outsourcing in the UK


Chapter - 3

1. Methodology

The main objective of the research is to uncover the truth which is concealed and not been explored yet or which need to be explored more. The approach which is adopted to stumble on the truth is usually called the scientific procedure which helps in discovering the answer of questions. According to Kothari 2008 following are the some of main objectives of research.

* To achieve new imminent and gain acquaintance with a phenomenon, it is also called an exploratory research.

* To examine the relationship between variables through hypothesis testing, which is called a hypothesis testing research studies?

* To describe the actual picture of the characteristic s of particular individual, situation or a group, this is termed as descriptive research.

* To check the frequency of occurrence and the association of something with something else, this is called as diagnostic research.

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The philosophical and theoretical assumptions on which the research is based should not be neglected and should be taken under consideration during the research and adopting te methods and there implementations. (Saunders, et al., 2007).

Research design is a structure or plane which guide in the collection and analysis of data as said by Churchill (1999). A research design should be such which ensures that the research will be relevant to the problem under consideration and economical procedures used in it.

On the other hand Parasuraman (1991), is of the view that exploratory research proposed to develop the basic structure and initial work which provide the directions for the future research. It helps in exploring the researchable sections in a particular sector.

1.1 Types of exploratory study:

Exploratory study is divided into four main types, namely surveys; literature surveys; experience focus groups; and analysis of selected cases concludes Churchill (1999).

Exploratory research is conducted through one of the following techniques as suggested by the Parasuraman.

* Interviews with knowledgeable individuals - to have an interview and talking with the experts of the area or situation which is under study or being investigated. The senior people who are being interviewed are from the identified organizations that is accountable for their specific identified roles in their organizations, their views and knowledge is taken as an experts views within researched field.

* Focus group interviews - It is focused and limited to some extent as it normally contain a group of about 8 to 12 people or respondents with whom topic is being discussed informally.

* Analysis of secondary data - The data that has already been collected for some sort of research and it is being used by the researched on a secondary level. It is not a firsthand data.

* Case study method - A unit of interest has been selected in it and then whole of the study circulates around that it can be a salesperson, particular organization, customer or a market place. A case study will therefore not be used in this research.

1.2 Qualitative and Quantitative research

There are two main techniques of a research qualitative and quantitative as proposed by Parasuraman 1991.

Qualitative methods are used to a large extent in productive and constructive researches. There are several reasons for this as 1) it is easy to deal with the multiple realities by the help of qualitative research 2) as qualitative research hass to capacity to be adjusted by the various influences and values patterns which are to be come across in this field. (Tacconi, 1998). Methodologically the weight is on qualitative studies in this dissertation research.

Quantitative data

Qualitative data

Dealed in the form of numbers

Based on meanings expressed through words

Results are collected in the form of numerical and standardized data

Results are collected in the form of in non-standardized data which requires classification into categories

Diagrams and statistics are used for the analysis purpose

Analysis is conducted through the use of conceptualization

Source: Saunders M, Lewis P & Thornhill A, (2000)

There are various research methodologies in research process to select a suitable approach. How and why type of questions are to be asked during the research, ans it is used during the interview and in the questionnaire. This approach is most suited in the areas where knowledge building is in its influential stages. Case studies are very helpful in the formation of hypotheses and analyzing existing theory (Sarshar et al. 2002).

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The main difference between qualitative and quantitative is that quantitative methodologies explain the general characteristics of the population; it does not consider the sub-genres. The qualitative approach is based on samples of population; it measures the behavior and characteristics of the sample, after that this data is used for the generalizationof the population as a whole. Kidder and Judd (1986).

Traditionally quantitative research examines the data in numbers; on the other hand qualitative research examines data in narrative or descriptive form. Easterby-Smith et al., (1991). There is need to recognize the difference between these two approaches to establish generalization. In quantitative research the basis for generalization is statistical, a sample is selected which allows the examination of the properties of population with the high degree of accuracy. Kinnear and Taylor, (1986).

Author worked at one of the UK's top FMO Company; He has studied about the company in the light of research questions. Nature of the research in exploratory.

2. Methodological Approach

Interaction with the respondents at their workplace become easy through executive interviews and exhibitions, it is also helpful in seeking clarifiaiton on some obvious and important issues on a particular topic. There is a sope for the researcher to understand the subject better. (Aaker, D et al, 2000).

Qualitative approach using various existing past research work to identify the research emerging theme categories will be employed for the purpose. Other researchers have used this method when exploring in new uncharted waters. (Krippendorff, 1980).

Data has been gathered through on-site interviews using audio aids (tape recorder) and notes, attending exhibition and supplying a short questionnaire to exhibitors to get required data. Telephone interview is also used as secondary option where personal interview was not possible.

3. Population

Population represents a group of people or objects that are similar to one another in one or more ways or from the subject of study in a specific way as said by the Chisnall (1992). On the other hand Saunders et al. (2000) says that “the full set of cases from which a sample is taken is called the population”.

