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Meaning of Research
Research, is simply the process of finding solutions to a problem after a thorough study and
analysis of the situational factor.

Business research can be described as a systematic and organized effort to investigate a specific
problem encountered in the work setting that needs a solution.

Primary steps involved in research

First step in research is to know where the problem areas exist in the organization, and to
identify as clearly and specifically as possible the problems that need to be studied and resolved.

Once the problem that needs attention is clearly defined, then steps can be taken to gather
information, analyze the data, and determine the factors that are associated with the problem
and solve it by taking the necessary corrective measures.


We can now define business research as an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective,
scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem, undertaken with the purpose of finding answers
or solutions to it.

Commonly Researched Areas in Business

Employee selection, recruitment, training, and retention.

Employee behaviors such as performance, absenteeism, and turnover.

Validation of performance appraisal systems.

Brand loyalty, product life cycle, and product innovation.

Consumer complaints.

Impression management, logos, and image building.

Product positioning, product modification, and new product development

Research Motivation
Four types of Motivation

Intrinsic motivation - the love of the work itself. Intrinsic motivations include: interest;
challenge; learning; meaning; purpose; creative flow.

Research has shown that high levels of intrinsic motivation are strongly linked to outstanding
creative performance

Extrinsic motivation - rewards for good work or punishments for poor work. Extrinsic
motivations include: money; fame; awards; praise; status; opportunities; deadlines;
commitments; bribes; threats. Research shows that too much focus on extrinsic motivation can
block creativity.

Personal motivation - individual values, linked to personality. Examples include: power;

harmony; achievement; generosity; public recognition; authenticity; knowledge; security;

Each of us prioritizes some values over others; understanding your own values and those of people
around you is key to motivating yourself and influencing others

Interpersonal motivation - influences from other people. Much of our behaviour is a response
to people around us, such as: copying; rebellion; competition; collaboration; commitment;
Factors Affecting Motivational Research

Types of Research


Basic Research

Research done chiefly to enhance the understanding of certain problems that commonly occur in
organizational settings, and seek methods of solving them, is called basic or fundamental research. It is
also known as pure research.


New theory annex added to electromagnetic wave theory,

Development of analytical procedure to solve a highly complex mathematical model,

Contribution to number theory etc.,

Applied Research

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

1.Improvising the atomizer performance for application in a combustor,

2.Developing a new efficient and compact instrumentation for wireless communication.

3. Developing a new methodology for a manufacturing process, Inventing new tools of


Based on Methodology: 1. Experimental, 2. Analytical 3. Numerical .

Experimental Research is associated with experimental investigation of a process or theme using

appropriate tools.


Investigation of flow behavior of a magnetic fluid in a magnetically resonated duct using

appropriate instrumentation,

The performance evaluation of an internal combustion engine with different catalytic

converters using required instrumentation,

Evolution and testing of a new strategy for product design as applied to specific class of
products using the current trends in the market, etc.,

Analytical Research is associated with the developments of models or solution to the problems using
analytical tools.


Solution to a set of partial differential equations using error functions.

Development of an analytical tool to collect and analyse data during adoption of a new
management strategy.

Evolution of new standards and practices for efficient product design procedure

Numerical Research is associated with the solution obtained for a practical problem using numerical
tools. New numerical tools and procedures may be evolved during this process or the available
commercial numerical analysis based software may be used to solve the problem.


Numerical investigation of flow of a non-newtonian fluid through a pin-hole orifice using a

commercial software.
Development of a numerical tool to predict the fluid flow behaviour in a hypersonic flow

Evolution of a new tool for grading the the customer satisfaction using mathematical, statistical
and numerical methods.

Research and Scientific Method

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 but is purposive
and rigorous.

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

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 research method applies to both basic and applied research


1. Purposiveness

2. Rigor

3. Testability

4. Replicability

5. Precision and Confidence

6. Objectivity

7. Generalizability

8. Parsimony

The manager has started the research with a definite aim or purpose,

For Example :

The focus is on increasing the commitment of employees to the organization.

less absenteeism

increased performance levels

All of which would definitely benefit the organization. The research thus has a purposive focus.

