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RESEARCH PROBLEM FORMULATION

Develop the management-research question hierarchy Identify the 1. management dilemma, 2. management question, and 3. research question(s) for each of the following:

a.

The production manager of a shoe factory

Management Dilemma: There is a decline in plant productivity. Management Question: How do we increase plant productivity, to bring it back to its former level? Research Questions: (1) What are the factors impacting productivity and how important is each factor? (2) Which are the factors to be focused on to increase productivity? (3) How does productivity in this factory compare to industry norms, considering labor and capital productivity?

B.THE PRESIDENT OF A HOME HEALTHCARE SERVICES FIRM


Management Dilemma: The firm is experiencing an increasing number of complaints regarding health care service quality. Management Problem: What can be done to improve service quality? Research Questions: (1) Is there a real problem in the quality of service or is the perceived quality of the service poor? (2) Which categories of health care services are generating the major portion of complaints? (3) What specific improvements can improve these services? (4) What may be expected as an outcome of the improvements?

C.

THE VICE PRESIDENT OF LABOR RELATIONS FOR AN AUTO MANUFACTURER

Management Dilemma: Low productivity and high absenteeism at the manufacturing plant. Management Question: What are the causes for low productivity and high absenteeism? Research Questions: (1) What are the causes of low productivity that relate to personnel issues? (2) What are the causes of low productivity that relate to technology, or the manufacturing plant? (3) What are the causes of absenteeism? (4) Is there an employee morale problem in the plant, and if so, what are its major dimensions?

D. THE RETAIL ADVERTISING MANAGER OF A MAJOR METROPOLITAN NEWSPAPER


Management Dilemma: Should advertising rates be revised? Management Question: Should the advertising rates be revised, by how much, and what gains are expected from the revision? Research Questions: (1) What are the rates of competing publications? (2) What should the differentials between rates for different positions be? (3) What impact will a rate increase have on the demand for advertising? (4) What should the revised advertising tariff structure be?

TAKE ONE OF THE POSSIBLE PROBLEMS CAUSING MIND WRITER'S MANAGEMENT DILEMMA (SEE THE CLOSEUP AND EXHIBIT 3-3) AND DEVELOP PLAUSIBLE MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

Issue: Increasing complaints regarding post purchase service. Management Dilemma: What can be done to improve the Complete Care program for MindWriter product repairs and servicing? This dilemma is provoked by increasing complaints and letters about post purchase service, which seem to indicate a deterioration in service quality over time. One class of management questions could be related to troubleshooting situations. If the dilemma is viewed from this perspective, then the focus here is the control process, issues of responsibility and accountability, and appropriate procedures to limit the possibility of failure or deterioration in the quality of service.

MIND WRITER'S INCREASING COMPLAINTS REGARDING POST PURCHASE SERVICE.


Management Questions: What is the cause for the increase in post purchase service complaints? In terms of systems, controls, and troubleshooting, what should be done to decrease the number of complaints? From the standpoint of the organization, which personnel and which stages of the process should be identified as responsible and accountable for service quality deterioration?

Research Questions: Is the increase in complaints due to an increase in the number of customers, or is there a real deterioration in service quality? How many complaints have occurred at different stages of the service process, and what has the pattern been over time? (For instance, the complaints at the stage of telephone inquiry, equipment drop-off or pick-up, while paying for the needed services, and so on.) What are the categories of complaints and what has been the pattern of complaints over time? (Categories: complaints regarding software installation, hardware, power supply, delays because of: parts availability, late pick up, late delivery.)

What are the existing controls in the company and how do they compare to industry norms? What norms and control systems are recommended? (These norms generally relate to outcome and behavior controls and systems.) Controls and norms would be such things as: Percentage of calls where problems should be solved on the phone Maximum percentage of repeat complaints Average repair time Average delivery time Maximum average breakage allowed Average repair cost per laptop Average number of laptops repaired per technician per day