In this research the basis of the population for the interview is the 5 top listed companies in FTSE 100 and the specific targeted designations of the populations within those organizations are FM managers and executive level designations. For the basis for questionnaires were executive level designations.

4. Sample

If it is not possible to study the whole of the population then researcher takes the sample out of the related population which is most suited for the reserh. The sample should be a good representative of the population. According to Sudman and Blair (1998) a sample is the subset of a larger population. There are two main types of sampling design probability sampling and non probability sampling. Probability sampling use random process to select elements for the sample and give a known chance of being selected, while non-probability sampling where random process is not involved, elements are selected on the judgment and convenience. Sampling is a process to select a small part of the total population to give a judgment or conclusion about the whole of the population.

In this research convenience sampling is most suitable, which the form of non-probability sampling. In this sampling technique, elements of the population that are conveniently available will form part of the sample. As the population is big, it is very impractical to include all organizations in the sample and therefore a convenience sampling has been chosen, as it is quick and inexpensive.

5. Data collection Methods

While conducting a research data collection is a very critical part. Whole of the research depends upon this part as the final conclusion is drawn on its bases. Gathering of data ranges from a very simple observation at one place to a pretentious survey of multiple corporations around the world. The selected method will determine how the data is collected. There are various devise to record the raw data including Questionnaires, standardised tests, observational forms, laboratory notes and instrument calibration logs as said by the (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).

Following data collection techniques has been used to conduct the research:-

5.1. Exhibition

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Data collected through exhibition provides good opportunity to meet with facilities management company's representatives and to get the data through observation, available printed material and informal interviews.

Total Workplace Management, the UK's largest exhibition for facilities and estates management, has took place on 7-8 October 2009 at London Olympia with association of BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Its is an interactive forum sourcing the latest products and services, this was the perfect time to take the opportunity to network with peers, FM experts and to meet the editorial and commercial teams from FM World. Total 97 companies (including FM and related business) were participated in the event, in which 37 were FM companies. (Total Workplace Management, 2009).

5.2. Interview

It is the method of data collection which involves direct interaction with the respondent. There is a direct intersection between the interviewer and the respondent. It has many characteristics which are helpful for the interviewer to collect complete precise and to some extent accurate information. Clarification of questions by giving feed back is also helpful in this method. (Zikmund, 2003).

Interview has been conducted with 5 FM professionals of different companies to learn about their views and experiences in facilities management outsourcing in light of the research questions.

People visiting “Total Workplace Management 2009” exhibition were also been approached to find out reasons behind their visit, most of them were belong to the companies interested in outsourcing their FM department. I had took short informal interview that provided me grounds to find out the factors those companies considers outsourcing their FM department (Total Workplace Management, 2009).

5.3. Survey

It is consisted of the cross-sectional design relevet to the required data mainly by questionnaire or by structured interview. (Bryman, Alan. & Bell, Emma, 2008).

According to Cooper and Emroy (1995) there are two methods of gathering primary data: observing and surveying. Through observation researcher observes the conditions, people, events or processes. Other then observation a researcher can question or survey the people about the topic being researched. In surveying the researcher asks the questions to the people and records their responses for the analysis and final conclusion. Surveys are much more efficient and economical as compared to the observations. Observation involves a lot of time and physical presene of the researcher all the time but on the other hand surveys can be carried out by direct interviews, mail, telephone or by combination of all these.

The most appropriate method of gathering data for this study has been that of a survey using a questionnaire. As it was not easy to observe opinions and expectations of people, but has collected the imminent of their expectations through the questionnaires. Telephone interviews on the other hand are cheap and has been fast to reach the dispersed sample.

5.3.1 Questionnaire design

According to Parasuraman (1991) the questionnaire is a set of questions designed to gather necessary information for accomplishing the objectives of a research study. On the basis of their structure there are four main types of questionnaires.

o Structured-undisguised questionnaires --- In this form of questionnaire the questions are presented to the respondents in exactly the same wording and in same order. The reason for this is to ensure that all the respondents reply to the same question.

o Unstructured-undisguised questionnaires - it is the form o f questionnaire that allows respondents to give their opinions about some particulat question. This is open-ended type of questionnaire in which purpose of the study is very clear.

o Unstructured-disguised questionnaire - it is the kind of motivational research. Whole of the motivational research has been conducted through this type of questionnaire.

o Structured-disguised questionnaires - this type of questionnaire is used to secure the advantages of disguise in revealing subconscious motives and attitudes along with the advantages of coding and tabulation, common to structured approaches.

In this research a structured undisguised questionnaire is used for the survey for standardization and to ensure that all the people interviewed respond to similar questions. This helps the author in getting different responses for the same question which outputs constructive and clear results. Please refer to Annexure A for the questionnaire used in this study.

5.3.2 Question construction

In view of the Parasuraman (1991), there are two types of questions: non-structured or open-ended questions; and structured or fixed response questions. With open-ended questions, respondents are free to answer in their own words or to give their opinion about the certain question. Structured questions have fixed response categories from which the respondents can choose answers.