. Rigor

Rigor means carefulness, scrupulousness, and the degree of exactitude in research investigations.

Rigorous research involves a good theoretical base and a carefully thought-out methodology.

enable the researcher to collect the right kind of information from an appropriate sample with
the minimum degree of bias, and facilitate suitable analysis of the data gathered.


Scientific research lends itself to testing logically developed hypotheses to see whether or not the data
support the educated conjectures or hypotheses that are developed after a careful study of the problem
situation. Testability thus becomes another hallmark of scientific research.

Researcher develops certain hypotheses on how employee commitment can be enhanced, then
these can be tested by applying certain statistical tests to the data collected for the purpose.

For instance, the researcher might hypothesize that those employees who perceive greater
opportunities for participation in deci- sion making would have a higher level of commitment.
This is a hypothesis that can be tested when the data are collected .


Let us suppose that the manager/researcher, based on the results of the study, concludes that
participation in decision making is one of the most important fac- tors that influences the commitment
of employees to the organization. We will place more faith and credence in these findings and
conclusion if similar find- ings emerge on the basis of data collected by other organizations employing
the same methods.

To put it differently, the results of the tests of hypotheses should be supported again and yet again
when the same type of research is repeated in other similar circumstances. To the extent that this does
happen (i.e., the results are replicated or repeated), we will gain confidence in the scientific nature of
our research.

. Precision and Confidence

Precision refers to the closeness of the findings to reality based on a sample. In other words, precision
reflects the degree of accuracy or exactitude of the results on the basis of the sample, to what really
exists in the universe.

Confidence refers to the probability that our estimations are correct. That is, it is not merely enough to
be precise, but it is also important that we can confi- dently claim that 95% of the time our results would
be true and there is only a 5% chance of our being wrong. This is also known as confidence level.


The conclusions drawn through the interpretation of the results of data analysis should be
objective; that is, they should be based on the facts of the findings derived from actual data, and
not on our own subjective or emotional values. For instance, if we had a hypothesis that stated
that greater participation in decision making will increase organizational commitment, and this
was not supported by the results, it makes no sense if the researcher continues to argue that
increased opportunities for employee participation would still help! Such an argument would be
based, not on the factual, data-based research findings, but on the subjective opinion of the

The more objective the interpretation of the data, the more scientific the research investigation
becomes. Though managers or researchers might start with some initial subjective values and
beliefs, their interpretation of the data should be stripped of personal values and bias.


Generalizability refers to the scope of applicability of the research findings in one organizational setting
to other settings. Obviously, the wider the range of applic- ability of the solutions generated by
research, the more useful the research is to the users. For instance, if a researchers findings that
participation in decision making enhances organizational commitment are found to be true in a variety
of manufacturing, industrial, and service organizations, and not merely in the par- ticular organization
studied by the researcher, then the generalizability of the findings to other organizational settings is
enhanced. The more generalizable the research, the greater its usefulness and value.

Simplicity in explaining the phenomena or problems that occur, and in generat- ing solutions for the
problems, is always preferred to complex research frame- works that consider an unmanageable
number of factors. For instance, if two or three specific variables in the work situation are identified,
which when changed would raise the organizational commitment of the employees by 45%, that would
be more useful and valuable to the manager than if it were recommended that he should change 10
different variables to increase organizational commitment by 48%. Such an unmanageable number of
variables might well be totally beyond the managers control to change

Research Process

The specific issues that need to be researched within this situation may not be identified. Such issues
might pertain to (1) problems currently existing in an organizational setting that need to be solved, (2)
areas that a manager believes need to be improved in the organization, (3) a conceptual or theoretical
issue that needs to be tightened up for the basic researcher to understand certain phenomena, and (4)
some research questions that a basic researcher wants to answer empirically. Examples of each type can
be provided taking the issue of sexual harassment, which is a problem that at least some organizations
will have to handle at some point in time.

