Business Research Methods
Applied business research is conducted to address a specific business decision for a specific firm or organization. The opening vignette describes a situation in which FLAT may use applied research to decide how to best create knowledge of its supplemental disability insurance products. 7 Basic business research (sometimes referred to as pure research) is conducted without a specific decision in mind, and it usually does not address the needs of a specific organization. It attempts to expand the limits of knowledge in general, and as such it is not aimed at solving a particular pragmatic problem.
Basic research can be used to test the validity of a general business theory (one that applies to all businesses) or to learn more about a particular business phenomenon. For instance, a great deal of basic research addresses employee motivation. How can managers best encourage workers to dedicate themselves toward the organization’s goals? From such research, we can learn the factors that are most important to workers and how to create an environment where employees are most highly motivated. This Asia research does not examine the problem from any single organization’s perspective.
However, Cutbacks, or DuPont’s management may become aware of such research and use it
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The focus of this text is more on applied research?studies that are undertaken to answer questions about specific problems or to make decisions about particular courses of action or policies. Applied research is emphasized in this text because most students will be oriented toward the day-to- day practice of management, and most students and researchers will be exposed to organizations. Basic business research Research conducted without a specific decision in mind that usually does not address the needs of a specific organization.
It attempts to expand the limits of knowledge in general and is not aimed at solving a particular pragmatic problem. The Scientific Method All research, whether basic or applied, involves the scientific method. The scientific method is the way researchers go about using knowledge and evidence to reach objective conclusions about the real world. The scientific method is the same in social sciences, such as business, as in physical sciences, such as physics. In this case, it is the way we come to understand business phenomena. Exhibit 1. Briefly illustrates the scientific method. In the scientific method, there are multiple routes to developing ideas. When the ideas can be stated in researchable terms, we reach the hypothesis stage. The next step involves testing the hypothesis against empirical evidence (facts from observation or experimentation). The results either support a hypothesis or do not support a hypothesis. From these results, new knowledge is generated. The scientific method The way researchers go about using knowledge and evidence to reach objective conclusions about the real world.
EXHIBIT 1. 1 A Summary of the Scientific Method Prior Knowledge Observation Hypotheses Hypothesis Test (Observation or Experimentation) Conclusion (New Knowledge) 8 Part 1: Introduction In basic research, testing these prior conceptions or hypotheses and then making inferences and conclusions about the phenomena leads to the establishment of general laws about the phenomena. Use of the scientific method in applied research ensures objectivity in gathering facts and testing creative ideas for alternative business strategies.
The essence of research, whether basic or applied, lies in the scientific method. Much of this book deals with scientific methodology. Thus, the techniques of basic and applied research differ largely in degree rather than in substance. Product-oriented Describes a firm that prioritize decision making in a way that emphasizes technical superiority in the product. Production-oriented Describes a firm that prioritize efficiency and effectiveness of the production processes in making decisions.
In all of business strategy, there are only a few business orientations (see Exhibit 1. 2). A firm can be product-oriented. A product-oriented firm prioritize decision making in a way that emphasizes technical superiority in the product. Thus, research gathering information from technicians and experts in the field are very important in making critical decisions. A firm can be production-oriented. Production orientation means that the firm prioritize efficiency and effectiveness of the production processes in making decisions.
Here, research providing input from workers, engineers, finance, and accounting becomes important as the firm seeks to drive costs down. Production-oriented firms are usually very large firms manufacturing products in very large quantities. The third is marketing-oriented, which focuses more on how the firm provides value to customers than on the physical product or production process. With a marketing-oriented organization the majority of research souses on the customer. Research addressing consumer desires, beliefs, and attitudes becomes essential.
EXHIBIT 1. 2 Business Orientations Product-oriented Firm Prioritize decision making that emphasizes the physical product design, trendiest or technical superiority Example The fashion industry makes clothes in styles and sizes that few can adopt. Research focuses on technicians and experts in the field. Production-oriented Firm Prioritize efficiency and effectiveness of the production processes in making decisions U. S. Auto industry assembly-line process is intent on reducing costs of production as low as possible.