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Over several decades, the activists of quantitative research paradigm and qualitative research paradigm have become engaged in keen disputes resulted in articulation of consistent assumptions and pursuits. The purpose of the article is to briefly review the research paradigm wars by showing some of the commonalities and dissension between qualitative and quantitative research. In the context of the two dissertations, "Exploring the Roles of Performance Measurement Systems in Strategy Implementation" and "Human Resource Management Systems and Firm Performance" the fundamental principles and research paradigms of research are explained along with the detailed explanation of its application and use. Specific sets of design for the two major types of research paradigms are provided. Another key element is that the research paradigms will be successful as more and more investigators and examiners conduct study and help advance its concepts as they regularly practice it.
The Positivism Research Paradigm:
In general it has been determined that the positivist approach to research emphasizes meaning and creation of new knowledge that supports social movements and that are those movements are which seeks to change the world and eventually contributes for social justice. The positivism research paradigm is characterized and is conducted in a broad sense where theory and practice are taken together for the sake of justification of facts. The intentions and motivations of the researcher undertaking the research is centrally committed to the aim and objective of research those are crucial for determining outcomes to the enterprise (Blaikie, 2007).
According to the positivist views of research, the scholars and researchers usually undergo exploration of facts and figures and statistics evaluation, writing and evaluation objectivity, science, logic and reasoning. Earlier it was assumed that investigation of phenomenon and presentation of findings would be based on a single set of procedures which is further based on a scientific model of research (Blaikie, 2007).
The positivism paradigm of the research is primarily based on two assumptions having consequential effects. First of the assumptions is that the positivism leads and results in researchers to build assumption in the context of social research that if it would be carried out in an appropriate manner, it would follow the model of natural science and eventually leads to provision of clear and unambiguous way to the causes of certain phenomena. Many researchers consider assumptions about causes with caution and recognize that there is a least possibility to draw a direct cause for any aspect of the social world. And therefore when the complexity of social phenomena is drawn and the difficulty of pinning down in a scientific framework is realized, these assumptions are outlined at the time of carrying out the research process (Blaikie, 2007).
Another assumption is that the research is carried out through a scientific process by following a structured scientific model and this result in the formulation of research as a valuable tool that helps the researcher to make understand about the complexities of social life (Blaikie, 2007).
The positivistic paradigm is believe to continue to create an influence on educational research owing to the applied approach of collecting empirical evidences in support of established assumptions and hypothesis. The phenomena are explained in the most economical manner through quantification which is essential to enhance detailed representation of parameters and developing relationship. This is because actual and real knowledge based on experience and senses is obtained and derived by means of experimentation and observation and the paradigm is used to structure framework for the purpose of knowledge generation (Blaikie, 2007).
The dissertation "human resource management systems and firm performance" is a study that analyzes the model to investigate about several inputs pertaining to human resource as well as human resource processes effectively contributing towards achieving outcomes and outputs of organization as whole. The study actually examines the extent to which job performance is leading to overall firm performance. In order to carry out the study, a cross sectional study was conducted of sample of 350 business professionals inclusive of both managers as well as consultants of an organization in United States. The survey was conducted via internet and on determining the data of those 350 business professionals; that data was analyzed with a research tool that is regression analysis to identify statistical significance and variance in each of the developed regression models. The results and findings suggest that HR managers have a considerable impact on organizational performance through effective implementation of organizational policies (Jr, 2010).
On the basis of public discussions in the context of social research established in scientific framework, the Kren and Thomas first identify and center on questions such as establishing hypothesis, size of the sample of business professionals, representation of sample, and control group within chosen sample as verifying the validity of research that is the extent to which human resource inputs and processes contributes for organizational performance scientifically. The knowledge is constructed on something being discovered and not created by individual humans and in which the technical knowledge is being given the highest priority and is regarded as objective (Jr, 2010).
The Anti Positivism Research Paradigm:
The Anti Positivism research paradigm stresses upon the fact that the interpretation of social reality is done by the individual himself as per the ideological position held by him. The believers of anti positivism emphasize that the reality is complex and multi layered and also a single phenomenon can be interpreted multiple times. The phenomenon is justified and is accepted at the time when the level of understanding of that phenomenon is derived on probing and exploring several dimensions of phenomenon not explored previously instead of developing relationship among the elements and components as in the case of positivism (Blaikie, 2007).
The Anti Positivism is essentially marked by three schools of thoughts in the field of social science research which emphasized on the fact of human interactions with phenomena in daily lives and proposes qualitative approach over quantitative approach to social inquiry.
