research methods for managers

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Research Methods for Managers : 

By Lucell Larawan Research Methods for Managers

Innovation and diversity in management research : 

Management research is a complex and changing field with interrelated tendencies. Historical context of management research: Years ago, Whitley (1984) described it as being in a fragmented state; as a field characterized by a high degree of task uncertainty and a low degree of co-ordination of research procedures and strategies. Pfeffer (1993, 1995) argued that management research must develop consensus through the enforcement of theoretical and methodological conformity. Innovation and diversity in management research

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…cont… To argue Pfeffer, Van Maanen (1995) pointed that if management research followed Pfeffer’s recommendations the resultant enforced conformity would create what amounted to a “technocratic unimaginativeness” which could drive out tolerance of the unorthodox and significantly reduce our learning from one another. During the intervening years, management students have been confronted by much controversy about the most appropriate approaches as there is a dominant orthodoxy by institutions. Nevertheless, the dominance of this mainstream research is being resisted and under attack.

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The diversity in management research has been exacerbated due to its multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary nature. It promoted methodological innovation and change such as the “coming of age” of qualitative and interpretive methods. Simultaneously, there has been the development of “critical management studies,” an array of critical approaches. Such developments open questions about who is the intended audience for management research.

Is management research about: : 

addressing the presumed pragmatic concerns and business needs of practicing managers, or is it about investigating and understanding the structures and processes of oppression and injustice, that are taken to be part of organizing in a capitalist society, whose main beneficiaries and victims are often these social actors (managers)? Is management research about:

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The first question adopts the view that management research must be relevant that it helps managers to manage more efficiently and effectively by improving the technical content of managerial practice. Many commentators, however, noted that research served the academe more than the management practitioners. The second question relates to critical management studies that reflects a “naïve and unreflecting empiricism by Whitley.”

Making methodological choices : 

Research methods that are available are not merely neutral devices for a particular task they are suited. Key issue: that the different research methods available also bring with them a great deal of philosophical baggage. Therefore, researchers need to be aware of the philosophical commitments. Making methodological choices

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For instance: Process of deduction Process of induction

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Philosophical commitments give tacit answers to questions about: Ontology (what are we studying?) Epistemology (how can we have warranted knowledge about our chosen domains?) Axiology (why study them?)

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The “new sensibility” entails noticing, and being suspicious, of the relationship between the researcher and the substantive focus of his/her research. This reflects how those tacit, unacknowledged, pre-understandings impact upon: how those “objects” of research are conceptually negotiated and constituted by the researcher what kinds of research questions are then asked by the researcher

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how the results of research are methodologically arrived at, justified and presented to audiences for consumption how those results are then, or should be, evaluated by interested parties

The management research process and management development : 

Research methods on this analysis are primarily concerned with how (process)to tackle tasks (content). Despite the variety of approaches, they all share a problem-solving sequence. The management research process and management development

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The sequence by Howard and Sharp may be found usefull:

Cont… : 


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Methodological choices are determined not only by the nature of the topic being investigated and the resources available but also by the particular training and socialization processes to which the researcher has been exposed.

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Advanced students are expected to demonstrate powers of rigorous analysis, critical inquiry, clear expression and independent judgment in an area of research. Methodological competence means the student can:

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Approaches to management research : 

Requirements for discussing scientific investigation in management by House: a priori hypotheses that specify causal predictions of relationships a priori criteria that can be used to measure the acceptability of those hypotheses isolation and control of the variables under investigation methods of quantitatively measuring and verifying the variables Approaches to management research

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The positivist inclination espoused earlier have been challenged on three grounds:

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We may need to change our conception of science to one problem or puzzle-solving where science is simply regarded as a problem-solving process which uses certain conventions in that process. An old proverb: “for he who has but one tool, the hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.” End

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