Quantitative and qualitative methodologies in Logistics research

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Combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies in Logistics research

Introduction

In today's era of globalization the organizations and the economies run by the organisation are perceived by the world at large as Global village. But for this global village to exist in harmony and without any miscommunication, conflict and misunderstanding cross cultural management came into existence. Cross culture management is the main discipline in today's international management sphere and is continuously being looked on to help in the better understanding of the global village.
In the research paper of John Mangan, He has tried to depict a better understanding of the international project groups by grasping the strategies project leaders set up to cope with diversities of culture. The three kinds of cross-cultural practices emerged from the comparative study of European project groups: (1) to draw upon individual tolerance and self-control, (2) to enter into a trial-and-error process coupled with relationship development and (3) to capitalize on transnational corporate or professional cultures.” (John Mangan: Cross-cultural management in multinational project groups'). There has been an extensive use of research methods in her paper but the question arises is that whether can we safely consider her study as in depth study and extensive analysis of subject after taking into consideration her research assignment. The justification of the methods used depends on the kind of research in which they get implemented to their level best.
However, on the contrary in this paper I have tried to find out the illustrative answers to the above said question by critically analyzing and justifying the research methods. I have also stated examples of the researches carried by other authors and producing similar results rather I would say better than John Mangan one.

METHODOLOGY

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Data Analysis used by John Mangan: Mangan, the author has collected and analysed the data in two different stages one by descriptive method and the other one by comparative analysis of the three cases. Since project managers were the population considered for conducting study therefore the information or the data provided by them has helped Mangan in identifying various aspects of cross culture management. And since the managers were from different background, Mangan has tried to use hit and trial method to be able to adapt to each of them.
However if we have a comparative analysing and have a look into authors way of dealing with the practice is by using qualitative management unlike quantitative method. As per Mangan one way to cope up is by practicing tolerance and self control. From the observational data collected by her through the research has found that all the persons he interviewed “stated that cross cultural team could not be effective without special personal qualities of the participants namely “openness”, “patience” and “self control”
Another method practiced by the researcher is to deal with cultural differences and try to create a common culture based upon the knowledge of the members. The author stresses more on this method is because if they know each other they may get acquainted well with each other. But like every upside this method too has a downside that this method is limited to a small group of persons from same occupation. Moreover a researcher cannot not overlook the different methodological approach by different persons of the same occupation.
However the idea of adopting a mediator as a method suggested by author fits today in the arena of global village.

MAIN ARGUMENTS AND DISCUSSION:

As i have noticed the main method of collecting data in the paper of Sylvie Chevrier is through sampling techniques though the author has also used other research and methods to justify the research but sampling method has taken the centre stage in most of her findings. The basic understanding of this project is to evaluate and understand as to how the leaders cope with cultural diversity when it comes to spreading the wings of the management in the global village's sky. This paper has also suggested various other ways of finding out the same conclusion but with other methodologies in practice.

Data Collection: The term data means information and collection means putting together. Therefore the term data collection refers to the way of capturing or gathering information to enable and help any researcher to find out the answers to his unanswered questions that he identified while doing the case study. And the data collection techniques are the tools and the approaches which are used to collect the data to answer some questions. Various ways of collecting data is through two ways namely :(1) primary data(data through observation) and (2) secondary data (normal records. Following i will illustrate the difference between the two data and what data has Sylvie used in order to justify her research.

(a) Primary data:

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When the researcher collects the data specifically for his study, it is commonly classified as primary data. The data so collected is basically original. For instance Sylvie in this research has culminated the data mainly through face to face interviews and observation as a silent observer during the interviews. The main collection of data in this research is due to qualitative method and not due to quantitative method.

Secondary data:

Data which is collected for some other purpose but can also help and serve the purpose of the research by helping in various findings. The three main types of secondary data collection is through documentary, survey and those through multiple sources

Qualitative and Quantitative method:

Qualitative methods are an essential complement to both quantitative and participatory methods in any impact assessment. They are a necessary to increase understanding of:

Complex and sensitive impacts and processes, whereas

Quantitative method refers to the transformation of information into statistical data.