This theory is based on the belief that an individual behavior is determined and identified by the experience derived out of direct interaction of individual with that of phenomena. Any sort of objective reality is ruled out. At the time of interaction with different phenomena individuals perceive them and interpret them on own and tries to attach and link to different actions and different ideas resulting in construction of new experiences (Blaikie, 2007).
The next approach is pertaining to dealings happening in everyday life of an individual and the approach revolves around the fact that several common sense realities are developed in routine everyday interaction. Several essential rules are interpreted in interactive situations in order to make them meaningful (Blaikie, 2007).
And the third approach emphasize and focus upon understanding and interpretation of interactions that takes place between individuals The main theme of this approach is that individuals generally interpret and define actions rather directly reacting to one's reaction. Interactions taking place in the social world is the best approach to provide and give meaning to things and objects with the use of several symbols. These interactions takes attention to one's ability and capacity to give meaning to objects and thus these interactions of social organization can result in bring change in the society as well (Blaikie, 2007).
The research paper "exploring the roles of performance measurement systems in strategy implementation" is the research undertaken in the context of highly diversified group of companies. The primary aim of the dissertation is to analyze the linkage between the strategy implementation with that of performance measurement and strategic alignment within multinational group of firm, with special concentration on Cisma IM and its other group companies. The research was conducted by using a qualitative as well as quantitative research tool. The data was collected in different phases by conducting preliminary interviews and executing a survey across the group organizations. Also, semi structured interviews were carried out and accomplished in order to determined changes appearing in strategy and performance measurement systems. The results derived from the study suggest that Cisma IM is successfully achieving strategy implementation and strategy alignment without a need for comprehensive performance management system (Pietro Micheli, 2011).
This research is conducted in a scientific framework in order to investigate about influence of performance management systems on the overall organizational performance and functioning of business activities and improvements. The research undertaken was entirely free from values, politics, passions and ideologies of the researcher and therefore the research was carried out through anti positivist approach. The researcher highly believed that findings and outcomes can be determined through experimentation and observation and conducting survey in the main target firm and other group companies. During the course of the research, concepts and knowledge and facts are held to be the product of straight and direct experience which is further interpreted through rational assumptions and inferences (Blaikie, 2007).
In the context of research of performance measurement systems and its linkage with the strategy implementation, several assumptions are built and developed based on the theories of positivism during the time of formulation of research objectives and goals. Surveys and semi structured interviews conducted to determine the current performance measurement practices going on in the main company and the possible strategic responses likely to affect the corporate strategies, or create differences among the businesses as well as integration of companies or business within the group of companies (Blaikie, 2007).
Comparison of Research Paradigms:
The qualitative approach or case study approach with an anti positivism research paradigm is required to be considered and used when the focus of the research is to answer questions such as what, why and how. The approach is applied in the case when there is a need to manipulate the behavior of participants involved in the study. Also, the method is used when the dimensions and parameters are not clear between the phenomenon and the context in which the research is conducted. Another key point is considered at the time of selection of case study method is that when the researcher is ought to define relevant contextual conditions pertaining to the research phenomenon and study. At the time selection of research paradigm, researchers and scholars are focusing on whether the research phenomenon is occurring in a bounded context.
In the context of performance measurement systems, the study aims to determine what the key performance indicators are of the main company, the extent to which relevant differences are considered while selection of the company and lastly what are the issues arising within the organization in the context of strategy implementation strategy alignment and performance measurement (Pietro Micheli, 2011).
In contrast, the research requires a thought process and reasoning and which is used consistent throughout and this results in the adoption of cross sectional research method within a positivism research paradigm. In this type of research design, a sample of population is selected or may be entire population is selected. From the selected individuals, data is collected in order to answer questions pertaining to research interest. This can also be represented in a way the information and data about X and Y is analyzed to evaluate what is going on at a particular point of time.
Pertaining to the research paper, the extent to which human resource inputs are contributing towards organizational performance and the extent to which human resource processes are significantly contributing towards growth of the organization are determined with the help of cross sectional study.
Measurements in the human resource management system study were quantitative and statistically valid and essentially based on numbers and data and the selection of sample is done to achieve results at an acceptable degree of accuracy. In general, sample sizes are set which yields a minimum of 95% confidence interval with a minimum error of 5% which is considered as a small margin of error. On the other hand, the study of performance measurement system is more of a subjective design based on collection of data through interviews and informal conversations with company officials and semi structured interviews with company groups. Thereby the findings and outcomes determined in the research are highly dependent upon sensitivity and experiences of interviewer and moderator.
Indeed, different research paradigms have different corresponding approaches and research designs. The research paradigm is selected and the framework is established on the basis of established research hypothesis and questions and therefore distinguished researcher and scholars adopt methods and designs cutting across research paradigm.