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The use of Research Methodology in Companies

Research methodology refers to the way in which data is collected and analysed to resolve the research question. It involves the use of a systematic approach to conduct research and obtain information. Research methodology involves identifying the problem to be researched, preparing research questions aimed to resolve the concern by using appropriate method for data collection and analysis, and the generation of results

It is very important to discuss the research philosophy of the Sumudra Technologies case, depending on the situation of present economic environment and its impact on Sumudra Technologies employees’ motivation level. While the case study on Sumudra Technologies is more concerned with the social behavior of the employees working over there since 2005, the phenomenology or interpretivism is more relevant research philosophy as it directly addresses the issues concerned with this research.

The formulation of research questions enabled the selection of the method to be used to collect and analyze data. Furthermore it influences the research philosophy used and helps to structure and organize the study findings and its outcome to fulfill the research objectives identified. Research philosophy can be described as the underlying belief that has been followed while conducting the research (Bryman, 2007)

The research philosophy is mainly divided into two types; positivism and phenomenology. Positivism promotes a more objective interpretation of reality, using hard data from surveys and experiments, while phenomenology (or interpretivism) is concerned with methods that examine people and their social behavior (Gill et al, 1997). Positivism has been more commonly associated with scientific research, while phenomenology has its roots in social sciences (Veal, 2006).

Research Aims and Objectives:

The research objectives are more generally acceptable to the research community as evidence of the researcher’s clear sense of purpose and direction. The research objectives are likely to lead to greater specificity than research or investigative questions (Saunders et al, 2003).

Aims and Objectives:

To identify the impact of economic downturn on a company, accompanied with the fall of sales.

Identify the ways to retain employees and increasing their confidence level against that Company during the toughest times.

To find out the effect of economic instability on the Sumudra Technologies employees’ motivation levels.

To identify the advantages of motivating employees in Sumudra Technologies Pvt Ltd.

To examine the sustainability aspect of employees in detail.

To study the various elements of motivation theories and levels in order to fulfill the proposed aim for the dissertation.

To suggest Sumudra Technologies to the way that it’s motivational strategies are able to manage employees effectively. Hence there is need for conducting enough research on this topic to know the sustainability and motivational levels of employees to be consistent in this company.

To achieve these objectives, it is very important to have an in – depth study of the company employees working over there for the last 5 years and situation of the company and the IT industry.

Introduction on Research Methodology:

“Research is believed to be a long-established approach of exploring definite dilemmas where scientific methods are used to congregate respective verification”. (Creswell W et al, 2007)

The research project involves the use of theory. The theory may or may not be made explicit in the design of the research. The extent to which the researcher is clear about the theory at the beginning of the research raises an important question concerning the research methodology of the project (Saunders M et al, 2003)

According to Chapman et al, 2005, the research is mentioned as a progression of enquiry and investigation. It is also said that the research should systematic and methodical. For Sumudra Technologies the enquiry is for the reasons that are making the employees to find other companies for their career progression and security of future.

With reference to Sumudra Technologies the research is based on collection of primary data and analysis of this data by using the secondary information / data on the basis of above mentioned structured interviews and questionnaire which would lead to give a final conclusion after a thorough analysis of the data. They also add up that undertaking a research shall supplement the awareness of the researcher (Saunders et al., 2003).

It is clearly and openly argued that research process is not clear for all the time. Some critics and researcher argue that theory should drive the collection and analysis of data which is called as “deductive approach” while others argue that theory should be formulated after the data has been collected and analyzed and this is called as “inductive approach” (Karami et al.,2006).

In the case of Sumudra Technologies, the research is to collect the data on the basis of questionnaires (with the software developers) and interviews (with the top management) and then would formulate a theory which can be applicable to other Information Technologies companies, which can be clearly mentioned that the Research methodology in this case is “Inductive”. The theory will be established on the basis of going to Sumudra Technologies and interviewing a sample of employees and their supervisors about the impact of economic recession on their career.

