range of that enable the researcher to lower the data that the researcher need by taking the only the data from a subgroup rather the amount of data rather than other cases and elements. This is a process, or we can say a technique of collecting a suitable sample, or a representative subgroup of a bigger group or population to identify the characteristics and parameters of whole group or population. There are no specific rules to follow, but the researcher must rely on the judgement and logics. Three types of random sample can be drawn – a simple random sample (SRS), a stratified sample and a systematic sample. There are a lot of methods f sampling but it depends on the researcher which method he choose or which is convenient for him, in this research paper researcher has chosen the convenience sampling which is used by Sylvie Chevrier in her research paper. Which is used in exploratory research in which a researcher is eager in finding an inexpensive approximation of truth and this is why the samples are collected because they are convenient saves time and money both and random selection gives approximate results without incurring the cost. One of the major concepts which are to be considered in choosing a sample is reliability and validity of sample, in general how properly the population is represented by the choice of sample taken under consideration of study. (Trochim, 2006) The reliability and authentication of results of Sylvie Chevrier’s choice of sampling could be argued upon a number of facts and grounds, which are as follows; Subject: Subject selected for study is technical and therefore people from other professions on which the results may be extended haven’t been considered. So it embedded some confusion whether the results may be generalized for other project groups also. Here Chevrier has attributed engineering as common interest which got many teams together as a connecting agent where other factors like relationship building failed.


Interviewees: The researcher also consider a group of interviewees, who have some experience of working in cross cultural project groups so that we can deduce that time has made them resistant to the complications caused by the differences in their culture which may be more thought provoking area to research by taking less experienced interviewees. In the research paper the groups which are considered are all European project groups but the culture ubiquitous in the Europe continent may not be like other continents [Asia, Africa, America etc.] at final stage of research paper Chevrier tries to justify some project groups, her claim in that aspect may not be perfectly true. In this research paper Sylvie Chevrier had selected the samples from technical or engineering area and after that the she generalized her study to other fields and areas of various project groups and the samples which are collected are mostly from European Countries and after this the study is generalized without weighing the other continent groups, where the cultural diversities might vary from European countries. Now we can analyse and compare the results and findings hereData Collection Method Type: In this research paper the she has researcher has used the primary data collection but she also uses the secondary data collection as a compliment collected from various sources like documentary in the form of meeting minutes etc. The internal communication tools- contents and accounts are taken from different secretaries. She took the help of Psychologist to provide a view on the level of acceptance and tolerance, prevalent in the company scenario. Experimental or opinion based: Although Sylvie Chevrier has used a survey method to collect the data which is obvious in the research like this research paper. Some of the methods are Computer simulation Model, such as VDT(Virtual Design Team) and this computer simulation is growing as a research method for organisation(Dooley, 2002). A another research has been conducted by (Horii et al, 2005) in their research work “Modelling and analysing cultural influences on Project team performance” to study the presentation and problems of the extent VDT model to capture the impact in global projects and of cultural differences. Observations: Observation or monitoring is the process which involves the systematic steps of study, description, analysis, recording, interpretation etc. It also involves recording the behavioural 5

patterns of people, objects and events in a systematic manner. Here I would try to classify the observation and identify the differences between the different types of observations. Observational methods may be:
• • • • • •

Structured or unstructured Disguised or undisguised Natural or contrived Personal Mechanical Non-participant or Participant, with the participant taking a number of different roles.

Here I would like to describe the first and the last point of observation the first one is structured or unstructured* and the other is participant or non-participant**. * In structured observation, the researcher describes in detail what is to be observed and how the observations are to be recorded. It is appropriate when the fact or problem is clearly defined and the information needed is given specially. In unstructured observation, the researcher observes all aspects of the event which seem relevant. It is appropriate when the problem has yet to be formed precisely and flexibility is required in monitoring to identify key factors of the problem and to produce hypotheses. The potential for bias is high. Observational outcomes should be treated as hypotheses to be tested rather than as conclusive outcomes.

** I Non-Participant type of observation the observer does not participate in the observation, the observer does not directly question or communicate with the people being observed. In participant observation, the researcher is a part of the group which is being observed. This observation has its roots in ethnographic studies, where researchers would live in tribal 6

villages, attempting to identify and understand the customs and practices of that culture and society. It has a very extensive literature, particularly in sociology (development, nature and laws of human society) and anthropology (physiological and psychological study of man). Organisations can be viewed as ‘tribes’ with their own customs and practices. The role of the participant observer is not simple. There are different ways of classifying the role:
• • • •

Researcher as employee. Observation alone. Researcher as an explicit role. Interrupted involvement.