Both type of questions has been used by the researchers open or closed. There can be some open or some close ended questions in a reasearh depending upon the nature of the question. For the telephonic interview where respondent cant see the questioner by him/her self, it is very important to structure the questions simply and clearly. In designing of the open-ended questions extra care must be taken.

A questionnaire was designed to conduct surveys and was provided to the FM Company's representatives at the “Total Workplace Management 2009” exhibition. And got 13 filled. A questionnaire was also designed using Google documents to conduct online survey. I sent survey questionnaires to FM managers and professionals through google spreadsheet and received 13 replies (Total Workplace Management, 2009). I used different sources to approach FM professionals e.g. BIFM (British Institute of Facility Management) members directory, Linedin.com, FMlink.com and other FM related forums.

6. Validity and reliability

After the data collection the most important part is to check its validity and reliability. According to Cooper and Emroy (1985), “There are three major criteria for evaluating a measurement tool. They are validity, reliability, and practicality”. Validity is the degree to which a test measures what it actually is supposed to measure. Reliability refers to the exactness and precision of a measurement procedure. Practicality looks at a number of factors of economy, convenience, and interpretability.

6.1 Validity

For the esurience of the validity of the measurement tool, questionnaire should be introduced by the researcher to the respondents which also explain the purpose of the study as proposed by the Cooper and Emroy (1985). Closed questions limit the freedom of using own words to keep the research direction in the right way. For establishing the validity of the questionnaire pre-test is very helpful.

6.2 Reliability

Cooper and Emroy (1985) maintain that "reliability means many things to many people, but in most contexts, the notion of consistency emerges. A measure is reliable to the degree that it supplies consistent results. Reliability is a contributor to validity and is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validity. Reliability is concerned with estimates of the degree to which a measurement is free of random or unstable error”. According to them the reliable instruments work well under different conditions and at different times. These instruments can be used with the confidence as the situational factors do not interfere in it. Reliability is an element of validity as said by the Cooper and Emroy (1985). Reliability can be ensured by asking the short, to the point and simple questions to the respondents. Internal consistency is used to minimize the chances of respondents supplying incorrect information that could affect the reliability of the questionnaire, it is also a quick and cost effective method of testing the reliability of a questionnaire.

7. Limitation & Scope

Defining the Facilities Management market in the UK is problematic. No single FTSE listing or SIC code applies. Many of the perceived main players are subsidiaries of other groups and the activities tendered range from large PFI or 'Corporate' PFI deals, some of which involve transfer of significant property assets, to requests for the provision of single services. A recent trend (see below) has been for construction companies to seek to relist themselves or their FM subsidiaries as service providers on the London Stock Exchange, driven by the perception that investors attach a premium to the services sector. The market developed 'organically' as the term FM came into use in the early 1990. In some cases, existing providers of various outsourced support services chose simply to label themselves as offering FM (Green and Price, 2000).

The study is limited to the progress of the facilities management outsourcing in the UK, it's a comparatively new field and previous research is limited. Limited time was available to complete the project. Some interviews were conducted through phone because of limited time and limited financial resources available. There is limited research available on the topic so it is an opportunity to explore the area and provide a ground to future researchers.

8. Data Analysis

Analysis of data is the main part of the research, as whole of the conclusion of research depends upon this part. It is an ongoing process which involves the translation of the interviews according to the desired information and the data collected before now is going to be numbered or digitalised. According to Merriam (1998) the data collection and data analysis at one time is the right way to do in qualitative research. It helps in focusing and reshaping the study as the researching is proceeding further by the close analysis of the data and accurate study of the information collected.

Data analysis will be done on all the collected information whether through interview, questionnaire or observation. In data analysis process focus should be given on the individual which will help in in-depth study of each FM company. The interpretation of the individual case should be done while keeping the research question of the study in mind.

The idea of using technology helps to access, manage, shape and analyse detailed textual, audio and visual information. I have used MS-Word as a word processor, MS-Excel as a spreadsheet, dopdf printer software to convert data in the pdf file format, in case of data disruption in MS word, I could use backup. For flowcharts SmartDraw is used.

9. Ethical consideration

According to Beauchamp and Bowie (1997). There are various ethical codes of conduct that regulate researchers' behavior. These codes discuss the issues which might arise during the research or the other related issues which are associated with professional practices.

There are a number of different approaches for examining ethics and values within the ethics discipline. According to Lo, Bernard & O'Connell, Mary. (2005) the two philosophical approaches that relate closely to the discussion of student research ethics are deontological and teleological philosophies.

Deontological philosophies focus on the factors or means used to arrive at an ethical decision as said by the Skinner, Ferrell, and Dubinsky (1988). These philosophies stress moral obligations or commitments that should be kept in mind or necessary for the proper conduct of the research.

A deontological approach means that one should not harm participants in any way, whatever the potential benefit are there. On the other hand, teleological philosophies accentuate the consequences that result from an action. In short, they deal with the moral worth of the behavior as determined totally by the consequences of the behavior. The research is acceptable if the evaluation says that the benefits of the research outweigh the cost to participants.