Steps involved in Research Process

1. Observation

2. Preliminary Data Gathering

3. Problem Definition

4. Theoretical Framework

5. Generation of Hypothesis

6. Scientific Research Design

7. Data Collection ,Analysis and Interpretation.

8. Deduction

9. Report Writing

10. Report Presentation

11. Managerial Decision Making


This step involves identification of few problems and selection of one out of them after
evaluating the alternatives against certain selection process.

problems currently existing in an organizational setting that need to be solved.

areas that a manager believes need to be improved in the orga- nization.

a conceptual or theoretical issue that needs to be tightened up for the basic researcher to
understand certain phenomena.

some research questions that a basic researcher wants to answer empirically

Preliminary Data Gathering

This is of two types unstructured interviews, structured interviews.

The nature of information needed by the researcher for the purpose could be broadly classified
under three headings:

1. Background information of the organizationthat is, the contextual factors.

2. Managerial philosophy, company policies, and other structural aspects. .
3. Perceptions, attitudes, and behavioral responses of organizational members and client systems
(as applicable).
4. The documentation of the relevant studies citing the author and the year of the study is called
literature review or literature survey.
5. The literature survey is a clear and logical presentation of the relevant research work done thus
far in the area of investigation

Theoretical Framework

A theoretical framework is a conceptual model of how one theorizes or makes logical sense of
the relationships among the several factors that have been identified as important to the

A variable is anything that can take on differing or varying values. The values can differ at
various times for the same object or person, or at the same time for different objects or
persons. Examples of variables are production units, absen- teeism, and motivation

Four main types of variables are

1. The dependent variable- The dependent variable is the variable of primary interest to the researcher.

2. The independent variable-An independent variable is one that influences the dependent variable in
either a positive or negative way.
3. The moderating variable-The moderating variable is one that has a strong contingent effect on the
inde- pendent variabledependent variable relationship. That is, the presence of a third variable (the
moderating variable) modifies the original relationship between the independent and the dependent

4. The intervening variable- An intervening variable is one that surfaces between the time the
independent variables start operating to influence the dependent variable and the time their impact is
felt on it. There is thus a temporal quality or time dimension to the intervening variable.

Generation of Hypothesis

A hypothesis can be defined as a logically conjectured relationship between two or more

variables expressed in the form of a testable statement. Relationships are conjectured on the
basis of the network of associations established in the theo- retical framework formulated for
the research study. By testing the hypotheses and confirming the conjectured relationships, it is
expected that solutions can be found to correct the problem encountered.

Scientific Research Design

The research design refers to the overall strategy that you choose to integrate the different
components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring you will effectively
address the researchproblem; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement, and
analysis of data

Some of the types of research design

Descriptive (e.g., case-study, naturalistic observation, survey)

Correlational (e.g., case-control study, observational study)

Semi-experimental (e.g., field experiment, quasi-experiment)

Experimental (experiment with random assignment)

Review (literature).

Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation

Data Collection refers to collecting data through different methods like interviews, survey etc..

Data Analysis- Data Analysis is the process of systematically applying statistical and/or logical
techniques to describe and illustrate, condense and recap, and evaluate data. ... An essential
component of ensuring data integrity is the accurate and
appropriateanalysis of research findings.

Interpretation Explaining the findings in theoretically


Deductive reasoning is a basic form of valid reasoning. Deductive reasoning, ordeduction, starts
out with a general statement, or hypothesis, and examines the possibilities to reach a specific,
logical conclusion.

Narrow down the different problems/ solutions.

Report Writing

It is important that the results of the study and the recommendations to solve the problem are
effectively communicated to the sponsor, so that the suggestions made are accepted and

The written report enables the manager to weigh the facts and arguments pre- sented therein,
and implement the acceptable recommendations, with a view to closing the gap between the
existing state of affairs and the desired state

Report Presentation

The opening remarks set the stage for riveting the attention of the audience. Certain aspects such as the
problem investigated, the findings, the conclusions drawn, the recommendations made and their
implementation are, as previously mentioned, important aspects of the presentation. The speaker
should drive home these points at least three timesonce in the beginning, again when each of these
areas is covered, and finally, while summarizing and bringing the pre- sentation to a conclusion.