Methods to conduct research

Primary Research

The primary research methods are very crucial and play a very important role for further research (Sarantakos, 2005). The main methods of primary research are field research methods which include field research, case studies, while the observation method includes observation of all participants and non-participants, observing processes, physical observations and also by observing participants of the research.

The other two methods further mentioned are (Sarantakos, 2005) the questionnaire and interview methods which include structured and unstructured interviews, the Delphi method of interviewing, depth and telephonic interviews.

The whole research of Sumudra Technologies is based on collection of primary data through “Questionnaires”. These questionnaires are given to all the relevant category of employees, particularly the software engineers working at the back end. The primary collection of data includes all the required fields of study which have a direct correlation with the dissertation topic. These fields include the present age, income, qualifications, career aspirations and other factors. The other factors include job satisfaction, performance of other industries, opportunities in other companies.

The information on data collection, limitations, scope and means to collect the data is provided in primary data. Primary data helps the researcher to determine the limitations of the methods used. Researcher will be solely responsible for the primary data collected by applying statistical methods and evaluation. By using secondary data it is extremely more complex to analyze the accuracy because the secondary source of information generally does not explain the data collection methods used (Kotler & Armstrong, 2004).

Secondary Research

The secondary data employed in this research is the assembled information from evaluation and interpretation of the primary research data. Secondary data according to (Easterby Smith et al., 2002), is the published data that may be collected from the information accessible from a company like its ‘annual reports, reports to stockholders, product testing results’, and also information available from the media or magazines and publications, journals which is used by the organization to converse with their employees or customers and all these tools mentioned are internal data while the external data tools mentioned by Easterby Smith et al., (2002), is the information published by the government, or those agencies that compile information, news media. All the devices revealed help to draw together secondary information in order to carry out a research.

The secondary data of Sumudra Technologies include the Annual reports for the last 5 years before economic recession in US and after recession period. This data would surely be compared with the other available information from Government, NASSCOM and other IT industries.

Data Collection Methods

Interviews

Interviews are a method of collecting data in which selected participants are asked questions in order to find out what they do, think or feel Interviews make it easy to compare answers and may be face to face voice to voice or group of individuals (Grummit J, 1980).

Many interviewers find it essential to tape-record such interviews. The process of open discovery is the strength of such interviews, but it is important to recognize that emphasis and balance of the emerging issues may depend on the order in which you interview your participants (Saunders et al, 2004)

Interviews permit the researcher to ask more complex questions and ask follow-up questions, which is not possible in a questionnaire (Saunders M et al, 2003). An interview may permit a higher degree of confidence in the replies then questionnaire response and can take account of non-verbal communication such as attitude and behaviour of the interviewee. Open-eyed type of interview allows the interviewer to probe deeply, to solicit expansive responses, and thereby uncover previously hidden details and open up new lines of inquiry. (Collis & Hussey, 2003)

Focus Group

Focus groups have been used for some years now in market research and have recently become more popular as data collection technique. This type of interview involve a group discussion led by facilitator whose job is to manage the group dynamics by establishing trust and rapport in what people hopefully interpret as a secure, comfortable and confidential environment. The group is usually made up of 8-12 people. Focus group members are encouraged to talk to and respond to each other rather than to facilitator, thus allowing people to explore their own attitudes and experiences in their own words. The group includes an ‘observer’ who notes the organization of the room and the dynamics of the interaction. Focus groups not only measure the extent of an opinion; they can investigate the reasons why it was formed. They produce a good deal of qualitative data expressed in the words of the participants (McNeill & Chapman, 2005).

Questionnaires

A questionnaire is a list of carefully structured questions, chosen after considerable testing, with a view to eliciting reliable responses from a chosen sample (Mitchell V, 1996). The aim is to find out what a selected group of participants do, think or feel. Questionnaire is a popular method of collecting data. A questionnaire survey is cheaper and less time-consuming than conducting interviews and very large samples can be taken (Hines, 2000). It is generally agreed that questionnaires are best suited to asking specific rather than general questions, and for closed rather than open questions. As such they are best aimed at collecting data to test theories, hypotheses or propositions (Hines, 2000).