Coughlin (2002) report accomplish research as a generic term which addresses many forms of action pointed research and which affords both action and research outcomes Hussey (1997, p. 65) note that it is usual to conduct action research within a single organisation and that it is thus similar to the case-study Approach in many of its procedure

QUESTIONAIRE:

Interview and that too face to face interview is the most powerful method of collecting the data . in case of qualitative research there is often a need to conduct such interviews. An interview is the verbal communication between two people or more and is conducted while keeping some specific information in mind. It is one of the essentials of qualitative research and fall under two categories namely(a) structured interview and (2) unstructured interview. A structured interview is the one wherein the questions are predetermined within a set framework and unstructured interview is an in depth interview not structured and gives the person more flexibility to answer the questions.

The advantage of the interview is that it gives the researcher a spontaneous response which is not possible otherwise. The interviewer gives a layout to the interviewee to make things easier and gives the interviewee a set parameters within which he has to answer. However there are disadvantages to it as well because of the language barrier as it may hamper the conduct of the interview and the interviewer may have to be bilingual or pay extra detail attention to explain as to what he or she wants in return as answer. Another disadvantage of this method is that the interviewee is likely to move away from the topic of discussion and has to be steered back.

Data collection: experiment or survey based:

One of the prime concerns of the researcher is to carefully select what methods will be helpful in taking out the research. It is unlikely to think that researcher is left with no choice as the researcher is do left with the traditional and technological choices of making in person contact telephonic interview, internet etc

Survey is a very efficient data collection method because in this data collection lies the uniqueness of the data so collected not available from many other resources and are biased free. Researchers also use survey data to complement existing data from secondary resources. Whereas in experimental method a researcher buils a setup to answer some psychological questions in the research conducted.

Sampling and Sampling technique:

Sample refers to the representative of the subset of the population .the factors such as age, race, ethnicity, gender etc are all taken into account. . A sample stands as a representation for the entire set of data and therefore the observations that are noticed with the samples should apply to the entire set of information that is gathered. (Saunders et. al., 2003). The most important factor for choosing sampling method is because of its validity and reliability factor.

Since all the project managers were trained on the cross cultural management it is obvious that the experienced person will not look into minute details and will tend to overlook them therefore pushing the research validity to the nil. Another most glaring similarity was that all the project managers selected for the research case study were from Europe but since it was a case study about cross culture management, therefore the researcher should have spotted the difference between cultures of the 7 continents of the world and not just Europe itself

CONCLUSION

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The study conducted has highlighted that as an individual it is imperative not to let own values come in the research conducted .No matter how hard a researcher tries to exclude his own but it will inevitably consequence him. As we all know that every individual grows up with some or the other pre conceived notions and values with them. This study highlights that positionality of the researcher not only has effect on the study of the research but also on the topic chosen for the study.

More and eliminate the values of the researcher on the study being carried out. No matter how hard a researcher tries his study is a direct result of his positionality. The only way to have an unbiased study is by making the readers aware of the positional of the researcher

REFERENCES

• Campbell, D. and Fiske, W. (1959) “Convergent and discriminate validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix”. Psychological Bulletin. Vol. 56 Inc: Maanen, J, (1983) Qualitative Methodology. USA. Sage Publications.

• Gill J & Johnson P(1997) Research methods of managers. 2nd Edition. Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCrgen_Habermas [25th july 2008]
“Habermas (born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf) is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism. ...”

• Saunders et. al., 2003] Saunders M, Lewis P and Thornhill A,(2003), “Research Methods for Business Students.”, 3rd Edition, FT Prentice Hall Publication.
'cross-cultural management in multinational project groups' article URL:

• Concepts of positionality within cross-cultural and feminist research ... www.geogr.ku.dk/courses/phd/glob-loc/papers/Hetland.pdf [1st july 2008]

• Ackoyd, S.and Hughes, J.(1992) Data Collection in Context. 2nd Edition. London.
Longman. In Saunders, M.,Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business students. 3rd Edition. Harlow. Financial Times. Prentice Hall.