Managerial Decision Making

Managers wrestle with a multitude of problemsbig and smallin their every- day work life. The
difference between a successful and not so successful orga- nization lies in the quality of decisions made
by the managers in the system.
Research Process

Criteria of Good Research

Research is extremely cyclic process

Because of the cyclic nature of the research, it can be difficult to determine when to start or

The scope and the limitations should be clearly explained. The process to be clearly explained so
that it can be reproduced and verified by other researchers.
Research Proposal

Before any research study is undertaken, there should be an agreement between the person who authorizes the study and
the researcher as to the problem to be investigated, the methodology to be used, the duration of the study, and its cost.
This ensures that there are no misunderstandings or frustrations later for both parties. This is usually accomplished
through the research proposal, which the researcher submits and gets approved by the sponsor, who issues a letter of
authorization to proceed with the study.
The research proposal drawn up by the investigator is the result of a planned, organized, and careful effort, and basically
contains the following:
1. The broad goals of the study.
2. The specific problem to be investigated.
3. Details of the procedures to be followed.
4. The research design offering details on:
a. The sampling design
b. Data collection methods and c. Data analysis.

5. Time frame of the study, including information on when the written report will be handed over to the sponsors.
6. The budget, detailing the costs with reference to specific items of expenditure.
Such a proposal containing the above features is presented to the manager, who might seek clarification on some
points, want the proposal to be modified in certain respects, or accept it in toto. A model of a simple research
proposal to study the frequent turnover of newly recruited employees is presented below.


Purpose of the Study
To find a solution to the recurring problem of 40% employee turnover within the first 3 years of their recruitment, and
more specifically to:
a. Draw up a profile of the employees who quit;
b. Assess if there are any special needs of the new recruits that require to be met; and
c. Determine the reasons for employees leaving the organization in the first 3 years.
The Research Design (i.e., Details of the Study)
Sample: Sixty percent of the 80 individuals who have joined the company within the last 3 years will constitute the
sample. These 48 individuals will be chosen through a simple random sampling design, that is, in a manner where each
of the 80 individuals will have an equal chance of being selected for the study. This will ensure the accuracy and
precision of the results.
Survey Instruments. First, we will administer a questionnaire to the sample of 48 employees, and thereafter interview
each of them for about 10 minutes. The questionnaire can be found in Appendix A to this proposal.
Data Collection. The questionnaire will be given to the employees to be com- pleted by them in their homes and
returned anonymously to the box set up for the purpose within the specified date. They will all be reminded 2 days
before the due date to return their questionnaire, if not already done.
The 10-minute individual interviews will be conducted during office hours in the Conference Hall of the organization at
a prearranged time convenient to the interviewees.
Data Analysis. Once the data are collected, the information will be coded and appropriate data analytic techniques used
to determine the likely reasons for some employees leaving the organization within 3 years of their joining.
Report. A written report will be submitted within 2 months of the commence- ment of the study, followed by an oral

Time Frame. The schedule in Appendix B shows the sequence of activities and the time line for each.
Budget. The budget for this project is in Appendix C.
Once the proposal is accepted, the researcher conducts the research, going through the appropriate steps
discussed in the research design process. Soon after the data are analyzed and conclusions drawn from the
findings, the inves- tigator is ready to present the results of the research study and make suitable rec-
ommendations. This usually takes the form of a written report and is quite often followed up by an oral

Research Proposal A document that sets out the purpose of the study and the research
design details of the investigation to be carried out by the researcher.

Research Design

Having identified the variables in a problem situation and developed the theo- retical framework, the next step is
to design the research in a way that the req- uisite data can be gathered and analyzed to arrive at a solution.