Research Approach

The knowledge which is claimed, the strategies, and the methods that all contribute to a research approach that tends to be more quantitative, qualitative or mixed approach (Creswell, 2003).

A quantitative approach is one in which the investigator primarily uses post positivist claims for developing knowledge (i.e. cause and effect thinking, reduction to specific variables and hypotheses and questions, use of measurement and observation, and the test of theories), employs strategies of inquiry such as experiments and surveys, and collects data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data (Creswell, 2003).

To establish a relationship between the financial performance of Sumudra Technologies and the present motivation level of employees, the researcher would be using the following ratios.

Liquidity ratios (Shortage of money supply)

Profitability Ratios (Down fall of profits for the investment made)

Ownership Ratios (Return on shareholders’ fund)

Gearing Ratios (Company financial leverage position)

During the period of research, Sumudra Technologies faced shortage of money supply, lowering of profits, reduced returns on the share holders’ fund and finally it had to increase its financial debt from Banks to keep business running. All these factors have an impact on the mental comfortable level of the employees.

All these ratios are all clearly explained in the findings and conclusions chapter with definitions. The quantitative analysis of the data using the financial ratio analysis will be co – aligned with the present HR status of the Company.

Alternatively, a qualitative approach is one in which the inquirer often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspectives. Finally, a mixed methods approach is one in which the researcher tends to base knowledge claims on pragmatic grounds (e.g., consequence-oriented, problem centered, and pluralistic). It employs strategies of inquiry that involve collecting data either simultaneously or sequentially to best understand research problems. The data collection involves gathering both numeric information (e.g., on instruments) as well as text information (e.g., on interviews) so that the final database represents both quantitative and qualitative information (Creswell, 2003).

Grounded Research

Creswell (2007) says that a grounded theory research is to move beyond description and to generate or discover a theory, an abstract analytical scheme of a process. The idea behind this theory-development does not come “off the shelf” but rather is generated or “grounded” in data from participants who have experienced the process (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Following this research approach, the researcher shall generate a general explanation (theory) of a process, action or interaction accompanied by the views of a large number of participants (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).

Validity and Reliability:

Internal Validity: To make the data and findings more valid internally, specific and concept related questionnaires are framed. The design of the questions is done keeping the objectives of the research in mind and on the randomly chosen organisations. (Bryman and Bell 2003)

The primary data analysis and the processed information on Sumudra Technologies, on the basis of the questionnaires and other financial analysis is absolutely valid for further analysis and improvement of the company.

External Validity: As the findings and conclusions is totally based upon a limited organisations, these findings cannot be generalized to some other organisations in the same industry or to any other companies. More over the objectives of the research are to study about the behaviour and image of a corporate in the public eyes, data collection, data analysis and analysis may not be compared to other studies in this same field (Bryman and Bell 2003).

The external validity refers to application of this research and the formulated theory has nothing to do for the other companies, till the findings are not correlated with the economic impact on the other companies and their employees.

Research Ethics:

As a researcher, it is very important to understand the importance of the research ethics, which speaks about maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of data, research work, concerned people and many other factors (Bryman and Bell 2003).

One of the most important responsibilities of this research is to carry out the work in a more confidential manner. The names of any of the employees who will be selected for this interview will not revealed and kept high secret.

The data and findings of this research will also be used only for academic purpose and not for any purposes. The organisations, its people and the general public views will be the researcher and will not be revealed to any other organizations or other competitors (Bryman and Bell 2003).

Research Conclusion:

This chapter helps to understand the research methodology to conduct this study. The methodology incorporates the entire process of collection data and the methods using to conduct the research. The research on Sumudra Technologies involves an inductive approach, qualitative methods and a combination of quantitative, including the collection of primary data through questionnaires and structured interviews. The secondary data collection, evaluation and analysis of financial reports and the HR impact on the firm.

The research concludes to achieve the objectives of this dissertation by collection of primary data, verifying the accuracy of the data, Collection of secondary data, Analysis of the primary data and secondary data, Analysis and interpretation of the information to apply it to a population.

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