These are some good type of methods of observation to analyse the social situation which gives the insight of the situation. INTERVIEWS: Interviewing is a technique which is primarily used to obtain an understanding of the reasons and motivations for attitudes of people, behaviour and preferences. Interviews can be held on a personal one to one basis or in a group as well. Interviews can be conducted anywhere as per the availability of the person like at work, home, on the street, inside a shopping mall or some other agreed places. Types of interview: Structured: It is based on a carefully worded interview schedule and it frequently require short answers with the answers being ticked off. It is useful when there are a lot of questions which are not particularly contentious or thought provoking. In such type of interview respondent may become irritated by having to give over-simplified answers. Semi-structured: Such type of interviews is focused by asking certain questions but with scope for the respondent to express him or herself as long as he or she want.


Unstructured: This type of interviews are called in-depth interview. Here interviewer starts by asking a general question to the respondent. Then he encourages the respondent to talk freely. The interviewer uses an unsystematic format, the subsequent direction of the interview being determined by the respondent’s initial reply. The interviewer then probes for elaboration – ‘Why do you say that?’ or, ‘That’s interesting, tell me more’ or, ‘Would you like to add anything else?’ being typical probes. Here I would like to provide a step-by-step guide to conducting an interview. A researcher should remember that all situations are different and so you may need refinements to the approach. Planning an interview:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Identify and list and the areas in which you require data or information. Decide the type of interview. Divide areas into actual questions. First check them out on a friend or relative. Make an appointment with respondent(s) – discussing all details of why and how long the interview will take


Try and fix a appropriate venue and time when both the researcher and the respondent may reach easily and not be disturbed.

CASE STUDIES: We know that this is a modern idea of analysing and solving a particular problem and it has been predicted as an important source understanding the details of any particular problem. To understand burning issues like poverty, dowry, corruption etc which require complex details so that an in-depth analysis could be completed, these case studies are very useful. 8

Case study is “completeness in observation, reconstruction and the analysis” of the subject. (Zonabend, 1992) The term case study usually defines a fairly intensive observation of a single unit such as a person, a group, or a company. Case studies measures what is the insight and how it got there. It can enable the researcher to explore and understand the problems, issues and relationships. It does not aloe the researcher to generalise, so the arguments and outcomes or theory developed of a case study does not apply to other similar case studies. The case-study method has following steps: 1. Determine the present situation. 2. Gather background information about the past and key factors. 3. Develop and test hypotheses, Eliminate possibilities, which conflict with the evidences collected and to gain confidence for the important hypotheses. 4. Take remedial action. The aim is to check that the hypotheses tested actually work out in practice. Zonabend (1992) states that this type of research is done by giving a specific attention to complexities in observation, reconstruction, and analysis of the cases under study and it is done in such a way that it incorporates the views of the “actors” in the case under study. Sylvie Chevrier utilised the advantages of case studies as her main tool for gathering and analysing data to prepare a descriptive and critical outcomes of the research.

ANALYSIS AND REVIEW ON TECHNIQUES AND THE OUTCOMES: The data analysis forms the heart theory building from case studies but it is the most difficult and codified part of the process. (Eisenhardt,1989). According to Miles and Huberman (1984) “One cannot ordinarily follow how a researcher gets from 3600 pages of field notes to the final conclusion, sprinkled with vivid quotes though they may be” however several key features of analysis can be modified. In the research paper author tells about the development of cross cultural teams by trail and error method and again oppose that by saying to form informal groups of people from similar countries during the intervals and their discussions expressing their dissatisfaction about 9

working with different cultured people within a same project group which gives us two aspects of coin. There is also a need of compromising is manifest from both methods of interviewing used by the author where leaders say that they could not make any differences and treat everybody similarly and again where German people of a product develop group. who are observed and interviewed by the author they said how they accept people from different cultures who are coming late to meeting and not bearing the same behaviour from a few psople. In terms outcomes of her research paper on transnational culture set up by project team. It does challenge a number of theories like Hofstede’s, as the author has pointed out. But it shows how rigorous rules are exercise within her case study. Her suggestions for cultural arbitrator are valid. Contrasts of facts have been handsomely depicted making the outcomes reasonably acceptable. In spite of a lot of limitations in collecting information by the methods used by her as given above.

CONCLUSION: According to me that “there is no one best way of doing things or thinking and analysing ideas are purely relative.” So the acknowledgement should be given to the author for researching and editing an exploratory research paper. According to Pauling “The best way to get good ideas is to get a lot of ideas”. I agree to the issues that there could have been much better ideas of research for this case , however I consider that this research is an good effort by Sylvie Chevrier and I appreciate the methodologies, techniques and the outcomes by her. Her involvement is also commendable as we read that she participated in the meetings of that organizations to get into the depth of the issue. Lastly, the anthropological lighting of contemporary work on cross-cultural management is extremely relevant.



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