Issues relating to decisions regarding the purpose for the study (exploratory, descriptive, hypothesis
testing), its location (i.e., the study setting), the type it should conform to (type of investigation), the
extent to which it is manipulated and controlled by the researcher (extent of researcher interference), its
temporal aspects (time horizon), and the level at which the data will be analyzed (unit of analysis), are integral
to research design.




Exploratory Study.

An exploratory study is undertaken when not much is known about the situation at hand, or no information is
available on how similar problems or research issues have been solved in the past. In such cases, extensive
preliminary work needs to be done to gain familiarity with the phenomena in the situation, and understand what is
occurring, before we develop a model and set up a rigorous design for comprehensive investigation.

Some qualitative studies (as opposed to quantitative data gathered through questionnaires, etc.) where data are
collected through observation or inter- views, are exploratory in nature. When the data reveal some pattern
regarding the phenomena of interest, theories are developed and hypotheses formulated for subsequent testing.

In sum, exploratory studies are important for obtaining a good grasp of the phenomena of interest and advancing
knowledge through subsequent theory building and hypothesis testing.


A descriptive study is undertaken in order to ascertain and be able to describe the characteristics of the variables
of interest in a situation. For instance, a study of a class in terms of the percentage of members who are in their
senior and junior years, sex composition, age groupings, number of semesters left until graduation, and number of
business courses taken, can be considered as descrip- tive in nature. Quite frequently, descriptive studies are
undertaken in organiza- tions to learn about and describe the characteristics of a group of employees, as for
example, the age, educational level, job status, and length of service of His- panics or Asians, working in the
system. Descriptive studies are also undertaken to understand the characteristics of organizations that follow
certain common practices. For example, one might want to know and be able to describe the characteristics of the
organizations that implement flexible manufacturing sys- tems (FMS).
The goal of a descriptive study, hence, is to offer to the researcher a profile or to describe relevant aspects of the
phenomena of interest from an individual, orga- nizational, industry-oriented, or other perspective.

Hypotheses Testing

Studies that engage in hypotheses testing usually explain the nature of certain relationships, or establish the
differences among groups or the independence of two or more factors in a situation. Examples of such studies are
given below. Hypothesis testing is undertaken to explain the variance in the dependent vari- able or to predict
organizational outcomes.

A marketing manager wants to know if the sales of the company will increase if he doubles the advertising dollars.
Here, the manager would like to know the nature of the relationship that can be established between advertising
and sales by testing the hypothesis: If advertising is increased, then sales will also go up.

Case Study Analysis

case studies involve in-depth, contextual analyses of matters relating to similar situations in other organizations. We
noted earlier that case studies, as a problem-solving technique, are not frequently resorted to in organizations because
finding the same type of problem in another comparable setting is difficult due to the reluctance of the companies to
reveal their prob- lems. Case studies that are qualitative in nature are, however, useful in applying solutions to current
problems based on past problem-solving experiences. They are also useful in understanding certain phenomena, and
generating further the- ories for empirical testing.


A manager should determine whether a causal or a correlational study is needed to find an answer to the issue at hand.
The former is done when it is necessary to establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship. However, if all that the
manager wants is a mere identification of the important factors associated with the problem, then a correlational study
is called for. In the former case, the researcher is keen on delineating one or more factors that are undoubtedly caus-
ing the problem. In other words, the intention of the researcher conducting a causal study is to be able to state that
variable X causes variable Y. So, when variable X is removed or altered in some way, problem Y is solved. Quite often,
however, it is not just one or more variables that cause a problem in organiza- tions. Given the fact that most of the
time there are multiple factors that influ- ence one another and the problem in a chainlike fashion, the researcher might
be asked to identify the crucial factors associated with the problem, rather than establish a cause-and-effect
The study in which the researcher wants to delineate the cause of one or more
problems is called a causal study. When the researcher is interested in delin- eating the important variables associated
with the problem, the study is called a correlational study.


A causal study question:

Does smoking cause cancer?
A correlational study question:
Are smoking and cancer related?
Forms of Research Design

1. Research design for Non-Experimental Research

2. Research design for Experimental Research